WWE, TNA stars applaud Olympic wrestling’s return
They may have traded blase singlets for sequined spandex, but many of pro wrestling’s biggest stars still credit the foundation of their amateur wrestling days for their current success in the squared circle.
And they were quick to offer celebratory messages after Sunday’s vote by the International Olympic Committee reinstating the sport for the 2020 Games after it was eliminated from the 2016 Games in February.
Wrestling, with 49 votes, beat out a combined baseball-softball bid (24) and squash (22) during an IOC vote in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“GREAT news!! Thx to Impact fans for your support,” tweeted out TNA Wrestling President Dixie Carter on her verified account.
The fight to bring wrestling back to the games was featured prominently on Carter’s “Impact Wrestling” show. In one segment longtime TNA star and 1996 Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle was shown visiting Grand Central Terminal for May’s “Rumble on the Rails” exhibition between amateur wrestling teams from the USA, Russia and Iran. Angle also went to the ring for matches with a T-shirt sporting the hashtag #SaveWrestling2020.
WWE Superstar and two-time University of Oklahoma All-American Jack Swagger, who told Sports Illustrated in February that he was “disgusted” by the decision to drop wrestling, was in much better spirits after hearing about Sunday’s vote.
“We did it!!! WRESTLING will continue to be a Olympic Sport!!! #SAVEDOlympicWrestling SAVEDOlympicWrestling SAVEDOlympicWrestling” Swagger tweeted on his verified account.
Former WWE “Monday Night Raw” play-by-play announcer Jim Ross, who also once held the role of executive vice president of talent relations with the company, blogged last year about how WWE executives and Olympic weightlifter-turned-pro grappler Mark Henry were at the London Games to scout potential developmental talent.
On Sunday Ross, via his verified Twitter handle, retweeted a post from longtime WWE employee Gerald Brisco, who wrestled at Oklahoma State before heading into the pro ranks and reportedly was scouting talent for WWE at last March’s NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
“Proud to be a wrestler,” Brisco offered as part of his congratulatory tweet, later adding, “a wrestler never gives up.”