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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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.

Stunt Granny Audio 150.3 – The Leftovers Edition

This picture came up in a Google Image Search for "yesterday's garbage."

Dusty, Eric and Dan join you with Stunt Granny Audio 150.3. Ain’t no stoppin’ us nooooow! The trio figured since Jeremy and Kevin spent the first two parts of #150 discussing WWE that they would give equal time to TNA, which, of course, turned into complaining about how terrible TNA is. It’s like shooting fish strapped to the end of your shotgun, folks. What is Sting doing with this Joker gimmick? Why is Gunner winning matches on television? What about these TNA Knockouts and their, like, one-week BLOOD FEUD? Dan and Eric also happen to be on the road toward the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions, so grab a preview of that (before we post the review later today)!

Stunt Granny Audio 150.3

Stunt Granny Interview Series: Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Pretend that's this weekend and the guy on the right is Eric.

Oh, you read that right, tough guy: In an effort to promote this weekend’s George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum, Eric landed an interview with Frank Gotch Award recipient and all-time wrestling legend Hacksaw Jim Duggan! The Frank Gotch Award is given annually to an individual who brings positive recognition to professional wrestling through work outside the ring, and Duggan fits that mold perfectly. His strong family ties from childhood to today have inspired Duggan to give back to his community and for the greater good, and Eric asks him about all points in between. From being recruited by Fritz Von Erich to selling out Madison Square Garden against Andre the Giant to his award this weekend, Jim Duggan has seen it all and remained humble along the way. Give this interview a listen, tough guy! (18 minutes)

Stunt Granny Interview Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Stunt Granny Nostalgia Audio: “Playboy” Gary Hart

In this very special nostalgia edition of Stunt Granny Audio, Eric is joined by Dan (zourah) to discuss the recently re-released autobiography, “My Life in Wrestling… With a Little Help From My Friends” by long-time wrestling personality “Playboy” Gary Hart. The guys discuss various aspects of this lengthy but hugely informative book, in its second printing due to (well-earned) popular demand. Dan and Eric join Hart in the Dallas territory during its formative years, in the Carolinas as he developed certain important characters, and behind the booking desk and the managerial curtain as he guided stables and rosters of wrestlers to greatness, only to feel disrespected, then leave, and then see his hard work fall apart without him there to pick up the pieces. A fantastic read, and a fun audio. (Also, the guys talk about the upcoming George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions and what they’re looking forward to when they attend.)

Stunt Granny Nostalgia Audio: “Playboy” Gary Hart

Jim Ross excited to see fans and friends, turns down my offer of booze

Go Hawkeyes... er, I mean, Boomer Sooner!!

As any good journalist knows, sometimes you have to create your own news. That’s exactly what I did this morning by posting a question on Jim Ross’ BBQ Q&A about his appearance July 22-23 at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa. (If it gets buried, look for user “EricN.”) I asked:

JR, I sent an anecdote in a while back about meeting Danny Hodge at the wrestling museum in Waterloo, Iowa, and it couldn’t possibly thrill me more to know you’ll be in town this year, along with Danny, Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Baron Von Raschke, and all the other greats (plus “How Ya Doin'” Colt Cabana)! That weekend will be chock-full of fun, including a golf outing, your training session with Gerald Brisco, the wrestling show on Friday night, an autograph signing, a roundtable discussion, the banquet itself, and of course all of the interaction. A) Cheesy question, but what are you most looking forward to? B) I’ve read it somewhere before, but what is your mixed drink of choice? If you choose to partake, by god, the first one’s on me.

And he kindly and promptly responded:

Seeing the fans and my friends is always the best part of functions such as this. One isn’t guaranteed when they we will see each other again. I’ve been on the wagon. Likely will pass on the alcohol but thanks nonetheless.

You know, I appreciate his honesty, and I don’t care if I have to go across town to Zippy’s BBQ Shack to get the Wrestling’s Kind of ‘Cue some tasty ribs and a side of baked beans, I’m going to roll out the red carpet for this man. And everyone else, too. Take note, legends: I lived in Waterloo for three years, so if you need anything, use me for all I’m worth. I let Carly do the same thing every day. -Eric

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