Between fan voting and Major League Wrestling officials’ input, the MLW Wrestler of the Year award is too close to call. A virtual dead heat. Between “Filthy” Tom Lawlor and World Middleweight Champion Teddy Hart, it was simply a toss-up.
Lawlor and Hart will share 2018 MLW Wrestler of the Year honors.
“Filthy” Tom spent most of 2018 as the number-one ranked wrestler in Major League Wrestling. He was dominant in a rivalry with Jake Hager, defeated Shane “Swerve” Strickland in a match to lay claim to the title of MLW’s Ace and received a World Title Shot whenever he wants it by virtue of winning the first-ever Battle Riot.
Lawlor overcame challenges from Sami Callihan and former Team Filthy mate and friend Simon Gotch, as well. Promociones Dorado did everything it could to take Lawlor out and keep him from challenging Low Ki for the World Heavyweight Championship, hiring Callihan to take him out and even paying off Gotch to turn on him.
While he continued to fight through all those obstacles, Lawlor remained positive and he’s positive he’s going to be the next World Champion.
“2018 saw some ups and downs, but it was an amazing year for me,” Lawlor said. “I appreciate Major League Wrestling for bestowing this honor on me. Congratulations to Teddy, as well.
“While this award is about 2018, I will tell you this,” Lawlor added. “2019 is going to be even better. Next month at MLW SuperFIght, I finally get my hands on Low Ki and I get my shot at the World Championship. I fully expect to walk out of Philadelphia with that title around my waist.”
Hart made an instant impact from the moment he shocked everyone by walking into an MLW FUSION television taping in June. In true Teddy Hart fashion, he walked in, took out a youngster about to get a shot on the big stage, inserted himself into the match about to take place and then won the match.
From there, Hart continued to create controversy wherever he went in MLW. He brought the Hart Foundation back to life, recruiting Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Brian Pillman Jr. to the group. The three of them had the upper hand in a summer-long rivalry with Rich Swann and ACH.
Just like his re-entry into MLW, he inserted himself into a match late in 2018 and walked away with the World Middleweight Championship. On MLW’s live special Dec. 14, a four-way ladder match was scheduled to determine the new World Middleweight Championship, vacated by MJF after an injury. Hart was not scheduled to be in the match. But he inserted himself into it anyway. With the blessing of League officials, the scheduled four-way ladder match became a five-way.
Hart survived the carnage of the ladder match, climbed the ladder and grabbed the gold. He has grabbed onto plenty of notoriety, as well. He and his Hart Foundation mates have been given a YouTube show by Major League Wrestling. H2tv airs on the League’s YouTube channel regularly.
“Thank you for this honor, MLW,” Hart said. “While we established ourselves in 2018, the Hart Foundation and I have huge plans for 2019, starting with taking home more gold. We’re taking the World Tag Team Championships off of the Lucha Bros. next month in Philadelphia. And the Middleweight Championship will stay firmly in my control until I decide I no longer want to hold it.”
MLW CEO Court Bauer said both men deserved the award.
“Tom Lawlor and Teddy Hart represent what MLW is all about,” Bauer said. “They both had amazing years and greatly impacted the League. We look forward to seeing what both of them continue to accomplish, as we move into 2019.”
While Lawlor and Hart were the clear winners of MLW Wrestler of the Year for 2018, there were definitely some deserving of honorable mention. In particular, World Heavyweight Champion Low Ki and one half of the World Tag Team Champions Pentagon Jr., both received a great deal of consideration.