Four American Greco-Roman stars are officially in the upstart American Wrestling League.
Earlier tonight, 2018 World silver medalist Adam Coon (130 kg, Cliff Keen WC), two-time Olympian Ben Provisor (87 kg, NYAC/NLWC), Hayden Zillmer (97 kg, Minnesota Storm), and four-time World Team member Robby Smith (130 kg, NYAC/Chicago RTC) were selected in the inaugural AWL draft that was broadcast live on Trackwrestling. Coon, Provisor, and Smith were selected to Team Taylor (David Taylor), while Zillmer went to Team Dake (Kyle Dake).
Coon, who is fresh off of his thrilling run to the World finals a week ago in Budapest, was taken by Taylor in the first of the draft’s two rounds. “I’m extremely excited for Adam,” Taylor said. “He’s had an amazing year. I mean, his collegiate season and to continue that with his Greco success this year…what he was able to do this year, it was amazing. So, I’m excited. He’s big, he’s strong, and he’s a pinning machine.”
Dake went with Zillmer a short time later. “This guy is going to be a superstar, he does both styles, freestyle and Greco,” explained Dake.
Provisor was the third overall Greco athlete drafted, being tabbed by Taylor in the “lightning round” — picks made by either Taylor or Dake once their first ten were sorted out. Taylor going with “Big Ben” shouldn’t come as a surprise to Greco fans. Provisor is a stablemate of Taylor’s at the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club in State College, Pennsylvania and won the freestyle portion of the Pan Am Championships this past spring, something Taylor acknowledged. He is also familiar with what Provisor can do in the trenches. “He was a Pan Ams champ in freestyle at 92 kilos,” Taylor told event host Shane Sparks. “He’s got nasty underhooks and can wrestle a fast pace.”
“I’ve been getting ready for this for the last month, I’ve been leg-grabbing,” Provisor said when reached Saturday evening. “There’s a little learning curve but I’ll get better. I’m excited to wrestle with my World champ captain.”
A few more picks went by and then Smith was chosen by Taylor. “Multiple-time World Team member on the Greco side, he was fifth in Vegas in 2015,” Sparks informed the audience.
The premier event for the American Wrestling League, dubbed “AWL I: The Beginning”, is scheduled for November 30th at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Taylor and Dake are set to reveal their lineups for that show next Saturday (November 10th), and that, too, will be aired live on Trackwrestling.
- The weight classes for the AWL are from freestyle — Zillmer and Provisor were taken at 92 kilograms; Robby and Coon will be at 125 kilos, not 130.
- Zillmer and Coon, of course, are not going to be out of their element. Both wrestlers were runner-ups in freestyle’s Final X Series this past June.
- 2018 Senior World Team members Dalton Roberts (60 kg, NYAC/OTS) and Kamal Bey (77 kg, Sunkist) were also eligible for the AWL draft, but unfortunately, did not get selected.