On December 11th, MLW and WWE lawyers filed paperwork to resolve a lawsuit that has lasted nearly two years. In January 2022, MLW filed an antitrust suit against WWE. MLW’s promoter and founder Court Bauer claimed it related to Vince McMahon’s business practices.
The lawsuit alleged WWE pressured third parties streaming service, Tubi TV, and TV network, VICE TV, to abandon their working relationship with MLW. Allegedly, WWE tried to undermine MLW as competition by attempting to talk to MLW wrestlers under contract.
Bauer’s suit claimed WWE wanted them to breach their contracts and reveal confidential business information about the organization. On Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho podcast, Baeur detailed how in 2021 deals had been signed were rescinded. The company was “almost mortally wounded.”
Initially, the lawsuit was dismissed in February 2023 due to insufficient evidence and context. The judge allowed MLW to amend their complaints. In March, MLW filed an amended complaint. In the words of practicing lawyer and combat sports legal analyst, Jason Cruz (of MMAPayout.com):
“If you recall, the judge allowed MLW to amend its complaints to add more context to the lawsuit, which basically means ‘We’re going to dismiss this thing unless you add more meat to this lawsuit.” Cruz called the outcome a “great result for MLW”.
Extra Money Allows for Growth
WWE has come to a financial settlement with MLW, giving the latter company a much-needed monetary boost. Reports suggested that due to the cost of the lawsuit, MLW was running low on funds.
With a lot of money, MLW can focus on growth and development. Ultimately, more funds mean more opportunity. Already, MLW is running more shows and tapings next year. With TV tapings now booked for January and two in February. This means there are more chances for MLW to earn revenue.
Reportedly, wrestlers have been given a cash bonus. MLW next year is bringing back MLW Radio. With time also freed from the lawsuit, MLW can also focus on getting new deals for distribution. If things work well, there are various areas where additional funds would aid MLW.
Fatu is READY for Hammerstone on Dec 24! pic.twitter.com/GT6kckYZu8
— MLW (@MLW) December 21, 2023
MLW excels in creating a gritty product with an ECW-like aesthetic. Part of MLW’s charm is that it feels different from other wrestling companies. Yet while the lower production values may bring old-school nostalgia for older fans; for younger fans, the look can seem low-budget and cheap.
Particularly behind the scenes and video segments, as well as the ringside area looks like a regional indy. The old-school aesthetic is baked into the NWA’s brand. For MLW who present themselves as a modern hybrid fight league, an upgrade would be a benefit for new viewers and a sign to old viewers that change is happening.
Across companies, big and small, the backstage segments where wrestlers are interviewed, interact with each other to set up feuds and (for reasons never explained) improv comedy breaks out, they always take advantage of their surroundings. The difference is the quality of their filming equipment. \
MLW does not need to go fireworks and big screens, but a subtle change or makeover would make them feel different from the other wrestling programs uploaded onto YouTube.
Securing the Existing Roster
One of the most talked about matchups in recent @MLW memory.
I’m called #TheDRAW for a reason.
— Death Machine (@TheSamiCallihan) December 20, 2023
Extra money and expansion may also MLW to retain or regain wrestlers who have been important to the company. Sami Callihan is already returning in January. MLW homegrown talent like Richard Holliday (profile and interview) has returned reinvigorated.
Having funds to retain attention grabbers like Matt Cardona, or other homegrown talents who are at risk of leaving like Alex Hammerstone (profile) could secure the company’s long-term upper card.
Likewise, cash to sign for long-term deals with future stars in the making, like MLW World Heavyweight Champion Alex Kane could help future-proof the company.
New Experienced Talent
MLW’s roster, particularly its mid-card, could use support from some experienced wrestlers. MLW had these experienced veterans in the past. CONTRA Unit’s Shawn Davari and Simon Gotch were gatekeepers who helped elevate talent by moving up the card.
There are still free agents available from the last round of WWE cuts who could be perfect fits for MLW in a player/coach role. Both Shelton Benjamin and the former Dolph Ziggler/Nic Nemeth, have decades of experience wrestling.
A Marshall of All Trades
Thank you AEW! pic.twitter.com/oBFn7Twd2A
— QT Marshall (@QTMarshall) November 28, 2023
Perhaps the best option comes from AEW. QT Marshall didn’t fit the AEW style, but for the Court Bauer-ran promotion, he could wrestle more with AAA, whom the company has a partnership with, along with other international companies.
No, Marshall is not a rating-grabber or critically acclaimed talent, he offers just as much behind the scenes and in the ring. A producer, formatter, a wrestling trainer with his school, and national TV exposure in the ring and backstage.
Experience in various jobs means Marshall and Bauer could have their cake and eat it. Marshall benefits from a more frequent wrestling freedom given the operation’s monthly tapings and Bauer is someone who could short and long-term help communicate with talent.
For MLW’s wrestlers, it means more regular work. The overall product and roster will mean more consistency over time.
More of a clear focus on the future and what’s next like new TV deals and even expansion. With the announcement of MLW Azteca Lucha in May, one might question whether MLW is thinking about a luchador expansion.
Previously MLW had a mini-series Azteca Underground that revived elements of the former Lucha Underground. This included Cesar Duran (the new alias of Dario Cueto of LU) whose return was hinted at during the last episode of Fusion.
MLW reported that their ticket sales for Azteca Lucha have been their best first day of ticket sales in over four years. If this is the direction they go in, it means more opportunities for lucha wrestling in America.
More From LWOS Pro Wrestling
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