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Monday, February 18, 2013

No Holds Barred: Jorge Martinez, Phil Doig, John Potenza on Return of Catch Wrestling to New York 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with coach John Potenza and wrestlers Jorge Martinez and Phil Doig of the Snake Pit U.S.A. Catch Wrestling Association.

On Sunday, February 17, for the first time in almost a century, real catch-as-catch-can wrestling matches were held at a public event in New York City. The setting was the MMA World Expo at the Jacob Javits Center, as the Snake Pit U.S.A. Catch Wrestling Association put on three matches as well as a demonstration of the techniques and rules of catch wrestling. In this storied style, wrestlers can win by pin or submission, the matches are two out of three falls, and there are no judges or points.

All three matches featured constant back-and-forth action, skillfully executed techniques, and decisive finishes.

In the opening match, at 145 pounds, Jorge Martinez, who had wrestled at Highland Park High School in New Jersey, faced Mike Robinson, who had wrestled at Sandlewood High School in New Jersey. Mike Robinson won the first fall by pin, but Jorge Martinez came back to win the second fall by rear naked choke submission and the third fall by pin. Thus, Jorge Martinez won the match, two falls to one.

Next up was a 160 pound match between two wrestlers from different backgrounds. It pitted Teddy Pericleous, who had wrestled at Colonia High School in New Jersey, against Jack Cordero, who had no wrestling experience prior to training at the Snake Pit USA Catch Wrestling Association, but who holds a record of 4-0 in amateur MMA. Their divergent backgrounds were evident, as Jack Cordero won the first fall by rear naked choke submission, while Teddy Pericleous won falls two and three by pin, thus winning the match.

The third and final match, at 155 pounds, had Mario Perricone, who had wrestled at JP Stevens High School in New Jersey, facing Phil Doig, who had wrestled at Potsdam High School in New York. This one featured submissions, as Phil Doig won, two falls to none, with a heel hook submission in the first fall and a toe hold submission in the second fall.

We spoke with Jorge Martinez, Phil Doig, and John Potenza right at the conclusion of the catch wrestling.

"I was really, really happy with the turnout," said Coach Potenza. "The guys fought amazing matches. The pins and submissions were great, the transitions, the near submissions, the near pins. It was really good. A lot of action. There was constant mobility. Guys were always moving, grinding, looking for something to take. It was a really, really impressive match. I was really happy with all the matches today."

Besides the matches, we also discussed the potential for catch wrestling to grow, the future plans of the Snake Pit U.S.A. Catch Wrestling Association, catch wrestling and MMA, and more.

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