Paul Walter Hauser Talks His MLW Wrestling Debut On Battle Riot VI & The Fantastic Four

  • Paul Walter Hauser transitions from fan to wrestler, fulfilling a lifelong dream in MLW's Battle Riot VI.
  • Known for his cinematic roles, Hauser's passion for storytelling shines in his new venture.
  • Hauser's wrestling idols include Sting, Bret Hart, Ric Flair, and Chris Jericho, shaping his in-ring style.
Paul Walter Hauser, a revered character actor with a penchant for both the silver screen and the wrestling ring, is venturing into new and exciting realms. Known for his roles in critically acclaimed films, Hauser is now making headlines with his foray into professional wrestling and a notable part in Marvel's upcoming reboot of The Fantastic Four. His passion for performance and storytelling shines through as he transitions from fan to participant in wrestling, all while continuing to captivate audiences with his cinematic roles.
Paul Walter Hauser's entry into MLW's Battle Riot IV is not just another career move; it's the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. As a dedicated wrestling enthusiast, Hauser's participation is a significant milestone, marrying his fandom with his professional aspirations in the squared circle.smallRelatedEvery Actor Cast In MCU's The Fantastic Four Movie (So Far)The cast of Marvel Studios' The Fantastic Four reboot has begun to be revealed, ahead of the highly-anticipated movie's release on July 25, 2025.You can watch Paul Walter Hauser square off against 39 other wrestlers in MLW's Battle Riot 6 for streaming on YouTube on June 1st. This is Major League Wrestling's first live-streamed event since the company began its live broadcast over a year ago on Pay-per-view.Paul Walter Hauser Talks Jumping Into The Ring With MLWScreen Rant: I've been so excited to talk about you all weekend long, trying to prepare questions. I just watched MLW Azteca yesterday. I'm a huge wrestling fan. I love this era of pro wrestling because every single day, there's a new pro wrestling show I can watch. Whether it be WWE, AEW, MLW, Ring of Honor, or New Japan, it doesn't matter, I consume it all. I've grown up with wrestling, and you are getting to live out that dream of being a pro wrestler. I saw you in AEW work with Jeff Jarrett and make appearances here and there, and I know you've done stuff with Southern Honor Wrestling, but now you're entering MLW for Battle Riot. Talk to me how that all came about.
Paul Walter Hauser: Yeah, like you, I'm a die-hard fan, and I watch quite a bit of it whenever I can. Nowadays with two children, a budding career, and a healthy marriage, there's only 24 hours in a day, so on a weekly basis, I catch 20 minutes of Smackdown, an hour of Dynamite, 20 minutes of Collision, and then maybe an hour of some indie show via Triller or Highspots. So it's like I get it in when I can.AEW has been incredibly kind to me, and they've let me do some cameo appearances in ROH and AEW, but I really appreciate these guys and gals who have invited me into the fold and given me an opportunity, people like Wrestling Revolver. I had a lot of fun the other night at Southern Honor doing their War Chamber match and filling in for one of their wrestlers.And yeah, I didn't know Court Bauer, but I was familiar with his work, and I was a fan of some of what I had seen in MLW, and I got that phone call and that text, and I was like, "Yeah, let's chat. Let's do this." I've never been a part of a battle royal, obviously, this will be my first ever, and what I like about the Battle Riot is that you really don't know who's going to show up.Sometimes there's a legend, sometimes there's a masked man who's not who he says he is, sometimes you get luchadores, you get big, scary giant people that you never even think would get eliminated. So I think the spontaneity of the event and the diverse roster is what's going to make it a lot of fun.
Absolutely. Look, we have nine participants announced so far, and you're right, it's a completely different array of styles already from the participants announced. We got Matt Riddle, Ernest The Cat Miller, talking about Legends, Sami Callihan, Matthew Justice, who's known for his hardcore style with the Southern 6. Not Southern 6, but the First Gear Crew. Místico, one of the greatest luchadores in the world right now. Davey Boy Smith Jr., also a legacy legend. Who are you excited to get in the ring and mix it up with?
Paul Walter Hauser: Oh, man. Really anybody, but I would say of the people that have been announced so far, I'm really, really interested in Sami Callihan and I getting our hands on each other. Again, we had a really pretty violent match, at least for me it was a violent match at WrestleCon. I don't look at it like I need revenge on him, but I look at it like he and I, we're not afraid to go at each other, so I wouldn't be surprised if you saw that. And then has Bad Dude Tito been announced? I feel like he was.
Oh, I haven't seen Bad Dude Tito personally. I haven't seen him announced. I know he just won that championship.
Paul Walter Hauser: Okay. Well, if Bad Dude Tito is in the event, I would love to scrap it up with him. Not only am I participating in this for a shot at the world title via Kojima, but I would love a shot at that open weight title in the future, but I know I got to earn it and I got to show up, and that's exactly what I plan to do June 1st.
