It’s Time for the Hybrid Media Company to Return to Hybrid Wrestling
By Michael Melchor, Executive Editor
The title of this evening’s MLW show is hopefully appropriate.
“Never Say Never” happens tonight at Glit Nightclub in Orlando. (From what we understand, tickets are few and far between if you’re in the area, but it looks to be worth it if you can score them.) On the heels of “MLW One Shot” from this past October, the podcast and radio network looks to be back in the wrestling game on a regular basis. Case in point: the company’s next show, “Zero Hour,” has already been announced for January 11 of next year.
MLW has spent the last six years making its name in podcasts. Many names such as Kevin Sullivan, MVP, Jim Cornette, Bruce Pritchard and Tony Schiavone (who’s also calling tonight’s show) gracing the airways (as well we iTunes, Stitcher and all your favorite podcast platforms) each and every week.
Everyone from Ric Flair to Eric Bischoff has graced the virtual radio station of MLW at one point or another. What started as a once-weekly effort by once-and-future MLW CEO Court Bauer and cohort Mister Saint Laurent has grown into a podcast empire.
This all came about after a drastic business model change and a period of hibernation. Bauer (along with Alex Greenfield and many who populate MLW shows on their premium service) spent several years working for WWE as part of their creative team. Bauer, in particular, was with WWE from 2005 to 2007, starting with the company a year after his own wrestling company folded.
That wrestling company? Was Major League Wrestling.
MLW was designed as an alternative to the “sports entertainment” WWE was (and is) known for. Bauer said at the time that, “In the last two years there has been a critical void left by the demise of ECW and acquisition of WCW. However, this will change as MLW brings fans the most violent, hard-hitting action mixed with cutting edge storylines creating a counter culture attitude that only MLW can deliver to its rabid fans.”
The list of alumni that worked for MLW during its initial run from 2002 to 2004 reads like a Who’s Who of current and past stars – and different styles. Mike Awesome, Sonjay Dutt, CM Punk, Raven, Chris Candido, Matt “M-Dogg 20″ Cross, La Parka, Steve Corino, Christopher Daniels, Bryan Danielson, Terry Funk, Juventud Guerrera, Roderick Strong, Paul London, Jerry Lynn, Joel & Jose Maximo, Rocky Romero, Dick Togo, Abdullah the Butcher, Kenzo Suzuki, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams. These names only scrape the tip of the proverbial iceberg in listing the talent that came through Orlando during the first MLW run.
What’s different here isn’t only the list of stars and legends, but the different styles present. American Strong Style, Japanese Strong Style, Lucha Libre, Hardcore, High-Flying – MLW had all of that under one roof each show. In fact, MLW began life with the tag “Hybrid Wrestling,” proudly displaying the fact that whatever flavor of wrestling you desired, they catered to.
Since then, most independent pro wrestling shows now have that same flavor. Modern performers like Jeff Cobb, Shane Strickland, John Hennigan, Matt Riddle, The Young Bucks, Edie Kingston, Sami Callihan, Trevor Lee, Penta El 0 M and many others now represent those different styles and flavors of pro wrestling.
All of that started under MLW’s watch with the concept of “Hybrid Wrestling.” A concept – and tagline – MLW should reclaim.
MLW is sticking to their original concept of “Hybrid Wrestling” whether they realize it or not. The proof is in examining the lineup for tonight’s show:
The Aerial tactics of Shane Strickland and John Hennigan square off against the Hardcore and British Strong Styles of Darby Allin and Jimmy Havoc in a no-disqualification match. An MMA match is set to happen in a pro wrestling ring between Matt Riddle and “Filthy” Tom Lawlor. Brody King and MVP are two Brawlers set to collide. Joey Ryan and MJF should provide some Comedy, while the Women are represented by Santana Garrett and Laurel Van Ness.
Whatever style of pro wrestling you prefer, it’s all there. MLW is presenting “Hybrid Wrestling,” even if the show isn’t billed as such.
So, why not go by that billing again? Wrestling is such a different place with many companies emphasizing different styles on each show.
This is the company that originated “Hybrid Wrestling.” Now that they’ve returned, it’s time to reclaim the throne and the tag line.
UPDATE – 12.02.2017: MLW ANNOUNCES 8 EVENTS FOR 2018