Let’s talk about your boy Hammer. The former MLW World Champion is a hidden gem on the US indie scene. At some point soon he may be free to break out on a wider scale.
Vince McMahon’s “airport test” was used to judge if a wrestler was worthy of being a main event player. Possibly the holder of the WWE Championship. The test is simple: does the wrestler’s size, physique, and presence scream look at me? Are they a physical embodiment of pro wrestling/sports entertainment? Will you remember them after they walk off with their luggage?
In hindsight, plenty of those Vince picked did not work. Prospects like Tom Magee and Mason Ryan failed due to lacking the other essential skills. In-ring acumen. Charisma. Range. The fabled IT factor.
Alex Hammerstone, the 32-year-old former bodybuilder has the muscular fortitude of 80s-era Hulk Hogan and Lex Luger in a six-foot-one package. He is a throwback to the era of beef big men. He passes the airport test. Yet in today’s modern hybrid wrestling world, how is he different?
Why does he stand out? Why is he not in the conversation more often of wrestlers who should sign next with WWE or AEW?
When I first saw Hammerstone, it was on a random episode of MLW Fusion I came across during the Pandemic (“Filthy Island”- Fusion #122). Hammerstone appeared in two short and silly skits alongside Richard Holliday, and inaugural NJPW Strong Openweight Champion, “Filthy” Tom Lawlor.
His impressive muscles were obvious under a red leather jacket and a yellow t-shirt. Before I had time to quip Hogan rip-off, Hammerstone beat me to the punch. Landing a joke about his tan was Hogan in “84 at best”. The delivery was self-assured.
I laughed. Things got funnier when he reappeared playing a silent boulder of a man just trying to eat his protein while Holliday and Lawlor frantically argued around him. His oblivious no-selling made me laugh harder than anything the other two said. Suddenly, when spam was mentioned, Hammerstone became an animated dumb jock stereotype, willing to spend all of Holliday’s money to get a can of lunch meat. I laughed louder.
I went back through MLW’s previous Fusion episodes to find out if this chiseled and humorous hoss could wrestle. Spoiler: he can.
In MLW: Booked Strong
More than most promotions, MLW sticks to the old Paul Heyman philosophy of accentuating the positives and hiding the weaknesses. In MLW, Hammerstone was clearly being polished for greatest from his debut in 2019.
Joining forces with two other young upstarts, Richard Holliday, and the current AEW World Champion, Maxwell Jacob Friedman , the unit, The Dynasty, was a group of wealthy, privileged heels who dominated their divisions. As a trio, they gelled well while each in personality and in-ring style offering something different.
Hammerstone went on to become MLW’s first National Openweight Champion, a belt he never lost but vacated in the spirit of competition when he turned face after winning the MLW World Heavyweight Championship. The latter belt he held for almost two years at 654 days.
The Hammerstone Formula
In that time, Hammerstone built an aura and a match style where he was able to use his personality and in-ring skills to create his own Hogan-like formula. Using a range of classic big man moves from gorilla presses to delayed suplexes, Hammerstone’s strength and precision look and sound dangerous.
Utilizing both Lex Luger’s torture rack finisher, as well as using vertical supplex into a sidewalk slam he calls the Nightmare Pendulum, heavyweights and super heavyweights have been craned into the air only to crumple on the mat for the pin.
In matches that needed bells and whistles, like a Baklei Brawl against Mads Krüger, Hammerstone’s physical charisma elevated what could have been a boring pre-taped location fight into a minor cinematic match classic.
In matches against others like his near thirty-minute win of the MLW World Championship from Jacob Fatu, Hammerstone comes across as the all-conquering hero. His opponents leave feeling like monsters.
Beyond MLW’s taped and tailored product, Hammerstone has begun wrestling more on the indies in WCWC and he will be debuting in December officially for GCW. Hammerstone is not a hybrid big man in the mold of a Brian Cage who also performs luchador-style flips. Yet Hammerstone can fly. His Fosbury Flop, the Big Ole Beef Drop, is an impressive sight, and when Hammerstone delivers a dropkick with the height and crispness of a Dolph Ziggler.
Hammerstone is an Asset
On X, Hammerstone has accumulated 27.8K followers. He regularly posts clips of his wrestling, his humorous takes on life, and videos of himself playing guitar with his ripped calves on display. He has the potential. His former stable mate, the man who will cause the bidding war of 2024, MJF certainly thinks so. In an interview with Fightful (MJF Praises Alex Hammerstone As An Incredible Talent, Says He’d Be A Huge Get For AEW | Fightful News), he said:
“If Alex Hammerstone was on a big platform like All Elite Wrestling, he would be a huge get… I think he’s an incredible talent, has been for a long time.,” said MJF.
So, why hasn’t Hammerstone been showcased wider on the indies? Two answers: MLW and money.
Hammerstone’s MLW Contract
In 2021, Alex Hammerstone signed a long-term contract extension with MLW making him MLW exclusive. Hammerstone said in an interview with Fightful (Alex Hammerstone Signs Multi-Year Extension With MLW, Discusses The Negotiation Process | Fightful News), was perfect at that time.
“They were able to afford that… I’ve been in the business for ten years now and it’s nice to finally be in a position where I’m really starting to see a return from it. Beyond that, there are a lot of things that MLW offers me that other companies might not. Not an intense schedule, not the demand of being on the road five days a week… I love the wrestling part, but the traveling kicks my ass and is the most frustrating part of it. There are a lot of advantages at MLW right now.”
Ultimately, wrestlers are businessmen. Hammerstone took advantage of an opportunity in that has allowed him to preserve his body and aura. At the same time allowing him to be the main attraction of a promotion that has remained an underground favourite on Youtube.
But things change
Hammerstone has not appeared in MLW since he lost the MLW World Championship to Alex Kane at Never Say Never in July. There has been a clear breakdown of communications. Hammerstone himself confirming on X that he has requested his release from his MLW contract. Hammerstone’s contract is not officially up until 2025.
What’s Hammerstone’s future?
Given MLW’s current lawsuit against WWE, WWE will likely avoid sending feelers to Hammerstone while he is contracted. AEW has its fair share of big men, but Tony Khan is unlikely to ignore someone his World Champion sees as an asset. Hammerstone’s versatile personality means he is more than a body guy.
The prospect of Hammerstone reuniting with one of his Dynasty stablemate MJF in AEW could lead to magic. If he returns to MLW, Hammerstone will be a big fish in a small pond he has lapped multiple times, but the promotion knows how to maximize its stars.
They have done an impressive job of making ex-WWE wrestlers like Snitsky seem like credible championship contenders so imagine what they could do with a man they have built their company around.
If it takes until 2025, Hammerstone may cultivate his own bidding war.
More From LWOS Pro Wrestling
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. MLW FUSION airs every Thursday on YouTube at 8 PM EST and every Saturday on beIN SPORTS at 10 PM EST.