Willie’s Friday Mailbag: April 2nd, 2021


Iowa Hawkeyes All-American Jaydin Eierman (Picture/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

Welcome to the brand new Intermat. I formally took the reins yesterday – a busy time to be present process an enormous transition – on the heels of NCAA’s and simply forward of the a lot anticipated Olympic Trials. I am hoping it is clean crusing, however there’s undoubtedly a lot I am not trying ahead to – expense reviews, analytics, website upkeep, payroll…

However there’s a lot to be enthusiastic about, too. It has been a tumultuous spell crammed with uncertainty, lawsuits, highs, lows, lockdowns, and politics – none of which might ever have been predicted (by me, anyway).

And now, it appears, I am going to be capable of do what I’ve all the time needed to, which is have a big platform to put in writing and direct a wrestling voice in a manner through which I consider is finest to symbolize the game I like and to, in some method, elevate it.

Years in the past – in what looks like a earlier life – as a school sophomore or junior – I wrote to Bob Preusse of Newbie Wrestling Information. I knew nothing of wrestling media or journalism and although I used to be going to high school for a Effective Arts diploma in writing, I wasn’t a journalist. All I knew was that I beloved wrestling and beloved writing.

Bob was the one particular person I knew in wrestling media on a nationwide degree. He put collectively the primary Ironman and the primary Reno TOC, each of which I would wrestled in.

Once I requested Bob, ‘Hey, I used to be excited about entering into writing about wrestling. You recognize of any alternatives,’ he replied, “You do not need to do this. There isn’t any cash in it.”

He was incorrect in regards to the former; proper in regards to the latter. I would not discover that out till later, although – after a couple of years of spending half my time doing college work and the opposite half studying and posting on wrestling message boards.

After getting my diploma, I bothered folks sufficient till I received a begin at The Open Mat and picked up some freelance assignments for W.I.N Journal.

Whereas the sustainability of any enterprise comes all the way down to {dollars} and sense, it is the aim that provides it which means and fosters ardour. So, along with producing content material that wrestling customers love and deserve, a part of what you may count on on the new Intermat is an goal to each carry the wrestling group collectively and to supply them alternatives. My expectations are to foster new writers, give a platform to present abilities to broaden their attain, construct message boards to create interplay, and run contests the place all can participate. As a lot as something, I need it to be a hangout; I need folks to really feel included and to have their voices heard.

I used to be as soon as in your footwear. At coronary heart, I am a wrestling message board poster similar to you. I am simply actually, actually good.

Oh. And sure. I will likely be writing the Mailbag any more. It is one of many issues I am trying ahead to essentially the most, and truly fairly a shock even to me. I hadn’t anticipated TR Foley to maneuver on. When the discharge was put out that I used to be buying Intermat, many individuals assumed that TR and I might have a battle. Positive we have had spats on Twitter. However hell, title an individual in wrestling I have never had it out with. It is a part of my appeal.

Many thought I may not just like the politics that his columns are sometimes steeped in. And whereas it is true that I do not all the time have the identical perspective as him, and sometimes thought he peppered a tad an excessive amount of of it in, I additionally do not consider in censorship. The answer to having totally different opinions shouldn’t be a muzzle.

No. It was none of that.

TR is a pal. And I take into account him to be among the many best wrestling writers to place pen to paper. He is a a lot better author than I’m. Possibly than I am going to ever be. I might have been completely happy for him to remain on, and I will likely be completely happy if he ever rings me up and has an concept for an additional column.

TR wrote his column for 9 years for Intermat, and for that, I’ll all the time be grateful. Like me, you by no means knew fairly what he was gonna say subsequent. That is a very good factor; it stored us all coming again.

The chance to fill Foley’s footwear within the Mailbag is just not just one (just like the popularity and legacy of Intermat itself) that I really feel chargeable for, but in addition one I relish. It can permit me the chance to train my writing capability. I have been in wrestling media for over a decade, however previews, and recaps, and rating notes aren’t precisely the style through which you hone a craft in prose.

Anyway, sufficient of the mushy stuff. Because of these of you who’re studying – to these which were following my work or to those who have simply found it since you’re a loyal follower of Intermat and/or TR. I hope it is the beginning of a permanent chapter at Intermat, and I hope you want what you see from us within the close to future. (And by ‘us’ I imply myself and Earl Smith, who will likely be captaining this ship. I am honored and excited to have him because the Website Editor for the brand new Intermat. We’re gonna make candy, candy musical content material).

Now to your questions…

You tweeted that you did not have an issue with Spencer and Gable sharing the Hodge. Why? – Mike C.

I perceive that it wasn’t a ‘true tie.’ W.I.N. Journal themselves mentioned ‘digital tie.’ So apparently, the plenty are upset that Spencer or Gable led the vote by a margin that W.I.N. deemed insignificant or unconvincing and made the choice to separate the honors between the 2. SO WHAT!?

What is the hurt in splitting it? Sure, sure…wrestling is the final word egalitarian milieu. All of us count on a ‘winner’ and a ‘loser.’ However what is the hurt? What is the hurt?

Spencer and Gable had phenomenal seasons. By the mathematics, Spencer (who I voted for) held the sting. However is it so outlandish to assume Gable was equally deserving? He confronted higher competitors and wrestled a whopping 30% extra bouts. Each are vital and, I consider, served because the impetus for such an in depth race.

