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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was written and published before MWO CEO Jason Clouse’s announcement on September 4, 2020

What will the Michigan Wrestling Organization look like when the company resumes operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that put a stranglehold on the entire world? Like just about every other sports and entertainment entity, the MWO will likely have to make significant changes in how it promotes and performs live events once officials begin filling the remaining months on its live event schedule.

With a renewed focus on safety measures for the roster and for the fans who attend the shows, things will certainly not be the same as they were prior to the statewide shelter-at-home orders issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in March, just weeks after the presentation of the 2020 Bunkhouse Brawl supercard—which would in turn be the last live event from the Richfield Road Church in Flint. As the state, the world, and the MWO strive to find a new normal, this could be the opportune time to launch a rebuild phase for the promotion. Changes must be made, as was evident with slumping attendance levels and overall interest in the organization. But the question is, can the MWO undergo another major overhaul in an attempt to revamp the company?

Long-time MWO fans will recall in 1999, when officials made the bold move to change the company from the inside out, including the now-infamous “change of direction” meeting that resulted in over half of the in-ring talent being shown the door in an attempt to improve overall morale in the locker room. In the wake of that meeting, the organization was met with a new wave of talent that would transcend the MWO into a new millennium, complete with new superstars who would jump start the promotion.

Could the organization, which has been eerily quiet—some of which for obvious reasons—since the Bunkhouse Brawl, be on the verge of something new whenever its able to resume live event operations. Well, at least a solo promoted event in contrast to the unprecedented announcement that the MWO would co-promote the upcoming Pure Fury tribute show with show hosts Imperial Wrestling Entertainment (IWE). There had been rumors, especially with the shocking passing of Pure Fury Jeff Clouse, that there hadn’t been any plans to resume operations once the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted by state government officials. But if there were plans to shake up the company, now would be the time. Hitting the reset button wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea. Several years ago, when MWO Hall of Famer Bob Breckenridge was serving as the president of the organization, he had discussed a plan to strip all of the champions of their respective titles and have different types of matches to crown new titleholders, while at the same time giving the up-and-coming superstars a chance to break out into stardom. The organization’s board of officials were quick to shut that idea down.

But why couldn’t that work now? Maybe aside from Jeremiah J. Hughes, who is the reigning MWO Champion and still on pace to defend the belt against The Alpha Jack Teryn, starting with a clean slate of the other four titles may not be a terrible route to go. Before any of that happens, the MWO’s upper brass should find a suitable person to serve as MWO Commissioner. That is just a couple of things that can be done to shake up the Michigan Wrestling Organization. Before anyone decides to condemn the ideas, actually take a minute to digest what’s being suggested.  It might make a little bit of sense.

Stripping the recognized champions in the Michigan Wrestling Organization would be the most direct way of getting people’s attention—especially the roster of superstars. With a clean slate of titles, it’s virtually like getting a total reboot. In another example, think of it as Opening Day in Major League Baseball or the first weekend of a new NFL schedule, everyone has a chance at the brass ring. Implement some sort of “playoff” for each championship and watch the talent tap into resources they didn’t know they had. Everyone would essentially start with a 0-0 record and have equal opportunity at championship success.

It’s been said before: chief executive official Jason Clouse is a guy in need of a break. The loss of his brother Jeff in April has shattered the heart—and probably altered the mind—of the Basher. There’s no way that he can be expected to clearly steer the ship that is the MWO right now. That’s why the promotion needs a commissioner that is reliable and trustworthy to make the right calls from behind the scenes as well as in the ring. Having an established figurehead to help with the operations would be a crucial part to the resumed success of the organization. There are several people who have been mainstays in the organization that could flourish as the Commissioner and make a significant impact on the immediate future—The Marauder Todd Grossbauer, legendary referee Orville Hughson, and Levi Blue would all be interesting choices. But there are also other possibilities who maybe once held the office that could return to reclaim the position, guys that include Pope Brandon Brownson, Damon Grey, or Bob Breckenridge.

This is important on so many levels. Right after the presentation of the Bunkhouse Brawl in February, the MWO was told that the Richfield Road Church in Flint—its long-standing home venue—would be unable to host any further events, leaving the company with no home venue. Even “road show events,” including WrestleRama 26 that was to take place in Holly, and Slam-a-Thon that was to return to Fremont, Indiana were postponed or cancelled. Finding a new home building is going to be difficult especially with a pandemic still lurking. But if the MWO is going to gain any immediate momentum, it’s going to have to have a home of some sort. It may be in the organization’s best interest to find a building in a new are for their live events. It has been suggested in the past that the MWO shift its public focus on Oakland County to tie in with its ongoing relationship with the Lake Orion-based ONTV.

The Michigan Wrestling Organization’s long-standing partnership with Orion Neighborhood Television (ONTV) is one of the key advantages for the promotion. Some of the MWO’s greatest moments have occurred while TV cameras were rolling and spotlighting the promotion during live television and internet broadcasts. It would be beneficial for the officials to produce additional content that could air exclusively on the Lake Orion-based public access station. Even if the events are not held within the cozy confines of the studio, the organization could produce original content that would keep the MWO in people’s attention span while giving the superstars even more opportunities to be seen. This is where a revamped production team would excel, utilizing their talents for a lot of new eyes to watch.