“I’ve been around long enough to know that you never say never.” – Frank Mir, MMA fighter.
Major League Wrestling will present Never Say Never on Saturday July 8th, live from the famous fighting city of Philadelphia, PA for FITE+ subscribers all around the world. In many ways, it is the perfect introductory event for MLW as Never Say Never has very much been the mantra of the promotion from its fledgling days back when it first launched in 2002.
From celebrating different combat sports styles to cementing international working agreements to pushing the envelope of lucha libre, brawling and grappling, assimilating MMA big fight feels and episodic underground storytelling, MLW has been, by nature, in service to the very notion of “Never Say Never.”
As defiant in the courtroom as it is inside a professional wrestling arena, MLW has resurrected itself from the ashes like a phoenix on multiple occasions, providing the stage for international superstars to be born and climatic challenges to be undertaken.
On July 8th, the infamous 2300 Arena once again rises forth as the destination for discerning professional wrestling fans, emanating from the corners of Swanson and Ritner Streets to your FITE devices across the world. From Antarctica to Zimbabwe and beyond, all stand witness as the stars of MLW stand defiant and strong, sneering back at the world at large. The underground lives.
“You never say never to nothing.” – football coach Jon Gruden.
Major League Wrestling’s first milestone event for FITE+ subscribers will be headlined by a massive main event as Alex Kane, the leader of the Bomaye Fight Club and the winner of the most recent MLW Battle Riot event in NYC has called his shot and will challenge MLW World Heavyweight Champion Alexander Hammerstone.
Hammerstone has been a veritable oak tree standing tall in the center of the hurricane that always swirls in MLW, standing tall and proud, unable to be broken. Having proudly held the World title for over 630 days after defeating Jacob Fatu at MLW Fightland 2021, Hammerstone has turned back countless challenges from the likes of Richard Hammerstone, EJ Nduka and countless others, evolving into now just the flag-bearer for all things MLW but the promotion’s true heart and soul, a hero who stands against all who may infringe against the company.
In Alex Kane, Hammerstone set his pulverizing power and hard-hitting offensive maneuvers against Kane’s collection of devastating suplexes and commanding arrogance. While Kane may command the Bomaye Fight Club, Hammerstone has risen to become a one man Dynasty in MLW and this dream fight is the stuff that fans around the world debate over until fantasy gives way to reality as the bell rings. Each of these competitors are renowned for their ability to systematically break down the opposition. As Clubber Lang famously predicted in Rocky III, the only sure thing here is pain.
With rumors swirling that the Bomaye Fight Club’s mysterious benefactor is about to reveal themselves, could that disclosure be enough of a distraction for the World Champion or is Alex Kane about to hit a wall that not even he can crash through? FITE+ subscribers will see who stands triumphant at MLW Never Say Never!
If there have been two violent forces destined to collide in the world of Major League Wrestling, it’s the current reigning and defending MLW World Tag Team Champions The Samoan SWAT Team and the brutal collection of thugs known as The Calling. With AKIRA having already claimed the MLW Middleweight Championship, he teams with Rickey Shane Page in a Fans Bring the Weapons match at Never Say Never, seeking to bring additional championship gold to present at the feet of the former ECW World Heavyweight Champion, Raven.
For Raven, Philadelphia is nothing more than a blood-smeared headquarters for all his past desecration of foes and promotions, utilizing his brutality and extreme intelligence to service his own dreams of conquest. Having birthed The Calling into existence, Raven now seeks to hold all the power in MLW by decimating the entire landscape, only not even Raven has dealt with the sheer brutality and power of The Samoan SWAT Team.
Juicy Finau and Lance Anao’i carry on the legacy of their bloodline through sheer insanity, power and destruction. After beating Hustle & Power for the titles, their grip on the gold has been unbreakable, their thirst for violence and chaos unending. With The Calling in their sights, there might only be one group even more insane than the champions and the challengers at Never Say Never.
Yes, the Philadelphia fans. The diehard audience that changed professional wrestling forever by turning it inside out with their emotional connection to the competitors, their harsh Gladiator-esque approval or hatred of those competitors’ success inside the ring and an imagination like no other, if there’s anything more fearsome than those competing inside the most dangerous battlefields in combat sports, it’s the fans who flock to see it. With MLW inviting these same fans to bring weapons for the World Tag Team Championship competitors to utilize against each other, well, it’s going to get extreme. Perhaps the only place in the world safe from the bloodshed and carnage will be your own devices as FITE+ streams Never Say Never!
