The unofficial start of the Hawkeye wrestling season kicks off Nov. 1! The Hawkeye Wrestling Club, in partnership with Trackwrestling is hosting the HWC Showdown, ultimate freestyle event/fundraiser at the new Xtream Arena located in Coralville.
This is a nine-bout pay-per-view slugfest featuring world champs, national champs, and All-Americans. What’s more, is recently the HWC also released an eight-bout undercard comprised of more Hawkeyes, in what could be considered unofficial wrestle-offs. Note: the undercard is free for everyone to watch before the main event begins.
Folks, this is an incredible opportunity to witness our guys compete for the first time in eight long, awful, slow months. It costs roughly $30, but I want to remind everyone, that this is a fundraiser and funds go to post-grad athletes (such as Pat Lugo), who will earn money for participation, as well as to support the HWC. With the pandemic wreaking havoc, all fund raising has taken a hit over the summer. Remember, this should’ve been the summer of the Olympics and Spencer Lee chasing gold…alas, it was the summer of poop.
Next to the annual Arctic Plunge, this will be a big driving force for funds leading into next year and possibly the year after, where several members from our varsity roster transition over into the club and onto the senior circuit. So if we want to keep Lee, Marinelli, Kemerer, Eierman, DeSanto, and others around for years to come, this is our chance.
For those of you that are dying to watch the best wrestling our country has to offer, follow this link here. There are also some tickets for sale as well, in a limited capacity. For those of you locals that get your football fill after we throttle Northwestern and need more carnage and mayhem, but in person, you can get tickets here.
I am excited primarily for four reasons.
1: Tom Brands’ is confident enough in his team right now, at this very moment, that he’s willing to throw them into the fire against world champs, medalists and former All-Americans. Normally, the season would get underway around this time anyways, but it usually starts with some primers and finger-warmers such as the Grandview and Luther Opens, which gives them some time to work themselves into the thick of it before the B1G season hits full force. Here, there’s no such thing. Here, there’s no choice but to hit the ground running. Plus, we’ll get to see what Dan Dennis has implemented in his short time as the HWC head coach.
2: The level of competition our Hawkeyes are facing this early is truly elite. Which tells me, they’re ready to go and chomping at the bit. These guys don’t need those aforementioned warm-ups like in years past. This means they’ve been training hard through this down time and they’re hyper-focused. With a shortened season, rumored to start in early January, it’s imperative they find some solid competition outside of the room and this is it.
3: While I’m not the biggest freestyle fan, I fully recognize that’s all there is after college. If they want to continue wrestling, then freestyle is it. It must be noted that many of these guys haven’t consistently wrestled free since their high school days. Once again, the fact that Brands wants these guys to go at the elites tells me they’ve progressed to the point that they can compete at a high level, and that is a scary prospect for everyone else.
4: There is no professional level for wrestling and pro wrestling ain’t what I’m talking about. Outside of winning world and Olympic Medals, our senior level athletes struggle to pocket any coin through actual competition. Primarily the rely on funds from RTC’s (regional training centers) or if they’re lucky enough endorsements, but with bouts like this, that could all change. This was pulled directly from Trackwrestling.
“80 percent of the pay-per-view revenue going to the athletes eligible for compensation and the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. The event’s 12 athletes who are eligible for compensation will receive $5,000 to show, an additional $5,000 to win, and a bonus based on pay-per-view sales, in addition to having their travel expenses covered.”
While most of our guys aren’t eligible to receive payment yet, the rest of the competitors like world medalists Sarah Hildebrandt, James Green and Nick Gwiazdowski will. Including recent grads Pat Lugo and Bryce Meredith.
It’s things like this that could help reshape and revolutionize the sport.
This will be a rock-solid event filled with some of the best wrestling we’ve seen in quite some time. Who knows, if this does well it could become a yearly endeavor as well, which could open the door for bigger and better showdowns not in for our Hawkeyes, but the rest of the wrestling community.
Sit down, buckle in, and get ready for the show!