Unlike anything I've heard in recent weeks or months, but I thought it needed to be spoken about that Zac Efron will be starring in the upcoming Von Erich Family movie called "The Iron Claw." Currently the movie is set to center around the ups and downs of the Von Erich family who helped shape wrestling in the mainstream, but also had there fair share of adversity. Other then that not much is known about the movie set to be both written and directed by Sean Durkin.
The most recent account of the Von Erich family's legacy in wrestling to my knowledge was given in a past episode of the Dark Side of the Ring franchise. You can also say that the legacy is still being written for the Von Erich's with Marshall & Ross Von Erich currently teaming in MLW as the modern continuation of a dynasty.
In my opinion, it is uncommon to see a lot of A-List celebrities jumping at the opportunity to star in a movie based on wrestling. I'm figuring that wrestling might be a small part of the movie, but to be fair you can't make a movie about a prominent wrestling family without including wrestling in some form even if it's not the focal point. Especially surprising is Zac Efron is pegged to be cast as the patriarch of the dynasty that being Fritz Von Erich.
For more information on both Durkin and his thoughts on the upcoming movie I look to an MSN.com article written on the subject: "Durkin drew attention with his breakout film, Martha Marcy May Marlene, which earned him Best Director at Sundance in 2011. The Nest, his second film, premiered at Sundance in 2020."
“I’m very excited about this one,” Durkin told Deadline in 2020 as he was scripting the Von Erich film. “It’s another family portrait, about a wrestling family who revolutionized the sport and then suffered tragedy.”
As of right now we don't have much information about the movie other then Zac Efron's part and the fact that Sean Durkin will be both writing and directing. I will however to my best to keep the information on the movie flowing as I find out the information.
Last November the WWE made more budget cuts dropping a number of surprising stars including former two time NXT World Champion Killer Kross. Kross was a free agent as of early February this year after his non compete clause expired. Much has been said about the number of lost opportunities WWE has seen come to the forefront in the last two years including the mishandling of Kross. The age old story never changes down in NXT he was taken care of and made to look like a star, but upon arrival to the main roster everything changed.
Kross has a history in MLW spending time in the company before heading to NXT in early 2020 and based on the match results I have found he is unbeaten in two matches under the MLW banner. Keeping in mind though this is Kross's first stop since his release from WWE late last year a lot will be made about his return to MLW tonight. The only question is will Kross be around for the long term or is MLW the first stop on his road to redemption. A former World Champion and dominate force everywhere he appears MLW has seen there stock rise again with the return Killer Kross to the promotion.
His intentions will be known fairly quickly upon his return tonight at the Grady Cole Center. In my opinion, if Kross does stick around then it won't be long before he is gunning for championship gold or maybe he'll be looking for some dream matches first to cross of his list.
The most underrated promotion in the country continues to keep their homegrown stars and it's the South African 7 footer Mads Krugger. The "Black Hand of CONTRA" is in the early stages of his push toward prominence as he will be taking the top heel spot from Jacob Fatu. The masked mercenary Mads Krugger had a face off with Jacob following the War Chamber match which was the match that saw Jacob finally turn toward the side of good which would open the spot for Mads on the side of evil.
I don't know much about Mads Krugger, but based on the description he seems like an intimidating figure who could clearly rule over MLW if given the opportunity. Directly from MLW.com "With CONTRA’s collapse, the brawling brute from South Africa found himself a free agent, presenting an opportunity for MLW matchmaker Cesar Duran to move quickly and making a deal to keep Krugger in MLW.MLW.com spoke off the record with high-up league officials were ”disturbed” by Cesar brokering the deal, given Krugger’s ties to CONTRA. Undefeated since emerging a year ago as the “Black Hand of CONTRA,” the 7 footer has been a ferocious force in Major League Wrestling."
Keeping these names around allows MLW to remain the company where underrated and unknown talent are given an opportunity to prove themselves and find their potential. It is for this reason that companies like this are an important part of the wrestling landscape.
News broke a few days ago that current MLW World Champion Alex Hammerstone will remain with Major League Wrestling for years to come. Hammerstone is one of the originals from the early days of MLW and became of the promising young stars from MLW. Over the past year, Alex has become the top merchandise seller on MLWshop.com. Hammerstone would become the inaugural National Openweight Champion within 90 days of joining the company which shows exactly how high the company was on Alex from the very start.
