MLW owner Court Bauer was on a recent episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast where he and Chris Jericho discussed their experience dealing with celebrities in wrestling. Bauer recalled his time as writer in WWE during the “Battle of the Billionaires” between Vince McMahon and Donald Trump. He recalled McMahon being pissed off because he thought Trump was trying to show him up in their head-to-head segment on RAW.
“Donald Trump was there doing the angle with Vince, and one night, we’re doing some sort of in-ring deal with Trump and Vince. And it was cold, and Donald Trump has that big winter jacket,” Bauer said. “He’s 6’4” or something like that. He’s kind of a deceptively tall guy. They’re doing a promo, and Vince and him are going face-to-face as the ‘Battle of Billionaires’ thing goes down.
“Afterwards, we’re in the limo and Vince is just livid. They get along great, but there’s that kindred spirit thing with them and everything. He felt like Donald had intentionally showed him up. He’s like, ‘Did you see that? He was wearing that jacket. Clearly his shoulder pad was stuffed to look bigger. It’s ridiculous.’ And he was really hot about Trump trying to look bigger than him.”
Bauer continued revealing that McMahon would want celebrities to hit him with their full force. He said he wanted the segments to look real and did not want celebrities to try to make it look fake.
“It’s funny too because Vince, whenever he would work with a celebrity or a wrestler, would say, ‘just hit me,'” Bauer recalled. “‘Just go for it; don’t hesitate to hit me. Don’t make it look fake. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get upset if you tag me. I potato everyone all the time. Don’t worry about it.’ He wanted it to look real rather than it look not credible.”
Jericho recalled his AEW Dynamite confrontation with Mike Tyson. He revealed he was open to a boxing match with Tyson, saying he had been through worse, and he noted that Big Show had done the same with his match against Floyd Mayweather where Mayweather broke his nose upon his instruction.
“Earlier this year, when we had the little confrontation with Tyson, which may or may still happen,” Jericho stated. “Who knows really, but they said, ‘Mike really wants to do something. What would you be up to?’ I said, ‘whatever. Let’s do a match.’ You want to do a boxing match? I’ll box Mike Tyson. How bad can I get beat up by Mike Tyson that’s worse than taking stiff shots from all these guys that I’ve been beaten up by over the years?
“You can hit me and I’m fine. I’ll be fine, and I remember when Big Show had that with Floyd Mayweather. He told me Mayweather hit him and Mayweather broke his nose. And Show was like, ‘I’ve had my nose broken by less.'”
Bauer noted that the MMA fighters in MLW are instructed to be stiff with their strikes to make things look authentic. He points out that the MMA fighters are just trying to not hurt anyone, but he also noted that it’s better if the pain their strike inflicts is visible.
“It’s part of what happens in the business, and I think for people on the outside, they come in and the biggest concern you have with a guy from the UFC or something is they’re going to actually can be a little too hesitant,” Bauer noted. “They don’t have that killer instinct because they don’t want to hurt you. We have guys in MMA in MLW and you have to remind them, ‘no, you have to be you.’
“And we’re expecting it to look authentic. If you don’t and you are soft, and if you’re light and your punches, the air is going to come out of the whole match. You got to go in there– and it’s better actually if you stiff a guy and there’s some swelling than the opposite, because that’ll build you up in your mystique. I think they’re just terrified to hurt someone.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.