How Will The NWA and MLW Weather 2020?
In 2017, both the National Wrestling Alliance and Major League Wrestling had revivals. Prior to 2017, both companies were around in different forms. The NWA was a loose but somewhat stronger alliance than it had been in the 1990s and 2000s. MLW returned in 2011 as a podcast network which had built up a strong fanbase. Fast forward to 2020 and both companies are dealing with uncertainty but to different degrees.
The Landscape of 2020
As we all know, 2020 has been a mixed time for wrestling. COVID-19 impacted most of the industry with a handful of indy promotions deciding to leave it all on the dancefloor and run shows. In the U.S, three of the four companies with national TV are still doing weekly TV. These companies were basically the canary in the coal mine for running during this time.
If that wasn’t enough, this month the #SpeakingOut movement shined a light on some of the sleazier people in the business. The impact—oof—was just with big and rising names having their dirty business put on the curb for pick up. Things are reverberating to the companies themselves.
The larger companies are able to weather both of these. Either people are released—mainly for bringing bad press—or company runs empty studio shows. MLW and NWA opted to not run shows but had several established stories going on at the time.
How MLW and NWA Weathered the Storm So Far
This is no different from the many promotions that haven’t run shows since April. Both have taken steps to continue putting out content even if it isn’t in-ring. As for #SpeakingOut, MLW star Mance Warner was called out for texts he sent that were problematic. They were aggressively thirsty but Major League Wrestling hasn’t released him. As a matter of fact, he wrestled for Game Changer Wrestling this month.
On the NWA side, Ring of Honor star and head booker Marty Scrull was involved in a feud with NWA World Champion Nick Aldis and was accused of the sexual assault of a minor. At the moment, ROH hasn’t taken action against Scrull and is said to be investigating the manner.
This might seem like more of an ROH problem. After all, they’re the ones who signed him to a multi-year contract. NWA also had a problem with former vice president Dave Lagana resigning as a result of allegations. The company also lost the extremely charismatic Ricky Starks to AEW and recently had to release Zicky Dice because of allegations.
So, will they weather this storm? Major League Wrestling is still actively signing talent with Calvin Tankman this week, Saiever Al Sabah earlier in the month, and resigned Alexander Hammerstone and Richard Holliday of Dynasty in May. MLW has also established a streaming deal with DAZN earlier in the month. While they’re not putting on shows, they’re operating business as usual.
The interesting story of the two is how the NWA will weather the rest of the year. They haven’t announced any broadcasting deals, streaming agreements, or significant signings. At the moment, the company is handling an executive vacancy—some reshuffling, if you will. This has resulted in NWA ceasing all content production.
We’ll have to see if the NWA keeps it rolling, plans to go out with a bang, or if the company goes out with a whimper.
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