WAL Returns to ESPN2 Wednesday, July 29
July 27th 2015
In the 2015 debut, competitors from across North America converge on Las Vegas after a massive series of nearly 80 qualifying events to bring the country’s best arm wrestling talent into one place to duke it out for a series of Regional titles.
At Regionals, the action is broken up into North, South and West areas, each with its own set of titles for left and right arm action, across four weight classes.
Champions and challengers from WAL’s 2014 series this time are first broken up into the three separate sections, and must battle their way through a gauntlet of hungry title-seekers just to get to the next level: WAL’s 2015 Championships, which comes directly on the heels of this week’s event.
Both established WAL fans and those new to the sport are going to see something unprecedented in the coming weeks, said league Commissioner Steve Kaplan.
“There is no competition on earth that has a deeper field than the World Armwrestling League,” he said. “And we are just getting started.”
Among dominant figures like Dave Chaffee, Travis Bagent, Devon Larratt and Todd Hutchings comes a flood of new talent to the league… including world-renowned “greatest of all time” arm-wrestler John Brzenk.
With top titles in multiple weight classes for more than three decades, Arizona-based Brzenk is destined to shake up the brackets of high-end competition.
“John has dominated this sport longer than many of the athletes in it have been alive,” said Devon Larratt, 225lb Left-Hand WAL Champion and likely rival to Brzenk at the Championships level, should both men advance.
“Anytime you enter a match with John Brzenk you should believe it is the match of your life. His status in arm wrestling can not be higher.”
New for 2015 will also be high-tech metrics and on-screen technology from the same company that provides such services for the NFL and FIFA, giving viewers an unrivaled understanding of the sport’s intricacies, Kaplan said, as well as the physical strain arm-wrestling takes on its adherents.
Fans are going to get to know the top athletes and what makes them dedicated to such a physically demanding sport, he said. Those enhancements will start to show up during the Finals episodes, slated to start Aug. 5 with the Lightweight Championships.
The $500,000 in prize money is also a game changer for the sport, Kaplan said, and the variety of styles, tactics and competitive beefs means you never quite know where a match is going to end up.
With a roster of more than 400 arm wrestlers set to throw down at Regionals, the event is one of the biggest ever in America -- but those who come out on top won’t get to sit back and nurse their throbbing biceps just yet.
Top finishers head directly into the 2015 Championship, a bruising showcase where champions from each of the three regions fight it out for the biggest chunks of the half-million in cash in their weight class.
That action kicks off at 9 p.m. EST on Aug. 5 with the Lightweight Championships on ESPN2, WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.
Middleweights are on deck for the following week at 9 p.m. EST/6 EST on Aug. 12, available on ESPN2, WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.
Aug. 19 brings the big boys, with the Heavyweight Championships airing at 11 p.m. EST/8 PST on ESPN2, WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.
Then, the really big dogs come out to play in the WAL 2015 season finale. Superheavyweight Championships air Aug. 26 at 9 p.m. EST/6PST on, you guessed it, ESPN2, WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.
ESPN will also be re-airing the WAL’s epochal 2014 championship in the coming month. Check here for full TV listings, and check back, as more dates are expected to be announced.