This just in: According to Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc, Showtime might be interested in airing MLW. No details were provided and Court Bauer declined to comment. Obviously Showtime would be HUGE for the network and I cant believe I didnt consider it. Showtime was in play (kinda) for AEW last year but TNT was always going to be the front runner there.
Major League Wrestling CEO Court Bauer (nephew of legendary grappler Theobaud Bauer) has been teasing an impending announcement regarding their TV situation. Currently they can be seen on Saturday Night on the BEIN Sports nextwork as well as their YouTube page and the FITE app.
While admittedly I have zero sources and inside information, I thought I would speculate on where they could go and where I’d like to see them go. BEIN Sports only averaged about 6,000 viewers last year and is not exactly lighting the world on fire, and with MLW fusion being available almost immediately online, the chances of them paying much rights fees isn’t very high. The TV landscape is extremely crowded right now with a different show in primetime virtually everyday. To make matters worse, YouTube stripped away profitability from their wrestling channels making it almost impossible to make money off of a TV show. So where could MLW end up?
Most Likely Destination: DAZN
DAZN, a major streaming service focused on combat sports is the premier of home of boxing with the likes of Canelo and Anthony Joshua under their banner and are vastly overspending to get the biggest fights in the world to do so. They also showcase mixed martial arts like Bellator and Combate Americas. As of yet, they have strayed away from the pro wrestling scene despite the crossover appeal with other combat sports. Rumor has it that DAZN is getting ready to up their monthly price to $50 a month due to taking on heavy losses. Would this benefit MLW? If they are to go to DAZN exclusively they are lose out on viewrship potential however, with DAZN spending big money and having the opportunity to be promoted alongside giants like Canelo Alzarez, I think it would help grow the company. They could do monthly or bi-monthly live shows and upload countdown shows and specials on their YouTube page.
Best Possible Destination: Paramount
Paramount, the former Spike, which was formerly known as “The National Network”, after it was originally called “The Nashville Network” used to bt the home of ECW, then WWE, then TNA/Impact has been out of the pro wrestling game for 5 years. TNA left a really bad taste in their mouths and they have wanted nothing to do with wrestling ever since. The major proponent for having wrestling on their channel, Kevin Kay, was ousted 2 years ago, so that may lessen the chances. Time heals all wounds however, and wrestling is a consist ratings draw and is around at least 50 weeks a year. MLW won’t come with a high rights fee either so it could potentially be low cost programming. MLW is also a company that has does not have the stigma of the old TNA and will definitely not be hiring Vince Russo or anyone else of his ilk. I see this as the best fit.
Long Shot: ESPN +
ESPN +, the streaming network for ESPN, needs original and consistent programming badly. Their biggest hook right now is that you have to be a subscibe rto order over-priced UFC PPVs in some convoluted fashion. Other UFC, third world polo matches, and womens D-league basketball they really have nothing substantial to offer. Adding MLW might actually get me to re-sign up.
Funniest Possibility: POP TV
This would just make me die laughing. POP TV used to air Impact Wrestling and ended up cancelling the show, despte it routinely being their highest ratings draw, is actually a huge network but is only watched by 60 year old women. Maybe MLW could get wresling back on this network and then book Betty White as their on air heel authority figure. In all honestly, I hated watching Impact on that stupid channel.
Until they land somewhere, their show is available for free via their YouTube channel is a very entertaining and easy to watch 1 hour of TV. Check out the latest episode of MLW Fusion below: