WAL 2015 lightweight championship on ESPN airs Wednesday!
August 4th 2015
Thousands of arm-wrestlers in the 165-pound weight class threw down across America earlier this season.
Those who bested the competition then braved the regional championship gauntlet.
Now, 36 of the best lightweight arm-wrestlers descend upon Las Vegas to see who will hoist the fabled WAL Hammer of Champions and take home the $20,000 in 1st-place cash for each arm, part of more than $500,000 in cash up for grabs during this 2015 season.
Those coming in second place on each arm will win $10,000, with other cash payouts following for 3rd through 8th places.
With that in mind, here are four things to watch in the lightweight finals:
1. Is this the time for Luke Kindt?
"Lightning" Luke Kindt, a 32-year-old Petaluma, CA, resident, has been a fixture on the lightweight scene for years now. The diesel mechanic-by-day says arm-wrestling gave his life direction, and stokes the competitive fire that burns within him.
While he is known for his insane hand control, Kindt has yet to reach the peak of the lightweight mountain. Is this the year when he finally bests Janis “The Jedi” Amolins, Paul “The Assassin” Talbott and other luminaries to take his place at the top?
2. Can old dogs learn new tricks?
The pillars of the lightweight division include not only young bucks, but old hands at the sport who have plenty of gas left in the tank. At 59, “Mr. Intensity” Allen Fisher is one of arm-wrestling’s elder statesmen, yet the California marketing director still pulls like a man half his age. “The High Chief” Ron Klemba, a 57-year-old therapist from Connecticut, may concede a few years to his opponents, but he has perfected the endurance required for long matches. What about Andrew “Cobra” Rhodes, a living legend in arm-wrestling? The 50-year-old chef out of Indiana has been at it for decades, and this year staged a masterful comeback at Regionals, pulling in second place in the North. Can he keep up the momentum, or for all the legendary lightweights, is this the beginning of the long walk into the sunset?
3. Will the reigning champs defend?
The WAL is all about celebrating arm-wrestling’s current crop of insane talent while fostering new blood. The 2015 season saw an unprecedented infusion of new talent into the WAL’s competitive ranks. Will defending right arm champion Janis "The Jedi" Amolins and left arm champ Paul "The Assassin" Talbott make quick work of this year’s finalists or be taken down a peg?
4. Surprises in store
With a flood of new talent into The Pit this season, questions loom about the impact of known heavy-hitters as they fight it out in the WAL. How, for instance, will the "'Bama Bull" Justin Bishop disrupt the upper brackets with his rumored power and hand strength? With his tradmark hat and known strength on both arms, can he upset the established order ? What about longtime threat Matt Harris, the soft-spoken master puller from South Carolina? Can Harris raise a hammer in the Championships and place himself at at the top of the game?
All these questions and more will be answered in the most insanely fun hour on TV this week. Tune in, check here for the rest of the WAL’s 2015 ESPN schedule, and check back for a breakdown of all the action Thursday morning!