July marks the one-year anniversary of the resurgence of Major League Wrestling.
With the quality of talent behind the scenes delivering the quality of talent in front of the camera, it's easy to see how the Orlando-based company inked a TV deal so quickly.
Now seen 8 p.m. ET Fridays on beIN Sports, MLW is making its mark in the wrestling business.
Former WWE creative members Court Bauer, Alex Greenfield, Robert Karpeles (NHL Florida Panthers attorney), and Bruce Prichard (Brother Love) along with indie wrestling veteran Mister Saint Laurent (I Believe in Wrestling) joined forces on this version of MLW.
Shows are taped from Gilt Nightclub in City Beautiful. The group is also branching to other venues in other states, like Thursday, July 19 at the Melrose Ballroom in Queens, N.Y.
The cards features a mix of wrestlers (legends, WWE alum, established indie combatants, lucha performers and some up-n-comers).
California native Simon Gotch, 35, is one of those WWE alum, who began receiving notoriety teaming with Aiden English as The Vaudvillains in WWE's NXT. They graduated onto the main roster, before Gotch was released a year later.
"I know a lot of the guys who have been involved in MLW a long time," said Gotch, an Orlando resident who is grateful for his time in WWE. "Mister St. Laurent I've known years back when I worked in Florida in 2006. Court Bauer is actually friends with one of the guys who trained me, Mike Modest...My jiu-jitsu coach Seth Petruzelli was working [for MLW] as well as Tom Lawlor who I had a really good match with for Prestige Wrestling in Oregon, which is available on their YouTube channel for free.
"So there's a lot of people who put in a word, and I'm local, which helps. If I leave an MLW show at 10 p.m., I'm at home by 10:10, so that's a nice bonus for me. Also, it's a platform to do what I do on television and not necessarily have the restrictions that unfortunately sometimes the WWE product has."
More with Simon Gotch.
Legends include one of the most famous names in the history of pro wrestling, especially the South. Robert Fuller, 68, from the Fuller/Welch family is Col. Rob Parker, longtime leader of the Stud Stable from his WCW days and prior. He's been in the business five decades, and his family wrestling lineage is even longer.
"It's a real joy to work for these people [in MLW] because they have such a good sense of the way wrestling should evolve today," said Parker, a Memphis native who lives in Tampa. "You've got your [MMA] and your lucha libre and so many of these different styles that are available to us today."
He added: "[MLW does] the best job of anybody I've seen on TV of utilizing all of those different varieties of wrestling. You've got your old school like with my Dirty Blondes [Leo Brien and Michael Patrick], and you'll see them in the ring with Bellator fighters...lucha libre...a six-man tornado. I've got [WWE alum Jack Swagger] Jake Hager, everybody knows, a great [MMA] fighter, cauliflower ears, a great shooter [can handle himself in the ring].
"My family has been in wrestling over 100 years, and when I see this going on today, I'll tell you what. I'm just overwhelmed with it."
More with the legend.
Parker's MLW version of the Stud Stable features Hager and up-n-coming tag team The Dirty Blondes. Trained by Florida legends Steve Keirn (CWF, WWE) and Norman Smiley (WCW, WWE) in Tampa, the Dirty Blondes work well together and have upped their game with Parker in MLW, a place they enjoy wrestling.
"It's a lot of beer and a lot of Slim Jims working with the Colonel," Brien said. "It's fun. He's awesome. He's a different type of cat."
Patrick continued: "Obviously -- the Fuller/Welch family -- people who are fans, historians of wrestling are familiar with those names."
Brien added: "His family in wrestling traces back to the 1920s. I don't believe there would be Southern wrestling without the Fuller/Welch family."
Patrick noted: "He has shared some stories. A lot we can't share [chuckles]. We'll be driving down the road, and Colonel will be like, 'Aw, this reminds me of the time me and Andre the Giant were driving,' or 'Me and Stone Cold driving.' You have to pinch yourself. It's like this dude has seen it all.
"He's lived the life, and he's an important person himself, and he's been around a lot of important people in wrestling, and it's helped us. It's been a Blessing for us, because we walk into a situation, and it's like, 'Oh, these are Col. Parker's boys,' and to be able to use that name lends us credibility, and it's something we're grateful for, we're thankful for. He took a liking to us, and It's just been fun."
More with The Dirty Blondes.
MLW in Orlando
Major League Wrestling is returning to Orlando on Thursday, July 12 with MLW FUSION TV tapings.
MLW Tag Champs Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix (presented by Salina de la Renta) defend against ACH and Rich Swann.
Will Low Ki collect the $60,000 bounty on reigning MLW World Champion Shane Swerve Strickland?
England's Most Dangerous Man Jimmy Havoc returns to MLW for the first time in two months as he looks for revenge on Filthy Tom Lawlor.
Teddy Hart battles John Hennigan aka John Morrison aka Johnny Impact aka Johnny Mundo aka Juan Mejor aka Johnny FUSION.
All American / Bellator fighter Jake Hager (WWE alum Jack Swagger) with Col. Rob Parker takes to the mat against the man of 1,000 counters Fred Yehi.
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH: Bad Boy Joey Janela with Aria Blake vs. MJFJason Cade vs. Jimmy Yuta Simon Gotch Prize Fight ChallengePlus, Dirty Blondes with Col. Rob Parker, Sami Callihan, Barrington Hughes and more.
This is Fusion TV tapings for beIN SPORTS.
Tickets starting at $15.
MLW in NYC
MLW will be in New York City for Battle Riot on Thursday, July 19 at the Melrose Ballroom in Queens.
Tickets are available at: https://mlwnyc.eventbrite.com.
MLW on beIN SPORTS
MLW’s weekly TV series, Major League Wrestling: Fusion, airs Fridays 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on beIN SPORTS (with replays at 11 p.m. ET) in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
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