WATERLOO, Iowa – The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum will induct the Class of 2019 into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame on July 25-27.
The Class of 2019 is Beth Phoenix (Living Inductee), Bruno Sammartino (Posthumous Inductee), Thunderbolt Patterson (Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award), Sgt. Slaughter (Frank Gotch Award), Brian Shields (Jim Melby Award) and Daniel Cormier (George Tragos Award). Patterson, Phoenix, Shields and Slaughter are all scheduled to attend. Cormier is unable to attend because of training.
Other distinguished guests scheduled to attend include WWE’s Sheamus, WWE’s Natalya, Gerry Brisco, Jim Ross, JJ Dillon, Brian Blair, Rob Schamberger, Victoria, Ultimo Dragon, Brian Pillman Jr., Wes Brisco, Nick Dinsmore, Tony Garea, Wade Keller, Ric McCord, James Beard and Charlie Thesz.
All-Access passes are available for $130. All-Access passes provide access to all events, including the Hall of Fame banquet, a ringside seat for the Impact Pro Wrestling show (while available), the pizza and beer social and preferred access at the autograph session. All-Access passes can be purchased at dgm-nwhof.ticketleap.com or by telephone at (319) 233-0745.
“I’m very excited about this year’s class, who represent the highest standard in our profession” said Gerry Brisco, 2005 inductee and president of the selection committee. “This will be another great weekend for fans and fellow wrestlers to enjoy.”
A current WWE scout, Brisco will also conduct a talent evaluation, which is open to all professional wrestlers. For more information, please email Troy Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2019
2019 Inductee – The first female inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, Beth Phoenix competed on the varsity wrestling team at Notre Dame High School in Elmira, New York. She also competed in the WWE, where she was a WWE Divas champion and a three-time WWE Women’s champion. Phoenix was the first person to compete in both the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble. Phoenix also received the Frank Gotch Award in 2015.
2019 Inductee – Bruno Sammartino will be posthumously inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Prior to his career in professional wrestling, Sammartino was a world record holder in weightlifting. He was a two-time WWWF World Heavyweight Champion. Sammartino was a huge box office attraction throughout the Northeast for promoter Vince McMahon, Sr., including setting the record for most sellouts at Madison Square Garden.
Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award – A native of Waterloo, Iowa, Thunderbolt Patterson broke into wrestling in the Central States territory. He later traveled from territory to territory in the 1970s and 1980s before retiring from wrestling and becoming a minister. Named for Lou Thesz, who was inducted as a member of the Charter Class in 1999 and who is a namesake of the Pro Hall of Fame, the award is presented to an individual who has taken the skills of the sport into the realm of public service.
Frank Gotch Award – Sgt. Slaughter, who also competed in the NWA and AWA, was a WWF World Heavyweight Champion, whose career was highlighted by brutal battles with Pat Patterson, the Iron Sheik, and Hulk Hogan. Slaughter remains involved in the sport as an ambassador for WWE. Named for Frank Gotch, who was inducted as a member of the Charter Class in 1999, the award is presented to a wrestler who, through athleticism and toughness in the ring, brought a higher level of respect to professional wrestling, both inside and outside the business.
George Tragos Award – Daniel Cormier is the current UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight champion while also working for FOX Sports. He was a three-time Louisiana State High School champion, a two-time junior college champion and an NCAA All-American. Cormier finished fourth at the 2004 Olympics and was team captain for the 2008 Olympics but was unable to compete due to injury. He wrestled in the World Championships in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 when he won a bronze medal. Named for George Tragos, who was inducted as a member of the Charter Class in 1999 and who is a namesake of the Pro Hall of Fame, the award is presented to an exceptionally competitive wrestler who adapted his wrestling skills and competitive nature to excel in mixed martial arts.
Jim Melby Award – Brian Shields is the author of “Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte,” “30 Years of WrestleMania,” “Main Event: WWE In The Raging ‘80s,” and children’s books about WWE Superstars John Cena and Triple H. He also co-authored the New York Times bestseller “WWE Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to World Wrestling Entertainment” and “WWE Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded.” Shields has also written for several professional athletes, including Derek Jeter, Shaquille O’Neal, George Foreman, Brett Favre, and Hulk Hogan. Named for Jim Melby, a noted professional wrestling journalist and publisher who was inducted into the Pro Hall of Fame in 2006, the award is presented to a journalist or historian, who has advanced professional wrestling through their writing.
George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Induction Weekend Schedule
Thursday, July 25
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).
8:30 p.m.: Open mic and pro wrestling trivia with BCP Live
Friday, July 26
9 a.m. – National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum opens.
11:30 a.m. – Pro Wrestling Evaluation 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.
3 p.m. – Wade Keller LIVE Pro Wrestling Torch Podcast (All-access pass holders only).
5:30 p.m. – Doors open to the Impact Pro Wrestling show at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.
6:30 p.m. – Impact Pro Wrestling show at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Front row ticket included for All-Access Pass Holders (Tickets are $30 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 27
10 a.m. – Doors open at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum for All-Access Pass Holders.
10:30 a.m. – Round table discussion.
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. – Round table Discussion.
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 (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.