This week, Wrestling Inc. President Raj Giri sat down with Major League Wrestling CEO Court Bauer to discuss this Thursday's MLW: One-Shot event, which is set to feature Olympian Jeff Cobb vs. MMA fighter Tom Lawlor. When asked how the Cobb / Lawlor matchup was shaped, Bauer reveals that the idea came to him while sitting on the beach this past summer.
"I really wanted to showcase Jeff Cobb and his talents," Bauer said. "Meanwhile, you've got Tom Lawlor breaking onto the scene after initially wrestling out of the Orlando area in the mid-2000s before hitting it big in MMA and going onto the UFC."
An interesting prospect, Bauer realized that it was the opportunity for the two to be matched up for the first time.
"You have the pedigree of an Olympic wrestler, who's a ferocious suplexing beast, in the 'Hawaiian Hulk' Jeff Cobb, versus 'Filthy' Tom Lawlor who is a scrappy, suplexing wrestler in his own right."
Cobb wrestled at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens; around the same time, Lawlor wrestled at the University of Central Florida and began his MMA career. Bauer believes that this unique pairing will be quite the strong-style matchup.
Tom Lawlor isn't the first MMA/wrestler Bauer's had a run in with. Previously working in creative for WWE, Bauer recounts a time when Brock Lesnar almost returned to the company in 2005. Bauer and the rest of the SmackDown writing team hoped to lure The Beast Incarnate over to their show, pitching a number of options including programs with the legendary Undertaker and the rapidly rising Bautista.
"I really liked the Brock and Bautista because of the parallels going back to OVW. It was a classic, traditional Vince McMahon collision course of two massive forces. It was a big money match. Bautista needed something different to shake things up for him and Brock Lesnar could have really fit that mold rather well."
The hope was to show McMahon the "trail of money" the feud would create, with the rivalry culminating at WrestleMania.
"We were going to have him leave a trail of wreckage until Bautista said, 'That's enough. You're on my turf. I'm going to put down this great white shark'."
Lesnar met with both the SmackDown and Raw creative teams, followed by a meeting with McMahon himself. Though SmackDown was confident they'd snag the current WWE Universal Champion, all planning soon came to a halt.
"Someone asked Vince point blank is he in fact coming back and we got the answer to not factor Brock Lesnar into our plans for the immediate future. That was Vince's very firm way of saying we're not doing business with him at the moment."
Bautista and Lesnar have yet to face-off in a WWE ring, although they did square off in OVW.
Major League Wrestling: One-Shot is set for this Thursday, October 5th at GILT Nightclub in Orlando, FL. Matches on the card include Ricochet vs. Shane Strickland in the main event, MVP vs. Sami Callihan, Darby Allin vs. "The Flying Gambino" Jason Cade, Santana Garrett vs. Mia Yim, and MJF vs. Jimmy Yuta. Tickets are available now at MLW.com.