USA Wrestling will sanction and provide support and assistance for the Tour ACW Test Event, held at the Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport Grand Ballroom on Sunday, Oct. 20.
A new wrestling concept, the Tour ACW, was created by the recently created Association of Career Wrestlers. The tournament, which features a hybrid style containing folkstyle and freestyle elements, will provide a $2,500 purse for the champion in each weight class.
The opening match is scheduled for 12:00 noon, with a tentative 7:00 p.m. finals.
One of those involved in organizing the event tour is American University Head Coach Teague Moore, an NCAA champion for Oklahoma State and a talented freestyle athlete during his competitive career.
"This came about after much discussion between my partner Kyle Smith and I. We run the National Collegiate Championships, which features redshirts and backups who are not starting on varsity. During the five years of that event, we talked about the wrestlers who finish their senior year and never wrestle again. They are guys who don't go right into the freestyle circuit. How do we keep those guys on the mat? We figured that having prize money would help, and came up with a purse for the event" said Moore.
The field in Pittsburgh includes a variety of accomplished wrestlers, including past NCAA champions Frank Molinaro of Penn State (150), Jay Borschel of Iowa (170) and Cam Simaz of Cornell (205).
A number of the athletes are currently competing in international freestyle wrestling on the Senior level, most notably Nick Marable, the former Missouri star, at 170 pounds. Marable has been a member of Freestyle Team USA, and was second in the 2011 U.S. Open, among other freestyle achievements.
Fans can enjoy the action by watching a free live video stream provided by Nside Wrestling. Veteran announcer Bryan Hazard will be on the PA during the event, and play-by-play for the webcast will be provided by respected Jason Bryant.
The style is a hybrid of both freestyle and folkstyle concepts. A pushout is one point, while a takedown is two points, just like in freestyle. In the tradition of folkstyle, there is a two-point reversal and a one-point escape. Two points can be awarded for exposure, and three points for exposure from the feet, similar to freestyle. There are near fall points available, similar to folkstyle wrestling. The penalty for a failed video challenge is two points, which is more severe than the one-point penalty for a failed challenge in freestyle.
"These guys all wrestled folkstyle. I believe that folkstyle is often hard to understand and not fan friendly. We needed to find a middle ground. If we married the two styles, the guys on the freestyle circuit and those who finished up college might both enter. It is essentially freestyle on the feet with a little tweaking, and it's folkstyle on the bottom with a little tweaking. Everybody should be able to understand it" said Moore.
The slogan of the Tour ACW is "Addicted to Scoring" which is supported by the rule changes of the competition. There is no clock for a Tour ACW match. The winner must either pin his opponent, be the first wrestler to score 10 points in the bout or win by disqualification. There is no other way to earn a victory.
"We tried a lot of different ideas. Then we came up with the first to 10 concept. We find this as an interesting way to reach out to a younger generation, including those who don't know wrestling. It will all be social media based. I have run a lot of practices with these new rules. It will be new and unique" said Moore.
The tournament operation is simple. Athletes will be placed in a single-elimination bracket. If you win, you advance. If you lose, you are out.
The weight classes for the tour are 135, 155, 170, 205 and 265. Organizer Kyle N. Smith said that the weights were selected in a way that it offers some athletes who do not fit well in the existing international weight classes a chance to compete in tour events.
Even before the first event has been held, Moore has received tremendous input from the wrestling family.
"It has been an extremely positive response. It has exceeded all of my expectations for a first event. The response from the athletes has been favorable. For this event, we thought that the athletes entered was excellent and the names are strong. There are national champions and All-Americans in every weight class. It is a great mix of people, many with some great stories.
In addition to the live stream on NSide Wrestling, fans can sign up to see the free webcast on 49North.com in Canada and from the Tour ACW website.
TOUR ACW TEST EVENT PARTICIPANTS (alphabetically)
in Pittsburgh, Pa., October 20
135 pound field
Daniel Dennis, Jarrod Garnett, Darrius Little, Rob Miller, Chris Notte, Alex Radsky, Jeffrey Streu
155 pound field
Kyle Borshoff, Trevor Chinn, John Delgado, Kirk Landon, Frank Molinaro, Jake Patacsil, Danny Sheehan, Jeremy Stierly
170 pound field
Bekzod Abdurakhmanov, Jay Borschel, Hadley Harrison, Kyle Kiss, Matt Kocher, Nick Marable
205 pound field
Evan Brown, Byron Sigmon, Pete Friedl, Cam Simaz, Matt Wilps, Deron Winn
Tour ACW website
Watch live webcast of Tour ACW Test event by Nside Wrestling