Wrestling Inc. owner Raj Giri spoke to MLW President Court Bauer on today’s episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily. MLW made their anticipated debut on Vice last April and is set to feature their first big event on the network, Fightland, this Thursday at 10pm ET. Bauer revealed how long he and Vice had been in negotiations for.
“They started probably, I would say, maybe a year or two ago, and it was kind of quiet and things were kind of moving at a slower pace,” Bauer said. “Sometimes that’s just the way it goes, and you kind of start to learn about each other and what the goals are for a network or a league and you start to kind of kick the tires on what is it going to cost? What is it going to look like, and then of course, the pandemic hit and everyone’s budget, our ability to see what’s on the horizon, when we’re gonna do new shows and things, we had no idea.
“So then everything kind of hits a speed bump, and then you kind of rebuild the momentum as people get more comfortable with what’s on the horizon beyond the pandemic or as the pandemic gets kind of manageable as possible, given the conditions we’re under. So it’s been a little bit of a journey, and to see Vice grow out its presence with Dark Side of the Ring and how big of a hit it’s been, the logical next step is to create a block of programming and have an actual wrestling league featured, and we’re very happy and honored to be on that main voyage with them.”
Fightland will air on Vice TV after Dark Side of the Ring. Bauer also revealed what the future will be for MLW on Vice.
“Everything’s on the table,” Bauer stated. “We are having conversations with Vice. We’re talking with a bunch of people because to me, the thing you want to do is you want to be a great partner to all your partners, but you also want to look at how you can cut the pie, and a sophisticated model for every league now, whether it’s in wrestling or any other sport, is to try to have as many deals as possible, unless someone pays you the big dollars to say, hey, this is ours. This is exclusive. If you look at like ECW, they had one deal.
“When that deal collapsed, it was such a fast snowball down the hill that became an avalanche for the league. For us, it’s really important to look at the pie and say, okay, there’s English rights in linear and in streaming. There are Spanish rights in linear and in streaming. So I want to be able to slice up that pie as much as I can to squeeze as much juice out of it and have as many discussions as I can have.
“There’s discussions about reality program. There’s discussions about live specials. There’s discussions about spin-off shows, the weekly shows. There’s a lot of stuff in English and Spanish, so I’m having all those conversations, and we’re happy to see where we take this. We’re excited to where we take this with Vice as we explore every avenue we can. That’s my responsibility in running this thing, I got to talk to everyone.”
The main event of Fightland will be MLW World Heavyweight Champion Jacob Fatu vs. National Openweight Champion Hammerstone in a title vs. title match. Bauer discussed giving away what is arguably the biggest match in MLW history on free TV.
“Well, I’ve always believed, it’s something Vince [McMahon] taught me, you always want to give your fans value, and so when I think about that, I want to give the fans the most I can for the least amount and that’s how you build your audience,” Bauer explained. “That’s how they know that you’re not trying to get every dime out of the fan and exploit them, especially in times like this. We’re recovering from some pretty, pretty hard times. A lot of people lost their job.
“I want to give fans our biggest match in history and be able to give it to the max amount and selfishly, put it in front of the most amount of audiences I can. Vice is that solution, and so that’s a great scenario because we wanted to do something big and noisy for Vice and when we were talking about it, I’m looking at what my notes are. It says Fatu – Hammerstone. That’s it, and that’s a match that I talked about with Fatu and Hammerstone about February 2020. This is where I’m going, and it’s going to be with Hammer winning the Battle Riot, which was slated for July 2020 in Philadelphia.
“I had no idea when the pandemic hit, it would be that big of a delay. I thought well, 12 – 18 weeks maybe and as time went on in the world, how everything went and so a year later, we’re still looking and tracking for that. And then we we stuck with our plan. The way I design everything is when I have a plan, I stick with it, unless we have to call an audible because of injury. The fans don’t take to something, but otherwise, I really am very big on long-term booking, and that was a match they both knew. They knew the outcome. They knew everything almost two years ago now. We stuck to our guns on that. We just had a vacillating schedule because of everything that happened in the world, and we had to tread water doing empty arena shows, but now that we’re back, it’s 200 miles per hour.”
Fatu was recently on The Wrestling Inc. Daily to talk about his upcoming bout against Hammerstone. Bauer discussed whether or not the winner of this fight will be defending both belts at the same time in the future.
“What’s the matchmaker Cesar Duran gonna say about it? These are all good questions that when you tune into Fusion Alpha after Fightland weeks ahead, you’ll get some clarity on that,” Bauer said. “They will be answered.”
MLW Fightland airs Thursday night on VICE TV at 10pm ET. Bauer’s full interview aired on today’s episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily, which you can check out below. Bauer also discussed possibly working with AEW, free agents in the market right now, the Women’s Featherweight tournament and more.
Powered by RedCircle