The inaugural Catch Wrestling World Championships took place on July 14th, 2018 in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. Eight men competed in the openweight tournament to determine the first recognised champion of the modern era of Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling.
The first match saw Kenny Lester competing out of Florida USA taking on Nick Caggia of New Jersey, USA. After 15 minutes of action, a judges decision was rendered in favor of Lester.
The second match saw Brandon Ruiz of Utah, USA taking on Jon Zang of New Jersey (formally Pennsylvania). The rough and ready bout saw a spectacular Rear Double Chancery from Ruiz that put Zang out cold just under 10 minutes into the match.
No additional fall was scored during the duration of the match, giving Ruiz the unanimous decision.
The third match saw Erik Hammer of California (replacing the injured Josh Barnett) taking on Pat Stano of New Jersey (replacing the injured Chris Crossan). Hammer was awarded a technical decision after Stano was unable to continue from either injury / exhaustion.
The fourth match saw Curran Jacobs of California (originally Michigan) take on Johnny Buck of North Carolina is perhaps the best bout of the evening. The two former collegiate athletes went back and forth, with Jacobs proving to be the savvier of the two when taking full advantage of the favorable positioning on resets after coming dangerously close to out of bounds on several occasions.
Jacobs uses one such instance to continue working a sleeper choke on Buck, leaving his opponent with little choice but to concede.
Brandon Ruiz defeated Kenny Lester in the semi finals by 2 pin falls, with a believed to be hip or groin injury to Lester possibly playing a factor in the outcome.
Curran Jacobs defeated Erik Hammer by submission in the next semi final, by sleeper choke.
In a grueling final that went nearly 30 minutes, Curran Jacobs was able to overcome his more experienced opponent again by submission, favoring the same strangle hold from the rear.
Through a combination of hard nosed grit, determination, conditioning and cunning the former Michigan State Spartan – as the smallest man in the tournament – persevered and won, becoming the first recognised Catch Wrestling World Champion of the modern era.
A full playlist of the event has been created – in match order – on the Catch Wrestlling U YouTube page (click to open).