Tom Lawlor keeps it real about his transition from UFC to pro wrestling and why he believes the UFC wasn't very supportive of his move.
“Filthy” Tom has been one of the top superstars in Major League Wrestling since the brand resurfaced at the end of the 2010s. Bringing an authenticity that comes from an MMA background, Tom Lawlor approaches his professional wrestling matches from a realistic standpoint.
Speaking exclusively with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp, Tom Lawlor explains how he tries to be different and more realistic instead of top-rope maneuvers or choreographed spots.
"If you watch a lot of my matches after, it’s simple stuff like if I hit a move and the opponent kicks out, a lot of times I’ll immediately go to a hold. I’ll transition into a hold. I very rarely make covers without cradling or grabbing an arm like I’m going to move to the next thing. Because that’s what I would do in a realistic situation. One of the things I realized pretty early on when I started back on the scene in wrestling was that there’s all these guys that can do high flying, all these guys that can do creative spots on the mat, big head drops, and stuff like that. But I can’t do that stuff. I can’t go out there and do a backflip. I wish I could. But I can’t.
"So I have to do stuff that’s different and one of the things that’s different, if you watch guys make covers, you want somebody to believe you’re trying to win this contest, you’ve got to actually act like you’re trying to win. You’ve got to put your weight on them. You gotta cradle them. You’ve got to try to pin them. Do you have any idea how hard it is to try to pin someone for three seconds? It’s very hard. You’d be flopping around like a fish even if they’re on dream street. That’s one of the things I think I do that’s better than what most people do because it’s more realistic. So if I could pinpoint one thing, that would be probably it."
But what did the UFC think about Tom Lawlor and his transition into the entertainment-based world of professional wrestling?
With a record of 10-6-0, Tom Lawlor says that the UFC wasn't happy with his decision and he equates that to himself not being enough for the big star in the sport for it to matter in a positive way to the UFC.
"I had a managing gig for reDRagon in Ring of Honor that Court Bauer set up. My man, Bauer set up way back when. That was 2013 or 2014, something like that. They had a match against the Young Bucks, two out of three falls. I managed them to victory. It was an awesome match and then I was set, they were gonna have me manage reDRagon semi-full time. I believe it was gonna be like pay-per-views and big shows. The UFC yelled at me for it. I was told not to do it."
He continued, "You know, at the end of the day, I just gotta be honest with myself. I’m not a big enough draw, I didn’t make enough money. If I did, things would have been different. They would have stuck behind me. They would have sucked my dick like they do some of the other guys. That’s not what happened."
The crossover of MMA and professional wrestling is popular right now as American Top Team, led by Dan Lambert, has been a regular presence on AEW programming with Junior dos Santos even making his wrestling debut.
Catch the ultimate hybrid of pro wrestling and MMA as Josh Barnett's Bloodsport 7 streams live on FITE on Friday, October 22.