What can I say other than wow! I don’t know where to begin. This past weekend has been one of the greatest adventures of my life. Getting to experience firsthand what it is that goes into setting up a wrestling event. From booking, to setting up, to maintaining the event it was all a whirlwind experience I won’t soon forget. I want to convey the entire weekend to all of the readers which is hard to do with just words. Luckily I was able to film the entire event from beginning to end, and the videos will be on YouTube over this upcoming week so keep an eye out here for the links. Anyways I guess the conception of the event is the best place to start.
The 1st annual Germanfest Wringenmeisterschaft Tournament (GWT) is the culmination of many years and many brainstorming sessions from wrestling legend, The Pride of Montague County Johnny Mantell. The event takes place at Germanfest in Muenster, Texas. (Total attendance for Germanfest 2010 over a 3 day period was 51,000.) When asked about it Mantell said, “I have just wanted to do something original and that others said cannot be done.” Thus the formation of what is being dubbed as the “Woodstock of Wrestling” was conceived. Johnny Mantell’s idea was what if instead of just having matches we bring in judges to critique the participants matches, but it didn’t stop there. What if instead of just random judges what if we brought in legends of the business? Legends such as Mando and Chavo Guerrero Sr, WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, Colonel Buck Robley, Killer Karl Kox, Stan “the Lariat” Hansen, Tugboat Taylor, Chris Youngblood, Iceman King Parsons and more! Mantell didn’t stop there either! Not only did he want the best judges, but he wanted the best independent talent. Entries came from all over the United States. Also involved were legendary referees such as Speed Bump, James Beard, and Ric Manning. But it didn’t stop there! Johnny also wanted to help get these guys’ feet in the door. So he brought in NOAH, a wrestling company out of Japan, who would come out and scout the talent and possibly offer them contracts. Along with multiple wrestling magazines from around the country and also several websites, wrestleheat.com being one of those sites with yours truly as the representative with full access to the judges, competitors, and access to the wrestler’s only hotel so I could get the full story.
Thursday, day 1, started with participants traveling in from across the country, it also featured Chavo Guerrero Sr. aka Chavo Classic doing a wrestling clinic for the talent. Chavo took questions from the wrestlers and went over the finer details with them. Topics discussed were how to run the ropes correctly; how to take bumps properly; what to do if someone is injured; etc. Afterwards the last of the paperwork was filled out and everyone was given their passes for the event.
Friday, day 2, The day started out with a meeting at the hotel in Gainesville, Texas during the meeting the participants were shown the judge’s score cards for the first time, and also shown the championship belt for the first time. This belt wasn’t one of those cheap plastic ones from Wal-Mart. You could tell just by looking at it how much detail and time the creator, Top Rope Belts, dedicated to it. It looks ten times better than piece of $#!+ spinning title WWE uses. Competitors were also given a second clinic just for This would be the day for participants to actually get into the ring, shake off the nervousness, and work with people they aren’t used to so that they can get a feel for how the others work. This day was also so the competitors could get a feel for how the judges would be scoring them for the actual tournament bracket on Sunday.
Saturday, day 3, this day was being used mainly for the judges to decide who out of all of the talented guys that entered would end up in the 32 man bracket. Saturday was also the VIP access party which originally was planned on being $50 to get into and be able to meet and greet the competitors and the judges for pictures and autographs, but management decided all fans of the sport deserve to be treated like a VIP so the $50 entry fee was lowered to COMPLETELY FREE! The night ended back at the lounge of the Comfort Inn in Gainesville where all of the judges, refs, and talent were staying. I was allowed access to it and got to hear and see some amazing stuff, but needless to say cameras were not allowed haha.
Sunday, day 4, the day everyone had been waiting for the champion of GWT would be crowned today. Only problem was cold front blew in along with several inches of rain and the entire event so far had been outside. So the event was delayed to see if the rain would stop. After 2 hours of being behind schedule the ruling came down to move the ring to a pavilion nearby. Now I’m not sure on the average time of ring tear down and ring assembly, but due to the great sportsmanship of everyone working the event the ring was down, moved, and back up in approximately 30 minutes. So turns out we would have a championship after all. These matches were top notch as everyone was laying it all on the line for a chance to be dubbed the first ever independent world champion and to have their name and picture grace the wall of The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in New York. During the event one of the members of the audience was quoted when asked by a friend what they were doing she said “watching that (match) it’s real wrestling not like that stuff on Monday nights!” The championship match came down to seasoned wrestlers Tim Storm and the Tokyo Monster Kahagas. This main event was more than worthy of being a WrestleMania main event. It featured 2 very talented individuals who didn’t miss a single spot, the crowd was extremely into the match, and it also had the use weapons specifically a steel chair and a kendo stick. After 18 minutes Tim Storm was crowned the GWT champion. To see the match in its entirety keep checking back for the links to videos.
As we look into the future GWT will most definitely be back next year with more participants, more legends, more fans, and more action, and you can guarantee that I will be there. But until then there are Indy wrestling promotions occurring constantly across the US so I recommend you go to these events. Who knows the guy you think is the no name of today may be the WWE champion of tomorrow. Keep an eye out for more posts as I am not near finished with my GWT 2011 coverage. The next post will feature interviews from legends such as Chavo Classic, Mando Guerrero, The Cowboy Johnny Mantell, Colonel Buck Robley, several participants, and of course the Independent World Champion Tim Storm.
Here is the website for the GWT.
As always questions, comments, or concerns can be directed to Robertstnnr33@aol.com. I answer each email personally.