Shelton Benjamin part of Impact Pro’s Hall of Fame Classic tournament next month, full weekend details & schedule

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

Impact Pro Wrestling (unaffiliated with Impact Wrestling, a/k/a TNA) has announced a new eight-man Hall of Fame Classic tournament on July 21 in Waterloo, Iowa, part of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame weekend, headlined by Shelton Benjamin.

FIRST-ROUND (12 p.m. on Friday, July 21):

-Shelton Benjamin vs. Shane Strickland (a/k/a Killshot from Lucha Underground)
-ACH vs. Penta El Om (a/k/a Pentagon Jr. from Lucha Underground)
-Chuck Taylor vs. A.J. Smooth (2017 Ring of Honor Top Prospects Tournament)
-Curt Stallion vs. Myron Reed

SEMI-FINALS & FINALS (6:30 p.m., Friday, July 21)

For information on attending, email HOFCLASSIC@NWHOF.ORG or call 319-233-0745. (Also, Follow on Twitter @iwpro and Facebook at www.facebook.com/impactprowrestling)

The Impact Pro tournament is part of a weekend that includes a National Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame museum tour and Hall of Fame ceremony, among other happenings.

Distinguished guests include: Gerry Brisco, Jim Ross, J.J. Dillon, American Alpha (Chad Gable & Jason Jordan), Stan Hansen, Sabu, Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Larry Hennig, Baron Von Raschke, Magnum T.A., Shelton Benjamin, Penta El 0M, Charlie Thesz, Bruce Hart, and Olympic Gold Medalist Dan Gable.

(Editor’s Note: PWTorch’s own Bruce Mitchell and I also plan to attend again this year and we highly recommend it. It’s a great gathering of ardent wrestling fans who are interested in learning about the history of pro wrestling (and amateur wrestling) at the Dan Gable Museum and being part of history for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Hall of Fame ceremony, all in a cool small town on the banks of the Cedar River. I recommend this weekend for pro wrestling fans. If you are driving distance from Waterloo, Iowa, this is a really cool relatively inexpensive more intimate option for wrestling fans of all eras and ages compared to, say, WrestleMania Weekend. It’d be great to meet PWTorch readers. Below are three press releases with a really good detailed overview of everything taking place this weekend.)


FULL SCHEDULE

Thursday, July 20
5:30 p.m. – Social at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum for HOF Inductees and All-Access Pass Holders. Includes food and beverage. (All-access pass holders and distinguished guests only).

9:30 p.m.: Open mic and pro wrestling trivia.

Friday, July 21
9 a.m. – National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum opens.

10 a.m. – Documentary plays in the theater at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum.

11:30 a.m. – Pro Wrestling Evaluation with at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Open to All-Access Pass Holders ($10 Admission for non-Pass Holders).

1 p.m. – Hall of Fame Classic. Eight-person Tournament with the first round held at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center with finals held at IPW show in the evening. ($10 Admission for non-Pass Holders).

2:30 p.m. – Live podcast. Open to All-Access Pass Holders and distinguished guests ($20 Admission for non-Pass Holders).

6 p.m. – Doors open to the Impact Pro Wrestling show at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

7 p.m. – Impact Pro Wrestling show starts at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Front row ticket included for All-Access Pass Holders (Tickets are $25 for Ringside and $15 for General Admission for non-Pass Holders)

9:30 p.m. – After Party for All-Access Pass Holders and distinguished guests.

Saturday, July 22 
10 a.m. – Doors open at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum for All-Access Pass Holders.

10:30 a.m. – Open forum on independent professional wrestling.

11 a.m. – Pro Wrestling Iowa is hosting a podcast. The independent pro wrestling panel is at 11 a.m.

Noon – Doors open at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum to general public ($10 Admission for non-Pass Holders).

12:30 p.m. – Salute to the Legacy of the Hennig Family at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum.

2 p.m. – Autograph signing with professional wrestling legends at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. All-Access Pass Holders allowed to enter first. $20 Admission for non-Pass Holders required (individual signers will charge).

5 p.m. – Hall of Fame Reception at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

6 p.m. – Induction Banquet at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

7 p.m. – Induction Ceremony at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. All-Access Pass includes banquet ticket. Banquet Tickets are $60 per ticket for non-Pass Holders.


PRESS RELEASE from June 16

Inaugural Hall of Fame Classic taking place July 21.

WATERLOO, Iowa—The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum is hosting the first ever Hall of Fame Classic during the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. This eight-man tournament will take place during the Impact Pro Wrestling Show on Friday, July 21 at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

The Hall of Fame Classic features eight of the top independent professional wrestlers in the country.