Paul Walter Hauser Reveals His Wrestling IdolsAbsolutely. Now growing up, Bret Hart was my guy. He got me into wrestling, he kept me into wrestling. I think that something about his storytelling in-ring just captured me, and I was just rewatching some of his older matches, and they still hold up today. They're incredible. Who were some of your wrestling idols, and who did you draw inspiration from your in-ring style?
Paul Walter Hauser: Yeah, I would say my Mount Rushmore, which I talk about a lot, is most likely it's Sting, Bret The Hitman Hart, Ric Flair, and Chris Jericho for different reasons. It's funny, people think that that's aggressively like a WCW list and it's like, well, all four guys were also in WWE at one point, so... I just love technicians who are also charismatic, and I think that really gets into the top four I mentioned.The gentleman I like studying though, the ones I go back and watch their matches are brawlers and technicians. I always wanted to be a combination of a like a Mick Foley and a Dean Malenko. So those are the kinds of guys I watch, and in some regard, Bret is just that, you know? Bret could beat your ass into the ground, into a pulp, but he could also do a side Russian leg sweep and the Sharpshooter, and he was this brilliant technician who could get that Sharpshooter on or a figure-four leg lock in the corner hanging from the outside, you know?He made everything matter, there was a purpose behind everything he did, and to this day, of all the matches I return to, his match with Davey Boy Smith in 1995, where Martha is out watching her brother and husband fight each other. That is still, to me, one of the three greatest matches of all time.
I couldn't agree with you more, and you're completely right about Bret Hart. I feel like he was a wrestler who could get in there, mix it up with anybody, and really adapt to any of their styles. And I also love your Mount Rushmore because, more so than WCW, it's really workhorse wrestling.
Paul Walter Hauser: Could not agree more. The guys who have had the cleanest of matches and the dirtiest, the guys who have gotten over in Japan and Mexico and everywhere, and who have also done the heel and face and have kind of done a little bit of everything. I suppose Sting is the outlier there. But yeah, those are my guys.I would also just shout out that I have a move that I literally call Bret Bigelow, where I perform the side Russian leg sweep, I get up, I hit the ropes, and I do Bam Bam's headbutt, and that's just a shout-out to their match together that I think people look back on as one of the great big men versus one of the great technicians, and they had really surprising, fantastic chemistry if you go rewatch them.
Paul Walter Hauser Talks His Approach To Wrestling Storytelling As An ActorOh, yeah, that King of the Ring finals match was absolutely incredible, and I love that series of matches from Bret because it was working with three different competitors, all three different styles, with Razor Ramon, Mr. Perfect, and Bam Bam Bigelow. Absolutely incredible. Now, in wrestling, storytelling is crucial. How do you bring your unique style of storytelling ability into the wrestling world?
Paul Walter Hauser: A lot of it is maintaining presence and being present during the match. It's not me thinking, "Ooh, I'm going to try this move in a minute." It's very much me reacting to what's happening in real time. There's a moment in my match with Sami Callihan at WrestleCon, this high-spot show we did at the 2300 Arena, that fans start chanting, "F you, Sami," and there's a close-up on me where I literally start chanting with the crowd while I'm bleeding and trying to stand up, "F you, Sami."It's little things like that are me being in the moment and being willing to kind of improvise and go with the flow of your own creativity and performance rather than trying to map everything out, and that, I would say, is something that translates from the acting world.
I know that wrestling is performed in front of live crowds. Can you talk to me about the dynamic and interaction, how the crowd plays a part into your matches, and how that psychology's kind of evolved throughout each match you have?
Paul Walter Hauser: The crowd is incredibly important. I think I always knew the crowd was involved from some form of standpoint intellectually, but experientially, it has been such a mind blow to realize how much of a match they can dictate.There was a moment in my match with Matt Cardona at Ready or Not for Wrestling Revolver where he hit me really good. I got a pretty stiff double boot into the chest and flew back first into the guardrail, and I'm down, and they start counting me out, and literally, I got a little kid and his dad who are cheering in my face telling me, "Get up, get up. They're counting," and literally their cheering for me is what helped me get up and roll into the ring on a nine count.I'm embarrassed that it took that long for me to get back into the ring, but at the same time, it's like the fans can be your smelling salt, they can be your Popeye's spinach, they can hurt your feelings, you know? It can be anything. And I did stand-up comedy for about 10 or 12 years, so I know that immediate reaction sort of scenario of how they can sink you or they can float you with their words and their reactions.So it's been very enlightening to see how crucial the audience is. And I said in another interview, I said one of the real cardinal rules of wrestling is to get a reaction. It doesn't matter if you're booed, it doesn't matter if you're cheered. It does matter if you're nothing and if it's silent. That is not good. So I hope to elicit a reaction with my passion as a babyface and really go in there and let the fans know I am trying to give you the best of me that I can possibly give.
