“Filthy” Tom Lawlor: Where should he sign next?

Filthy Tom Lawlor NJPW Strong Openweight Championship

“Filthy” Tom Lawlor has been an integral part of the Major League Wrestling reboot that has unfolded over the past 4 years. Lawlor not only held the MLW World Heavyweight Championship at an important part in the promotion’s re-blossom to the wrestling scene, but has competed in a vast amount of important main event matches for the promotion. 

Unfortunately, it seems like Lawlor is likely on his way out of the promotion given the recent Fightful Select report that his contract is up soon and that no talks have been made to bring him back. This will be a massive loss for MLW, but an essential gain for another company. 

Speaking of other companies, we’re here today to take a look at Lawlor’s potential next move in the wrestling world. 

What’s Next for “Filthy” Tom Lawlor

New Japan Pro Wrestling

This is the layup answer, simply because Lawlor is already featured heavily on NJPW Strong – so heavily that he’s their current reigning Openweight Champion. Lawlor is one of the top heels on Strong every week and is seemingly very favored by the promotion. 

As COVID-19 begins to fade away more and more, I definitely see Lawlor eventually popping up in Japan to wrestle for the promotion in their home base. Lawlor would be a fantastic edition and a breath of fresh air to the Junior Heavyweight division.  NJPW could even pass off Lawlor as a heavyweight if he put on a few pounds, especially because MLW did it a few years back. 

Ring Of Honor 

As an avid Ring Of Honor watcher, I’d personally be stoked to see Tom Lawlor pop up and turn the company upside down. The main event scene is desperately lacking effective heels outside of La Faccion Ingobernable, and Lawlor could provide that from day one.  “Filthy” could also easily adapt to the Pure Wrestling style that the promotion is heavily backing right now. Lawlor matching up with Gresham would be an instant main event for any ROH pay-per-view. 

While this would be a big move for the company, I don’t see it happening, unfortunately. It’s very rare that ROH is in a “spending mood” nowadays with their roster already loaded with big-money deals and I’m sure Lawlor is looking for a decent payday. 

All Elite Wrestling 

If this would have happened in 2019, I’d be all for it. But it’s 2021 and AEW has an absolutely loaded (and bloated) roster. Lawlor is a good addition to any wrestling promotion, but he would get lost in the shuffle if he lent his services to Tony Khan and co. 

Unless Lawlor was to bring his “Team Filthy” friends Kevin Ku and Dominic Garrini with him and enter the Faction frenzy that AEW has, I don’t think he would fit well in the current confines of the Elite Zone. 

IMPACT Wrestling 

Eh? Tom Lawlor and IMPACT Wrestling are like Pineapple and Pizza.. they just don’t go together. 

Lawlor’s presentation and style just don’t seem like it would fit in the Nashville-based promotion. Although other hybrid-style competitors like Killer Kross have succeeded there before, the thought of the two parties working together just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I would be open to giving it a chance though, given that Impact needs more heels that can be taken seriously and presented as legit bad guys. 

WWE 

Again… eh. Lawlor is 38 and an independent wrestler, meaning WWE shouldn’t be interested in him. And even if they were, I just don’t think the fit is right – even more so than the IMPACT fit. 

We’ve seen countless independent wrestlers watered down by the WWE system. If you strip away what makes Lawlor a special talent, then he’s going to end up being one of the annual roster cuts that the wrestling titan makes every year. 

Verdict

Overall, I definitely see New Japan Pro Wrestling or Ring Of Honor as the best fit for Lawlor. His style of wrestling is best served in a sports-centric environment, something that both of those promotions provide in their own individual way.