Thoughts from 2013 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions

Edge_Crew

Edge and the crew. Men, whether from a warehouse or not.

We’ll have an accompanying podcast with Eric and Dan, as soon as we figure out the Bossjock app. Great app, great sound, bad user. In the meantime, here are some quick thoughts on the weekend in Waterloo, Iowa, attending the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions.

DoughyJoeys

Arrival: I lived and worked in Waterloo, Iowa, for three years, so I’m familiar with the town, and I’m glad the events take place within walking distance of the Doughy Joey’s pizza restaurant when I’m feeling fat, and a Subway when I feel like Doughy Joey’s made me too fat. The Quality Inn across the street from the convention center is sleepable, and usually bookable when the neighboring Ramada is at full capacity with wrestlers and legends.

TrainingSession

Training session: Three years ago, the public was able to attend not just the abbreviated wrestling matches among the tryout squad but also Mick Foley and Terry Funk offering their critique. We haven’t been as lucky in years past with Jim Ross and Gerald Brisco at the helm – which stinks because who better to offer advice – but my two new thoughts are, one, maybe it’s none of my business how well “Mean” Mike took an armdrag, and two, I have all weekend to talk to J.R. and Gerry direct.

MattyStar_JakeMilliman

Impact Pro Wrestling: Promoter Troy Peterson and trainer Travis Shillington run a top-shelf independent promotion. From starting the show right on time, to striking a good balance between local and known wrestlers, to booking the right number and types of matches, to drawing lines between heat-seeking heels and sympathetic babyfaces, IPW is a gimme on a weekend full of various pro wrestling activities. http://www.impactprowrestling.com (P.S. The card featured local indy Matty Star vs. local former AWA enhancement talent Jake “The Milkman” Milliman. All the more reason for Wade Keller to start driving down here in July.)

HotelBar

The hotel bar: If you’re going to the pro wrestling hall of fame, you ought to go where the pro wrestlers and hall of famers hang out after the show. The Red River Inn has your basic beer selection but some really good food – get a couple orders of the Italian nachos to last you and your table for a while – and a jukebox that’s quiet enough to still hear Baron Von Raschke tell stories. It’s also a great chance to BS with the guys from Impact Pro Wrestling – they’re all cool, even Tony Sly.

BrianShields

“History of WWE” presentation by Brian Shields: We weren’t sure what place a presentation on a highly political, often controversial entertainment company had at a museum dedicated to the century-long connection between the respected journeymen who made the transition from amateur to pro wrestling. What we saw was a polished presentation about a company we grew up on, with content that tied back to the weekend’s honorees, delivered by a great public speaker who is clearly a fan and a professional. The Q&A that followed gave good insight into the thought processes of a global company that has many audiences and stakeholders to answer to.

Brisco_JR

VIP Q&A: At the Impact Pro Wrestling Show, those of us who bought the ringside package received passes to a private Q&A at 12:30 p.m. the next day. Knowing the weekend included a 1 p.m. AWA legends roundtable, we didn’t know what the VIP Q&A would entail. It began with Jim Brunzell giving highly entertaining answers to our round of questions, followed by Jim Ross and Gerald Brisco answering 90 minutes worth of our questions. Never would I think I nor our group of friends would have a private audience with my favorite announcer of all time and one of his best friends and such an influential person in pro wrestling. These two are so passionate about wrestling and the museum, and it shows in all of their answers.

GeorgeNapolitano

Induction reception: When I was married, we booked the same venue for the ceremony and the reception, and we booked the place for an extra hour we called “cocktail hour,” meant for our guests to drink and mingle in a separate room while we signed our license and took a deep breath. What did our guests do? They went straight to the reception area and sat their asses down at a table so they could claim their spots for the night. Same thing happened here, eliminating what used to be the fun mingling aspect of the hour. No fault of anyone but the guests.

GeraldBrisco_Crew

Banquet: Great food, great service, mostly fully stocked bar. I thought Dan was going to throw a fit when he had to mix his Crown Royal with Pepsi instead of Coke. Rather than show anger over missing out on his favorite mix, Jim Ross instead ordered a cranberry vodka. Good call, as usual from J.R.

CharlieThesz

Induction ceremony: Two hours of classy speeches from grateful people who have excelled in their chosen professions, or the people who knew them best. Jim Brunzell’s thank-you to his wife was an emotional start to the evening; Chris Taylor’s widow Lynn was well-spoken and full of stories; Jim Ross and Gerald Brisco spoke highly of Bill Watts and Ric Flair, respectively; George Napolitano was engaging and played off our terrific emcee, Arda Ocal; Matt Hughes’ speech was short but nice; and Edge added a few laughs and a heartfelt note about Curt Hennig, whose parents were in attendance. Wonderful event, and the legends stayed after the event to snap pictures and chat with fans when they weren’t at all obligated to.

The hotel bar: It took me 15 minutes to bring your beer back, Dan, because I was chatting with Jim Brunzell’s wife, Mary. It was worth the wait. Dan and Troy Peterson, IPW promoter, exchanged information. I managed to snap one more picture with Edge, who was so accommodating all weekend. Chatted with Brian Shields at length, despite him needing rest for his 6:45 a.m. flight. Baron Von Raschke, aka Brad Pitt, thanked us for coming to town for the weekend. And we drank a lot of beer.

Overall: Having never been to the wrestling hall of fame in New York, nor the Cauliflower Alley Club in Las Vegas, I don’t know how accurate the following statement is, but I’ll still make it: You’ll never get an opportunity like this, to mix with the heroes of your childhood and, in some cases, adulthood, unless you plan to make the trip to Waterloo, Iowa. It’s worth the investment, if not only to see it for yourself, but also to support the history of professional wrestling, backed by the men who lived for it.

