LOS ANGELES, June 16, 2014 — After months of talks, the two of the last remaining historical Catch Wrestling lineages in the world are uniting their efforts under the Catch Wrestling Alliance banner. The Billy Wicks Foundation (United States) and the Snake Pit Wigan (United Kingdom) are joining forces to support, strengthen, and grow the Catch Wrestling Alliance. The goal is to preserve and grow the sport of pure Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling.
The Catch Wrestling Alliance organized by Raul Ramirez, L.Ac., Ph.D., is excited about the collaboration between the two organisations. “It is great to have the greatest Catch Wrestling lineages working together to preserve our great sport and to bring authentic Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling to the world.”
Administrative aspects of the Catch Wrestling Alliance remain under the direction of Dr. Ramirez, but the Billy Wicks Foundation and the Snake Pit Wigan will pool their worldwide networks of wrestlers to develop the sport and support future events worldwide.
About CWA and Catch Wrestling:
The CWA (Catch Wrestling Alliance) organization that promotes and hosts international Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling events. The Catch Wrestling Alliance was started by Dr. Raul Ramirez in association with Catch Wrestling schools around the world with the goal of reinstating legitimate Catch Wrestling competition globally.
Catch-as-Catch-Can is a traditional form of wrestling that developed in Lancashire, England. It was taken to America in the mid nineteenth century by Lancashire migrants. However, the art was only popularized in the United States with the arrival as such men as Edwin Bibby, Joe Acton and Tom Connors in the late nineteenth century. The art was taught and developed by these Lancashire wrestlers. A notable student of Tom Connors, Farmer Martin Burns, further developed the art in the United States teaching the likes of Frank Gotch, Henry Kolln and many others. Win is by pin or submission.
The Snake Pit Wigan:
The Snake Pit Wigan is the historical and current “Home of Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestling”. The head coach is Roy Wood. Roy was taught his wrestling craft over many years under the great Billy Riley who also then would watch and instruct him on the finer aspects of coaching when he entrusted his gym to him. Roy had a long career in professional wrestling as a wrestler and promoter, he went on to become arguably one of the most successful coaches in freestyle wrestling in the UK with wrestlers taught by him achieving national,international and commonwealth success. In 2012 he was asked to be Olympic coach for wrestler Maria Dunn from Guam achieving one of his lifelong goals to travel to the Olympics. In the 1990s Roy was invited to Japan after recommendation by Bob Robinson (Billy Joyce) widely regarded as one of best Catch as catch can wrestlers.he travelled to Japan a number of times over the years coaching many of the professional wrestlers in catch as catch can.Winner of many awards for his coaching and work with the young people in the Wigan area Roy has dedicated his time to passing on Catch as Catch Can wrestling as he was taught by the great Billy Riley.
Currently, the Snake Pit Wigan has a network of “Training Groups” around the world that teach Catch Wrestling in its original form. International Training Group locations include Riley’s Gym in Kyoto, Japan run by Osamu Matsunami; Crank Gym run by Adam Laporte in Alberta, Canada; Catch Wrestling Los Angeles run by Raul Ramirez in Los Angeles, California, USA; Gaijin Gym run by Jasse Junkkari in Spain.
The Billy Wicks Foundation:
Billy Wicks is a former athletic show “Carny” wrestler, who took on all comers. He grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and started amateur wrestling in his early teens. Later, he went on to learn the art of hooking. Although he mainly learned his craft from Henry Kollin, Wicks was also taught by the likes of Doug Henderson, Joe Pazandak, and Tony Morelli.
Many well respected wrestlers of the “Golden Age” have stated that Wicks was one of the best wrestlers of that era. Frankie Cash himself once said that he would put Wicks “around the top of a long list of greats.” Wicks has taught several men this art.
Today, alongside Wicks himself, Jon Strickland, and Patrick Greene are proud to have formed the Billy Wicks Foundation. It is their hope to carry on Wicks’ coaching, techniques, and wrestling expertise to the next great generation of wrestlers.