I'm a hardcore wrestling fan, and I feel that I know a ton about wrestling, but there's this element, obviously, where I haven't seen anything really behind the scene. What's been the most surprising aspect of being a wrestling performer that surprised you?
Paul Walter Hauser: Oh, wow. You know, you got to remember in the acting world, I get the screenplay for a movie weeks to months in advance. So some of these matches get cobbled together or literally assigned and booked at the last minute, and that kind of throws me off and puts a lot of added pressure on.I can't imagine the men and women who do it on the grandest scale, where you might show up to Monday Night Raw or Collision and find out, "Hey, you're in a match," or MLW, you know, "Hey, this person got injured. You are now in the Battle Riot." It's like those sorts of last-minute play calls are very intimidating to me.And so I've had to roll with the punches a couple of times. A good example is the match with Matt Cardona. When I showed up, I did not know it was a no-disqualification. That's not the match I signed up for. But when I got to the arena, Callihan was like, "By the way, this is a no-DQ."And I'm just like, "Well, that changes things. I guess I can scrap whatever I had in mind and I have to have a whole different set of awareness and cognizance to the match." But it went off and you just roll with the punches, literally.Incredible, incredible.
Paul Walter Hauser Teases His Fantastic Four CharacterI want to switch gears for a second because some of our Screen Rant readers, obviously, want to know some other stuff about your acting career. You were just recently announced to be in The Fantastic Four, which I'm really excited about. Will we see you physically in the film or just hear your voice?
Paul Walter Hauser: I know what that question is leading to, which is which character I'm to play. All I can say is that I, in some iteration, am in the movie The Fantastic Four until I get fired or recast. So I can't say anything about the character I'm playing, but know that it is in the sort of lexicon and mythology of The Fantastic Four stories, and it's a very distinct character that I'm excited to play, and I'm kind of mapping out what I'm doing with that right now.But I've always wanted to be a part of a cinematic universe. I spent a lot of time trying to campaign to play the Penguin in the Matt Reeves film, and that, of course, went to Colin Farrell, and he did a masterful job, and it was totally different than what I was trying to do. So I really appreciate Marvel giving me the time of day and entrusting a role to me in some capacity, that I get to be a part of that family. I'm really excited to partake in.
Speaking of family, The Fantastic Four has been hard to get right throughout some of the different films we've seen. What stood out about this version of The Fantastic Four to you for Marvel's first family?
Paul Walter Hauser: I think it's the folks who are involved, the writers and the director, Matt Shakman, his department heads, and the cast alone. I just looked at it and I went, "I have a guttural instinct that this will be a special movie with or without me, and I want to be a part of this." And I think, you know, this is all before Bob Iger made his announcement of, "Hey, we're only doing two or three movies a year, two or three TV shows a year."I signed on to this before that announcement was made, so now, the directive and connotation that I'm getting from that announcement is that they are putting extra effort and concerted care into what they put out into the world and how they service their audience. So this Fantastic Four film has an insane amount of pressure on it, between the films that underperformed from the same characters and then from the perspective of Iger and the family there and Kevin Feige not wanting to overexpose their IP.And so I look at it like, you know, batter up. Whatever small piece of the puzzle I'm playing in that film, I'm going to give it my entire heart and soul and try to enjoy the process, because it is very special to be a kid who grew up enjoying comic books, animated shows, and movies and now getting to be some part of that. It's really special. By the way, quite like wrestling. Very full circle and very meaningful to the child in me, you know?
You're legit living the dream, by the way. I heard that you're cast in the new Naked Gun movie with WWE Undisputed World Champion Cody Rhodes. What can fans expect from that film?
Paul Walter Hauser: Yeah, that's funny. Cody was cast before me. Yeah, that's really funny. Cody's actually a good actor. I think he'll do a good job in that movie, and I've read the role, it's a fun part. Yeah, I play Frank Drebin's partner. He's played by Liam Neeson this time around, and I get to, in some ways, be the straight man to his comedic chaos, and it has been a lot of fun. I'm a massive lifelong fan of Akiva Schaffer.I think Popstar and Hot Rod, and I Think You Should Leave, just everything he's had his hand in I think really is comedic brilliance, and I would've served sandwiches on an Akiva Schaffer set, so to get to play opposite Liam Neeson and have scenes with the Danny Hustons and Kevin Durands and Pam Andersons, it's pretty awesome, man. I really look forward to this one.
I can talk to you all day long about pro wrestling, and look, after Battle Riot, once you win and earn your shot at the MLW World Championship, let's come back and talk again, man.
Paul Walter Hauser: I so appreciate that, man. If you can also shout out, I have a small part in Inside Out 2 for Pixar. That's dropping in June. And then I got a small part in the movie The Instigators with Matt Damon, and that drops in August. I'm really proud of both. I think it's going to be a fun summer movie season indeed.
Paul Walter Hauser joins Major League Wrestling for Battle Riot VI, which will be streaming free live on YouTube June 1 from Atlanta. Tickets are available at MLWLive.


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