Back in July, we saw Alex Hammerstone get the win in Battle Riot which seems to be a special type of battle royal. Hammerstone would gain a World Title match from the victory against former World Champion Jacob Fatu. On October 2nd, we saw Hammerstone finally topple the reign of Jacob Fatu to become the new MLW World Champion. The best way to capture the impact of this extension is to look to MLW Owner Court Bauer: "As MLW grows, we do so together with our talent and that’s reflected in the new deal we structured with Alex,” said MLW CEO Court Bauer. “We’re excited to have Alex call MLW home for the foreseeable future.”
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Last month it was announced that the Von Erich Brother's will be returning to MLW in January at the Dallas event. It was announced today that another family legacy will live on with Miranda Gordy making her MLW debut at MLW Blood & Thunder on January 21, 2022. Gordy will collide with current ROH Women's Champion Rok-C in a non title match at least it isn't announced now if the title is on the line. Actually, the women known as "The Prodigy" will make her debut for MLW as well on January 21 against Miranda Gordy. Both Texas natives will look to make an impact and put the wrestling world on notice as the new year kicks off.
Rok-C's will be the first to walk through MLW's open door policy taking advantage of the opportunity to work with one of the most underrated wrestling promotions in the United States. In a quote taken directly from MLW.com: "In a battle of Dallas versus Houston, Dallas’ own Miranda Gordy looks to make a big statement in her MLW debut against another emerging player in women’s competition in Houston’s Rok-C. Featherweights will throw down in the DFW area as Miranda Gordy looks to deploy her signature power brawling as she attempts to stop Rok-C’s meteoric rise in the sport."
The name Gordy carries a lot of weight in the world of wrestling especially in Dallas with her father become a legend in the hallowed halls of the sportatorium. Now much like her counterparts the Von Erich brothers she has the opportunity to continue the family legacy in her home state and in a city where father become a legend.
Though the first run for MLW went well and was at the right time it only lasted though from 2002-2004 before filing for bankruptcy. A few years ago the company returned and not only has this time around been more successful financially, but in general for the company. Though a lot of the news about the company has been simple a majority of the news has been positive. Recently, some historic news has come down from matchmaker Cesar Duran for the event scheduled for January 21, 2022, at MLW Blood & Thunder.
For the first time in over forty years the Von Erich family will challenge for championship gold in Dallas, TX. During the territory era each region had their top stars, but Texas was different because they had a family not just a top star. The Von Erich family name is one of the most well known families in the history of wrestling. On January 21, Ross and Marshall not only get the chance to continue the family legacy, but they're getting the chance to become the first tag team to win the MLW tag title on two occasions.
The first time around the Von Erich's won the tag team titles in November 2019, holding the gold for over 400 days. Los Parka's would end the title reign for the Von Erich boys in January 2021. Ross and Marshall had been off television recently with both boys having some time with family especially for one of the brothers who had recently became a father.
In over twenty years as a fan of this great sport I've never seen a free market with the amount of wildly known household names on the market. As I fan I didn't believe that I was the only one that took note of this and I wasn't with Major League Wrestling has adopted a new policy to go hand and hand with the free agent frenzy. The best way to piece together what this means is by using a quote taken directly from the article on MLW.com
"While the majority of MLW’s roster features contracted competitors, a percentage of each card will now feature free agents, ensuring exciting and unpredictable matchups." This tells me that they will likely have cards here and there with free agents joining the show as a way to keep the fans guessing and wondering who can show up. According to the article though this new open door policy will not be going into practice until next month as MLW looks to deliver dream matches to fans will the opportunity is in front of them.
“Whether they fight one night or 10 years in MLW, the open door policy will showcase and give exposure to a wide variety of talent and create the best cards for fans while creating…. opportunities,” continued Duran. “Who will step forth? Let’s find out!” Short term or long term, big name or just a familiar face this is a great idea and one of many ways to maximize the opportunity that this free agent market has afforded to active wrestling promotions nowadays.
