To watch video of all the bouts, scroll down.
I’ve dedicated the last twenty years of my life deliberately studying and reviving the sport of catch-as-catch-can wrestling and last weekend was a spiritual experience for me. I am so unbelievably grateful to have witnessed what I did in New Jersey on July 14th, 2018. The sheer amount of heart shown by every wrestler on the card last night was unearthly. If you love CACC like me I sincerely wish you could have been there to witness it in person. It was truly special.
Big congratulations to Curran Jacobs. He’s normally a handsome actor but this is what he looked like, after winning. His tenacity and grit won although some felt he stalled and escaped under the ropes excessively (something we will be addressing in future shows with some rule changes that create a disincentive for such behavior). As Karl Gotch always said, “conditioning is your greatest hold”. In this case that doesn’t just mean just conditioning the heart and lungs, but inoculating the body against a lot of pain too. Jacobs endured the hazing by larger, more skilled grapplers for a hellish 19, 5-minute rounds, waiting for his opponents to tire after tossing him about, then he’d slither behind them for a sleeper hold (somewhat reminiscent of a young Royce Gracie).
Congratulations to every man and woman that wrestled at both the open and the invitational. Everyone was on the edge of their seat all night. I know Billy Robinson, Karl Gotch, and all the old timers that loved this sport would have been tickled to see this. Everyone had enormous heart. Beefs were squashed through the love of this sport tonight. Hats off to Joel M Bane (and his incredible wife) Anastasia for pouring their hearts into the show. I hope everyone gets to see a show like this sometime in their life. Honestly, you had to have been there. Can’t wait for everyone to see it. A sincere thank you to everyone who was there in NJ in person to support the most prestigious event in CACC in nearly a century; The 2018 Unified Catch-As-Catch-Can World Championships.
The stars of the show shined bright; Brandon Ruiz, Kenny Faafetai Lester, Erik Arevalo, Johnny Buck, Patrick Stano, Jon Zang, & Nick Caggia really gave their all. People came from all over the world (as far as Japan) to witness the complete rebirth of this sport, plus to have MMA legend Josh Barnett in attendance supporting was incredible! Also thank you Jim McCann for being a gracious host.
After this show, I would put the sport of catch-as-catch-can wrestling (and our no-holds-barred ruleset in particular) up against UFC or WWE anytime (we are looking for investors/producers that share our passion and vision for the sport so please email any leads my way)! There is absolutely no reason CACC couldn’t be bigger than both MMA and “Sports Entertainment” combined. I mean this with all my heart. I have a renewed vigor to continue growing this sport and I am truly optimistic, maybe for the first time in 20 years, for CACC unity and the future of catch-as-catch-can wrestling.
As Billy used to say, “Do it again!”
NICHOLAS CAGGIA v. KENNY LESTER
JON ZANG v. BRANDON RUIZ
PAT STANO vs. ERIK HAMMER
JOHNNY BUCK v. CURRAN JACOBS
KENNY LESTER v. BRANDON RUIZ
ERIK HAMMER v. CURRAN JACOBS
BRANDON RUIZ vs. CURRAN JACOBS
Ps. Another epic tale from this event that should not go unnoticed were the efforts of Mary Almario from California (UWFxUSA). This game-as-hell athlete was the ONLY woman to enter the Billy Robinson Classic open tournament and she did an amazing job fighting all male opponents! Hope we get more tough female talent like her at the next event!
Pps. For me personally, the most amazing aspect of the evening was how our brutal sport of CACC lead to respect and love afterward (note: there was real bad blood and acrimony prior, largely due to Jacob’s well-documented four years of slander and harassment of MMA legend and CACC ambassador Josh Barnett).
These two top-tier athletes at opposite ends of their wrestling careers showed the world what real guts looked like in a final that truly deserves to be in the history books.
Please read these great blog posts by Brandon “The Strangler” Ruiz after the event (not only can he strangle you silly but he can write like a freakin’ poet too:
Jake Shannon: A Praise to the Man
This post by Erik Hammer was great too:
Ppps. Last, but certainly not least, I want to express my gratitude to SnakePit USA Head Coach Joel Bane. I am so proud of what he has accomplished and what he had to overcome to make this show happen. I was thrilled when he asked for my help organizing and booking. After the smashing success of this event, we are committed to unifying the sport via the first joint promotions so that CACC will advance together under proven leadership. Stay tuned!
Pppps. We learned a lot with this test show. First, if we want to make this a truly professional sport, it must be able to sustain itself financially and the largest driver of said financial sustainability is ticket sales. We will have to implement a method by which to eliminate stalling and draws since this made many of the matches go on far longer without significant action than would be commercially viable. Click here and scroll down to see the newly implemented ruleset!
The Grand Prix titles help decide our World titles but you must defend to be World champ. Unfortunately Curran opted not to defend once we made the match with Josh “StarLord” Leduc (Jacobs also no-showed his match against Ian Jones in Wigan too) so life moves on to the more game/hungry athletes willing to wrestle our bookings. We asked him to compete several times but he got weird, said no, and said of we had anything further to say to say it to Randy Couture’s lawyer lol. What else could we do?
Everything was very cordial until then he abruptly flipped and started unfairly slandering us (not all that different than the precedent he had demonstrated with Barnett for 4 years prior). We even had to serve him a cease and desist for libel/slander. He seems to have a bad combination of not understanding the basics of the business (e.g. he thought he could take our title and start his own promotion, lol. My 6 year old even understands belts stay with the promotion and champions must defend against the promotions choice or be stripped) and very unprofessional behavior.
We actually liked Curran for the short time we had direct dealings but he seems like a troubled young man in some ways and until he gets that sorted and can make amends there is absolutely no reason to put our efforts to see to top-tier grappling talent compete under our NHB CACC rules in jeopardy by trying working with him again. We sincerely do wish him the best in his future endeavors.
Before the title was vacated Curran asked to wrestle Gordon Ryan who, like Leduc, has serious grappling accolades but quoted us $6k to show. As a start-up we simply didn’t have that much in our budget so we started scouting for someone with a similar style as Gordon but that wouldn’t destroy our budget. Several independent sources highly recommended Starlord so we signed him. Unfortunately, after committing to Starlord, the grand prix winner refused to wrestle him and ghosted us.
It was highly unprofessional and jeopardized what all of us, in-the-ring and behind-the-scenes sacrificed and worked very hard for. To honor our agreement with Leduc to wrestle for the title, we then approached the game AF Brandon Ruiz, who accepted in a heartbeat (maybe faster, lol). Anyway, the booking was made, all as a result of trying book a very tough challenger. Murphy’s law must have been in effect.
Frankly, it works out for our business better in the end anyway; despite all this complex private business drama, our Jan 19th show is going to be at the I Bar in Orlando where Starlord is a big draw since he’s just down the way in Tampa.
As a business seeking sustainability and growth, it’s important for us to draw as many fans and sell as many tickets as possible. We’ve learned our lessons, some the hard way, and we’re doing the very best we can (which I think is pretty good especially if you see the caliber of athletes on our roster ((https://www.kingofcatchwrestling.com/athletes), the PPVtech, branding, etc. that we’re bringing to the grappling vertical).
We’ve booked the Hammer v. Lester match, kept the truly professional & reliable athletes from our hvywt grand prix last summer in NJ on the roster because we are committed to working with them for a long time. Just wait until you see the talent we’re waiting to unveil! Exciting times for a very old sport. Thanks for caring and taking the time to read the details, hope it helps!