Wrestling Inc. President Raj Giri recently sat down with MLW owner Court Bauer on an episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast where they discussed MLW’s The Restart and their new time and date on Wednesday nights. On his appearance on The Wrestling Inc. Daily, MLW Openweight Champion Hammerstone talked about the “chip on their shoulder” that MLW has, but Bauer revealed on the podcast that he originally wanted MLW to be broadcast on Thursday nights, but MLW’s broadcast partners wanted to move on Wednesday nights.
“Well, I actually wanted Thursday nights, but I want to be a good partner,” Bauer revealed. “Our broadcast partners had wanted us to move to Wednesday’s, and so we said, okay, we’re going to be a good partner. We just asked that we maybe do it earlier or later and not head-to-head because I don’t think that’s a real win-win for fans. They already have two shows they have to pick from so let us be the lead in or the replay on the flip side. I was able to get both.”
Former WWE NXT Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush will be making his MLW debut, and Bauer discussed what it’s been like to work with Rush. Bauer praised Rush as both an athlete and as a person noting that he does not have a chip on his shoulder, and he is not a diva. He also called it “a major fumble” that WWE let Rush go.
“Awesome, just a world-class athlete, world-class performer [and a] world-class guy,” Bauer expressed. “Usually when you have a guy that leaves a big system, especially WWE, sometimes they have a chip on their shoulder. They’re a diva. They’re difficult. They have it their way or the highway. It’s a process to kind of bring them down to earth.
“With Lio, he was just a totally totally different animal. Just awesome. Just awesome. Just a totally different breed than what we’re used to in that regard. He was just nothing but a positive experience and we’re very supportive of him. We think there’s a great platform for him. We think it’s a great place to have some great matches that are on his list. They’re on my list.
“When you bring a Lio Rush into your system, it makes my job easier because I can just put his name on one side of the paper, get my pencil, look at the other side of the roster and just connect him to all these different guys. Things just got easier with Lio Rush. He’s a phenomenal talent. To have him be available, for him to go into free agency to be available to us was shocking to me. That to me was a major fumble for WWE because that guy’s got IT.”
The first episode of The Restart will be headlined by two title matches. Jacob Fatu will defend his MLW World Heavyweight Championship against Davey Boy Smith Jr., and MLW Middleweight Champion Myron Reed will defend his title against Brian Pillman Jr. Bauer discussed the latter match and the history and animosity behind it.
“That one’s a year in the making for us. They started their rivalry last December,” Bauer noted. “So for us, that seemed like a no-brainer, and I wanted to do a big card so two title fights felt like a big night for us. And those guys have been talking a lot of s–t on social media and on Pulp Fusion. So I’m like this is a hell of a fight, and it’s been great.
“Reed’s been with us now for almost three years, and to see him mature and develop into this astonishing World Middleweight Champion like he has, just an incredible run. I’m very proud of him and Pillman too. They both signed around the same time in 2018 with us. To see them both emerge, I’m very proud of them both.”
This past summer saw Pillman Jr. express his desire to get out of his MLW contract due to MLW not running shows for many months. Bauer gave an update on the situation saying that he and Pillman Jr. have “made amends.”
“We made amends,” Bauer said. “I think with every promotion, there’s a rollercoaster ride with talent, and that’s okay. You hope that you can resolve the issues, and everyone feels good about it because there’s nothing worse than when you have this heaviness over you on either side, and you’re like, ‘Man this sucks.’ So I always try to make an effort to say, ‘Okay, let’s try to come out of this in a positive way.’ Whether you stay or you go, my obligation is to give the fans a good show. My obligation also is to build my business.
“My obligation also, I hope by the end of this, is that we continue our track record if guy stay or go, but at the end of their term with MLW, they’re in a better place than when they started with MLW. I think that’s going to be the way it is with Brian. Whether he stays or goes, he’s in a great place, and I think he’s going to be in a better place than when he started with 30 matches in July of 2018. He’s got a lot of passion. He’s got a lot of heart, and he’s put in a lot of work. And if you look at him and how he’s progressed over two years, he’s done an exceptional job. He really has. He’s found himself.”
Giri noted that Bauer was a writer for Wrestling Inc. during the early years of the site. Giri jokingly asked Bauer how much Wrestling Inc. has influenced Bauer’s empire, and Bauer discussed the goals he desires for a relationship with the media citing the access that is allowed in MMA media.
“I minored in journalism, so there was always an appreciation for covering stories and the media,” Bauer said. “And I think doing the old Pro Wrestling Gazette, which was an email newsletter, this was ’96-’97 and at the time, it was a very similar energy to what’s going on now, and it felt like, okay, there’s so much cool stuff to cover either stateside or internationally in Japan especially and in Mexico.
“It was just an incredible time, and it gave me an appreciation for the media and how the media covers stories and also the sense of value for having a relationship with the media because promotions historically tried to kind of ice them out or give them their they’re talking points and that’s it. And I get that, and for a long time, there was no real one-to-one relationship. It was just like, just cover what we’re doing. We’re not going to engage you. We’re not going to give you access to anyone.
“I get that, but imagine if you did. Having done some stuff in MMA and seeing how the relationship, the dynamic between the media is different. Dana White might not get along or really enjoy some of the kinds of questions he’s getting, but he gives you access, and I think that’s important. I’m sure he wishes, I’m sure everyone wishes they can control a narrative, but at the same time, you have to put yourself out there and give your side of the story, your perspective and then it’s up to the fans, up to the sports world to decide.”
Court’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.