Round one is at 1 p.m. The final match takes place during the Impact Pro Wrestling Show at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the talent evaluation, Hall of Fame Classic, and IPW show can be purchased for $35 for ringside and $25 for general admission. Call (319) 233-0745 or e-mail hofclassic@nwhof.org to order tickets.

“We really want to make this a premiere event each year going forward,” said Troy Peterson, owner of Impact Pro Wrestling and the creator of the tournament. “We are excited about the talent assemble for the inaugural Hall of Fame Classic.”

The eight-man field includes:

Shelton Benjamin

6’2″, 248 pounds from Minneapolis, Minnesota

Benjamin is a 17-year veteran that has held numerous titles throughout the world. He is a three-time WWE intercontinental champion, two-time WWE Tag Team Champion, one-time WWE US champion, and two-time of Ring of Honor Tag Team champion. He was also a former collegiate national champion wrestler and two-time NCAA All-American for the University of Minnesota.

Shane Strickland (wrestles as Killshot in Lucha Underground)
5’11”, 190 pounds from Tacoma, Washington

Shane is an eight-year veteran of professional wrestling. He is best known for his time in Lucha Underground wrestling as Killshot. He has held titles in Lucha Underground and CZW. Strickland brings an incredible athleticism with him to the ring each time out.

Chuck Taylor

30, 6’2”, 212 pounds from Murray, Kentucky

Chuck is a 14-year veteran who is considered one of the most entertaining wrestlers in the world. His style is truly unique. He has wrestled regularly for Chikara, Evolve, and PWG. Although known for his hilarious antics in the ring, he is well respected throughout the world for his technical ability.

AJ Smooth
32, 6’1”, 240 pounds, Iowa

AJ Smooth is 13-year veteran of professional wrestling. He is the longest reigning heavyweight champion in Impact Pro Wrestling history. He successfully defended that title against Bob Holly, and has victories over many of the top stars in wrestling. He is considered by many to be the top professional wrestler in the Midwest.

Penta el Zero M (Pentagon Jr in Lucha Underground)
5’11”, 215 pounds from Mexico City, Mexico

Pentagon is a nine-year veteran and is one of the top professional wrestlers in the world. He has held multiple titles in his native Mexico including the AAA World tag team championship. He was also Lucha Underground and AAW champion in the United States. Penta has never wrestled in Iowa. That changes on July when he enters Impact Pro Wrestling’s Hall of Fame Classic.

Curt “The Lonestar” Stallion
6’1”, 192 pounds from Dallas, Texas

Curt Stallion has wrestled all over the country in his short time in wrestling. He was a competitor in the 2017 Ring of Honor Top Prospects Tournament. Stallion’s recent matches have really put him on the map as one of the top up and coming wrestlers in the country.

“Hot Fire” Myron Reed
6’0” 190 pounds, St. Louis, Missouri

At just 20 years old, Reed is the youngest competitor in the Hall of Fame Classic. He has wrestled for just over one year. In that short time he has wrestled for Ring of Honor, AAW, Glory Pro, and may top promotions throughout the country. His highflying style has delighted fans everywhere.

ACH
5’10”, 190 pounds from Austin Texas.

ACH is a 10-year veteran of professional wrestling. He is known for his high-flying ability that has delighted fans wherever he goes. He has won numerous titles throughout the United States and wrestled in Ring of Honor for 5 years. ACH has wrestled in similar tournaments to the Hall of Fame Classic in the U.S. and Japan.


PRESS RELEASE – APR. 7, 2017

Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame finalizes induction class

WATERLOO, Iowa—The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum has finalized the Class of 2017 for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend, which takes place on July 20-22.

Paul Orndorff and Dusty Rhodes will be inducted along with Magnum T.A. (Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award), Stan Hansen (Frank Gotch Award), Mike Van Arsdale (George Tragos Award), and Scott Williams (Jim Melby Award).

Distinguished guests confirmed to appear include Gerry Brisco, Jim Ross, JJ Dillon, Brian Blair, Penta el 0M Jim Brunzell, Larry Hennig, Baron Von Raschke, Dan Gable, Wade Keller, William Murdock, Jason Sanderson, Rob Schamberger, Matt Riddle, Chuck Taylor, ACH, and Charlie Thesz.

“I’m very excited about this year’s induction class,” said Gerry Brisco, 2005 inductee and president of the selection committee. “All of this year’s recipients represent the highest standard in our profession. This will be another great weekend for fans and fellow wrestlers to enjoy.”

A new event for 2017 will be the Hall of Fame Classic presented by Impact Pro Wrestling. This one-day tournament takes place on Friday, July 21 at 1 p.m. The finals will take place during the evening professional wrestling show.

There will also be a talent evaluation with current WWE scout Gerry Brisco. For more information on how to attend, e-mail Troy Peterson, owner of Impact Pro Wrestling, at wresshow@yahoo.com.

