We've got electricians, we've got plumbing and we've got mouse ears! That's right, the Short Time Wrestling Podcast is heading to Orlando. My wife and kids and I will head to Disney World. We'll be hitting a few different places, spending time by the pool, sweating, having breakfast with Cinderella and everything else that goes with it.
My seven-year-old has been writing about this on the dry erase board for months, while my three-year-old would rather watch PJ Masks, which isn't a Disney thing.
This, however, is the Short Time Wrestling Podcast and I'm still working without a proper studio, so I'm still doing the solo show topic episode. Last time, we had a lot of great feedback with the pro wrestling topic.
Before we get to all that – a quick hit on the Yianni-Zain thing.
While I wasn't at the NWCA Convention, I did get word there were some ideas being tossed around about the NWCA All-Star Classic and the future of that event. This prompted me to ask you what your favorite All-Star Classic match of all-time was.
So before we get to those answers, let's give you a little bit of backstory on the event.
The East-West All-Star Classic first started in 1967 and was held after the season in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The event continued to be an East-West dual meet through 1987 when the team scoring component was taken out of the event.
In 1973, the event moved to an in-season event, taking place in late January or early February until 2004. The NWCA opted to put the event in November to avoid matchups being dumped amidst concern for seed protection and coaches citing injury concerns so close to the postseason. The late November date went for eight seasons before the NWCA moved the event to the opening weekend of the college wrestling season in order to make it a kickoff weekend for college wrestling.
The last two events have featured a large presence of women's college wrestlers, which the NAIA has already created women's wrestling as an invitational sport, while the NCAA is close to granting women's wrestling emerging sports status.
One of the most recent complaints coming from fans is that the event hasn't been a real “All-Star” event because there are so few No. 1 vs. No. 2 wrestlers. Statistically, only one dual in recent memory (Penn State vs. Ohio State in 2017-18) featured as many All-Americans and top-ten wrestlers than the All-Star Classic typically does. Denver in 2018-19 was a notable exception as the card was split between men and women.
This will be the 54th edition of the NWCA All-Star Classic. No, I do not yet know where the next edition will be, but before I get to your responses on your favorite All-Star Classic match of all-time, let's go back to Stillwater, Oklahoma and then-Gallagher Arena, they didn't add the Iba until later.
Of the 11 weight classes – yes 11 – we had eight individual NCAA champions, and 21 of the 22 wrestlers were All-Americans. In addition to the eight champions, we had three runners-up, three thirds, two fourths, three fifth-place wrestlers and two sixth-place finishers.
How many 1 vs. 2 rematches did we have? NONE! That's right. But we did have a number of weights that shifted.
At 115 pounds, third-place Glenn McMinn of Arizona State beat runner-up Jim Anderson of Minnesota 3-2. The two didn't meet during the tournament, with McMinn falling in the semifinals to eventual champion Rick Sanders of Portland State. Sanders pinned McMinn in the quarters and then beat Anderson 19-2, in the pre-technical fall era, in the finals.
115-pound champion Rick Sanders went up to 123 pounds where he tied Michigan's Bob Fehrs, the runner-up at 123, 2-2. Fehrs had just finished second a third straight year, losing to Lehigh's Mike Caruso in the finals. That's not second just a third year in a row. Fehrs lost to Caruso all three years in the finals.
At 130 pounds, it was Caruso, the aforementioned champion at 123, who went up to defeat Colorado's Jim Hanson 6-3. Hanson was fourth, having fallen to Michigan State's Don Behm 9-5 in the semifinals. Hanson fell to Caruso's teammate, Joe Peritore, 11-5 in the consolation final. So is that what you get? You lose to the 130-pounder, so they feed you the 123-pound champion?
At 137, Don Behm, who finished second at 130, fell to Oklahoma State's Gene Davis, who was third at 137 just a few weeks earlier. Davis fell in the semifinals 1-1, 0-0 in a referee's decision to Portland State's Masaru Yatabe. Yatabe would then lose to Michigan State's Dale Anderson.
At 145 pounds, Oklahoma State's Jim Rogers finished fourth at the weight and got the nod against 137-pound All-American Don New of Cornell. New was fifth, having lost to Yatabe on the top side and Gene Davis in the consolation semis. Rogers lost in the opening round to Mike Gluck of Wisconsin, the eventual finalist. Back in those days, we had something that's pretty much the repechage back then. Seriously. The only difference is there's no double bronze back in 1967, which proves, yes, even us Americans had systems that were completely “meh” at times.
Rogers would win this one 8-5.
