According to the Catch Wrestling Alliance, there will be a World Catch Wrestling Championship in 2016. The date is currently set for July 3, and will be held in Humboldt, Iowa, a strong-hold of all styles of wrestling, and the hometown of Frank Gotch. This is their third annual event, but the first to be named after Frank Gotch.
Catch wrestling rules allow a competitor to win via a submission hold (all holds legal other than chokes and small joint manipulation), or a 3 second pin. Many events allow for a best two of three matches for competitors, though official rules for the Frank Gotch World Championship have not yet been released (more information can be found HERE).
With FILA no longer putting on world events, this announcement comes as huge news.
For our readers who do not know who Frank Gotch is, here is some history. He didn’t begin wrestling until his teens where he developed a reputation as a fast learner and a tough competitor. He finished most of his opponents with his widely-known toe-hold, similar to fellow catch-wrestler, Josh Barnett.
During his long and winning career, the toughest opponent, or at least, the most famous of his opponents, was Georg Hackenschmidt, a wrestler from Estonia, and the highly dominant world champion. When the two finally met in the ring after three years of trash talking, the match was controversial, with Hackenschmidt claiming Gotch had been oiled to make him difficult to takedown.
Both men remained on their feet for two hours before Gotch secured the first decisive takedown. Hackenschmidt was bloody from Gotch’s head-fighting, now a common staple of wrestling. Gotch secured a toe-hold, and Hackenschmidt eventually had to tap. Both men were cleaned up, and were supposed to have a best two out of three competition. However, Hackenschmidt refused to return to the ring, declaring Gotch to be the World Champion.
He later said, “After going nearly two hours with him, my muscles became stale. My feet also gave out. I had trained constantly against the toe hold and had strained the muscles of my legs. When I found myself weakening, I knew there was no use continuing and that I had no chance to win. That was the reason I conceded the championship to him. I have no desire to wrestle him again. A return match would not win back my title.”
A few years after this statement they did rematch, Gotch defeating Hackenschmidt within 30 minutes with another toe hold.
Gotch was the first American to win a World Wrestling title, which makes the naming of this upcoming competition all the more special. It is in honor of the man who brought Catch Wrestling to the big time in the United States.
With Catch Wrestling aiming to make a comeback in the united states, this will be the largest and most prestigious event to date in recent times. Grapplers everywhere who are able should attend and compete if possible.