On January 11th 2021, the news was made public that Major League Wrestling CEO Court Bauer is going to be pursuing a lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment for undermining competition and monopolizing the professional wrestling market by interfering with MLW’s contracts and business prospects. Bauer is stating that WWE was pressuring third parties to abandon their contracts and relationships with MLW, most notably with VICE TV. VICE TV was airing an MLW event and was contacted by someone at WWE letting VICE TV know that WWE owner Vince McMahon was “pissed” they were going to air MLW programming. So of course, this disrupted a major streaming deal for MLW and would have been extremely lucrative for the company. I am not here to retype the entire case here for you, but my question is basically why Vince feels the need to try and put his throat on a smaller organization that has a great following and realistically poses no threat to WWE whatsoever? Their shows air on Thursday nights, and their live events are usually once a month where they do all their tapings. Most of their talent comes from the wrestlers that WWE has let go, or wrestlers that are on the Independent circuit, getting a chance to get themselves on camera to show the wrestling world their skills and possibly find a permanent home. In November, MLW put out a statement saying they have an open-door policy for free agent wrestlers, they can either be there for one show or for 10 years, but they will have a fair shot to show the company what they got. To me, that sounds like a company you want to work for, being given a fair chance even if you don’t have 100,000 followers on social media, if you can work then you have a home.
I’m not going to pretend that I am not shocked that Vince can be petty, we all know what he did in the 80’s pretty much pulverizing all of the territories in Professional Wrestling to make WWE(F) the only name in the business. What Vince needs to remember is, this isn’t the 80’s or the 90’s where if you were on the independent scene you were either a has been or an up and comer. These guys make a pretty damn good living now, and MLW doesn’t fence in their talent at all. Danny Limelight who is one half of the MLW Tag Team Champions, wrestled against Moxley on AEW Dark, Warhorse also performed on AEW Dark the night before his match at War Chamber against MLW rising star KC Navarro I can keep going with their big-name stars performing in other organizations all over the United States and Japan. What does Vince and the WWE have to do with VICE TV anyway? Darkside of the Ring hasn’t been very good to the WWE, showing how badly they handled Owen Hart’s death and how disrespectful they were towards Martha, and The Plane Ride from Hell episode got Tommy Dreamer suspended from his duties at Impact. Nothing that VICE TV has shown about the WWE would make someone who doesn’t watch wrestling, automatically start watching it. To me, this is Vince putting his foot on the throat of any company because he can’t do it to AEW…. Yet. We have seen this scenario kind of play out before with WCW nipping at the heels of WWE and almost beating them, except Vince took ECW under his wing rather than try and crush them. Is this his age getting to him? Did he forget what actually helped his business, and also got him some legendary wrestlers when the company folded and also got him one of the best managers in the business Paul Heyman? I do feel that this will be settled out of court and MLW will get a decent financial sum and possibly find themselves another streaming deal, but there could be something a lot better on the table if all parties are smart enough and do it right.
We all saw AEW try and help out IMPACT last year, sure to some of us fans it was pretty cool, but it got stale really quick and fell flat and in my opinion its lack of star power over at IMPACT.
Anderson and Gallows are always fun to see, but just like in WWE it got old and boring. If AEW tries to give MLW a boost, not only do I think it would do better and last longer, it would be the biggest way to stick it to Vince. Tony Khan is just as petty if not more than Vince, working together with the company he was trying to squash would set things up for wrestling fans that would be amazing. I am not talking about burying these guys on AEW Dark every week with Jay Lethal, I am talking about giving MLW prime placement on both of their shows Wed and Friday night, since MLW airs on Thursdays on YouTube, this will be giving these wrestlers the right amount of eyes at the right time. Both organizations work together with NJPW and AJPW, Tajiri is the MLW Middleweight champ for crying out loud, and he just defended the belt on a special broadcast match in Japan. Now with the Women’s Featherweight Division opened up in MLW it just seems like a great idea for both of these companies to pool their wealth in talent and make some money in the process. Just winning in court or getting the WWE to settle just isn’t going to be enough, they need to get Vince where it hurts and that is on TV because even though AEW is making a lot of noise, they still aren’t beating WWE in the ratings. The saying goes “An enemy of an enemy is a friend” and if these two companies are smart, they will ban together to show Vince that his product isn’t the only game in town anymore, and he doesn’t control the market like he used to. I just hope the right things get done here, because there is too much talent in MLW to just stay streaming on YouTube, and AEW is beginning to get predictable and drawn out.
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