Monday, August 01, 2022

The 2022 Tragos-Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame

Photo by Joyce Paustian / Slam Wrestling

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

"Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa."
           - from the film Field of Dreams

What a wonderful night at the 2022 George Tragos - Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Induction Banquet at the Waterloo Convention Center in Waterloo, Iowa. I was very honored to receive the James C. Melby Award for Journalism and to have the honor to stand on stage with three of the great legends in pro wrestling history: Trish Stratus (Tricia Stratigeas), Jim Ross, and Mike Rotunda.

The James C. Melby Award is named for Jim Melby, a professional wrestling historian, writer, magazine editor, and publisher in the 1960s-1990s. The award recognizes excellence in professional wrestling journalism and historical preservation.

Stratus was the recipient of the prestigious Lou Thesz Award, given to someone within the pro wrestling industry for outstanding public service. The award is named for Lou Thesz who was the legendary multi-time world heavyweight wrestling champion from the late 1930s -1960s. The Tragos-Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, which he helped found, is named for him and his trainer, George Tragos.

Jim Ross was the recipient of the inaugural Gordon Solie Award,   Ross has spent a lifetime in various roles in professional wrestling including referee, broadcaster, producer, and talent coordinator. He was a right hand to Vince McMahon in the WWE in the 1990s and 2000s. As a broadcaster for nearly four decades in Mid-South Wrestling, WCW, WWE, and currently AEW, he is beloved by fans around the world, and is largely considered wrestling's most famous broadcaster ever. The award is named for broadcasting legend Gordon Solie of the 1960s -1990s. Solie is best remembered for his many years as host of Championship Wrestling from Florida and the nationally telecast Georgia Championship Wrestling during the territory era of professional wrestling.

Mike Rotunda was the sole inductee into the Tragos-Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame for 2022. Rotunda was a champion amateur wrestler at Syracuse University and a top pro wrestler in the 1980s-1990s during the territory years in Florida, the Mid-Atlantic, and then later during the national expansion era with WCW and WWF (WWE.) After retirement from the ring, he worked as an agent and producer for the WWE until 2020.

Dan Spivey received the Frank Gotch Award, but was unable to attend the 2022 induction ceremony. The Frank Gotch Award is given to a professional wrestler who brings positive recognition to professional wrestling through work outside the ring. It is named in honor of professional wrestler Frank Gotch from Iowa native who became one of the best-known athletes in the world during the early 1900s.

The Tragos-Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame is located within the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, IA. The Hall honors wrestlers with a strong amateur background who have made an impact on professional wrestling.

The organization holds a big Induction Weekend every July, attended by past hall-of-famers and award winners, current and retired pro-wrestlers, and fans from all over the country. Fan events are held at the Dan Gable Museum (which houses the Tragos-Thesz Hall of Fame),  a local wrestling event is presented, and a big banquet with the awards and induction ceremony finishes the weekend at the Waterloo Convention Center. 

The Dan Gable Museum is named for Dan Gable, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, who is America's most famous wrestler and considered one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. The museum houses the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame of Iowa, the Alan and Gloria Rice Greco-Roman Hall of Champions, and the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.

On December 8, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump awarded Dan Gable with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Please consider supporting this great organization. For more information visit The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum website. Come visit the museum during the annual Tragos-Thesz Hall of Fame Induction Weekend  - - and bring a friend!

Originally published 7/25/22.  Relocated to August 2022 Updates.

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The Mid-Atlantic Gateway remains on a summer publishing hiatus, other than updates related to the Tragos-Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend.

Related links:

Tragos/Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame Announces 2022 Melby Award Winner
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Dick Bourne announced as 2022 Melby Award winner
Slam Wrestling | Posted by Greg Oliver | Dec 30, 2021

Visit to the Tragos-Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame
by Andy McDaniel, with lots of photos

National Wrestling Hall of Fame   |   Dan Gable Museum