By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
MLW issued the following press release on Thursday to announce the first five entrants in the Opera Cup tournament.
Major League Wrestling (MLW®) today announced the first five participants of The 2021 Opera Cup, pro wrestling’s oldest tournament dating back over a century, taking place the the upcoming MLW Fightland event live on Saturday, Oct. 2 at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia and airing nationally on a later date.
The eight-man, single-elimination tournament is scheduled to include a who’s who of the toughest fighters on the MLW roster, including 2020 Opera Cup winner and former UFC knockout artist “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, one of the sports greatest technical wrestlers Davey Richards, high-flying phenom TJP, decorated international champion Matt Cross, and former D1 football recruit, the heavyweight hustle Calvin Tankman.
MLW will be announcing the final three entrants to the Opera Cup in the coming weeks, along with the complete tournament bracket. The tournament finals are scheduled to take place on Saturday, Nov. 6 at MLW Intimidation Games also in Philadelphia.
“For this year’s Opera Cup, we’ve assembled an incredibly diverse line-up of fighters and exciting surprises that will make for some of the most explosive match-ups the tournament has seen to date,” said Court Bauer. “The Opera Cup is dedicated to the great men who have fought valiantly before us and MLW has brought it back to reignite the spirit of the greats who preceded today and tomorrow’s greats.”
The grandest tournament for over a century, MLW re-introduced the world famous Professional Wrestling Opera House Cup in 2019 after a 71-year hiatus as its biggest annual tournament. The historic event was held annually for nearly 50 years at renowned turn-of-the-century opera houses from New York to Boston, showcasing the greatest wrestlers of the day in a grueling multi-day tournament that launched the careers of many pioneers of the sport.
Upon returning to the Opera Cup to the national spotlight, MLW contracted the craftsman behind maintaining the Stanley Cup to meticulously restore the original Opera Cup trophy to its original glory. Now modern Opera Cup winners are immortalized in plaques alongside legends like George Hackenschmidt, Stu Hart, Leo Pardello, William Muldoon and Waldek Zbyszko.
Over the summer of 2019, Major League Wrestling entrusted the same craftsmen who have worked with the NHL on maintaining the Stanley Cup to complete the restoration process of the original cup in time for the return of the tournament.
Powell’s POV: Both Opera Cup tournaments made for good television. I especially enjoyed the 2020 version even though the venue was empty as a pandemic precaution.