At 152 pounds, UCLA's Lee Ehrler, who was third at 160 pounds, came down to defeat Michigan NCAA champion Jim Kamman 8-7. Ehrler was one of three wrestlers who came down to new weights in the event. Kamman defeated Oklahoma's Wayne Wells 6-5 in the 1967 finals, while Ehrler was bested by Vic Marcucci of Iowa State 10-8 in the semifinals. Marcucci would beat Cleo McGlory of Oklahoma in the finals.
At 160, Joe Domko of Southern Illinois, known then as SIU-Carbondale, knocked off Marcucci 3-2. Domko, a three-time qualifier, came into the 1967 NCAA tournament as the fifth seed. He was pinned in the opening round by Adams State's Don Apodaca. Apodaca was then beaten by No. 4 seed Jeff Smith of Oregon State, eliminating Domko. Domko was the only non-All-American in the meet.
At 167 pounds, George Radman of Michigan State, a Granby High School alum from Virginia, beat Washington State's Fred Fairbanks in a matchup of wrestlers who met at their postseason weights. Radman won the national championship, beating Mike Gallego of Fresno State in the finals. Gallego, who was the College Division champion, put Fairbanks into the consolation bracket in the second round with a 7-1 decision.
At 177 pounds, Northern Iowa's Don Parker came down from 191 pounds and topped Moravian's Dave Mucka 5-3. Porter was sixth, falling to Syracuse's Tom Schlendorf in the quarterfinals. Well, coming “down” isn't exactly accurate. Parker wrestled the University Division at 191 after winning the College Division earlier at 177 pounds, where Mucka was fourth. So while Parker went up and placed sixth, Mucka stayed at 177 for the University Division where he too would finish sixth.
At 191 pounds, Syracuse national champion Tom Schlendorf beat Iowa State's Don Buzzard in the NCAA finals 5-0. Schendorf would face off with 177-pound national champion and future world champion Fred Fozzard of Oklahoma State. Schlendorf would prevail 5-3 in the ONLY head-to-head matchup of NCAA champions. Fans waited with anticipation to talk about the results 14 days later when the results arrived via First Class Mail in Amateur Wrestling News.
What if the message boards existed in that era? Man, the stories our predecessors would be able to tell us.
At Unlimited, Dave Porter of Michigan got a little bit of redemption as he pinned NCAA champion and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Curley Culp of Arizona State at 3:38. Porter was the top seed in the NCAA tournament and the returning champion. Would-be messageboards would have melted down after he was upset 5-4 by NAIA champion Nick Carollo of Adams State in the quarterfinals. Porter fought back after Carollo made the finals. Culp dispatched with Carollo in the NCAA finals in just under a minute.
So there's your look back at the FIRST NWCA East-West All-Star Classic. So to your comments – what was YOUR favorite All-Star Classic match of All-Time?
Kevin Claunch (Patron)
Heil v Brewer is underrated.
Agrees – “I SEEN IT”
Brad Bowles (a Patron!)
It was not the best match but the build-up to Dake-Taylor was intense! Has there been a more anticipated All-Star match?
Mike Chick via MTO FB group (Contributor)
you have seen way more of these than any of us…but 2012 Dake-Taylor definitely stands out for me —
Mark Ironside over Cary Kolat. Carver. Great comeback. Two of the all time greats.
Ironside over (Jeremy) Ensrud – 1998 at 134 pounds 18-7
Recency bias but I'll go Brewer-Heil from 2015. Vintage Brewer, and a great pace from Heil, pretty rare.
Ironside vs Kolat for sure
Ironside vs. Kolat, the prototypical Iowa style vs. one of the most skilled and talented wrestlers of all time
It can't be any match that isn't this one. Kolat got Carvered and Ironside carvered people in every gym. Might be the best college match ever. McIlravy/Abas is the only one that competes in my eyes
Kolat vs Ironside, next topic
@MarcosAranda17 (also a Patron)
TELL KLINGMAN KOLAT STORY HERE
34Wrestle (Pat Kelly)
1983 – Mark Rigatuso vs. Tab Thacker. Rigatuso weighed just over 200 lbs., Thacker over 400. Rigatuso, a 2X D2 champ and 2X D1 AA, won 5-3. @theopenmat
89 and 91 in Philly featured some great matches. Check out the results. Lots of PA power both years. Brands v. Fried. Or Martin v. Cross.
Jeremy S. Lanthorn (Patron!)
I always enjoy seeing a top D2, D3, NAIA, etc. Get a chance at a top D1 guy. Like Gutches vs Kokesh.
