Mick Foley, Terry Funk headline pro hall of fame class at Gable Museum

 

WATERLOO, Iowa – Four wrestlers from four of the most esteemed pro wrestling families will be inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, Class of 2010.

Living members of this year’s class are Terry Funk and Paul Vachon. Being inducted posthumously are George Gordienko, Warren Bockwinkel, and Stanislaus Zbyszko.

Mick Foley (pictured above), one of the most recognized professional wrestlers in the world, will receive the Frank Gotch Award for bringing positive recognition to the sport outside the ring.

Rene Goulet will receive the Lou Thesz Award in recognition of meritorious public service and J Michael Kenyon will receive the Jim Melby Award for excellence in wrestling journalism.

“This is an outstanding class,” said Kyle Klingman, executive director of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum. “All eight award winners have had a tremendous influence on professional wrestling.”

Induction Weekend is scheduled for July 9-10 at the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Waterloo. Along with the Induction Ceremony, there will be a Celebrity Golf Tournament on Friday at 10 a.m., and a pro wrestling show at 7 p.m. at nearby Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

On April 20, 1909, World Heavyweight champion Frank Gotch defended his title against former American champion Dan McLeod. The match took place at the Syndicate Theatre where the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center currently stands. The life and legacy of Frank Gotch will be recognized at the beginning of the show. Mick Foley will also be recognized as this year’s Frank Gotch Award winner.

This year’s pro card includes a special training seminar with pro wrestling legends Terry Funk and Mick Foley. TS Aggressor of Impact Pro Wrestling will also provide instruction. There will be a special VIP question and answer session with Terry Funk and Mick Foley from 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. before the fan fest.

The fan fest will start at 5:30 p.m. and include an autograph signing with pro wrestling legends and celebrities from the world of sport. Entrance to the fan fest is included with the purchase of a ticket.

“There is so much for pro wrestling fans to be excited about this year,” said Impact Pro Wrestling owner Troy Peterson. “Terry Funk has had one of the longest and most illustrious careers in the history of the sport. Mick Foley is one of the most recognizable names in pro wrestling today.

“Both have made very few appearances in the Midwest, making this a rare opportunity for fans to interact with two living legends. I am also excited about two of my favorite wrestlers, Paul Vachon and Nick Bockwinkel, being in Waterloo for the festivities. A fabulous weekend is in store for anyone making the trip to Waterloo.”

Tickets are $15 for ringside and $10 for general admission. Tickets for the question and answer session are $25, or you can purchase a ringside tickets and entrance to the Q & A for just $30 total. Tickets will go on sale on May 17 and can be purchased in person at the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum or online at http://www.wrestlingmuseum.org.

Anyone interested in the training seminar or the pro wrestling show should contact Troy Peterson at wresshow@yahoo.com or by calling (515) 306-4801.

The official induction into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame will take place at noon on Saturday, July 10. An autograph signing will take place at 1 p.m.

This year’s post-induction activities include a special autograph and book signing, a round table discussion with current and past inductees, and a special viewing of “Beyond the Mat”. Both Mick Foley and Terry Funk are focal points in the documentary and they will be at the museum during the viewing.

The round table discussion will be moderated by Brian Hoops, Nostalgia Columnist, Pro Wrestling Torch. The weekend festivities will be filmed and made into a commemorative DVD following the event with all proceeds going to the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum. The induction ceremony will be shown live on Live Sports Video as well.

“This will be our most extensive induction weekend to date,” said Gable Museum Marketing Director Kent Sesker. “We want to have an exciting weekend for the fans.”

Anyone interested in more information about the professional wrestling weekend or purchasing tickets can e-mail orders@wrestlingmusem.org or call (319) 233-0745. A complete schedule of events and biographies of each of the eight award winners are listed below.

Schedule of events

Friday, July 9

10 a.m. – 11th Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament at Irv Warren Memorial Golf Course

12:30 p.m. – Training session begins at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center with TS Aggressor of Impact Pro Wrestling

1:30 p.m. – Training session with Terry Funk and Mick Foley begins

4 p.m. – Question and answer session with Mick Foley, Terry Funk and other legends

5:30 p.m. – Fan Fest prior to the pro wrestling show. Fan Fest includes pro wrestling stars and several former athletes for an autograph signing

7 p.m. – Pro Wrestling Show at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center begins

Saturday, July 10

9 a.m. – Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum open to the public

Noon – Official inductions into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame

1 p.m. – Autograph and book signing and special viewing of “Beyond the Mat”

2:30 p.m. – Round table discussion moderated by Brian Hoops, Nostalgia Columnist, Pro Wrestling Torch

Sunday, July 11

9 a.m. to noon – Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum open to the public

Class of 2010

Terry Funk

Known for his hardcore wrestling style, Terry Funk has a long and distinguished professional wrestling career that spans six decades. He has held numerous titles, including the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship and the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. Terry’s father, Dory Funk, Sr., was inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006.

Paul Vachon

Paul Vachon is a member of the Vachon wrestling family, which includes his brother, 2000 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling inductee Maurice “Mad Dog Vachon,” and his sister Vivian. He often teamed with his brother, winning the AWA World Tag Team Championship twice. He also won other tag team titles, wrestling much of his career in the South and Southwest.

George Gordienko

George Gordienko wrestled professionally from 1946-1976, winning titles worldwide. He wrestled hall of fame namesake Lou Thesz to a draw in 1955 and was a long-time tag team partner with 2008 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame member Stu Hart. Gordienko was also an influential artist with many of his works displayed prominently. Gordienko died of brain cancer on May 13, 2002.

Warren Bockwinkel

Warren Bockwinkel competed in the NWA during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, becoming one of the earliest wrestlers to appear on television. He wrestled many of the top professional wrestlers of his era and was a trainer for many top stars. His son, Nick, was inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009. Warren Bockwinkel died on March 24, 1986.

Stanislaus Zbyszko

Stanislaus Zybyszko of Poland was a two-time World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, excelling in both Greco-Roman and catch-as-catch can styles. One of professional wrestling’s true pioneers, it is estimated that Zbyszko won nearly 1000 matches in a row before being defeated by Frank Gotch in 1910. He also appeared in several movies, including the 1950 film “Night and the City.” Zbyszko died at St. Joseph, Missouri, hospital on June 10, 1968.

Frank Gotch Award

Mick Foley will receive this year’s Frank Gotch Award for his numerous philanthropic contributions. This award goes to a professional wrestler who brings positive recognition outside the ring. Foley has participated in numerous Make-a-Wish foundation events, and is an active member with RAINN (Rape, Incest, Abuse National Network). He also talks to students about the value of education and has travelled to military bases and hospitals for visits. He is also one of the leading donors of ChildFund International. Foley has been a donor and child sponsor since 1992 and is working to develop schools and community centers overseas.

Lou Thesz Award

Rene Goulet is being recognized for his meritorious public service and for raising professional wrestling through charitable work. Goulet wrestled for 30 years in rings all around the world, including titles with six different organizations. Goulet was featured with in “People” magazine in 1974 with a full-page photograph and was the first man to defeat Ric Flair in the ring. He and his wife Pierette work with various non-profit groups and public service organizations speaking on their behalf and raising money.

Jim Melby Award

J Michael Kenyon is one of the leading professional wrestling historians in the world. Kenyon retired to Port Orford, Ore, after four decades in the newspaper, radio and television trades. He has also served as a director of the Cauliflower Alley Club. Kenyon continues work on his book that will cover professional wrestling from 1886 through 1985.