The following press release has been issued:
Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame finalizes induction class
WATERLOO, Iowa—The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum has finalized the Class of 2017 for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend, which takes place on July 20-22.
Paul Orndorff and Dusty Rhodes will be inducted along with Magnum T.A. (Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award), Stan Hansen (Frank Gotch Award), Mike Van Arsdale (George Tragos Award), and Scott Williams (Jim Melby Award).
Distinguished guests confirmed to appear include Gerry Brisco, Jim Ross, JJ Dillon, Brian Blair, Penta el 0M Jim Brunzell, Larry Hennig, Baron Von Raschke, Dan Gable, Wade Keller, William Murdock, Jason Sanderson, Rob Schamberger, Matt Riddle, Chuck Taylor, ACH, and Charlie Thesz.
“I’m very excited about this year’s induction class,” said Gerry Brisco, 2005 inductee and president of the selection committee. “All of this year’s recipients represent the highest standard in our profession. This will be another great weekend for fans and fellow wrestlers to enjoy.”
A new event for 2017 will be the Hall of Fame Classic presented by Impact Pro Wrestling. This one-day tournament takes place on Friday, July 21 at 1 p.m. The finals will take place during the evening professional wrestling show.
There will also be a talent evaluation with current WWE scout Gerry Brisco. For more information on how to attend, e-mail Troy Peterson, owner of Impact Pro Wrestling, at [email protected].
All-Access Passes are available for a $115 through May 31, 2017. After May 31, 2017, All-Access Passes will be $130.
They can be pre-ordered by contacting the Dan Gable Museum at [email protected] or by calling (319) 233-0745.
All-Access Passes allow attendees an opportunity to attend all weekend events, including a ticket to the Hall of Fame Banquet, a front row seat to the Impact Pro Wrestling show (while available), and preferred access at the autograph signing.
There are also events that are limited to All-Access Pass Holders and distinguished guests.
Paul Orndorff made his wrestling debut in 1976 with stints in Continental Wrestling Association, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, Southeastern Championship Wrestling, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling, and New Japan Pro Wrestling. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff made his WWE debut in 1984 and participated in the original Wrestlemania main event against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. Following his stint in the WWE, he competed in WCW and Smoky Mountain Wresting. Orndorff was also a football standout at the University of Tampa before a one-year stint in the World Football League.
Dusty Rhodes made his professional wrestling debut in 1967. During the 1970s, he competed in the AWA, WWF, and throughout the NWA territories, where he was a three-time NWA champion. Known as “The American Dream,” Rhodes left the NWA in 1990, and returned to the WWE with rivalries with Big Boss Man, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. After winding down his in-ring career, Rhodes was involved behind the scenes with NXT, where he helped train a new generation of competitors. Rhodes played football for West Texas State and in the Continental Football League. He passed away on June 11, 2015.
Terry Allen (Magnum T.A.) will receive the Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award. The award is given to an individual in wrestling who has taken the skills of the sport into the realm of public service. Allen began his career competing in Championship Wrestling from Florida and Mid-South Wrestling, before becoming a national superstar in Jim Crockett Promotions. His career was cut short at its peak due to a tragic car accident on October 14, 1986. He worked behind the scenes in JCP and World Championship Wrestling. Allen inspired millions by overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds after the injury.
Stan Hansen will receive the Frank Gotch Award, which is given to a wrestler who, through their athleticism and toughness in the ring, brought a higher level of respect to professional wrestling from both inside and outside the business. Hansen started in professional wrestling after playing college football for West Texas State University. He was trained by the Funk family, and wrestled in territories around the United States, including headlining a Shea Stadium show against Bruno Sammartino. He is a former AWA World Heavyweight Champion, and had a 30-year career wrestling in Japan, where he became the most popular foreign wrestler in history. His book, “The Last Outlaw,” was published in 2012.
Mike Van Arsdale will receive the George Tragos Award, which is given to an exceptionally competitive wrestler who adapted his wrestling skills and competitive nature to excel in Mixed Martial Arts. Van Arsdale was a three-time All-American, an NCAA champion in 1988 for Iowa State, and a freestyle World Cup champion in 1997. The Waterloo, Iowa, native was a state wrestling champion for West High School as well as a junior national champion and a junior world runner-up. He compiled an 8-5 Mixed Martial Arts record from 1998-2006.
Scott Williams will receive the Jim Melby Award posthumously for excellence in professional wrestling writing or historical preservation. He co-authored the autobiographies of Bill Watts, Terry Funk, and Jim Duggan, and was an integral part of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for years. Williams also wrote the book “Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of ECW” as well as serving in the first Gulf War. He passed away on August 17, 2016.
George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Induction Weekend Schedule
Thursday, July 20
5:30 p.m. – Social at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum for HOF Inductees and All-Access Pass Holders. Includes food and beverage. (All-access pass holders and distinguished guests only).
9:30 p.m.: Open mic and pro wrestling trivia.
Friday, July 21
9 a.m. – National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum opens.
10 a.m. – Documentary plays in the theater at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum.
11:30 a.m. – Pro Wrestling Evaluation with at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Open to All-Access Pass Holders.
11:30 a.m. – Pro Wrestling Evaluation with Gerry Brisco at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Open to All-Access Pass Holders. Ringside tickets for the evaluation, Hall of Fame Classic, and IPW show can be purchased for $35 or general admission for $25.
1 p.m. – Hall of Fame Classic. Eight-person Tournament with the first round held at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center with finals held at IPW show in the evening. Tickets for the evaluation, Hall of Fame Classic, and IPW show can be purchased for $35 or general admission for $25.
6 p.m. – Doors open to the Impact Pro Wrestling show at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.
7 p.m. – Impact Pro Wrestling show starts at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Front row ticket included for All-Access Pass Holders (Tickets are $25 for Ringside and $15 for General Admission for non-Pass Holders)
9:30 p.m. – After Party for All-Access Pass Holders and distinguished guests.
Saturday, July 22
10 a.m. – Doors open at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum for All-Access Pass Holders.
10:30 a.m. – Open forum on independent professional wrestling.
Noon – Doors open at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum to general public ($10 Admission for non-Pass Holders).
12:30 p.m. – Salute to the Legacy of the Hennig Family at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum.
2 p.m. – Autograph signing with professional wrestling legends at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum. All-Access Pass Holders enter first. $20 Admission for non-Pass Holders required (individual signers will charge).
5 p.m. – Hall of Fame Reception at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.
6 p.m. – Induction Banquet at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.
7 p.m. – Induction Ceremony at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. All-Access Pass includes banquet ticket. Banquet Tickets are $60 per ticket for non-Pass Holders.