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At the War Chamber event this weekend we saw it finally happen when former World Champion Jacob Fatu turned on his faction The Contra. Fatu then proceeded to get into a shoving match with former stablemate Madds Krugger. It seems based on these events Fatu has moved to the side of the good guys and will be a top baby face for MLW with Madds getting a bit of a push to take Jacob's old spot in the group. It will be interesting to see Jacob Fatu finally on the good side after spending his entire tenure with MLW on the dark side thus far.
One of the main things that were on my mind having to do with this event was the finals of the "Opera Cup" which came down to Davey Richards and TJ Perkins. Davey had been sparsely seen in the squared circle since 2018 having basically retired from wrestling before returning to the ring earlier this year. Davey took home the cup and dedicated it to all the fans in Philadelphia on the night. Currently, Davey is one half of PWR Tag Team Champions with long time partner Eddie Edwards. Honestly, I'm happy to see Davey in the midst of his second act getting another chance to do what he's one of the best at and that is wrestle.
Side notes, the MLW tag team division will be getting some added assistance with The Von Erich's returning to the promotion in the very near future after a bit of a break. As well it seems MLW will be heading to Mexico for tapings next month using Cesar Duran as an explanation for taping TV south of the boarder. However, the promotion will be returning to Philadelphia starting in January on a monthly basis once again.
In the modern wrestling landscape we don't often hear much about promotions across the Pacific other than New Japan. However, it was announced on Twitter on October 27, by MLW Owner Court Bauer that current MLW World Middleweight Champion Yoshiro Taijri will defend his newly won championship in All Japan Pro-Wrestling. The challenger for Taijri's championship will be AJPW star Atuski Aoyagi and the event will be held on Sunday November 28. This contest will not only mark Taijri's first title defense, but it will also be the first time that an MLW World Championship has been defended in All Japan Pro-Wrestling since 2003.
The World Middleweight Championship had just changed hands early last month when Taijri defeated then champion Myron Reed for the gold in a four way match also including Aramis and Arez. Taijri won the gold at the Fightland event which also played host to the most highly anticipated match in modern MLW between Hammerstone and Fatu.
At 51 years old, Taijri is showing that he's just as good as all the youngsters and if he's anything like he was a few years ago in the Cruiserweight classic then he's just as good as he's ever been. Every roster needs a few veterans to help to teach the youngsters the proper way to carry on in the world of wrestling. WWE doesn't exactly allow veterans to be assets. It's always good to see companies treating veterans as assets instead of liabilities and Taijri wouldn't be in this position if he wasn't considered an asset. Atsuki Aoyagi has a tough test ahead of him against a true legend of pro-wrestling on November 28.
Since the relaunch of Major League Wrestling in 2018, there have been three names that helped carry the banner for the promotion and rebuild the new image. Those three names are Jacob Fatu, Alexander Hammerstone, and "Filthy" Tom Lawlor. From the standpoint of telling the MLW story I will save that for another article that is just meant to focus on Tom Lawlor. Timing is everything in wrestling and Lawler had been released from his contract with UFC on August 13, 2018, two months before his suspension was set to end.
In a quote taken from an MMAsports.com article Lawlor had this to say regarding his release: "While the timing is unexpected, hopefully this opens the doors for me to continue with my mixed martial arts career as well as in the squared circle (squared circle is an old term for pro wrestling)." Lawlor had likely been eyeing up moving to pro-wrestling after his two year suspension from MMA and thought it was now or never. As I mentioned though, timing is everything in pro-wrestling and within less than a year of being granted his release from UFC he not only made the move to pro-wrestling, but became a World Champion.
Tom Lawlor would become one of the first homegrown stars for MLW since the relaunch the year before and he gave some instant credibility to the still developing brand. As I mentioned in the past with regards to my lacking coverage of ROH in the past I know I could've easily not given MLW it's own tab, but I thought with regards to who left the promotion it was fitting. Lawlor is currently the Strong Openweight Champion in New Japan so at least we know where he'll be headed next, but he joins the list of proven draws on the free agent market. Lawlor has not only made a smooth transition to the world of pro-wrestling, but helped establish MLW as one of the more underrated promotions in wrestling today.