All-Access Passes are available for a $115 through May 31, 2017. After May 31, 2017, All-Access Passes will be $130.

They can be pre-ordered by contacting the Dan Gable Museum at dgmstaff@nwhof.org or by calling (319) 233-0745.

All-Access Passes allow attendees an opportunity to attend all weekend events, including a ticket to the Hall of Fame Banquet, a front row seat to the Impact Pro Wrestling show (while available), and preferred access at the autograph signing.

There are also events that are limited to All-Access Pass Holders and distinguished guests.

Paul Orndorff made his wrestling debut in 1976 with stints in Continental Wrestling Association, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, Southeastern Championship Wrestling, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling, and New Japan Pro Wrestling. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff made his WWE debut in 1984 and participated in the original Wrestlemania main event against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. Following his stint in the WWE, he competed in WCW and Smoky Mountain Wresting. Orndorff was also a football standout at the University of Tampa before a one-year stint in the World Football League.

Dusty Rhodes made his professional wrestling debut in 1967. During the 1970s, he competed in the AWA, WWF, and throughout the NWA territories, where he was a three-time NWA champion. Known as “The American Dream,” Rhodes left the NWA in 1990, and returned to the WWE with rivalries with Big Boss Man, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. After winding down his in-ring career, Rhodes was involved behind the scenes with NXT, where he helped train a new generation of competitors. Rhodes played football for West Texas State and in the Continental Football League. He passed away on June 11, 2015.

Terry Allen (Magnum T.A.) will receive the Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award. The award is given to an individual in wrestling who has taken the skills of the sport into the realm of public service. Allen began his career competing in Championship Wrestling from Florida and Mid-South Wrestling, before becoming a national superstar in Jim Crockett Promotions. His career was cut short at its peak due to a tragic car accident on October 14, 1986. He worked behind the scenes in JCP and World Championship Wrestling. Allen inspired millions by overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds after the injury.

Stan Hansen will receive the Frank Gotch Award, which is given to a wrestler who, through their athleticism and toughness in the ring, brought a higher level of respect to professional wrestling from both inside and outside the business. Hansen started in professional wrestling after playing college football for West Texas State University. He was trained by the Funk family, and wrestled in territories around the United States, including headlining a Shea Stadium show against Bruno Sammartino. He is a former AWA World Heavyweight Champion, and had a 30-year career wrestling in Japan, where he became the most popular foreign wrestler in history. His book, “The Last Outlaw,” was published in 2012.

Mike Van Arsdale will receive the George Tragos Award, which is given to an exceptionally competitive wrestler who adapted his wrestling skills and competitive nature to excel in Mixed Martial Arts. Van Arsdale was a three-time All-American, an NCAA champion in 1988 for Iowa State, and a freestyle World Cup champion in 1997. The Waterloo, Iowa, native was a state wrestling champion for West High School as well as a junior national champion and a junior world runner-up. He compiled an 8-5 Mixed Martial Arts record from 1998-2006.

Scott Williams will receive the Jim Melby Award posthumously for excellence in professional wrestling writing or historical preservation. He co-authored the autobiographies of Bill Watts, Terry Funk, and Jim Duggan, and was an integral part of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for years. Williams also wrote the book “Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of ECW” as well as serving in the first Gulf War. He passed away on August 17, 2016.


PRESS RELEASE – FEB. 6, 2017

Gerald Brisco to conduct talent evaluation during Hall of Fame weekend

WATERLOO, Iowa–For the seventh consecutive year, Hall of Famer Gerald Brisco will evaluate professional wrestlers during the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Hall of Fame weekend in Waterloo, Iowa. The event will be held at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center on Friday, July 21 starting at 11:30 a.m.

Each year, wrestlers from across the country get in the ring in hopes of getting to the next level. This evaluation is open to both men and women who are active wrestlers, referees, or managers.

This is an incredible opportunity to get in front of a current WWE talent scout. Brisco only conducts three evaluations worldwide each year, including Waterloo. Last year, three wrestlers from the evaluation were selected to go to Florida to attend a tryout at the WWE Performance Center. After the evaluation, Brisco, JJ Dillon and a guest (past guests include Jim Ross, Terry Funk, and Danny Hodge) will speak to the group.

The format for the evaluation is that each wrestler will wrestle a full match with an introduction. This will immediately precede the first round matches of the Hall of Fame Classic, an eight-man elimination tournament.

Brisco will run optional drills and provide instruction to those chosen for a paid tryout. This will take place before the evaluation begins.

Several independent wrestling promoters throughout the Midwest will watch the evaluation as well. This is a great networking opportunity for any professional wrestler.

Registration opens today. Cost of the evaluation is $150. All proceeds benefit the Dan Gable Museum and the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization.

