On Monday night, Court Bauer of Major League Wrestling announced a new partnership with VICE TV. MLW, who usually runs their shows for one hour every Wednesday at 7 PM on YouTube, now officially has a cable deal coming soon. VICE TV has reportedly been searching for more pro wrestling content to supplement the success of Dark Side of the Ring. Early reports signify that the first week on VICE for MLW will be May 6th, as a lead-in to the season premiere of Dark Side of the Ring, whose feature that night is on Brian Pillman. Brian Pillman’s son, Brian Jr. currently wrestles for MLW.
Brian Jr. isn’t the only superstar with AEW ties to make his original mark in MLW, as AEW’s Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix were the first MLW Tag Team Champions following the promotion’s 2017 revival. Maxwell Friedman is a former World Middleweight Champion and Tag Team Champion in MLW. His MLW partner Richard Holliday is still on the MLW roster. The tag championships are currently held by Los Parks. The team consists of legendary luchador and former WCW superstar LA Parka, and his son El Hijo de L.A. Park. One of the more fascinating stories that MLW is currently telling is that of lucha libre. With recent reports that Lucha Underground could be rebooted, it’s seemingly within the MLW realm.
Pictured above is Salina de la Renta, who has recently appeared in MLW. As the story goes in 2021, she had a zoom meeting. See, even pro wrestling can keep its finger on the pulse. The zoom meeting was noted for catching “officials with great interest.” Salina is the manager of Azteca Underground, which is ran by a man named “El Jefe.” It’s all but been confirmed that El Jefe’s identity is actually Dario Cueto. Cueto was nicknamed El Jefe in Lucha Underground, the deranged boss in the Temple. Lucha Underground is currently free on TUBI.tv, but most of their talents are elsewhere. Penta El Cero, Fenix, Kobra Moon (Thunder Rosa), Brian Cage, Angelico and others are in AEW, while Prince Puma (Ricochet), Johnny Mundo (John Morrison), Killshot (Isaiah Scott), Rey Mysterio, King Cuerno (Santos Escobar), Hitokiri (Io Shirai) and even more are in WWE. The odds of MLW landing most of Lucha Underground’s star-studded roster is well out of the realm of possibility, however, they currently have MLW’s crown jewel: Mil Muertes. Ricky Banderas, who portrayed Muertes in Lucha Underground, is now playing the same persona and role in MLW and has been for most of 2021. The lore of Muertes character is deep, as his family died in earthquake when he was only seven years of age and that was just the beginning of a rough upbringing. Muertes is perhaps the promotion’s most recognizable champion and he just got out of a main event feud with MLW National Openweight Champion Alex Hammerstone. To say that MLW has put Muertes in a prominent position would be an understatement.
MLW does have a few wrestlers that would fit in Lucha Underground on their roster, notably Lio Rush, who has been the crown jewel of the Independents for the past year. All over the Independents, the 26-year-old is also a top guy in MLW, AAA and a key figure in NJPW’s USA expansion attempt. Rush is the current Middleweight Champion in MLW, but more importantly is the current AAA Cruiserweight Champion as well. Rush won the match in a contest with Laredo Kid where both of the aforementioned championships were on the line. With MLW already having a working relationship with AAA and teasing one with Dragon Gate, it shouldn’t be difficult to bring luchadors over.
Another thing worth noting is that Konnan has an on-screen presence in MLW, much like he did in Lucha Underground. There are other wrestlers who can work a similar style to Lucha Libre, including Low Ki and former WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins.
Above is Contra Unit, one of the many groups in MLW. One way to describe MLW’s is “gang warfare.” Contra consists of current MLW World Champion Jacob Fatu, who has held the MLW World Championship for over 650 days. The rest of the group consists of Fatu’s WARBEAST partner, Josef Samuel, Davairi, Mads Kruegger, Ikuro Kwan and Simon Gotch. Gotch, a former NXT Tag Team Championship, has really come into his own over the last few months, and just wrapped up an incredible series of matches with Acid Cup III Champion Jordan Oliver. Fatu perhaps is the best out of this generation’s crop of the Samoan Dynasty from a talent standpoint, an incredible feat considering how fantastic Roman Reigns’ current “Head of the Table” shtick is in WWE. Fatu is arguably the best promo from the dynasty not named The Rock, the agility for a man his size is off the charts and his psychology is second to none. Fatu recently had a match of the year candidate with relative newcomer Calvin Tankman, a hoss who left jaws on the floor in front of a wider audience during the Collective WrestleMania Weekend in Tampa.
In fact, the Independent scene has given MLW a wide variety of superstars, such as Oliver and Tankman who stole the show during WrestleMania week or guys such as Violence is Forever (Kevin Ku and Dominic Garrini), one of the most dominant teams on the scene. Violence is Forever use promotions such as Paradigm Pro Wrestling to prove that they’re two of the most legitimate competitors out there. This leads us to our next group, Team Filthy. Founded in 2017, their leader is former UFC star “Filthy” Tom Lawlor. Lawlor, a former MLW World Heavyweight Champion, recently expanded Team Filthy to NJPW Strong, including “Dirty Daddy” Chris Dickinson, JR Kratos and AEW Dark standout Danny Limelight. In MLW, though, it’s Lawlor alongside Dom Garrini, Dan Lambert, deathmatch star Kit Osbourne, Kevin Ku and Strikeforce fighter King Mo. Team Filthy brings a more snug, catch-shoot style performance to MLW. The other top teams include The Dirty Blondes, The Von Erich’s and Dynasty.
Overall, MLW seems to have found a nice solution of veterans such as Savio Vega and younger talents such as Myron Reed. Its one hour timeslot makes it easier to watch as well as its more sports-authentic presentation. Alicia Atout on interview with Rich Bocchini and Ray Flores on commentary are easy to listen to. While it isn’t the best weekly show in wrestling, it’s a solid show top-to-bottom and getting in front of a bigger platform should do the promotion wonders.
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