MLW: Cornette and Schiavone Contract Updates, Animosity with AEW?

MLW CEO and creator Court Bauer held a media conference call last night on Monday, September 30th, 2019. With Jim Cornette providing commentary for upcoming NWA shows and Tony Schiavone recently signing with AEW, there has been a lot of questions around how this affects their roles in MLW moving forward. Plus: is there animosity between MLW and AEW? Court Bauer responds.

MLW CEO and creator Court Bauer held a media conference call on Monday, September 30, 2019. With Jim Cornette providing commentary for upcoming NWA shows and Tony Schiavone recently signing with All Elite Wrestling, there have been a lot of questions around how this affects their roles in MLW moving forward. Photo design: JP Zarka of
MLW CEO and creator Court Bauer gives an update on the contract situation with Jim Cornette and Tony Schiavone as well as discusses MLW’s relationship with AEW. Photo design: JP Zarka of

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It was previously reported that Tony Schiavone, with his current contract with MLW, would not be allowed to work with another company like AEW or WWE. As it turns out, Court Bauer did not know that Schiavone was going to be involved in AEW’s “Road to All Out” online series, which was taped in May.

“Unless AEW elects to reach out,” Bauer said, “Tony Schiavone cannot proceed with AEW or any other company doing anything. I was unaware of him doing the digital stuff until I read it in this week’s Observer.”

At the time, Schiavone was helping out Cody Rhodes as a friend.

It appeared as though Court Bauer was taken aback by learning of Schiavone’s relationship with AEW, though this has since changed.

With Tony Schiavone signed to both AEW and MLW, which company gets first option if a show were to take place on the same night?

In last night’s (September 30, 2019) conference call, Bauer had this to say:

“Yes, we have first option [if a show were to take place on the same night as AEW]. That said, we have a really healthy relationship with AEW. I think Tony Khan would agree.

“Sometimes a logistical thing has and will pop up and we’ll hop on the phone and in two minutes, usually, we figure out a mutually beneficial way to solve the issue which for promotors, you never know how that’s going to be. But, [MLW] has had incredible open lines with Cody, with Tony [Khan], and the entire team over there [in AEW].

“Hell, one time, for example, I was on a fishing trip and there was an incident coming up. We jumped on the phone, I was out in the Atlantic Ocean, and even out there Tony and I were able to get things done pretty quick. That was great. The talent wins. Both leagues win. Of course, unfortunately, I had a bad fishing day but that’s another story.”

Court Bauer on whether or not there is animosity between MLW and AEW:

“People probably want there to be some animosity between our two organizations as that is kind of the history of wrestling where you have to go to war and stuff, that there has to be some weird tension but there isn’t here.

“Funny story, I’ve been interviewed by the media once or twice and I’ve been given these loaded questions where [they were hoping] I would smash AEW, but my response has always been to give my genuine feelings and fondness towards Tony, Cody, and the guys. Guess what? They never ran those quotes! I guess it’s not as sexy, but the truth was I really want those guys to succeed.

“I want AEW and MLW to succeed. It shows that there is a bigger world beyond our industry that shares the market that is completely valuable in appeal that isn’t WWE. For twenty years, frankly, probably longer, WWE has had a massive, massive dip on the market share and for media rights, licensing, you name it, they have owned it in the wrestling space and that narrative needs to change. If we’re not successful, that’s bad for the fans, the talent, the crew, and the health of our business.

“Is there going to be some big world war between promotions? Maybe that’s where this goes, maybe it doesn’t. Are there other strategic alliances? Maybe there are, maybe there aren’t, but I know that the fans will enjoy that so the media, and maybe a few companies, but I really have to say Tony [Khan] is a great guy, so is Cody. I genuinely like all of those guys. Right now it’s been great.

As for the current status of Jim Cornette in MLW, Court Bauer had this to say:

“Jim came in to pitch in for a certain amount of dates when Tony [Schiavone] could not make his commitments that were carved out in his contract. Jim fulfilled his last date with us on July 6th so, as of right now, we don’t have any future dates with Jim.”

For more on MLW’s business, November pay-per-view, the competition, new deals, strategic partnerships, the women’s division, MLW x The Crash, Mance Warner injury and more, you can listen in on Court Baurer’s media call in full below:

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JP Zarka founded Pro Wrestling Stories in 2015 and is the creative force behind the website as editor-in-chief. From 2018-19, he was the podcast host and producer for The Genius Cast with Lanny Poffo, brother of WWE legend Macho Man Randy Savage. His diverse career includes work as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal, and musician, notably as a singer-songwriter with the London-based band Sterling Avenue. Zarka has appeared on TV programs like “Autopsy: The Last Hours of” on Reelz (U.S.) and Channel 5 (U.K.) and has contributed research for programming on ITV and BBC.