Court Bauer, the CEO for Major League Wrestling, was the latest guest on Chris Jericho’s popular Talk Is Jericho podcast to discuss all aspects of the rasslin business. During the interview Bauer opened up about rising-star MJF, and how his partner discovered him at a show in Florida.
He was a day one guy for us when we restarted the league in 2017, and my right-hand man Jared St. Laurent had seen him on a local show in Florida, of all places. He’s from the northeast, but he was getting as much experience as he could at the time, and he had been recruiting and looking at talent for a while. And he goes, ‘This kid’s going to be huge. He’s just got IT. He’s got everything. He can talk, he can go, he has really good sense of psychology. He just checks off all the boxes, and he’s a great heel. He knows how to get heat,’ which is a very important quality of wrestling that I think gets overlooked a lot of the time, is understanding how to get heat, the right kind of heat, and how to show ass. And Max had an uncanny, quick ability to grasp that and execute it, and he’s one of those guys that, as he came into the system, you could tell him something once and you wouldn’t have to tell him twice; he would understand. The lightbulb goes off and he would take it and then make it his own. So it’s like, ‘Hey, don’t do that, too much gaga. Try to be a more serious heel but also show ass.’ It’s a tight rope to walk that because if you want a guy to be a larger player in your system, you can do some of the gaga. You can do some of that stuff, but you have to show ass and do it at the right time . You got to have real heat.
Bauer would later reveal that MLW and WWE were close to working a talent crossover deal due to WWE’s keen interest in MJF.
At one point, we were doing some business with WWE in 2018 – we were going to. We were fairly friendly I guess you could say, and there was talk about MJF possibly doing a crossover thing with them. We were taping, primarily at the time, out of Orlando, and they were– NXT, of course, is down the road. So they start asking questions about him, and one of the things they asked was, ‘So he’s what, 26, 28, 29?’ I’m like, ‘No dude, he’s 21.’ They’re like, ‘What?’ I’m like, ‘Does he look that way, or just the experience? What is it,’ and I remember telling MJF that. He’s like, ‘I don’t know if I should take that as a compliment or an insult.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know either.’ He has certain qualities you just don’t see in a lot of wrestling. A lot of wrestling, I think, as JR would say, ‘Do you have the sizzle there or what?’ And he kind of blends a lot of those qualities. Very much a throwback, but he doesn’t think he’s a throwback. He just takes those positive attributes and incorporates it into a modern character that works.