The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast welcomed back MLW National Openweight Champion Hammerstone where he and Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman discussed MLW's return with "The Restart". MLW will also be airing on Wednesday nights on the same night as AEW Dynamite and WWE NXT, and Hammerstone gave his thoughts on MLW joining in on the Wednesday Night War.
"It's going to be very interesting to see how things pan out," Hammerstone noted. "I do feel, honestly, like we are a little bit of an alternative, just in the sense that Court's kind of always had this attitude that he has a certain vision that he wants to display, and when people don't like it, he doesn't try like smooth out all the edges and make it a cookie-cutter thing that people are going to like. He says, 'hey it has these edges, and if you don't like them, then our product is not for you,' and like that's the thing I love most about him and the company is that we live in a time where, obviously, times are changing. There are certain things that you have to be cognizant of as far as things that flew 20 years ago, don't fly today.
"I completely understand that, but at the same time, there are people who take that to the extreme. There are people who try to overly criticize everything, and sometimes, it almost feels like people want to just test and see if their complaint can get validated by having people alter the path to suit what they're complaining about. That's not to say we have some brash, offensive programming.
"It's not like that in any way, but it does have a different feel to it, and I'm excited to kind of, like you said, join the fray because I do feel like we have something a little bit different and coming back, I think Court wants to capitalize that. And not only that, I think all the boys are very hungry to jump in and say we're just as good as anyone else. We got just as good wrestlers. So I'm really excited to see how is dust settled when it's all said and done."
With the NBA and NHL playoffs, Dynamite and NXT were forced to air on different nights, and the ratings showed that each show did well on their on separate night with NXT especially doing better not competing against Dynamite. Hammerstone gave his thoughts on whether MLW will be lost in the shuffle on Wednesday nights.
"You know, honestly, I don't necessarily see it as a positive or a negative," Hammerstone admitted. "I think it's just it is what it is because although that's the night that we're airing, MLW has also done what we can to capitalize on many different streaming platforms. So, for whoever isn't watching on Wednesday night, they might be watching it on Saturday morning.
"All in all, the views are still going to get in. There's going to be people who find what time is convenient for them to watch it, and I think the people who want to see the program are going to see the program. I can speak for myself, there's almost no show that I've ever watched live. I find where it pops up on whatever platform is convenient for me because my life's crazy and very all over the place.
"So I think at the end of the day, it's all going to bounce out, and we're going to get the viewers we're going to get, but it is going to be interesting to see how it plays out as far as on that particular night."
MLW has not aired a show since the COVID-19 pandemic affected the entire world. Hammerstone talked about what the presentation for MLW will look like after a long absence.
"I think more than anything, over the couple of months, we've been doing Fusion [and] there's been these promos, and there's just this kind of like, and I can say from doing some indie shows, where we're all in the same locker room again, there's almost been kind of like this unifying feeling amongst the locker room where we've all kind of realized we might all have, that you will, chip on our shoulder," Hammerstone explained. "But now, it's not like, oh, Hammerstone has a chip on his shoulder. Jordan Oliver has a chip on his shoulder. Myron Reed has a chip. Richard Holliday.
"It's like OK, the MLW locker room, as a whole, we have a chip on our shoulder. As much as we all want to stand out as individuals, I think a lot of us have really started to understand that we want to take the company to the next level, and I think that's going to show through in what we do coming forward."
Hammerstone was also asked who the pillars of MLW are. Hammerstone name dropped many of MLW's rising talent but notes that everyone is fighting for the top spot as he teased that new signings will make their MLW debuts.
"Obviously, [Jacob] Fatu, Contra Unit have been dominant, and there's a reason for that," Hammerstone said. "Between myself and Richard Holliday, it's like I'm kind of getting my time in the sun, but it's like people don't realize that I've been doing this ten years. Holliday's only been doing it about four. That guy is just bound to explode because he's getting so much better so much quicker. Then from the young guys, we have Injustice, those guys are on fire, but what's so exciting to me is you ask me who I think is going to be the pillars moving forward, and I can't really answer that question because right now, we are in a little bit of a state of flux where during this Restart stage, we're probably going to have four or five completely fresh faces coming in.
"There's going to be that kind of feeling of OK, which one of you guys wants it the most, which one of you guys is going to climb the ladder, push each other down [and] get to the top because that's very much the feel with MLW as far as the locker room goes. I'm not going to lie and say, Court's giving a million dollars to sign some ex-WWE Champion. That's not what we're doing. What he's doing is he's finding these guys who have potential out the ass, and he's giving them the opportunity to grab the brass ring. And whoever goes for it gets it.
"It's not like he signed guys with the idea of pushing them and making them the franchise player. It's whoever goes and delivers on matches, delivers on promos [and] represents the company. Those are going to be the guys who get the opportunity. So I'm really interested. As someone who wants to see the company grow, I'm really interested to see what the new batch of guys, what the new fresh faces bring to the table."
Hammerstone will soon reach two years as MLW National Openweight Champion. He talked about what it has been like to be the first MLW National Openweight Champion as well as state his ambitions for the MLW World Heavyweight Title.
"So when I when I won that belt, it was very much a situation where, like you said, I was the first person to hold it. I won it in the tournament, and it was definitely a situation where I realized I'm going to set the tone for it. I'm going to be the benchmark for what that championship means [and] for what it stands for, and over time, it really started to be kind of like the championship where, because it's openweight championship, I could face anybody of any size, but it also started being the championship where they were bringing in top stars from other companies, from other countries [and] from all over the world.
"And there wouldn't necessarily be a big build storyline wise for the match, but it was always the championship where OK, here's going to just be a knockout, teardown match where they're going to go all out and deliver some good wrestling, and I think that's kind of been how it's been solidified. The championship where people know they're going to get the match of the night when they see it.
"So I'm super proud of what I've done with it so far, but that being said, as far as year two, there's only so much more I could do with that championship. I've wrestled guys from Japan, from Mexico [and] all over America. I have shown that belt as a main event championship as much as anything else on the show. So why not put it side by side with the other championship and go for the world title."
Hammerstone can be seen every week as part of MLW. Check out www.MLW.com for full listings of where you can watch it! Hammerstone's full interview aired as part of yesterday's episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.