2011 Tragos/Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame announces special award winners

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum has selected its special award winners for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. The Class of 2011 includes winners of the Frank Gotch Award, Lou Thesz Award, Jim Melby Award, and George Tragos Award.

The Hall of Fame is located inside the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa.

Jim Duggan, known by his ring name “Hacksaw”, will receive the Frank Gotch Award for bringing positive recognition to professional wrestling through work outside the ring.

The Lou Thesz Award, given to an individual in wrestling who has taken the skills of professional wrestling into the realm of public service, will be given to Jim Ross. Scott Teal will receive the Jim Melby Award for excellence in professional wrestling journalism.

Pat Miletich, a former Mixed Martial Artist and the founder of Miletich Fighting Systems, will receive the first George Tragos Award. This award is given to an exceptionally competitive wrestler who has adapted his wrestling skills and competitive nature to excel in Mixed Martial Arts.

This year’s George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction class includes two inductees—one living and one posthumous—and four special award winners. Inductees into the Hall of Fame are Dory Funk, Jr. and Gorilla Monsoon.

The George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame weekend will take place on July 22-23, 2011, in Waterloo, Iowa. The weekend includes a celebrity golf tournament, a professional wrestling show, wrestling seminars, a wrestling round table discussion, an autograph signing, and an induction banquet.

For additional information contact the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum at (319) 233-0745 or e-mail info@wrestlingmuseum.org.

Class of 2011

Living inductee: Dory Funk, Jr.
Dory Funk, Jr. will join his father, Dory Funk, Sr., and brother, Terry Funk, in the hall of fame. Dory, Sr. was inducted in 2006 and Terry was inducted in 2010. The Funks will be the first family with three members in the hall of fame.

Funk, Jr. is best known for his four-year NWA World Heavyweight Championship reign. Funk is currently the coach of Funking Conservatory, a professional wrestling school featuring his unique brand of wrestling. The school is based out of Ocala, Florida.

Posthumous inductee: Gorilla Monsoon
Bob Marella, known by his professional wrestling name of Gorilla Monsoon, was an accomplished college wrestler. Marella placed second at the 1959 NCAA tournament for Ithaca College at heavyweight.

Monsoon had a distinguished professional wrestling career that included many titles, including the WWWF (now WWE) United States Tag Team title. He was also known for his successful career as a commentator for the WWE. Monsoon died on Oct. 6, 1999.

Frank Gotch Award: Jim Duggan
Jim Duggan has a distinguished wrestling career that includes the first Royal Rumble win in the WWF (now WWE) in 1988, and was the heavyweight champion in the WCW. He won titles in various other associations as well. Known as “Hacksaw,” Duggan would carry a 2 x 4 piece of wood into the ring during his matches.

Duggan, a survivor of kidney cancer, has also had success outside the ring. He has worked with a variety of charities including the Children’s Home Society for underprivileged children, Shiners International, Make-A-Wish, and the Special Olympics. For the past eight years he has participated in the Variety Kids Telethon.

Lou Thesz Award: Jim Ross
Jim Ross is one of the most recognized names in professional wrestling. He is best-known as a professional wrestling commentator and for his executive work with World Wrestling Entertainment. Ross has been heavily involved with scouting and talent development with the WWE.

Ross consistently works with several service organizations, including the Support Our Troops initiative, Circle of Champions, and Get R.E.A.L. (Respect, Education, Achievement, Leadership). He has also been involved with Meetings with Children with Life Threatening Illnesses.

Jim Melby Award: Scott Teal
Scott Teal is the owner of Crowbar Press and is the webmaster of 1wrestlinglegends.com. Teal has been writing about professional wrestling since 1968. Since that time he has been involved with publishing over 100 books on the subject of professional wrestling.

In 2003, he published his first autobiography, “Inside Out,” with Ole Anderson. Since then, he has published 10 other books, including autobiographies with several high profile wrestlers. Teal is currently working on books with Stan Hansen, Bill De Mott, Van Vader, and editing books on Nikita Koloff (with Bill Murdock) and Ed “Strangler” Lewis (by Steve Yohe).

George Tragos Award: Pat Miletich

Pat Miletich is one of the most successful Mixed Martial Artists and trainers in the world. He is the founder of Miletich Fighting Systems—based out of Davenport, Iowa—which trains some of the most successful fighters in MMA.

As a competitor Miletich compiled a 29-7-2 Mixed Martial Arts record from 1995 through 2008, becoming the first Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight champion at UFC 16 in 1998. He is also a color commentator for Strikeforce which airs on CBS/Showtime. Miletich began wrestling at the age of five and wrestled for Bettendorf High School

Plus do not miss wrestling that very weekend in Waterloo, Iowa with the legends and stars of today and yesterday.