‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor On Creative Challenges Of Gimmick Matches, Where MMA And Hardcore Fit Into Wrestling

Photo Credit: Bill Pritchard

I recently had the opportunity to speak with new MLW World Champion “Filthy” Tom Lawlor in advance of last weekend’s Superfight event in Philadelphia. Lawlor spoke about his match at Ultimate Bar Brawl earlier in the week against Ken Shamrock, and said he’s had similar matches that present some interesting challenges:

“I had a match with Brody King over the summer in Los Angeles for a company called Suburban Fight which was much of the same thing. We had props, I guess you could say, we had a pool table and a photo booth. The arena was a little bigger; it was the same place [The Hi Hat] they just had the Joey Janela’s LA Confidential event. There was a little bit more room to work, a few more props to have fun with, but they are interesting shows. It’s a lot different than a regular match where you’re limited by your environment in a lot of ways. You have to get really creative, and one of the hardest things to do since there are other matches on the show—because of the limited things you can do—you have to really make sure you’re not stepping on the other wrestlers’ toes. It’s an interesting environment.”

Where does he feels like bar brawls fit in or what kind of balance does he hope to achieve from a wrestling / hardcore standpoint?

“I think that matches like this have a place. Throughout the years in Japan, there’s been similar matches in state parks, matches in the woods, in markets, stuff like that. These things have always existed and there’s been plenty of gimmick matches here in the US—Boiler Room Brawl, Empty Arena matches—there’s a place for it. Obviously you don’t want to oversaturate your market with any kind of style or type of wrestling, but I definitely think there’s a place for it, especially with incorporating it into a music scene. Perhaps ‘rock and wrestling’ or incorporating musical acts on a national stage hasn’t worked so well, but in the local scenes, I think there is more of a market for it.”

Read More: Tom Lawlor & Ken Shamrock Open Up About Their Recent ‘Bar Brawl’

Does he take any pride in being Ken Shamrock’s first US wrestling opponent in nine years?

“Zero, if I’m being honest. I’m not in wrestling for Ken Shamrock, I’m in it for myself. The fact that I could be his opponent, I guess that’s cool, but he was also my opponent. I don’t have any ‘idol worship’ when it comes to wrestling anybody.”

With Jack Swagger’s recent Bellator debut and the appeal of crossing over from MMA to wrestling and vice versa, is there any fighter he’d like to see transition to wrestling as a possible opponent?

“Realistically, there’s not anybody in the world of MMA that I’d saying I’m dying to fight. I’d be more interested in bringing people from the MMA world and teaming up with them, trying to show the world that not only is mixed martial arts a great sport, but it’s also a great style when it comes to watching professional wrestling.”

Read More: Tom Lawlor On Finally Facing Low Ki At MLW Superfight: ‘Some Of The Most Brutal Beatings Are Done In Short Order’