Taylor Miller threw out that she was a fan of Valencia-Hall in the 2017-18 event.
1990 Ty Moore v TJ Jaworski. Moore fall first period at Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic. Two 4 timers
— I only started attending in 2006, and have watched “most” if not all of them since. Some that have stood out to me.
I also want to say the dates I'm referring to are for the season itself. So in 2006, that event was actually in 2005. So when you hear me specify the year, that means for the season that it was. Ok, confused yet? Good.
First was in 2006 in Stillwater when we had FOUR NCAA champions lose on the same night. Teyon Ware, Zack Esposito, Johny Hendricks and Steve Mocco all lost. The most surprising was probably Minnesota's Matt Nagel over Hendricks in sudden victory or Cole Konrad beating Mocco. Now, Konrad would beat Mocco two more times that season, including by fall at the National Duals finals, but that event was bonkers. It was also the first time I'd ever watched Tervel Dlagnev compete. He was on the undercard and beat Josh Leadingfox of Central Oklahoma. It would be Tervel's first of three appearances.
In 2007, I was working for the NWCA full-time and we took it to Dallas. Northwestern's Ryan Lang beat Oklahoma State's Nathan Morgan late, Jake Herbert majored Roger Kish and Harvard's Bode Ogunwole wrestled North Carolina's Spencer Nadolsky to quite possibly the most boring heavyweight match of all-time. Afterwards, I said we should have put Dlagnev and Wartburg's Blake Gillis as the main event match at heavyweight. They scored more points.
In 2008, we were up in Oregon, trying to save the program. Roger Kish and Jake Varner got into a nice shoving match infront of me, Mike Poeta of Illinois caught Craig Henning with a neutral fall, Hofstra went 2-for-2 at 133-and-141 and Tervel beat Cal State-Fullerton's Wade Sauer.
In 2009, pretty cool for me that James Nicholson of ODU was in the event, becoming the first Monarch to wrestle since 1970 when Dan Gable pinned Wayne Bright. Brent Metcalf of Iowa teched NC State's Darrion Caldwell. Nick Marable and Mack Lewnes wrestled one of their most thrilling – just kidding – these two should never be allowed to wrestle one another ever. In fact, we should fire up the DeLorean and remove all traces of these two ever competing against one another. I like both guys, but not when they wrestled one another. My gawd, Sherwin Williams and Miracle Gro thought these two were boring.
In 2010, the event went out to try to help the Cal State-Fullerton program. Matt Montiero of CSU Bakersfield upset Iowa State's David Zabriskie. Binghamton and Bucknell both had participants, which was cool. Jordan Burroughs beat Matt Moley.
In 2011, I thought Anthony Robles of Arizona State was going to win that season, his dismantling of Zach Sanders via technical fall cemented that thought. This one was personally interesting. I was doing the sideline TV for Fox College Sports. It had been seven years since I'd done television in the sideline role. I was interviewing the winners. It's long gone since, so I'll have to tell you a quick story and yes, I'm going to throw Adam Hall under the bus here. Bubba Jenkins had transferred to Arizona State and was scheduled to face Adam Hall. The week prior, Bubba had just lost to Tyler Chang of NAIA Embry-Riddle. So we're around 133 and Adam walks up to me and goes “Hey Jason, can we just do the interview now?”
Bubba majored him. Ouch. Yeah.
2012 out in Arizona was a bit of a cluster. Jordan Oliver and B.J. Futrell probably had the best match. Wartburg's Byron Tate represented D3 in the event and unfortunately for him, was quickly decked by Edinboro's Chris Honeycutt.
2013 – Dake-Taylor, next topic.
2014 – This was real good, even if it was at George Mason. Devin Carter vs. Tony Ramos and Logan Stieber vs. Kendric Maple? Stieber and Maple returning NCAA champs facing off?! Love that. Stieber won in the tiebreakers. SIX of those matches went to overtime. It's also the only time I've ever applauded George Mason's pep band. It wasn't basketball, so I was allowed.
2015 – Dude, Scott Schiller beat J'Den Cox. How does no one remember this?
2016- We were in Atlanta, had three-point takedowns, four-point nearfalls and a wild Brewer-Heil match that ended 13-12 for Brewer. Ty Walz also gave Virginia Tech one of two wins beating Adam Coon.
As far as the last three years, they're too fresh in the mind to really put any “historical” awesomeness on them.
NEXT QUESTION OF THE WEEK IS: Who was the first college wrestler you became a fan of and why?
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