Stunt Granny Audio: Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame weekend review

L to R: Eric, Tough Nut to Crack

Eric and Dan traveled to Waterloo, Iowa, this past weekend for the festivities at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum as part of the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions. Spend two days (well, 60 minutes) with the guys as they discuss everything from chance encounters upon their arrival to the Impact Pro Wrestling training session and independent card featuring Austin Aries, Colt Cabana and Hacksaw Jim Duggan (who did well, who did better than well, and who did fantastic jobs). They even sneak in some anecdotes from that night at the hotel bar with the legends and the guys from IPW. Saturday’s recap includes the roundtable panel discussion with legends including Terry Funk, Baron Von Raschke and Gerald Brisco (worth the price of the DVD, set to be released before next year’s induction), an autograph session (Mad Dog Vachon told Eric a joke worth the price of five DVDs) and the induction ceremony, including Jim Ross’ epic speech (worth the price of 10 DVDs, seriously). An amazing experience, so listen in!

Stunt Granny Audio Waterloo Hall of Fame

Waterloo, Iowa wrestling museum releases hall of fame weekend schedule

colt cabana

Colt Cabana will be there... will YOU?

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, has announced the schedule of events for its annual George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame weekend, and I have two words for you: Colt Cabana. Is going. To be there. For full details including days and times, click this link; here are some of the major announcements:

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum has announced its schedule for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Induction weekend is July 22-23 in Waterloo, Iowa.

This year’s George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction class includes two inductees—one living and one posthumous—and four special award winners.

Inductees into the Hall of Fame are Dory Funk, Jr. and Gorilla Monsoon. Special award winners are Jim Duggan, Jim Ross, Pat Miletich, and Scott Teal.

Tickets to the professional wrestling show will go on sale Monday, May 16. Tickets to the induction banquet can be purchased online by visiting: http://dgm-nwhof.ticketleap.com/professional-wrestling-hall-of-fame-inductions/

Professional wrestlers who have already committed to being at induction weekend include Terry Funk, Gerald Brisco, Jim Ross, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Jim Raschke, Danny Hodge, Bob Roop, Larry Hennig, Fritz Von Goering, and Colt Cabana.

For additional information, or to order tickets, contact the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum at (319) 233-0745 or e-mail info@wrestlingmuseum.org.

Impact Pro Wrestling’s night of action starts at 7 p.m. Friday, July 22, and the legends will be around all day Saturday to sign autographs and accept their awards and honors. (Again, click the above link for details.) Will I be there? You better believe I’ll be there! Will you be there? You better be there! (P.S. Terry Funk loves Jack Daniels; help me get him liquored up in Waterloo!) -Eric

Extras needed in Minneapolis for Baron Von Raschke movie!

baron von raschke

"I need extras! And that is all the people need to know!"

Holy crap! According to the A.V. Club portion of the Onion’s Web site, extras are needed in Minneapolis THIS WEEKEND to play crazed wrestling fans for the filming of a biopic on Baron Von Raschke! Shit, I wish I could make it up there! We generally don’t copy and paste entire articles, but here’s almost all of the details you’ll need:

This weekend, you can become part of wrestling history. A film about Minnesota’s own professional wrestling sensation Baron Von Raschke is being shot at First Avenue on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the scene needs extras—a lot of extras. “Hicks, rednecks, business people, moms, crazy women, old-school folk, grease monkeys, farmers, and regular folk who appear 1960s or ’70s” are all asked to show up and get loud. It takes all kinds to form a crowd of crazed wrestling fans, so don’t be shy. Be sure to dress era-appropriate, and prepare yourself for a rowdy affair. Participants are encouraged to act angry, hoot and holler, fight one another, and swear like sailors. If you plan to attend, let filmmakers Phil Harder and Karl Raschke (yes, that would be the Baron’s son) know by dropping them an e-mail. There’s a special place for grandmas, grandpas (aged 60-75), and proficient French speakers in all of this, so let Harder and Raschke know if you fit the bill. Then borrow a flannel and a trucker hat from one of your hipster pals, and head to the Mainroom Saturday morning.

Go! Do this! Make me proud! -Eric

Eric’s Blog: My weekend at Iowa’s pro wrestling hall of fame

vachons hodge

Three of my favorite men in the world.

(Note: Sorry this is being posted three days after the weekend; the events wore me out!)

Professional wrestling’s legends descended on Waterloo, Iowa, this past weekend for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions at the newly christened National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. Despite the new name and affiliation with the NWHOF branch in Stillwater, Okla., this past weekend, like weekends past, celebrated the sport of professional wrestling in a classy but fun manner, offering this superfan a wonderful two days’ worth of events.

3:30 p.m. Friday, July 9: I arrived at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in time to bump into busy promoter Troy Peterson, who was hanging onto a ticket for me to ensure I could get into the question-and-answer session with Mick Foley and Terry Funk. The doors into the big convention room were open, and I could see about 20 young wrestlers sitting in chairs listening to Foley and Funk proselytizing from inside the ring. I couldn’t hear the advice they were proffering, but I did run into wrestler/co-promoter Travis Shillington, aka TS Aggressor, who thanked me for our interview earlier in the week and caught me up on the whereabouts of some wrestlers we both know.

4:30 p.m. Friday, July 9: The Q&A session started a little late, and since I had to run outside and feed my meter, I actually missed my chance to write my questions on an index card and hand it to the local radio DJ who emceed the talk. So I paid to get into a Q&A and didn’t even get to Q. Others did, though, and here are the finer points (really, the only points, since the DJ kept skimming through questions and disposing of some of them on the mat next to him; thanks, pal!):

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: