Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

No Holds Barred: George Hero, Bob Backlund, Jakub Pawlowski, John Klein, Midwood Wrestling Exhibition 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman reviews the Midwood Wrestling Exhibition 2012 with Midwood High School head wrestling coach George Hero, NYU wrestlers Jakub Pawlowski and John Klein, and Bob Backlund, a 1971 Div. II NCAA national champion at North Dakota State who is best known for his WWF days.

The Midwood Wrestling Exhibition 2012 took place Saturday, October 13, at Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York, and featured numerous matches between current and alumni wrestlers from Midwood High School and other schools and colleges.

In the main event, the 54-year-old Coach Hero faced NYU freshman John Klein in a match under NCAA rules, and, despite almost succumbing to an injury, pinned his younger opponent in the third period. Fellow NYU senior wrestlers Jakub Pawlowski, a Midwood alumnus, and David Rice also faced off in a close match. Although David Rice was leading late in the third period, Jakub Pawlowski scored a takedown and near fall in the closing seconds to take a 12-10 decision.

We spoke with Coach Hero, Jakub Pawlowski, and John Klein right after Coach Hero's victory.

A longtime friend of Coach Hero and Midwood wrestling is Bob Backlund, who has maintained his involvement with amateur wrestling for many decades. We spoke with him at the post-match luncheon about his views about this event and amateur wrestling.

"This was the toughest guy I faced yet," said Coach Hero in his interview. "A couple of times he had me." Coach Hero had nothing but praise for his opponent, saying, "This kid is definitely going to go places. You're going to hear about him at NYU." And he added, with an exhausted sigh, "But I tell you, I was seeing stars before the end."

"Athletics at the high school level, and especially wrestling, it's about preparing a person for life," said Bob Backlund in his interview. "Wrestling made me what I am today. And I like that, trying to return some of that to young kids in wrestling. It's going to make them better people when they grow up and they're going to make better decisions and just be a strong person."

We also discussed with Bob Backlund the necessity of exercise for life, his "gym in a box" product, his continued involvement with amateur wrestling for children, and more. The significance of this event is that it once again demonstrated how a wrestling program can creatively market, promote, and advertise itself, without the benefit of a huge budget.

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