There was, too, an omen of types that foretold this. Gable gained Intermat’s Wrestler of the Yr. Spencer gained MatScouts’ Wrestler of the Yr, however Gable took the honors within the Large Ten Convention. Essentially the most educated and discerning eyes within the sport have been cut up and I am glad each of them have been acknowledged. I am unsure why I am within the minority on this; you’d quite see only one man win it when 1) they each had wonderful seasons 2) the vote was THAT shut. (They tied in 1st place votes). You’d quite haggle about decimals?

Certainly one of them had 49.8%; the opposite had 49.7% and the workers at W.I.N. mentioned, ‘let’s give it to each.’ And y’all went bonkers. I do not get it. You recognize who is not crying about it? Gable and Spencer.

When could be the most effective time for holding our Olympic Trials if faculty weren’t an element? What could be executed to make the NCAA and USAW calendars line up higher? – @oldestgreatest

USAWrestling walks a tightrope. They need to have the qualification course of begin after NCAA’s in order that faculty wrestlers can attend. However they do it so dang quickly after. And I do not know if the juice is well worth the squeeze. By that, I imply the proportion of school wrestlers making senior groups could be very low. Heck, a substantial amount of them are nonetheless UWW Juniors.

That being mentioned, the timeline and order might accommodate the school guys (and all ages degree) in a extra wise method.

The US Open is in April practically yearly. Transfer it again to Might or June. Transfer Ultimate X to July (making changes in OLY years which all the time make a large number).

It is a actually easy resolution. USAW makes its cash on occasions. They usually must squeeze them in a quite tight (March-July) window. However the juxtaposition of them has all the time confused me – together with, however not restricted to, having quickly rising 15-year-olds (Cadets) make World Groups a number of months earlier than they must make weight for the World Championships.

Sure, the order and cadence of USAW occasions have all the time puzzled me and that drawback will solely get exacerbated ought to NCAA wrestling go to a 1-semester sport (which probably results in a later finish date).

What I do not perceive (and by no means have), is why USAW feels the necessity to begin their qualifying course of so quickly after NCAA’s. There’s actually not a rush, which might additional profit the school guys, and the school coaches hate it.

Iowa could have a a lot decrease affect on the trials than I can ever bear in mind. What is the state of affairs? – Message Boards In all places

I do not assume they’re ‘out’ on freestyle; I feel it is a confluence of circumstances. Spencer Lee will surely be there with out the current damage. The one one which has me scratching my head is Eierman, who I really feel like is each an actual risk to make the group and in addition a man I’ve typically thought would like free to folks.

Nevertheless it was an extended two years – one crammed with Covid and accidents and strain to get the group title again to Iowa Metropolis. As acknowledged above, the turnaround was loopy. Eierman would have needed to wrestle NCAA’s-Final Probability-Trials in consecutive weeks.

I monitor wrestling message boards all day lengthy and the truth that Iowa has only one or two athletes on the trials this yr has been a lot mentioned. Nevertheless, there are two issues the message boards did not carry up:

1. The Hawkeye Wrestling Membership underwent an overhaul final summer season. I feel it was a part of a long-term plan. A “Belief-The-Course of” kind plan through which the steady will not be fairly as full for a yr or two, however then they reload. Basically, their graduates must go from scholarship athlete to funded execs – that is Spencer Lee, The Bull, Eierman, maybe Kemerer and DeSanto. That is a substantial amount of top-flight World Staff threats. It is also plenty of dough.

2. The New Room. I do not know if the discount in HWC members had a ton to do with the brand new facility, however I do know it is taking plenty of bandwidth and a focus. Along side merchandise. I might think about it performed an element. Spend much less on athletes for a yr and use that cash to place within the facility fund. Then fundraise for the brand new period of HWC athletes.

That is my principle, anyway. I consider it is smart, and I additionally consider that – ought to that be the case – it was in all probability a really heady transfer by TNT.

Your 2021 Olympians! (or who I feel wins this weekend)

I’ve to confess, the cancellations over the previous yr have made me very Worldwide-styles-rusty. I feel, in case you’re trustworthy with your self, it is made us (followers) all rusty. We merely have not seen these guys and gals compete as a lot as we usually do. So my picks will likely be quite boring, however you may guess your butts there’s gonna be some main curveballs.


50kg – Sarah Hildebrandt over Whitney Conder

53kg – Jacarra Winchester over Katherine Shai

57kg – Helen Maroulis over Jenna Burkert

62kg – Kayla Miracle over Maya Nelson

68kg – Tamyra Inventory-Mensah over Kennedy Blades

76kg – Adeline Grey over Victoria Francis


57kg – Daton Repair over Thomas Gilman

65kg – Yianni over Zain Retherford

74kg – Jordan Burroughs over Kyle Dake

86kg – David Taylor over Zahid Valencia

97kg – Kyle Snyder over J’den Cox

125kg – Gable Steveson over Nick Gwiazdowski


60kg – Ildar Hafizov over Max Nowry

67kg – Jamel Johnson over Alejandro Sancho

77kg – Ben Provisor over Pat Smith

87kg – Joe Rau over Alan Vera

97kg – G’Angelo Hancock over Luke Sheridan

130kg – Adam Coon over Cohlton Schultz

Who’s going to Fort Price!? Say hello. Let’s have a beer.


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