Stunt Granny Audio: @wrestlingmuseum George Tragos/Lou Thesz Hall of Fame Special

(L to R) Cool dudes.

(L to R) Cool dudes.

Eric and Dan tag-team this special edition of Stunt Granny audio, discussing the events of this year’s George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa. (Whew!) The guys discuss their growing gang of traveling wrestling fans who descend on Waterloo each year, and all of the cool stuff they saw and people they met. From the training session to the closing speeches by Edge and Charlie Thesz, and all of the Jim Brunzell stories, beers and Doughy Joey’s pizza in between, it was a fantastic weekend that, as Jim Ross and Gerald Brisco believe, you need to attend in order to appreciate. Check it out!

Stunt Granny Audio Show: Stunt Granny Audio:George Tragos/Lou Thesz Hall of Fame Special

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.

Kurt Angle pissed about going wedding dress shopping… er, Jerry Brisco auctioning his hall of fame plaque

Kinda fuzzy, but hopefully you can make out Jerry Brisco holding Kurt Angle’s plaque, and of course Kurt Angle there in spirit.

(Updates: According to Prowrestling.net, the Dan Gable Museum will send Kurt Angle his trophy, and it sounds like the auction winner will get his money back. Still, read on for drama that writes itself! Then give a listen to our hall of fame edition of the Stunt Granny Audio. Thanks!)

Here’s dual coverage between us and Prowrestling.net: Kurt Angle was unable to attend last night’s George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where he was to accept the honor of being a member of the 2012 hall of fame class. Unfortunately, due to what was originally reported as TNA contractual obligations but turned out to be wedding plans, Angle was unable to attend, but recorded an acceptance speech on video. (He needs Tout!)

According to Matt Stietz’s report posted at Prowrestling.net, emcee Arda Ocal introduced the video, the screen was lowered from the ceiling, the laptop screen appeared, but the next thing we saw was a close-up of Kurt Angle, possibly reading off a piece of paper, with no sound. Murmurs throughout the crowd joked that the audio no-showed, and rather than fumble with the footage, the laptop was shut down, the screen was brought up, and Ocal asked if Jerry Brisco would like to accept on Angle’s behalf.

Brisco, a long-time proponent of the hall of fame and museum, proceeded to explain that wrestlers are inducted based on the likelihood that they’ll show up to accept, and others have been declined entry due to no-showing. Brisco then announced that he had a $200 bid in his pocket, and would give Angle’s plaque to anyone with a higher bid. I won’t throw the winner under the bus here, but let’s just say that the museum made an extra $250 that night thanks to one giving fan.

Since last night, Angle has caught wind of this, with Prowrestling.net gathering the following Tweets:

TNA wrestler Kurt Angle isn’t pleased that WWE’s Gerald Brisco auctioned off his Hall of Fame plaque at the Waterloo, Iowa event on Saturday. “Jerry Birsco made a mockery out of me and the Dan Gable Museum Hall of Fame by auctioning off my award,” Angle wrote. “This award is a huge honor. (You) spit on me.

“Due to obligations I had with my wedding, I could not attend HOF. I even made a 10-minute video proudly accepting this great honor. I’m disappointed I couldn’t go, but devastated that Jerry gave away my award. Very classy, Jerry.”

Yes, very classy, Kettle, very classy. Frankly, Brisco had every right to do this, as he gives more time to this museum than most and was understandably upset at a perceived lack of interest and professionalism. (As Matt alluded to on Dot Net, Brisco and Jim Ross both had more choice words for Angle after the ceremony that probably shouldn’t be posted here, but that was the general sentiment at the end of the evening. By the way, JR LOVES Crown and Coke. Well, Crown and Crown and Coke.) Not to say I don’t understand Angle’s point of view – I was once scheduled 6 months in advance to be recognized as the nicest person in my neighborhood, but canceled five days in advance because my copy of “Green Acres: Season 1” came in the mail – but Brisco was right, and the museum somehow benefited. Side note: I wonder what Bret Hart thinks of all of this. -Eric

Stunt Granny Interview Series: Kyle Klingman of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

From L to R (visible): Larry Hennig ring jacket, Mr. Perfect singlet, a headlock-workout head with springs, a cast of the French Angel's huge head, Team Angle singlet and kickpads, Olympic singlet, photo of Ken Patera & Brad Rheingans, Gene Kiniski ring jacket

As part of our coverage of the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum, Eric Nelson had the chance to talk with Kyle Klingman, the museum’s executive director, about the past weekend’s events. Kyle discusses his role at the museum and how the museum itself and the pro wrestling hall of fame weekend has evolved, as well; how planning is truly a year-round process; how wrestlers are inducted and given awards; and what it means to Kyle himself to have so many legends under one roof. They share a few anecdotes from past induction weekends, and Kyle offers up one name on his “wish list” for the future. All this and more, so click to listen!

Stunt Granny Interview: Kyle Klingman

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