In order to be considered, participants must send a resume including a picture and the following information: height, weight, age, name of trainer, and a brief list of career highlights to Troy Peterson at WRESSHOW@YAHOO.COM. The evaluation is open to both men and women of all experience levels.


PRESS RELEASE – DEC. 22, 2016

Paul Orndorff and Dusty Rhodes to enter Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame

WATERLOO, Iowa—Two of professional wrestling’s most memorable figures will be inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Paul Orndorff and Dusty Rhodes will be inducted into the 2017 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend on July 20-22.

“The Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame weekend continues to build every year,” said Gerry Brisco, 2005 inductee and president of the selection committee. “I’m excited that Paul and Dusty will be recognized for their significant achievements in professional wrestling. This is a huge honor for both.”

Paul Orndorff made his wrestling debut in 1976 with stints in Continental Wrestling Association, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, Southeastern Championship Wrestling, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling, and New Japan Pro Wrestling. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff made his WWE debut in 1984 and participated in the original Wrestlemania main event against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. Following his stint in the WWE, he competed in WCW and Smoky Mountain Wresting. Orndorff was also a football standout at the University of Tampa before a one-year stint in the World Football League.

Dusty Rhodes made his professional wrestling debut in 1967. During the 1970s, he competed in the AWA, WWF, and throughout the NWA territories, where he was a three-time NWA champion. Known as “The American Dream,” Rhodes left the NWA in 1990, and returned to the WWE with rivalries with Big Boss Man, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. After winding down his in-ring career, Rhodes was involved behind the scenes with NXT, where he helped train a new generation of competitors. Rhodes played football for West Texas State and in the Continental Football League. He passed away on June 11, 2015.

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum will release winners of the Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award, Frank Gotch Award, George Tragos Award, and Jim Melby Award in 2017.

Distinguished guests confirmed to appear include Gerry Brisco, Jim Ross, JJ Dillon, Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Larry Hennig, Baron Von Raschke, Wade Keller, William Murdock, Rob Schamberger, Matt Riddle, and Charlie Thesz.

A new event for 2017 will be the Hall of Fame Classic presented by Impact Pro Wrestling. This one-day tournament takes place on Friday, July 21 in addition to the evening professional wrestling show.

The tournament is an invitational featuring eight of the best wrestlers in the world. The first participant announced is former UFC fighter Matt Riddle. The other seven participants will be announced as they are confirmed.

E-mail Troy Peterson at wresshow@yahoo.com for more information.

All-Access Passes cost $130.

They can be pre-ordered by contacting the Dan Gable Museum at dgmstaff@nwhof.org or by calling (319) 233-0745.

All-Access Passes allow attendees an opportunity to attend all weekend events, including a ticket to the Hall of Fame Banquet, a front row seat to the Impact Pro Wrestling show (while available), and preferred access at the autograph signing.

There are also events that are limited to All-Access Pass Holders and distinguished guests.

George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Induction Weekend Schedule (additional details available in Spring 2017).

Thursday, July 20
5:30 p.m. – Social at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum for HOF Inductees and All-Access Pass Holders. Includes food and beverage. (All-access pass holders and distinguished guests only).

9:30 p.m.: Open mic and pro wrestling trivia.

Friday, July 21
9 a.m. – National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum opens.

10 a.m. – Documentary plays in the theater at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum.

11:30 a.m. – Pro Wrestling Evaluation with at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Open to All-Access Pass Holders ($10 Admission for non-Pass Holders).

1 p.m. – Hall of Fame Classic. Eight-person Tournament with the first round held at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center with finals held at IPW show in the evening. ($10 Admission for non-Pass Holders).

2:30 p.m. – Live podcast. Open to All-Access Pass Holders and distinguished guests ($20 Admission for non-Pass Holders).

6 p.m. – Doors open to the Impact Pro Wrestling show at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

7 p.m. – Impact Pro Wrestling show starts at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Front row ticket included for All-Access Pass Holders (Tickets are $25 for Ringside and $15 for General Admission for non-Pass Holders)

9:30 p.m. – After Party for All-Access Pass Holders and distinguished guests.

Saturday, July 22 
10 a.m. – Doors open at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum for All-Access Pass Holders.

10:30 a.m. – Open forum on independent professional wrestling.

Noon – Doors open at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum to general public ($10 Admission for non-Pass Holders).

12:30 p.m. – Salute to the Legacy of the Hennig Family at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum.

2 p.m. – Autograph signing with professional wrestling legends at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. All-Access Pass Holders allowed to enter first. $20 Admission for non-Pass Holders required (individual signers will charge).

5 p.m. – Hall of Fame Reception at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

6 p.m. – Induction Banquet at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

7 p.m. – Induction Ceremony at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. All-Access Pass includes banquet ticket. Banquet Tickets are $60 per ticket for non-Pass Holders.


 

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