“My story shows never say never.” – race car driver Robert Kubica
Never to be outdone when it comes to presenting a buffet of different styles of professional wrestling competition, MLW Never Say Never will present the return of one of the roughest, grittiest pure professional wrestlers competing across the world today, Timothy Thatcher. Having traveled from NXT to Pro Wrestling NOAH and beyond, Thatcher is obsessed with breaking bones and opponents alike, seeking victories where there can be zero doubt in who the better man is. Thatcher seeks out the best, so he can defeat them.
Standing tall across the ring to face Thatcher in his MLW debut is “Hot Sauce” Tracy Williams, who’s heart and soul as a competitor for pure professional wrestling can never be questioned, having been one of the true standpoints in recent Ring of Honor years. When Williams steps into the ring, his innate ability to showcase his technical wizardry in the ring is like watching a great painter create on his own one of a kind canvas. If Thatcher wanted the best, instead he gets one of the greatest and FITE+ subscribers will see the vibrancy of two of professional wrestling’s greatest chess players battling it out for supremacy at Never Say Never.
Never Say Never will also see an inter-promotional showcase as the MLW World Women’s Featherweight Champion Delmi Exo will place it all on the line, battling WXW Women’s Champion Ava Everett in a bout with each World Championship on the line.
Everett captured Germany’s top women’s championship back in April, defeating Baby Allison in Deutschland, having since defended that title internationally here in the United States as well as abroad, but she hasn’t faced anyone near the level of Exo. The same month Everett won her title, Exo shocked the world at MLW War Chamber 2023 when she stunned Taya Valkyrie, becoming the second ever World Women’s Featherweight Champion. Now, just a few months into each of their respective reigns, they are putting it all on the line, with one woman walking out the best in the world and the other left with nothing but regret and humiliation.
For Exo, this battle represents a chance to show her championship win wasn’t a fluke or an upset but that she sets the new standard for women’s competitors in MLW and beyond. For Everett, who has already left a slew of defeated opponents in her wake, this battle represents her largest platform to date in the United States to show the world that she, not Exo, is the champion to be reckoned with. These competitors refuse to say Never but in Philadelphia, Never will become the new reality one of them will have to contend with going forward. FITE+ subscribers will discover which of them will fall live as it happens.
For Mance Warner, the reality of his life is fighting. The good old Southern Boy, Ol’ Mancer has risen to prominence throwing hands and drinking brews and the fans in MLW have fallen in love with him for it. Since returning to MLW, Warner has become embroiled in a war with the likes of Johnny Fusion and Sam Adonis and at Never Say Never, the card-carrying member of The Second Gear Crew seeks to take out Adonis once and for all, getting some Southern-style vengeance in an old fashioned Country Whipping Match.
Stemming from their violence strap match that was seen on MLW Fusion by FITE+ subscribers, the pride of Bucksnort, TN seeks to avenge that loss and take some flesh off Adonis’ body. For Adonis, this is a chance to once again humiliate and emasculate Warner while ascending further up the ladder of MLW greatness and a potential shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. The internationally traveled Adonis has never been silent with his belief that he’s above everyone in every ring he’s ever competed in but in recent months, his obsession with beating down Mance has been beyond brutal.
Warner is known for being a nice guy with an affable personality but when pushed too hard, he explodes. Not afraid of blood and violence, Warner is the type of fighter who Never Says Never, indeed, until the fight is won. With straps legal as weapons, this may be a long night for Sam Adonis – a night he’s brought upon himself live on FITE+.
The main events round out with a titanic battle for the MLW National Openweight Champion as two of Major League Wrestling’s biggest heavyweights clash – Jacob Fatu, who recently decimated Johnny Fusion to earn the Championship will defend against former MLW World Tag Team Champion Calvin Tankman. In a battle as big as Jurassic World itself, these two men will pummel the other and take all sorts of risks to show the world that they are the toughest in all of Major League Wrestling.
Jacob Fatu has been in the midst of a redemption tour, the National Openweight Championship representing his first turn of momentum after losing the MLW World title to Hammerstone at Fightland. This match represents the same for Tankman, who is seeking to KO Fatu and regain his own footing with his first-ever singles championship win in Major League Wrestling. This physical war won’t be for the ill at ease as they rock each other with fists, kicks and even aerial maneuvers, seeking to solve the riddle of what will put the other man down for good. Who survives this war? It remains to be seen.
What will also be seen is the vibrancy and uniqueness of the MLW brand as its fighters put it all on the line to showcase who the kings and queens of every style of combat sport represented under the Major League Wrestling umbrella truly are. Since 2002, MLW has been fighting its way forward, entrenching their roots and bringing the underground to the masses at large. Like the competitors in the ring, MLW will Never Say Never – and FITE+ subscribers across the globe will see that on full display, live from Philadelphia’s most notorious venue, on Saturday July 8th!
Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.