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.

Ric Flair to be inducted into WaterWHOOOOO! (Waterloo) Hall of Fame

 

“Ass, gas or grass, sweetheart, nobody rides for free! WHOOOO!”

YES! I knew it! I knew he was going to be inducted! </heenan> According to a press release, Ric Flair is one of the 2013 class of inductees into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa. (Before I post the press release, let me just say that I recommended “Cowboy” Bill Watts for nomination last year. Totally not taking credit for anything, of course.) Here are more details.

WATERLOO, Iowa—The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum selected the Class of 2013 for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Ric Flair, “Cowboy” Bill Watts, and Chris Taylor have been chosen by the selection committee.

The George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame weekend will take place July 12-13 in Waterloo, Iowa.

Criteria for induction into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame include substantial impact on professional wrestling, general respect within the profession, and a strong amateur wrestling background.  The selection committee includes all living hall of fame members as well as a select group of wrestling historians.

Flair has one of the longest and most distinguished careers in professional wrestling. He was a 16-time world champion with titles in the NWA, WCW, and WWE. Watts was a successful wrestler and promoter. He was ranked in the top ten worldwide for over 25 years.

Taylor was an NCAA champion for Iowa State in 1972 and 1973, and a bronze medalist at the 1972 Olympics. He had a three-year career with the AWA beginning in 1974. Taylor died at the age of 29 in 1979.

Winners of the Frank Gotch Award, Lou Thesz Award, George Tragos Award, and Jim Melby Award will be released on November 12. A full schedule of events will be released at a later date.

For more information contact the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum at (319) 233-0745 or dgmstaff@nwhof.org

Also, make sure you bring lots and lots and lots of money for autographs, 8x10s and pictures with a replica title belt, because Ric Flair needs and loves money. He may even sell you his HOF plaque. Dead serious, though: I’m excited for hall of fame weekend every year, but this one might just complete my life. No offense to Carly or our new puppy. WHOOOOO! -Eric

Kurt Angle’s hall of fame acceptance speech reaches YouTube, not a dry eye in my house

Truth be told – shock of shockers – we don’t say a lot of nice things about Kurt Angle here at Stunt Granny. Of course, our MO here is to poke fun and the poke funnable, and we’re too big of assholes to stop doing that any time soon. As I like to say, we’re all adults, and we’re all making adult decisions, it’s just that some of us are superheroes doing so in the public eye. So if you want to drink moonshine all night and speed back to your Virginia Motel 6, have a ball. And if you want to no-show a hall of fame induction, so be it. Hey, we weren’t the only ones making light of the situation (I’m looking at you, Arda Ocal and Jerry Brisco).

However, Angle’s pre-taped acceptance speech has hit YouTube, and you know what? It’s pretty nice! Angle tells a short story about both Dan Gable (the museum’s namesake) and Lou Thesz (after whom the hall of fame was named), and you can tell he’s very appreciative of his award. And very tired. Man, take another nap in a median, will ya? Shopping for bridal gowns and flower girl baskets shouldn’t wear you out that much! -Eric

JBL keeps killing it in social media: first @JCLayfield, now a hall of fame recap on YouTube channel

What a great cap to a fun hall of fame weekend: John Bradshaw Layfield took to his YouTube channel yesterday to discuss his award, appearance and great time at the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Iowa. A number of his jokes come straight from his Lou Thesz Award acceptance speech, but they’re classic nonetheless. JBL is clearly a student of the game, calling Waterloo “the NWA hometown,” and he’s assuredly a fan of the sport, as he rattles off fact after fact about the legends and his peers. JBL says he felt like “a big fat kid at a chocolate factory” all weekend, and his emotion is clear here. -Eric

Stunt Granny Audio #193

Eric’s 12-shirt Mount Rushmore

It’s a three-man booth this week, with Dusty, Eric and Kevin discussing all sorts of relevant and pertinent and important professional wrestling topics. This week’s Top Five at Five includes John Cena wrestling CM Punk at Raw 1000, Daniel Bryan marrying AJ on the same show, Dolph Ziggler winning a Money in the Bank match and helping turn a stagnant Chris Jericho turn babyface, the rumors of who comprises TNA’s Aces & 8s stable (and why they probably aren’t calling themselves Dead Man’s Hand), and Kurt Angle no-showing the hall of fame inductions in Waterloo, Iowa. The boys also play a round of Match Game, plus they discuss what designs should go on the Mount Rushmore of pro wrestling T-shirts. All this and maybe a little bit more, if you’d just click the link below!

Stunt Granny Audio Show #193

Link

Kurt Angle scratched from Waterloo hall of fame, I may come back alive

The bullet I just dodged.

(Listen to Dusty and Jeremy laugh with glee at the idea of Kurt Angle murdering me with his bare hands.) According to PWTorch.com, Kurt Angle will no longer appear at this weekend’s George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions in Waterloo, Iowa, due to obligations with TNA (as if they didn’t know about this in advance to let him off the hook; I mean, come on, you want your top guy to be happy, so let him go to the place with an abundance of his two favorite things, black chicks and drugs). Angle was scheduled to be inducted into the hall of fame this year (and may still be, although in years past, the museum’s general rule was to only induct those who could appear in person). So while this is bad news for the many people who planned to travel to meet Angle and share in this special event, I personally couldn’t be happier, as now he won’t be able to kill me for my years of asshole posts about him. (Unless he sends Bob Holly after me.) -Eric – er, Jeremy -I mean, Justin Labar

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

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

Full results from 7/22 Impact Pro Wrestling show in Waterloo, Iowa

My homeboy-turned-traitor Matty Star about to lock up with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, tough guy!

