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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

No Holds Barred: Josh Barnett on Catch Wrestling and Challenge Matches 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Josh Barnett.

A challenge was made last week by wrestler and former Michigan State Spartans' team captain Curran Jacobs, who pinned Christopher Crossan of the Snake Pit Wigan on June 7, 2014, in the main event of the Catch Wrestling Alliance International Invitational: The Rebirth in Los Angeles. He issued a challenge to Travis Newaza, who was victorious at the West Coast King of Catch Wrestling Tournament held January 11, 2015, in San Diego, California.

Curran Jacobs said about Travis Newaza, in an interview last week on No Holds Barred, "He's a good jiu-jitsu guy, but I saw no catch wrestling happening at all" in the videos of his matches at that tournament. He also said that he considers that there are "fake titles" being handed out in catch wrestling today.

That challenge was accepted, and arrangements were begun to be made for this match between Curran Jacobs and Travis Newaza to take place, by Josh Barnett and several other people. However, last Wednesday, Travis Newaza suffered an injury in training, which has caused that match to be postponed until a later date.

With the controversies on this series of events burning up social media, Josh Barnett wanted to address these issues. He did so in this lengthy interview, which was recorded by phone Wednesday.

Addressing the direction this discussion has taken, he said, "If it takes somebody being even just proclaimed the champion of a tournament that sounds very prestigious, King of Catch, if that's what it takes to get people to finally peel away the layers, open up their mouths, and show who they really are and what they feel, then I'm just going to go out and say, 'OK, I am the greatest catch wrestler walking the Earth right now. Period.'

"Nobody puts it up more than me. Nobody's accomplished more than me. Nobody's continuing to go out there and push it, on the mats and behind the scenes. No one's trying to develop the athletes like I am. And if anybody has an issue with it, then they should come and take me on.

"But there is no better catch wrestler in the entire world, period. I don't care who you belong to, who your association is, you're not better than me. I can beat anybody that claims they're a catch wrestler, probably a lot of them quite easily. And that's that."

We discussed the current growth of catch wrestling, the lack of competition and limited number of events in it, the need for various catch wrestling organizations to work together, the influence of the late Billy Robinson, why catch wrestling should be considered part of wrestling by the broader wrestling community, why catch wrestling is still far from having real world and national champions, the reason he has not entered any of these catch wrestling events, why those training in catch wrestling should regularly enter events under the many other rulesets of wrestling and grappling, the importance of combat wrestling, his own training of catch wrestlers and athletes at CSW, and much, much more.

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