Major League Wrestling is preparing their big return to normal operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As seen above, a new trailer has been released for The Restart, which is scheduled for this fall.
MLW CEO Court Bauer spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated and confirmed that the promotion is returning to TV with fresh content in early November, with TV tapings scheduled for October. Filming will take place at an undisclosed East Coast venue.
“The hibernation is over,” Bauer said. “We’ll air in November on a weeknight in primetime on Fubo Sports Network, and our content will also be available on DAZN, which includes exclusive content, and Saturday nights on beIN. As for the filming, we’re not going to publicly announce our location. If fans were to show up, it would just cause a wave of complications with the COVID protocol, but we are very excited to return for our fans.”
We noted before that MLW recently hired a COVID-19 Compliance Officer to help ensure that the company operates safely amid the pandemic. Bauer talked more about the role of Mike Kitlas, and their coronavirus safety protocols.
“We hired a COVID Compliance Officer, Mike Kitlas, and there will be frequent testing,” Bauer said. “We’re going to test before everyone gets on a plane, when they land, and then again during the tapings. We’ll be cleaning the trucks and the set every day. We have a protocol to follow, and we will ensure that guidelines will be met to keep everyone safe. That will include scheduling, transportation, locker room social distancing, and wearing masks, which will apply for talent, staff, and production.”
Bauer also revealed a potential name change for the weekly MLW broadcast. This will start the third season of Fusion, or mark a return to a familiar name for longtime MLW fans with Underground.
“We’ve had a lot of fans let us know they prefer Underground,” he said. “That’s something we’re going to pin down in the weeks ahead.”
Bauer also discussed the new empty arena setting for MLW, noting that the product will be presented uniquely. Bauer is eager to showcase a gritty, MMA type of environment for fans.
“We’re going to have more of a Raging Bull setting,” Bauer said. “We’ve had the luxury to see what works in this era. Our competitors have been forced due to contractual obligations to put programming on the air every night of the week. For us, from a creative perspective, we have been able to recharge, assess and determine the best way to move forward. That is really going to enhance our viewing experience.”
While the MLW tapings in October will feature regulars like MLW World Champion Jacob Fatu, Alex Hammerstone, Tom Lawlor, Brian Pillman Jr., and Salina de la Renta, Bauer noted that there is also potential for new faces from AAA and NJPW.
“We’ll have top talent from MLW and beyond,” Bauer said. “We learned during this break who had our back, and I think people will be very surprised by what opportunities have been borne from that.”
Bauer believes the MLW roster will help create a distinctly different presentation of pro wrestling in the empty arena COVID-19 era. He noted that the company has spent the whole summer building the promotion up so that they can run on a larger scale coming out of the pandemic.
“We spent the whole summer building our business to emerge from the pandemic ready to run on a larger scale,” Bauer said. “It’s now the right time for us to safely get back to work, and our talent is going to put on a great show in our return.”