Established by wrestlers Dan McDevitt and Mark Shrader as an extension of the wrestling school Bone Breakers Training Center, Maryland Championship Wrestling held its first card at Baltimore's Patapsco Arena on July 19, 1998, featuring Jerry Lynn, Devon Storm, Little Guido, Balls Mahoney, manager Jim Cornette and The Headbangers.

During that event, MCW held a six-man match to crown the first ever Light Heavyweight Champion. The winner of the match was Shane Shamrock and due to his shooting death by police the following month, MCW named him as the lifetime Light Heavyweight Champion and replaced it with the Cruiserweight Championship.

Throughout the next year, the promotion featured veteran wrestlers such as Ricky Steamboat, Ricky Morton, Bobby Eaton, Tito Santana, The Iron Sheik, Sherri Martel, the Road Warriors, King Kong Bundy and Jerry "The King" Lawler, the latter two winning the promotion's heavyweight championship. Longtime mainstays such as Joey Matthews, Jimmy Cicero, Judus Young and Mickie James also began gaining popularity in the promotion.

On March 27, 2002, Steve Wilkos of the Jerry Springer Show made a one night appearance teaming with Gillberg to defeat The Slackers, Chad Bowman and Dino Devine, in a tag team match in Glen Burnie, Maryland; the 1,267 in attendance setting a new record for its home arena Michael's Eighth Avenue ballroom.

After holding its final card The Last Dance: Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup on July 16, 2003 at Michael's Eighth Avenue ballroom, in which over 1,000 fans were in attendance, the promotion announced its intentions to merge Maryland Championship Wrestling with its longtime rival the Mid-Eastern Wrestling Federation (McDevitt and Shrader had originally left the promotion due to a business dispute with half its roster subsequently leaving for the newly established Maryland Championship Wrestling).

Although operations officially ceased in 2003, McDevitt continued holding occasional cards exclusively at Fort Meade under the "Fort Meade Wrestling" banner during the next several years before returning booking regular MCW events again as of February 26, 2006.

MCW made Baltimore headlines in October, 2006, with the booking of WIYY morning show personalities Kirk McEwen and Mark Ondayko as part of an eight-man tag match. Participating would have been a breach of their contract with their radio station, however. In the ensuing controversy, the longtime DJs left WIYY for rival WJZ-FM.

Although MCW had reportedly been in negotiations to become a developmental territory for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the promotion has had a longtime working relationship with the WWE as early as 2000 when a number of former WWF wrestlers made an appearance at an event at Bally's at Ocean Downs. During the next several years, wrestlers such as Scotty 2 Hotty, Rikishi and Batista have made appearances as well as a number of former WCW and ECW wrestlers following the closing of both promotions.