Nashville, Tenn. - Real Pro Wrestling (RPW), a professional sports league for collegiate and Olympic-style wrestlers, has announced its initial plans for a second season of competition, which is expected to take place in the late fall of 2006, along with the eight states that will host franchises, co-founders Toby Willis and Matt Case have announced.
"We've brought a lot of exposure to our sport through these amazing athletes," Willis said. "We consider that one of our biggest successes. In addition to adding value to our tight knit wrestling community, we need to continue to create more awareness for our sport."
While the actual cities of the eight franchises have yet to be finalized, RPW will select teams to compete in the following eight states: California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas. All eight of those states hosted teams in the first season as well, but this will be the first season that actual competitions will be held in those states.
"We chose these regions for a variety of reasons. They are either top wrestling markets or are showing considerable growing in the sport," Case said. "Texas, for example, isn't a traditional wrestling hotbed, but it's growing fast. It's a region that if successful, could be a foundational area."
Currently, venues in various cities throughout the eight aforementioned states are being surveyed along with community interest and local sponsors in each region.
"Wrestling could support many teams in many regions because of the wealth of it's grassroots programs. The sport doesn't require huge football-size stadiums because of the close-up action. You don't need a big field of play," Willis added.
RPW will announce the host cities of the franchises along with rosters as they are finalized and become available.
Willis and Case also announced that the league format will change for its second season to dual meet competitions held regionally. In Season One, wrestlers competed in individual tournaments in seven separate weight classes. A team score was kept for eight teams, each of which had one wrestler per weight class.
In Season Two, the eight teams will compete against each other in dual meets in front of live crowds, culminating with a dual meet championship at the end of the season. Each team will have seven weight classes, and rosters are expected to be filled by the end of summer.
"We initially used the tournament format because it allowed us to meet the 'made for TV' requirements and capture all the episodes in a short time," Case stated. "However, our aim has always been team based competition in a live dual meet format in cities. This is why we're making the transition from tournament to duals."
In 2005, RPW presented a historic first season of wrestling action on PAX and Fox Sports Net. Seven, one-hour episodes were aired, one for each weight class, and a two-hour finale showcased the championship bouts from each of the seven weight classes. Nearly a half million people viewed the two-hour finale.
The episodes also aired in over 90 countries on major networks such as EuroSport and ESPN Star-Asia.
The Iowa Stalkers ran away with the team title. Individual champions were 2000 Olympic silver medalist Sammie Henson of the Pennsylvania Hammer (121 lbs.), Tony DeAnda of the New York Outrage (132), former NCAA champion Doug Schwab of the Iowa Stalkers (145), 2004 Olympian Joe Williams of the Chicago Groove (163), Mo Lawal of the Oklahoma Slam (184), 2004 Olympian Daniel Cormier of the Oklahoma Slam (211) and Pat Cummins of the Pennsylvania Hammer (264).
Overall, eight Olympians, six U.S. World Team members and 23 former NCAA champions competed in Season One. Over $300,000 in cash prizes were awarded to wrestlers.
RPW is a hybrid style of wrestling, combining the Olympic styles of
Greco-Roman and Freestyle, along with elements of collegiate and Sumo wrestling.
In RPW, classic meets the future as the matches are conducted in a specially designed coliseum which showcases a raised circular mat to facilitate better camera angles and to afford the live audience a better viewing experience. The circular mat allows for 360 degree camera angles and aids in covering the close quarters that wrestlers frequently find themselves in as they maneuver for position.
Real Pro Wrestling, Inc was founded in 2002 by former Northwestern University wrestling teammates, Toby Willis and Matt Case. The company is based in Nashville, Tenn. with brand offices in Los Angeles and Colorado Springs. RPW is a television production company and a producer of live events.