Court Bauer discusses the current landscape in wrestling.
MLW CEO Court Bauer did an interview with Forbes discussing how MLW has managed to build their brand since returning to the limelight in 2017.
"When wrestling is clicking for me, it reflects what’s going on culturally beyond pro wrestling. I sprinkle that into my recipe for MLW. You experience it in the conflicts, the music and feel it on MLW Fusion," said Bauer. "We try to ride that wave of what we feel is cutting edge but also keeps it as real as it gets. MLW presents a sport that feels culturally relevant. We’re not parodying, we’re not winking at the audience that they’re in on it. We think different: We can’t and don’t want to play to the overcrowded diehard fan base that our competitors are targeting. We want to create our own jam."
Bauer continued, "We used our Spanish series to cultivate a neglected fanbase of first and second-generation Mexican-Americans that want a piece of home, so we give that to them with great lucha. That is 50-60% of our fanbase. Then, we have the guy who wants to crack open a beer and watch a wild fight. He wants that down and dirty scrap and carnage. That’s about 25-30% of our audience. Then, diehards fill out the last 5-10%. Usually, diehards come to our show and are confused when they hear the air horns and can’t do their cheerleading chants. Damn right. That’s Mexican style and I love it."
A big talking point in wrestling this week has been the declining ratings of WWE. Bauer spent multiple years in WWE, working as a writer. In the interview with Forbes, Bauer discussed WWE's current decline in ratings and storytelling.
"WWE has been tracking downward in the ratings since I was at WWE in 2007. Fans are sophisticated. They’re selective. They are pursuing other outlets for pro wrestling. The climate is eerily similar to 1995 in that consumer appetite was sinking for WWE but the hunger was still there. Fans, including myself, sought out something different and I found it in ECW and WCW," stated Bauer. "Technology has also helped move it along as with just two or three clicks you can be streaming something from anywhere at any point. I see wrestling represented on the streets of New York, I see it threaded through the cultural fabric today maybe more than ever before. WWE is like McDonald's: they’re global, affordable and readily available anywhere, anytime but society wants more gluten-free, organic or just something different. Sure McDonald's, like WWE, is everywhere—ready to be consumed but not many enjoy digesting it."
WWE is coming off their lowest non-holiday viewership in Raw history this past week. The SmackDown brand didn't fare much better, falling below 2 million viewers.
Fans can view entire episodes of MLW Fusion online at their YouTube page.