Dan and I will have a thorough audio recap of this weekend’s George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame events at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, but to make sure we get a written version of this down, here are the results and some point-of-view analysis of Friday night’s Impact Pro Wrestling show at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo.

(EDIT: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the great job of long-time Iowa-area referee Bill Jensen, aka Referee Billy J. Always timely, always keeping the action moving, never in the way. Good stuff out of you.)

(1) James Jeffries won a No. 1 contender battle royal. The card kicked off with former Ring of Honor world champion Austin Aries making an unadvertised appearance in support of recently-turned-heel IPW champion Nicky Free. Those two wrestled at last year’s hall of fame weekend show, and Aries called it the greatest match in Iowa wrestling history. (It was good, I must say.) Aries then placed himself in the battle royal and said if he won, he and Free would simply take the night off and Waterloo wouldn’t get a title match. Aries then called one of the less-polished wrestlers into the ring and easily tossed him over the rope. As Aries gloated, the 6’6″, 280-pound Harley Jackson snuck up behind him, scaring him Aries through the ropes to ringside. The rest of the battle royal was what it was, and it came down to the 5’7″, 150-pound Jeffries (who was great last year as a slimy heel but has turned face since then) against a Confederate flag-wearing tag team (Mason Buck & Cousin Buddy, I believe); of course, the smaller Jeffries overcame the odds. Aries snuck back in the ring with a cartoonish “SHUSH!” of the crowd but was, again of course, eliminated. Time: 20:00. The crowd loved the finish, and Aries is as excellent at playing a “faces and heels” crowd like Waterloo as he is a “this is awesome” ROH crowd. Good way to set the table for the rest of the show.

(2) Colt Cabana def. “Torturous” Tony Sly. The thing with a crowd like the one in Waterloo, with a handful of children in the audience and with people who likely aren’t following anything outside WWE, is that they prefer to “boo the bad guy” more than to “cheer the good guy,” so Colt didn’t get much of a reaction. He did a good job working with Sly, who improves every year. Good match, just wish the crowd was more excitable. Time: 10:00.

(3) Marshall Scott def. Sparrow. Good match, nice moves from both guys. Sparrow plays a good babyface, and Scott continues to improve as a cocky heel. Sparrow’s valet, whose name I didn’t catch, also continues to improve from last year, but as a critique from someone who has no place giving one, more well-timed opportunities to rile up the crowd for her babyface wrestler would have helped the match even more. Time: 10:00.

Before intermission, Team Canada, made up of Matty Star (who may or may not have lived in my hometown for three years), Ryan Slade (who may or may not work at the gym where I work out) and AJ Smooth (who may or may not have been one of Cody Rhodes’ bag boys on Smackdown from Des Moines a few weeks back) angered the crowd with their maple-leafed tactics, roughing up the ring announcer when he wouldn’t sing the Canadian national anthem. Their opponents for the main event – Justin Decent, Ugly and Hacksaw Jim Duggan – hit the ring and cleared house, with Duggan telling the Canadians they wouldn’t be so tough when it’s 3-on-3. Man, Hacksaw can get an audience on its feet just by stomping to ringside. His charisma is phenomenal. And the guys from Team Canada make excellent, confident heels, and they got an awesome reaction from the Waterloo crowd.

(4) Montoya X def. The Big Picture. I wish I would have seen more of this match, but Dan and I chose to meet the wrestling legends at their respective tables before they left for the night. Montoya X is great, though, and I did see his top rope splash for the finish, which is a sight to behold. Imagine if Samoa Joe could do that and you have the idea.

(5) Nicky Free def. James Jeffries. Another good match, with Free playing a good cocky heel (he’d been a white-meat babyface for so long that this was a good change of pace for him) and Jeffries again as a good underdog. Rumors circulate that Free, who sat next to R-Truth at one of those ridiculous “press conferences” to promote WWE Capitol Punishment, is getting a look from WWE these days. No reason why not; he’s got good size, can work heel or face, and seems to be “moldable” in that WWE developmental sort of way. Time: 15:00.

(6) Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Justin Decent & Ugly def. Matty Star & Ryan Slade & AJ Smooth. Once again, Hacksaw lights up the crowd with a wink, a smile, a thumbs-up and a “HOOOOOO!” The Canada-vs-U.S. gimmick worked well, too. Team Canada used the usual slippery heel gimmicks – hugging each other for support, triple-teaming the babyface – to a great reaction. Decent and Ugly are hilarious characters on this roster and fit perfectly on a six-man team with Duggan, who won the match with his three-point stance clothesline. Time: 10:00.

Overall: This was a fun independent wrestling show. Not a knock on any of the wrestlers, but it’s not like there were any five-star matches on the card. But there wasn’t one bad match – in fact, all were good – and that’s saying something for independent wrestling. Of the 30 or so indy shows I’ve seen in the last 14 years, this will be the most memorable. Big ups to Troy Peterson for his promotion and booking (and for starting the show on time, which also needs to happen more often in indy wrestling), and big ups to Travis Shillington for helping these wrestlers continue on their paths.

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