Davey Boy Smith Jr. has spent most of the last seven years working with New Japan amongst other promotions. But his tenure in Japan ended a couple of months ago leaving MLW as the only promotion Smith is affiliated with.
MLW founder Court Bauer talked about what led to Smith's New Japan exit when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"Yeah I haven't really talked too much to Davey Boy about it. He's been pretty open about his frustrations over there and I was surprised to see him in a position where he wasn't used at [G1 Supercard] in a role of consequence. I'm not privy to the details of the relationship, but he's a stud," said Bauer.
"He first wrestled for MLW as an 18-year-old and he was studying for his mid-terms in high school along with Tyson Kidd as the Stampede Bulldogs. He worked in WWE but they weren't using him at the time and I would ask why but never really got a straight answer. I've always seen everyone undervalue and underutilize him and it's always baffled me. I didn't get it. It's so easy to use a guy like that and you could book Davey Boy in your sleep. He's very easy.
"He had a great matchup with Thatcher that's gonna air this Saturday on Fusion and hands down it was the best technical match in the history of MLW. I'm not saying that as a promoter…I'm watching it and I was glued to the screen. It's the sweet science of technical wrestling at its best."
Smith has spent most of his career being a tag wrestler but MLW has plans for him as a singles star as well.
"Yeah that's where we're at right now. He's kind of straddled the tag division and the heavyweight division. There's been overtures to do more in the heavyweight division and I wanna see it," stated Bauer.
"For Davey Boy, there's matches in the singles division whether it's with a guy like Tom Lawlor or Jacob Fatu. There's a lot of interesting matchups."
In regards to Davey Boy Smith Jr., Teddy Hart, Austin Aries and others, MLW has gained a reputation for their ability to work with talent that has traditionally been difficult. Bauer talked about what's helped him cultivate strong relationships with these types of individuals.
"Everyone has different experiences in different systems. I did when I've been at different places whether it was WWE, ROH, Triple A or Lucha Underground. Some places it clicks and some places it doesn't," Bauer said before adding that knowing these guys for years and his long-standing relationships help.
"It's a great opportunity for all of us and everyone gets along. It's crazy," said Bauer.
The conversation then shifted towards Davey Boy Smith Jr. coming to his Uncle Bret Hart's aid at the WWE Hall of Fame and if Hart could return the favor by helping Smith out in MLW.
"That was a wild thing. I guess Davey was at the right place at the right time. Maybe it was better for him to be [at the WWE HOF] than at the New Japan show," stated Bauer. "I don't know who would want to mess with Bret, but if you mess with Bret you're messing with the Harts and Davey Boy.
"He ain't afraid and has a legit background. He's a great grappler and did catch wrestling and learned under some of the greats. Yeah, Bret does owe him something! But in all seriousness, the door's open and we would love to work with Bret. He has a busy schedule but it's something we'd love to do. Will it happen? I guess you'll have to wait and see."
Bauer then talked about MLW's new partnership with NOAH, a promotion in Japan.
"It's been something we've been talking about for about five months and were able to close the deal a few weeks ago. It's a great opportunity for fans that love NOAH and MLW fans. We're gonna have fresh matchups and talent swaps and we're gonna have fun collaborating," Bauer said before being asked if it's similar to the partnership between ROH and New Japan.
"100 percent. We're sending Alexander Hammerstone, our national champ, over there for their N1 Victory Tournament and he'll be there for about a month. We've coordinated some talent to come this way and I expect the first NOAH wrestler to come this fall and then we'll see an escalation from both sides."
MLW airs every Saturday night at 9 pm EST via BeIN Sports. Every episode can also be watched for free via MLW's YouTube channel.
Bauer's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. In it Bauer discusses MLW and NOAH's new partnership, a possible MLW women's division, MLW's "Moneyball" approach, The Von Erichs joining MLW, Davey Boy Smith's NJPW exit and MLW future, MJF signing with AEW while staying with MLW and more