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    "Hitting the Streets" with Zach Bogle

    Most wrestling fans have probably fantasy booked their own wrestling cards. What would happen if those collegiate rivals had another match? Could this MMA fighter defeat a former All-American? While many have daydreamed about hosting their own wrestling event, Zach Bogle is actually making it a reality. Today, he will promote his second event under the name StaleMates Street League 2.

    At the height of the pandemic, Bogle started his YouTube show called StaleMates, which quickly gained attention by chronicling various disputes and "beefs" in the online wrestling community.

    "I used to do content stuff when I was in high school, but it was more thinking I could be like Jackass or whatever," Bogle said. "I always liked having a camera and doing stuff like that. So when the pandemic hit, I had nothing else to do. I just naturally started gathering the equipment, and started doing the show. I wanted to do something within the wrestling world. I didn't know exactly what, and then I broke down some Twitter beefs and just stupid stuff that was happening. I don't know if you remember, but during the pandemic, there was no wrestling going on, and in wrestling, people always find something to argue about."

    With the YouTube show in place, Bogle turned his attention to promoting his first event. He drew inspiration from another popular channel on the social media site known as Streetsbeefs, which currently has 2.41 million subscribers. The premise of Streetbeefs is fighters competing in unsanctioned MMA fights to settle gang disputes or conflicts. Bogle envisioned something similar for wrestling, albeit without the gangs and with much less violence.

    "At first, it was like, we didn't really know what we were doing," Bogle explained. "We knew we could get our friends to do it. That was the original idea. I don't know if you ever watched the YouTube channel Streetbeefs, where they just fight in the backyard. That was the original idea… except for the part about people fighting over gang stuff, obviously."

    From there, the idea basically steamrolled until the debut Street League show, which took place on Aug. 13.

    "If we roll a mat out in a cornfield in Iowa, we probably have to get insurance," Bogle said. So if you get insurance, that's going to cost money. So if we do that, we should probably sell tickets. Well, if we're going to sell tickets, we should have more than just one match. But if you have more than one match, then let's just get a venue. And then, just like, you see how it just started becoming an event. And then when the whole pandemic happened, there were all these RTC cards, like Rokfin and those more multiple channels, so they had theirs. And I'm like, 'Dude, we need to have our own.'"

    The first show was a mix of high-level wrestling and plenty of entertaining contests. The main event featured former NCAA champion, Kyven Gadson, defeating fellow former Cyclone Willie Miklus, but there were also Twitter personalities and MMA fighters on the card. The second show strives to have a similar balance.

    In the main event, UFC veteran and former Cleveland State wrestler Gerald Harris will take on another MMA fighter and former Missouri wrestler Mikey England. While Harris has been fighting professionally since 2006, he has never strayed far from his roots. He still coaches, and he even tried to enter the Midlands one year.

    "So Mikey is my cousin," Bogle detailed. "He was on the last one, and his match with Jimmy Schuster was by far the loudest, rowdiest crowd. Mikey likes putting on a show. Gerald is a big name, and he was in the UFC, he was on 'The Ultimate Fighter.' He was actually going to coincidentally be in town anyway. He was like, 'Hey, I'm going to be coaching at Preseason Nationals in Des Moines anyways; I'd love to come and do it.' He happened to weigh the same as Mikey."

    Zach Goldrosen, a former Muhlenberg wrestler, wanted to be on the second Street League show, so he launched his own Twitter campaign. He took on a teacher persona and posted videos scolding his potential opponents, or students in the gimmick. Ultimately, his challenge was accepted by MMA fighter Mike Widmer.

    "Zach put out a video, and I'm like, 'Yeah, that is exactly what we're looking for," Bogle explained. "I don't even know if he watched the first one, but I think he knew kind of what we were going for. And I paired him up with Mike Widmer, who is an MMA fighter out of Ohio. I have no clue what to expect out of these guys. I really have no clue. I didn't even know Mike had Twitter and then Zach was putting out those videos and then Mike's like, "Screw this guy. I'm going to put out my own videos." And now they're kind of just having fun with it. And I think they both super respect each other, but at the same time, they're both competitive dudes. It's going to be interesting. Zach has a win over Dylan Danis, which is cool. Mike's just like a... I mean, he's drinking raw eggs in his kitchen."

    In another unique match, Rebecca Roper, who is the wife of Northern Iowa assistant coach Lee Roper, will take on wrestling mom and rodeo rider Billie Sims. Neither has had a wrestling match to date, but both are taking the preparation for the bout quite seriously.

    "I wanted to do a match with two people who had never wrestled," Bogle said when asked how the match came together. "Becca hit me up, and then Billie, and they weighed the same. What's cool is they're taking it seriously. Becca is training every day. She is training with her husband. She's training at Waverly-Shell Rock. I mean, Dan Gable was giving her advice. Billie has never wrestled in a match. My understanding is she trained at club level, but never got the actual competition. This is going to be a super interesting matchup, because who knows what's going to happen?"

    Even though not all the matches at Street League 2 will feature folks contending for a spot at the World Team Trials, it still gives wrestlers the opportunity to compete in interesting matches.

    "You have thousands of wrestlers every year across the country," Bogle explains. "Then you go to the college level and that shrinks. Then after that, it goes for what a hundred people or so? You got people just sitting in offices and stuff that are professional athletes. If it was basketball, there would be a million-dollar contracts or whatever. Wrestling, we don't have that. So there should be some sort of outlet where it's like, you don't have to train all the time. But if you want to train for six weeks and do it, it's a 5k race. People go and run a 5k, they train for six weeks and they run it. This is the same thing, but you get to perform in your sport. So those are the kind of people that we're looking for. But we'll do anything."

    StaleMates Street League 3 takes place this Friday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. For those not in the area, you can watch the show on Patreon for $3.99, or as Bogle described it, "cheaper than a freaking Snickers and a Gatorade at Casey's."

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