With the success VICE TV has had with professional wrestling docuseries Dark Side of the Ring, it was probably only a matter of time before the network began broadcasting actual wrestling events.
As reported by TheWrap’s Tony Maglio, VICE TV is entering the wrestling ring by broadcasting “MLW Fightland” on Oct. 7. The event, staged by the Major League Wrestling (MLW) promotion, will be held Saturday, Oct. 2 at Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena. But VICE TV’s one-hour special showing matches from the event will air the following Thursday, right after an episode of Dark Side of the Ring.
Good way to keep that wrestling audience tuned in, right?
“MLW Fightland” will be headlined by a match between World Heavyweight Champion Jacob Fatu and National Openweight Champion Alexander Hammerstone. Each of the performers has held his respective title since the summer of 2019, but one of them will have both championships after the bout.
Another title, the World Middleweight Championship, will also be decided in a four-way match pitting current titleholder Myron Reed against Aramis, Arez, and Tajiri. Reed won the middleweight title earlier this year by defeating Lio Rush.
Yoshihiro Tajiri will be making his MLW debut after competing most recently in All Japan Pro Wrestling. He previously performed in the United States with ECW, TNA, and WWE.
MLW founder and CEO Court Bauer describes his product as something that should appeal to the Dark Side audience accustomed to seeing behind-the-scenes drama of wrestling life and performers willing to share more than what’s required of their scripted storylines.
“Everyone has played it safe in presenting wrestling the same way for 25 years,” Bauer told TheWrap. “‘MLW Fightland’ offers viewers a transparent, unfiltered all-access look into the smoke-filled arenas of wrestling. We will present big fights and big stories with investigative reports giving viewers a raw, inside look at the very real world of wrestling.”
— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) September 17, 2021
That sensibility, along with bringing a lesser-known wrestling promotion to attention, fits with the vibe of Dark Side of the Ring, as co-creator and producer Jason Eisener recently explained to Awful Announcing.
“It’s maybe validating us in a way because we knew that there was an opportunity and a hunger for these stories,” Eisener said, “that there is a big audience that’s interested in the history, the behind-the-scenes of it. A lot of friends I know who were not wrestling fans, I said to them, ‘Just give my show a chance! It’s not just for wrestling fans’ and they get sucked into it because the human stories are captivating.”
“MLW Fightland” will air on VICE TV Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. ET following the “Bikers, Bombs & Bedlam: Johnny K9” episode of Dark Side of the Ring.