The Catch Wrestling Alliance Tries to Resurrect the Sport of Frank Gotch

Earlier this month the Catch Wrestling Alliance held their inaugural invitational catch wrestling tournament with the hopes of resurrecting the submission grappling sport of Frank Gotch, "Farmer" Burns and other wrestling luminaries of a century ago.

If you are having trouble watching the video you can also view it on youtube.

Advertised as the "Rebirth of Catch Wrestling," the Catch Wrestling Alliance held their inaugural invitational at UCLA's John Wooden Center on June 7th, earlier this month. The goal, according to the event's producer, Raul Ramirez of the Catch Wrestling Alliance, is to resurrect the sport of Frank Gotch, Martin "Farmer" Burns, Joe Stecher, Earl Caddock, Tom Jenkins, and other legendary champions.

Better known as catch-as-catch-can wrestling a century ago, it was a style of wrestling that also allowed for "pain holds" to force an opponent onto his back or submit. In other words it was submission wrestling. In the early 20th century it was not only the most popular grappling style in America but also one of the top spectator sports, rivaled only by boxing, horse racing, and baseball. In 1911 thirty thousand fans packed Comiskey Park to watch Frank Gotch defeat the "Russian Lion" George Hackenschmidt and retain the world's heavyweight championship.

Unfortunately catch wrestling competitions faded away sometime after the First World War. In the amateur ranks the "pain holds" were removed, transforming catch into scholastic and collegiate folkstyle and Olympic freestye wrestling. In the professional ranks it metamorphosed into "Slam Bang Western Style Wrestling," AKA fake wrestling, Over the last 100 years it has only been kept alive by a few die hards. Bill Riley at the "Snake Pit" in Wigan. The Dutchman's Bar. A few old time carnie and professional wrestlers. In Japan with the students of Karl Gotch and Billy Robinson. And as luta livre in Brazil.

Maybe things will change with the CWA's tournament. Ramirez informed me that they have plans to do more, and attendee Josh Barnett told me he is talking to Orange Country officials about getting a catch wrestling program started in California.

Catch wrestling has layed dormant for almost a century now so we shouldn't expect its return overnight, but this has the looks of a good beginning.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker