Heavyweights Take The Table Tonight at 11p.m.

August 19th 2015

It’s come to this. The light and middleweight champions on the left and right arms have each raised $20,000 in cash and a World Armwrestling League Hammer of Champions.

Now, the heavys come out to play.

The guys were big and the arms were bulging in the smaller weight classes, but on Wednesday at 11 p.m. EST on ESPN2, the 225-pound group will truly rock the table. Canadian Special Forces soldier “No Limits” Devon Larratt and New Jersey iron worker by way of Brazil Marcio “Primal” Barboza took home the heavyweight championships in 2014. Wednesday night, we see if they can hold on to their crowns.

“You’ve got some legends of the sport in the 225s,” Larratt said. “Any guy who’s made it here is a serious threat.”

Nothing is a given in this 2015 WAL season. Larratt and Barboza will have to wade through old foes and fresh faces just to get a chance to step into The Pit for the finals. With that in mind, here are four things to watch for Wednesday night:

1. Will Larratt’s gambit pay off?
Larratt is a 40-year-old soldier who honed his pulling skills at home in Canada and while in Afghanistan. He took a table with him on each off his multiple deployments, and in late 2014, he took a year of leave from the military to chase his armwrestling dream. A big piece of that dream involves becoming a two-time WAL champion and winning big money in the process. Will his decisions pay off? We’ll learn more Wednesday night.

2. Can John Brzenk fully ascend the WAL ranks?
John Brzenk is the most mild-mannered guy you’ll meet at an armwrestling table. Then he summarily beats you. But Brzenk, a 50-year-old airline mechanic out of Arizona, is widely hailed as the best puller out there today. He only joined the WAL ranks this season, yet he coasted to the heavyweight championships. Can Brzenk continue his reign at the top, or is it time for him to step aside?

3. Can the young guns prove themselves?
Pro pulling is a sport that is by no means solely a young man’s game. From the 59-year-old Allen “Mr. Intensity” Fisher, to the 57-years-young “High Chief” Ron Klemba to the legend Brzenk himself, armwrestling gets better with age. Like some vise-gripped, calloused wine. But the heavyweight finals feature plenty of young bucks looking to force some early retirements. Can Matt Mask, a 33-year-old Canadian colossus, or Normonds “Truck Norris” Tomsons, a 34-year-old Latvian police officer, step up at Wednesday’s showcase and assert themselves as the next generation? “As much as guys think about sex, that’s how much I think about arm-wrestling,” Mask said. Who would bet against THAT?

4. Will the prophecy be fulfilled for Tom “The Real Deal” Nelson?
Nelson crashed his ATV in 2002, fracturing his skull, cheekbone, eye socket, ear canal and sinus cavity. He tore tendons in his neck, and lost chunks of his hamstring and calf muscle. But as it happened, the 35-year-old UPS driver out of Orangevale, CA, heard God tell him everything would be fine. And that he would someday become an armwrestling champion. Will that vision come true this Wednesday, or will Nelson have to wait?

These and more questions will be answered during TV’s most entertaining hour, Wednesday at 11 p.m. EST on ESPN2!
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