|By Raj Giri||July 23, 2012 | Comments|
I think one of the last things I did was work on promoting. I want to say it was the memorial show for Yokozuna. I remember doing a lot of publicity, working with you at WrestlingINC, getting the word out. I was very helpful. I remember guys like Eddie Guerrero were on the show. I think Eddie was on the show. But it was like WCW and WWE, who were battling it out on the Monday night wars, both lent talent to be a part of the Yoko memorial. That might have been in 2000. Point is, it was one of the things I remember doing with you -- one of the last things.
It's really cool to see you guys are still chugging along. God; you were there in the '90's, you were there in the 2000's and you're here in the teens. So, you've kind of been covering it all from parts of three decades. I can't really think of any other site that's done that.
WrestlingINC: Right. We're kind of like the Mae Young of wrestling sites.
Bauer: Yeah. But, hopefully, you don't give birth to anything. That could be kind of scandalous. [Laughs.] Yeah, it's a cool thing. Your sites have always been, like -- in terms of the layout and aesthetically -- it's just been incredible. You've always been, like, blowing everybody out of the water… from the start to now.
I remember -- just so you know -- I wasn't the only one that was reading WrestlingINC.com when I was at WWE, either. There was a lot of other laptops open and we were all reading stuff from WrestlingINC within the office. So, know that there are people at WWE, then and now probably, still reading it. So, that tells you a lot.
WrestlingINC: Well, thanks for the kind words. I do appreciate it. You talked about working with the Samoans. Was the idea when you started MLW (Major League Wrestling) -- did it start then when you were working with the Samoans or was that something that came a little bit later?
Bauer: Actually, it was something that was being developed. In the late '90's, I was working with Gary Albright who was a big star for All-Japan Pro Wrestling and son-in-law of Afa. He married one of Afa's daughters. He was a powerhouse collegiate wrestler from Nebraska and became a pro and wrestled in Stampede (Wrestling). He wrestled a few times in ECW. But his career was primarily a big star in Japan for UWFi (Union of Wrestling Forces International) which was like a semi-shoot wrestling group and then All-Japan later on.
All-Japan was a very hot promotion in the '90's. It's so hard to equate it to anything now. It was incredible. I mean, the quality of the wrestlers coming out of there were second to none. The matches to this day, if you watch a Youtube match of (Mitsuharu) Misawa vs. (Kenta) Kobashi or all those guys battling it out. They just hold up. You can see so many of the guys today, through the years, have emulated those guys and their spots. They really were pioneers and just, incredible, incredible talents.
So, we were looking at ways to extend what they were doing over there to the States and (find) a way to cultivate new American talent for them. Also, give their guys another platform to not just wrestle, but really monetize the underground tape-trading that was going on. So, it really needed to have a presence and it was so hard to really battle that piracy then and it's probably even harder now. But, we thought it would be an intriguing concept, started developing it. I came up with the name: Major League Wrestling because All-Japan is a very sports-centric product or it was then. It really felt like it got as close to a sports version of wrestling as you could possibly do given it's a simulated, action-oriented concept.
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