David McFadden (left) and Vincenzo Joseph in the 2022 US Open finals (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Lost in the commotion of the US Open was the news of a new pro league on the horizon. A true professional league has always kind of been the Holy Grail of the wrestling world. Meet the new league. Same as the old league. The American Wrestling League is back and under new management. History shows that it won't work, but Uncle Jagger is here to tell you why it can work.
I think the biggest problem was that wrestlers retired at an earlier age thus leaving a shallow pool to choose from. That's not exactly true anymore with men and women consistently competing into their thirties. Let's face it, the endgame for competing past college is to make a world/Olympic team. The percentage of wrestlers that make that world team is microscopic. Now, a different circuit gives the wrestlers another venue to pursue while still doing what they love. You didn't make a world team? Sorry to hear that. You had a good season in the AWL while enjoying the camaraderie of a team again and got paid for it? Sounds pretty cool. The next reason is that it's 2022.
This isn't the age of once a week newsletters and trading videotapes. We're used to watching everything at home now and freestyle wrestling appeals to fans all over the world. My paisan Seth Petarra watches Kyrgyzstan Cadets just as a hobby. I'm sure there's a Kyrgyzstan Seth out there who's willing to watch the AWL. Zach and Tyler from Stalemates run a successful league with good marketing and a desire to give the fans what they want. The talent is available. The streaming options are available. Hopefully, the money is available. Will the fans show up? We shall see. Speaking of fans, you guys sent a few questions and I answered.
Who were you most impressed with at the US Open? @PelikanHead
Dan Verr in the Greco-Roman Masters division D at 58 kilograms. The guy is so good that nobody even entered the tournament at his weight. National champ without even breaking a sweat. Stud. Vincenzo Joseph and David McFadden were pretty good, too. I wouldn't mind seeing them mix it up a few more times.
What's the average setup time for your TV's? @Michwrestlinref
Mostly depends on the situation and how I pre-plan it, but I can get you four screens up and running in five minutes or less. I admit I flew too close to the sun last time and started feeling the radiation and it got weird. I may tone down the screens in the future. I may also quit smoking and stop being a curmudgeon, but there's no guarantee on any of these things.
No questions. Just appreciation for his repping of #PhillyWrestling to kick off #WrestlingShirtADayinMay. @WrestlingPhilly
You know I love my Philly wrestling! I hope you're all enjoying the brainchild of Jim Dutrow and judging by the tweets you definitely are! It's fun to see all the cool shirts folks have collected over the years and I've seen a few that I want for myself. Even Hoboken Mike on Survivor brought a Wesleyan Wrestling sweatshirt to the island knowing the show would be for the month of May. I say we take it a step further and go singlet a day in January and really get this cooking.
If you could dox the identity of any anonymous wrestling Twitter account, who would it be? @theGOATfollower
Karen at Flo is certainly someone whose identity people have speculated about. The thing with anonymous accounts is it's likely just someone you don't know. This isn't the Marvel Cinematic Universe where everyone is connected in some way. It's just random fans making random accounts to talk about the sport or have some fun while maintaining privacy. Isn't that right, Andy?
How do you handle your Twitter fame? Does it affect your day-to-day lifestyle? @gutbench69
Shockingly not a problem in everyday life. Put me in Iowa and you'll see the press on the runway like I'm "Weird Al" Yankovic.
Which NCAA wrestler would be best off signing an NIL with Marlboro? @jkos11
Well, we already missed the boat with Chad "Marlboro" Red, so I think that ship has sailed. Probably not a good idea anyway.
Do you....never mind don't want to upset you. @MaceikoW
As a matter of fact, I do.
That's it for this week, my friends! First X is in the books and things are looking spicy for Middle X, before all the returning champs inevitably win at Final X. And so it goes...