|By Raj Giri||July 23, 2012 | Comments|
So, I started to lay out the parameters of what this would be and ideas of where this would be most successful. And I was doing that and unfortunately, Gary Albright passed away. He actually passed away wrestling off of the Wild Samoans show up in Pennsylvania. It was a tragic thing. It was a heart attack. He had a lot of problems. He was a diabetic. He had stopped taking his medicine and I think that if you stop taking medicines as certain times, that your heart goes into shock unless you get off of it appropriately. So, that really paralyzed this endeavor and at that point I was working for All-Japan. I was, like, 20.
I stayed with All-Japan for a few years, always thinking it was be kind of interesting to continue pursuing this Major League thing, but realizing I needed some more experience, I needed some capital and I needed the right opportunity to do so. I also had other goals. But wanting to be a booker or a promoter in wrestling is very difficult. It's easier now to be a promoter -- not that you're going to be successful. Back then, there really was no road map to being a booker. From point A to point B to point C all the way up to WWE. How did you do it? There really is no blueprint.
Today, it's even scarier. Because there really isn't. You're more likely to get a job at WWE if you were to start in L.A. and then send your resume in through Monster.com. Whereas the way I did it even a few years ago is radically different.
So, Major League Wrestling started in 2002. Again, we really started developing in 2001. We had our first show in June of 2002 in Philadelphia and went on to New York City at the Manhattan Center/Hammerstein Ballroom for our second show. Then down to Florida and the Old Famous War Memorial Auditorium and quickly I negotiated a TV deal and we ended up on Sunshine Network which is now Sun Sports. We ended up on DirecTV, Fox Sports and their affiliates and several international affiliates from Japan to India to the U.K. to Canada, Puerto Rico and so on.
So, by 22 or 23 (years old), I was spinning a lot of plates and negotiating a lot of things. Building a brand, producing a TV show, negotiating with talent, booking the talent, designing t-shirts. Negotiating arenas -- you name it; I was doing it and it was like a one-man show. I was micro-managing this thing and probably getting my first gray hairs before I was even 23.
WrestlingINC: That sounds crazy. You did that for two years, right? Technically for three years but MLW was around through 2004...
Bauer: Yeah. Until 2004. We had come close to bringing in some new investors in 2004. We were looking for some new partners. We had a few "close-but-no-cigar" situations involving Rockstar Entertainment. They've done games like Grand Theft Auto and several other titles. We also were in talks with Billy Corgan and that was a curious experience but it wasn't for real.
Ultimately, we weren't in a situation that we could continue. I never was a guy that wanted to sell wrestlers on dreams. It's so easy to sell wrestlers on dreams. Whether they're just starting out and you own a school and you're saying they can be in WWE. "Just sign the dotted line and we'll get you going." Or being a promoter, selling people on, like, "Just a few more shows and I can pay you, finally." I've never been a guy that wanted to sell people on dreams and take advantage of them. I've never bounced a check. I never wanted to be one of those guys. I never wanted to be a guy that had a reputation for putting talent in a situation where they couldn't feed their families.
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