Recently, it was revealed that Major League Wrestling is now airing on DAZN. The promotion announced it will begin recording new episodes in October that will air on the global streaming service at the beginning of November with exclusive content.
And with MLW's return, the organization has signed prolific weightlifter Kevin Ku.
Ku, 32, started his path to MLW in 2017 under the guidance of Brian Fury. After honing his craft on the independent circuit and aligning himself with MLW star Tom Lawlor, Ku is the latest signee to the growing organization.
Ahead of his MLW debut, Ku discusses why he signed with MLW, the influence Lawlor has had on his career, and making the transition from weightlifting to pro wrestling.
(Editor's note: The interview was edited for length and clarity.)
Sporting News: You come from the world of weightlifting. What made you decide that it was time to make the transition to the world of pro wrestling?
Kevin Ku: At the time, I was living in Boston. I lived there mainly because I was touring bands. My friends and I were still watching wrestling like every Monday and stuff like that. Then we started getting deeper into indie wrestling. Then I found a school out there, and my buddy convinced me to try it out. I'm pretty semi-athletic by that point. It kind of went from there, and then I just never really looked back.
SN: What were you doing with the band?
Ku: I played in a couple punk and hardcore bands. We did some regional tours up and down the East Coast. Then for the bigger tours, I would be either the merchandise guy or the tour manager, so kind of being everyone's babysitter in a sense. So I got to do a couple of U.S. tours. Before wrestling, I've traveled almost everywhere in the U.S.
SN: I know you are very close with fellow MLW wrestler Tom Lawlor and working with his team. How did you get linked up with him?
Ku: Tom's awesome. He's legit one of the coolest guys I've met. It's amazing how quickly he transitioned from MMA to a pro wrestling based brain. I know he was super into pro wrestling even while he was doing MMA full time in the UFC. But now it's wild to see how he just transitioned so far from MMA to pro wrestling. I got hooked up with him from my tag partner, Dominic Garrini, and we've been tagging for two and a half years now. So we started being on indie shows together. Then we just started talking more and more from there.
SN: You look at someone like Tom. He was well known in the MMA world and then made that transition into professional wrestling. Were you able to feed off of him a little bit and kind of pick his brain because weightlifting and MMA aren't the same, but you're still taking that toll on your body? What tips were you getting from Tom to make that transition from one physically demanding sport to another?
Ku: I just look at Tom, and he has one of the best gas tanks I've ever seen. It's crazy how that man never gets tired in general. I looked at him for a lot of that type of stuff for conditioning. He's just like, it's cliche to say, but he's a student of the game. He knows so much of older pro wrestling and keeps up with all the new stuff. He's just a wealth of knowledge.
SN: Tom's one of the biggest stars in MLW, and now you're with the company as well. What led you to ultimately choosing Major League Wrestling?
Ku: MLW just stuck out to me as the place that would foster an environment that I enjoy wrestling in. It's more realistic base with fighters and a lot of different factions. I love that type of stuff because it just brings a new dynamic. It's really the physicality of the MLW shows and how raw and real it seems. That really drew me into it.
Then I had a long conversation with Tom, who had been signed like a year before me. He didn't necessarily push it onto me, but he nudged me in that direction because I was considering different types of options and what I wanted to do with my life in general. And then MLW came along.
SN: MLW announced this week they are taping in October and will be airing new shows with exclusive content on DAZN at the beginning of November. How excited are you the fact that now you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and the company is going to be returning?
Ku: I'm so excited. My first show that I was supposed to be on happened to be the first show that was canceled during the pandemic. All the air got let out my balloon. I was like, "Well, now I guess I have to wait." Then I was just talking back and forth with Tom and (MLW owner) Court (Bauer). It's hard to watch Fusion and then be like sitting there and thinking I could have been on some of these tapings. It's been six months now. It's pretty much like six months of pent up frustration that I couldn't just get in there and get started.
SN: How frustrated were you on a personal and professional level that you're sitting at home because nothing is going on in the wrestling business?
Ku: It sucks. I take in so much wrestling. Sometimes I think that I shouldn't because it makes me miss it that much more. But I need to keep sharp. I love pro wrestling, so I keep watching. I'm so antsy, and I feel like I have to be doing stuff all the time because that's how I always am. Yeah, so it's like, I dove more into bodybuilding and just getting everything right. I have so many different types of physical therapy to make sure my body is right and correct for when wrestling does come back full time. I was just like, "OK, I'm ready, let's do this." I'm just so antsy and ready to go.
SN: You were talking earlier about how you love the concept of MLW. Why do you think we don't see more of what MLW brings to the table in pro wrestling?
Ku: I think that MLW has honestly captured that market honestly. There used to be other places that would foster that more. People can say it's a quote-unquote "Reality Era," but it's still hard to grab the casual fan with watching that type of physicality. I think that the character route of the over-the-top people that people will be like, "Oh, I used to watch like The Ultimate Warrior and stuff when I was a kid, so maybe I'll give this a watch."
So many people like MMA because they're like, "What's going to happen here?"
It's an unknown factor. I think that's what's great with Major League Wrestling. There's such an unknown factor because there are so many different types of personalities. It's not even necessarily over-the-top gimmicks, where it's like the '80s and stuff like that, or "Stone Cold" (Steve Austin) in the '90s and The Undertaker. But it's different types of fighters and people and how all they think about is how they're going to take someone out. And I think that if a fan was put there and just sat down and said, "Hey, watch this like it's an MMA fight or just take away that you think this is pro wrestling." I think that it's a game and they'd love it.
SN: What can fans expect from Kevin Ku when he debuts for MLW live on DAZN?
Ku: People can expect just a level of violence that they haven't truly seen. Someone quoted the other day that I look like someone that can actually kill someone if they let me. I took so much pride in that because I'm just an all-go type of person.