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Thursday, November 07, 2013

No Holds Barred: Stephen Greenfield and Raul Ramirez on Snake Pit Wigan International Catch Wrestling Tournament 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Stephen Greenfield of the Snake Pit Wigan and our correspondent Raul Ramirez of Catch Wrestling Los Angeles.

They are both now in Wigan, England, the home of catch wrestling, for the second annual International Catch Wrestling Tournament, hosted by the historic Snake Pit Wigan. Several wrestlers from around the world have come to Wigan for this tournament and the annual International Week of training and seminars.

Catch wrestling is in the process of being revived, and this is the most important catch wrestling tournament in the world.

This event, alongside the 36th annual Aspull Freestyle Wrestling Competition, will be held this Saturday, November 9, at the Robin Park Sports Centre in Wigan. As was done last year, videos of the matches are expected to be posted online shortly.

We spoke with both Stephen Greenfield and Raul Ramirez by Skype Wednesday.

"The plan is, this year there's going to be a larger number of matches" than last year, said Stephen Greenfield. "I think currently it's anywhere between 10 and 15, depending on how many people we've got at the time."

He added, "It's not quite an open tournament yet. It's mostly populated by people who have sort of trained at the Snake Pit, and also some of the people that have come for the International Week.... Hopefully it will be interesting for people to watch." Next year, however, the plan is to hold an open tournament.

The influence of the Snake Pit Wigan has already spread far beyond the U.K., and there are plans for more similar catch wrestling tournaments internationally.

"Our mission," said Raul Ramirez, is "try to create that bridge, or outreach or education, on basically letting the American wrestlers - collegiate, folkstyle, freestyle wrestlers - know that we in the United States do have such a rich catch wrestling tradition as well, that they most likely don't know about."

Towards that end, discussions are now under way to plan a catch wrestling tournament in the Los Angeles area for sometime in the first half of 2014.

We also discussed the catch wrestling rules used by the Snake Pit Wigan, which are based on the original rules of Billy Riley of Riley's Gym. Under those rules, there are no points or judges, and a match can only be won by pin or submission. However, the Snake Pit Wigan rules do not allow chokes. Current Snake Pit and Aspull head coach Roy Wood, who was trained by Billy Riley, has argued, according to Stephen Greenfield, "The choke kills the wrestling."

In addition, we discussed the appeal of catch wrestling, the need for those involved in catch wrestling to have ties to the broader wrestling community, what is needed for the revival of catch wrestling to be successful, and much, much more.

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