Sitting down with Wrestling Inc.’s own Raj Giri, MLW owner Court Bauer discussed his approach to MLW’s new show on Vice TV. Bauer made clear there would be differences between this show and what fans see each Wednesday on MLW Fusion.
“We want each series, or show we do, to have a distinct feel,” Bauer said. “And so yeah, we’ll work out what that will feel like and make it distinctly different on Vice. Not like blow it all up but there will be little qualities of the show that definitely make it feel a a little bit more distinct than another show.
Bauer then went into depth on the differences between booking an MLW show during the pandemic and in a pre-pandemic world to make his point. “From a presentation point of view and a booking point of view, what I do during this era, which will be wrapping up soon, is not typical from what I’ve done in the past and what I’ll do in the future. But you’re in a different place.
“I book for heat. Booking heat in a time where you have no fans it’s like ‘what do you do?’ I think products like New Japan have done really well because they have a very good, you hear the crowds when they have the crowds and it’s different than a typical US show. Imagine World Class with no fans, Memphis with no fans or the Attitude Era with no fans. It’s like ‘what is that? How does that work?’ So you have to do things a little differently.
“The other weird thing is with no crowd is you can do finishes that you would never do with a crowd that paid to see those finishes. You know with ticket sales, because I feel I have an obligation, you don’t to give the fans a f**k finish on something. When I have no fans in the building and am just trying to get content and also try to slow down, not accelerate storylines, you have to pace them differently.
“The whole booking of it is different. And there’s no, I wish there was some sort of book on how to book with no fans. I’m sure there will be at some point. But you go into a show, and before the pandemic we had just done an empty arena match with MJF actually. And we were like ‘oh this is a cute novelty, we’ll do one of these.’
“And then like, by the time it aired, empty arena was becoming a thing. I was like ‘oh my God. We’re in trouble here; we’re going to have to do this for awhile.”
With MLW premiering on Vice on May 1, the question is whether the shows will be live or taped. Bauer hinted live was a possibility and not necessarily with Vice.
“I can’t speak specifically about what’s in the cards for Vice,” Bauer said. “I just barely got out of my gag order. I was going to into trouble I think if they kept me any longer under a gag order. In general we are having a lot of conversations with a lot of people.
“There’s definitely scenarios very close to our calendar, our upcoming calendar, that it could conceivably be live. I can’t specifically say when and where and all that stuff, it’s not locked in. But it’s a distinct possibility. It could be Vice, but it could also be somewhere else because there are continuing conversations.”
MLW isn’t the only wrestling programming on Vice, joining the Dark Side of the Ring series. When asked if there’d be any crossover, Bauer revealed there already had been.
“There’s already a crossover,” Bauer said. “If you’ve watched Dark Side Confidential you’ll see footage of MLW during the Von Erichs when they went back and looked at that. We supplied them footage for the Brian Pillman special because they talked about his son a bit in it.
“So there’s always opportunities for that. And Evan and the guys over at Dark Side have been amazing. We love them, they’ve been awesome to us and they’ve been awesome for wrestling fans too. They have such a great eye for a story. But being able to put it together in the way they do, they’re genius at it. They’re really genius at it.
“No one has done it in such an honest way, in such a cinematic way as Evan and his partner have. Just really a phenomenal job.
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You can find the full audio from Court’s conversation with Raj via the embedded The Wrestling Inc. Daily player below: