By Ryan K. Boman, Editor in Chief & Michael Melchor, Executive Editor
Last Friday, some powerful forces came smashing together, as Major League Wrestling launched Fusion, their new, weekly television program.
The show, with legendary broadcaster Tony Schiavone on the call, airs on the beIN Sports Network, every Friday at 8 PM ET. Established names like MVP, Pentagon Jr and Lo Ki, as well as as rising stars like Barrington Hughes and Santana Garrett, fill out the roster of Court Bauer’s innovative promotion.
A longtime innovator of wrestling production, director Dan Bynum is the man who flips the switch for MLW’s flagship show. With over 30 years in wrestling and television, the former director of WCW Saturday Night knows both the business – and Schiavone – well.
In an interview this week with TheGorillaPosition.com, Bynum discussed the launch of Fusion and what fans can expect to see from the overall product.
“It’s a very exciting time for the business,” Bynum said. “There’s a huge amount of energy and interest in professional wrestling right now, and that excitement, I believe, is just going to continue to grow throughout our industry.”
He believes that MLW will be at the forefront of that revolution, and Fusion will be the blast that kick-starts the buzz.
“I’m happy to be a part of the show, which will be one of the leaders in this new explosion,” he said. “Fusion is the way that the wrestlers are returning to the execution of the match, in the ring.”
“I think as far as in-ring action, you have to have what I have always called, ‘the plausibility quotient’. You have to be able to tell that story in the ring that makes sense, if people are going to be able to suspend their disbelief. That’s the only way you can be entertained, is to embrace the whole concept of the business and have a pure enjoyment of it”
“That’s my motivation for being involved in this project. It’s the opportunity to produce a show that the fans can get lost in. That’s what my original love for this business was all about, and that’s what I think we’re doing now with MLW.”
After originally giving it a go as wrestling promotion in 2002, Bauer jumped into the broadcasting side of the business by launching the revolutionary MLW Network. The collection of on-air talent and the concurrent boom in the podcasting industry proved Bauer’s hunch right.
Late last year, Bauer decided it was time to make another foray into promoting live events. Major League Wrestling returned to in-ring action on October 5th with One-Shot. The show also signaled a ‘rasslin’ re-birth for Schiavone, who also co-hosts one of the Network’s most popular shows.
“MLW has succeeded for quite a while as the place for pro wrestling podcasts,” Bynum said. “Once Court decided to make it a working wrestling company again, he already had a plan in mind, and now he’s executing it.”
A disciple of the legendary Gary Hart, Bynum says that after spending time in World Class, WCW and ROH, he was immediately on board with Bauer’s plan to marry classic wrestling with a futuristic style.
“That’s the really exciting thing about the television show, is that Court is purposely gathering all different styles of wrestling together under the MLW umbrella,” he said. “He has that tie to the classic, old school wrestling, so he’s got that foundation of knowledge.”
The premiere of Fusion on April 20th was the pilot of the show. Tonight’s episode will be from Bynum’s first set of tapings as director. He says he’s more excited than ever about the potential of this new opportunity, and can’t wait to see how everything unfolds in the weeks to come.
“There’s so much more fan interest in these regions that these independent regions companies are working in,” he said. “Ring of Honor and New Japan have shown that you can break out of that ‘independent label’ in North America. They’ve shown that outside of the big ‘Universe’ up there in Stamford, that there’s enough room in the business – Big T, Big B… THE BUSINESS – for a lot of companies to be successful.”
“I think anyone who is a historian knows that wrestling is very cyclical, and we are in the middle of one of those cycles right now,” Bynum continued. “It’s like now, we are returning to that era of all the different promotions like we had in the past. Except today, they all bleed together, as the internet has democratized the industry.”
With the backing of the massive MLW Network behind him, Bauer can afford to take his time and build the company with due diligence. With that advantage, he inked Schiavone to a long-term contract earlier this week.
For MLW, the formula of their wrestling explosion is simple: Tradition + Talent + Technology.
Right now, Bauer’s company appears to have all three, and Bynum says he’s most excited about working with the talented people behind the scenes.
“Each time I get together with these guys and we do a shoot, I’m more excited about the project,” Bynum said of the crew. “Every new event has new and great people.”
“I really feel like all the pieces are there, and we’re developing an all-star team in the locker room.”
Don’t be shocked if Fusion becomes the hottest thing on Friday nights in the pro wrestling industry. Bynum says that MLW will continue to build their boom around their aptly-named show.
“It’s a different game now, with all the technology that’s available and the talent that we have worldwide,” Bynum asserted. “It’s like there are no boundaries, so the’ MLW Fusion ‘brand’ is an indication of exactly that… a fusion of all different styles. That’s what you’re going to see.”
Sounds like a blast.
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May 3, 2018 – Orlando, FL