March 24, 2005
Real Pro Wrestling debuts Sunday
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
A new professional wrestling league is set to open its doors this weekend, though this one is a bit different than what mat wars fans are accustomed to seeing on television.
Real Pro Wrestling, based out of Nashville, Tennessee, is strictly an amateur-style league. The bouts will kick off on national U.S. television on Sunday afternoon on PAX TV. This broadcast will be followed up with various Fox Sports Net stations across the States.
"After almost four years and countless hours of focus and dedication we are proud to announce the long-awaited television debut of Real Pro Wrestling -- this Sunday, March 27th at 4EST (3CST) on PAX TV," said RPW's vice president of marketing, Chris Chickering, in a release on the company's website.
RPW is showing a nine-week schedule on both networks thus far.
The RPW shows will feature former Olympic champion Rulon Gardner in the broadcast booth. In a letter on RPW's website, Gardner expressed his excitement over the new league. "RPW provides great athletes a forum to showcase their talent, training and athleticism at the highest level. And, it gives our viewers the opportunity to enjoy this exciting event in a way fans of other sports have been denied for years," he said.
RPW's 14 grapplers have been split into two teams, the New York Outrage and the Oklahoma Slam. The combatants include:
New York Outrage
Jeff Prescott (55kg) -- A former two-time NCAA champion, Prescott had 121 consecutive victories in high school.
Tony DeAnda (60kg) -- Also known as Ceslo DeAnda, this former 66kg-class grappler is a former NCAA All-American and medalled at the Pan Am Games in 2003.
Jesse Jantzen (66kg) -- Jantzen is a 2004 NCAA champion and won the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award in 2000.
Ramico Blackmon (74kg) -- A former two-time JUCO All-American, Blackmon was the 2001 U.S. National Champion and finished third in U.S. Olympic Team Trials in 2000 and 2004.
Brad Vering (84kg) -- A former Olympian, Vering won the NCAA championship in 2000. He's also a two-time U.S. Nationals champion.
Tommy Rowlands (96kg) -- A two-time NCAA champion (2002 and 2004), Rowlands has won titles in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Angelo Borzio (120kg) -- Currently an NCAA Division I coach at East Stroudsburg, Borzio has been on several U.S. freestyle teams.
Real Pro Wrestling web site
Teague Moore (55kg) -- A former high school champion, Moore is a former three-time NCAA Division I All-American. He was also a member of two Big XII championship teams.
Joe Warren (60kg) -- Warren finished second in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. He has wont titles at the 2003 Sunkist Open and other events.
Jared Frayer (66kg) -- Frayer was a two-time All-American as a Sooner and finished third at the U.S. nationals in 2003. He is currently ranked sixth on the U.S. National Team.
Tyrone Lewis (74kg) -- Lewis is a four-time All American from Oklahoma State. He finished second at the 2003 U.S. Nationals.
Mo Lawal (84kg) -- Lawal is a former Division II champ. He placed third at the U.S. Nationals and U.S. Olympic Team Trials in 2004.
Daniel Cormier (96kg) -- Cormier placed fourth at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. He is one of the top men in his weight class.
Briak Keck (120kg) -- This 1992 Junior College National Champion now coaches at Cleveland State.
Jon Waldman has been a SLAM! writer since 2000.