Almost everyone with even a casual interest in professional wrestling has heard of WWE – maybe even newcomer AEW.
More serious fans know of ROH and New Japan.
But there’s another wrestling promotion that’s making big waves of its own – Major League Wrestling. By combining the best of pro wrestling – violence and effective storytelling – MLW is capturing the attention of fans everywhere.
Another reason to keep an eye on MLW? The talent roster is stacked.
From current champ Jacob Fatu to the sons of legends – Brian Pillman Jr. and Marshall and Ross Von Erich, sons of the legendary Kevin Von Erich – to former MMA standouts such as King Mo Lawal, MLW shows are packed with established stars and up-and-coming talent.
In advance of MLW’s Feb. 1 event at the 2300 Arena (the old ECW arena to most wrestling fans around here) PW recently caught up with one of the most well-known MLW stars: Tom Lawlor. Or, as he’s more commonly, and appropriately, known, “Filthy” Tom Lawlor.
It’s a well-earned nickname. A former UFC star (he went 10-6 in the MMA promotion), Lawlor is known as one of the dirtiest players in the game.
In your MMA days, you often entered the octagon by imitating other fighters and even Hulk Hogan. Has there always been a professional wrestler inside you just waiting to get out?
I’m in the combat sports business. I had my first fight in 2003 and my first wrestling match in 2005.
There’s not a professional wrestler inside of me waiting to get out, there’s simply my personality waiting to get out. Whether it’s an MMA fight inside a cage or a four-way match inside of a squared circle, my goal is to bring you a legitimate fight every time I step through the curtains. If I want to dance a little beforehand, so be it.
What’s been your biggest challenge moving from MMA to professional wrestling?
The schedule and seemingly nonstop travel. When I was primarily fighting, things were relatively docile when it came to being on the road, however wrestling is a constant nonstop grind. Early morning flights, usually followed by another, and some less than nutritious food options on the road, have made that the biggest lifestyle difference.
There are a lot of wrestling promotions these days. Why did you recently sign a multi-year deal with MLW? What sets it apart from the other promotions?
I’ve been with MLW from day one, and there was a point a few months back where I thought perhaps I’d end up somewhere else in the future, but Court Bauer, his team, and myself worked together to ensure that I’m right where I belong: in the Major League.
MLW has done a tremendous job of loading the roster with every style of wrestling on the planet, from high-flying to hard-hitting. You get every flavor you could hope for at an MLW show.
Philadelphia has to have some fond memories for you. Back in February, you took the world championship from Low Ki when you met at the 2300 Arena. What was that night like and how did it feel wrestling in front of the Philadelphia fans?
I don’t dwell on the past very much. Defeating Low Ki after such a long reign was certainly a highlight of my year, but in reality I feel like a year later, that night meant very little when it came to the rest of my year, and I view it as a disappointment. My 2020 will make up for it.
Your opponent for Fightland on Feb. 1 hasn’t been announced yet. Is there anyone you’d especially like to get your hands on, and can you describe the night he is going to have when he steps inside the ring with you?
I’d love for it to be a Von Erich brother or one of their all-hat, no-cattle buddies, but my guess is that they have had enough already.
For whoever has the unfortunate task of facing me on Feb. 1 I urge you to get your liquid foods ready, because it won’t be Pat’s or Gino’s you are stuffing your face with, but rather my two fists.
Major League Wrestling | Saturday, Feb. 1, 7 p.m. at the 2300 Arena, 2300 S. Swanson St.. Tickets: $15-$80 MLW2300.com. More info: MLW.com.