The “Pin City” Awards for the 2015 World Wrestling Championships

One might say the excitement Las Vegas brings to the atmosphere can be credited for the abundance of action packed matches that took place at the 2015 World Wrestling Championships. One also might say that it had no impact on the tournament what so ever. Either way when looking back on Vegas Worlds 2015, I noticed a lot of similarities among people’s behavior whether I was on on the strip, in the casino, watching wrestling, or just sitting in the stands at the Orleans Arena . So, I thought it would be appropriate to give out some Vegas themed awards that give the World CHampionships a little more recognition.

So, without further ado I give you the “Pin City” awards for the 2015 World Wrestling Championships!

8. The award for best scene reenactment from the Hang Over:

Hang Over reenactment

  • Recipient: Referee mat B
  • Country: United States (maybe)
  • Style: Women’s Freestyle
  • Result: Awkwardness
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When a movie takes place in Las Vegas, you know it’s about to go down, because there is never a quiet ending to a story that begins in Sin City. With that being said there had to  be an award dedicated to the most “Vegas” movie of all time, The Hang Over. This award was not earned with  a high roller move nor was it a crazy celebration that screamed “Vegas Baby”! It was the handshake that took place following Alyssa lampe’s victory at 48 kg that received this award for how remarkably similar it was to the handcuff scene in The Hang Over. Although, at first glance it seems like a three way triangle match where the first one to get close lined loses, something tells me that’s not it. After further analysis, I have reason to believe that while it was unintentional the referee clearly did not practice her hand raising technique in the mirror prior to the event, and therefore caused what is now known as the handshake incident of 2015.

7. The Ace in the Hole in the award.

ace in the hole

  • RecipientVladimer Khinchegashvi (GEO)
  • Style: Men’s Freestyle
  • Result: 57 kg gold medalist
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To have an Ace in the Hole usually means you have a hidden advantage that you hold back until it becomes necessary to use it. At the 2015 World Championships the perfectly timed Ace in the Hole , which can more accurately be described as a magic trick came in the final seconds of  the 57 kg  gold medal match. Vladimer Khinchegashvi  (GEO) was trailing Sabzali Rahimi (IRI) 4-1 with 35 seconds left in the championship bout when he went from almost giving up a take down to instead scoring on the flurry with a take down of his own, making the score 4-3. With now just 15 seconds remaining it was no secret that Khinchegashvili still needed to make one more scoring attempt, but as it urns out he had something up his sleeve that nobody including Rahimi could ever see coming.  Khinchegashvili executed a textbook “look ma, no hands” super duck to ruin Rahimis day; earning him the well-deserved 57 kg gold medal by a score of 5-4.

6. The Biggest Wild Card award

image1Matguard to Vegas

  • Recipient: This kid
  • Style: To cool for school
  • Result:Record for most inflatable souvenirs shoved into one outfit

5. The award for most “Vegas esque” victory dance

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  • Recipient:Odunayo Folasade Adekuoroye
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Style: Women’s Freestyle
  • Result: 53 kg bronze medalist
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When you get to Vegas you will see a lot of different people excited for a lot of different reasons . After capturing her first ever World Championship medal  by way of pin fall in 23 seconds Adekuoroye’s celebration reminded me of one of someone that just won a lot of money with a huge roll on the craps table. Perhaps, it was because she just became the second person ever to win a world medal from Nigeria, but then again even if I was the one millionth person to win a medal from my country I would have celebrated the same way, so who knows either way it was awesome. 

4. The High Roller award

suspenseful throw

  • Recipient:Rustam Assakalov
  • Country: Uzbekistan
  • Style: Greco-Roman
  • Result: 85 kg silver medalist
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Some Vegas goers bet small and play it safe, while others go all in for the big pay out. It became very evident that Assakalov is part of the latter when he pulled out a headlock to pin returning world champion Melonin Noumonvi (France) in his very first match of the tournament….and again in his second match (when he was losing 7-0 I might add)…and one more time in the semi-final round before finally falling 6-0 in the finals to Zhan Beleiuk of Ukraine.  Assakalov may not have taken home the gold, but his consistent and often successful attempts to go for broke with high risk moves followed by loud outbursts letting the crowd know he is #1 (even though he ended up being #2) not only wins him the High Roller award, it also leads me to believe he wouldn’t have any problem rising to the top in the WWE scene when his days of competing are over.

…If that doesn’t work out he might be able to land a lead role in the next Blades of Glory movie…

Blades of glory

3. The Lace of Spades award

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lace of spades

  • Recipient: Adeline Gray
  • Country: United States
  • Style: Women’s Freestyle
  • Result: 75 kg gold medalist
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The Ace of Spades, aka the highest card in the deck,  is usually a great card to have in your hand. Therefore, I felt the need to give out an award called the Lace of Spades for the meanest leg lace of the tournament. Now, if you are unfamiliar with the term ‘leg lace’ just watch videos of Adeline Gray  (who is like a modern day Xena, the Warrior Princess) on youtube or better yet just just imagine someone throwing you into a garbage can and rolling you down a hill, because her leg lace is pretty much the same thing. The 5x world medalist and 3x World Champion that is Adeline Gray dominated the 2015 World Wrestling Championships, executing leg lace after leg lace in every single match, and there was noting her opponents could do about it. Rumor has it a girl looked at Adeline wrong at weigh-ins so Adeline leg laced her off the mat, out of the arena, down the Vegas strip, and back to her home country. Now, there is a slight chance this was just a rumor, but just to be safe I immediately declared her the winner of this award without hesitation.

2. Award for best headliner.

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  • Recipient: Jordan Burroughs of the United States
  • Style: Men’s Freestyle
  • Result: 74 kg gold medalist
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The top performers in Las Vegas have to constantly step into the spotlight in front of large crowds with high expectations, and somehow find a way to put on a great show every time. If you had to refer to one wrestler as the main performer/headliner at the World Championships only one name comes to mind.  After a long week of wrestling the closing act was of course no other than Jordan Burroughs, and as per usual there was no one else you would want representing the United States out there. Even though JB was up 8-0 with just seconds remaining in the 74 kg gold medal match, he closed out the show with one last double leg to record an impressive 10-0 tech fall over Unurbat Purejav (MGL). While many performers with this level of success rush off stage when their job is done, all those who came out to watch Burroughs received a little encore. Even though this was now his fourth world title, (which includes of course the 2012 Olympic gold) he still seized the moment with a victory lap around the entire arena, while proudly waving the American flag over his head for the entire crowd to see.

1. The “What happened in Vegas should not have stayed in Vegas” award

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  • Recipient: Kyle Snyder
  • Style: Men’s Freestyle
  • Result: 97 kg gold medalist
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Las Vegas is often referred to as Sin City, because as you know what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. However, I do not think that applies to sports coverage, and if there is one story that deserved much more recognition than it received it was the run made by Kyle Snyder on day 5 of the event. As the medalists took their place on the podium during the 97 kg award ceremony on September 11th, 2015 thousands of people from different countries all around the world stood under one roof for the playing of America’s national anthem, and it was not simply because we were in the United States. We were able to stand proudly for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner on 9/11, because Kyle Snyder, the 19 year old World Champion from the United States earned that moment for our country. So, I couldn’t help but think to myself “Wow this is a truly remarkable and unforgettable moment for the U.S as a whole, not just the the wrestling community, yet Kyle Snyder won’t even so much as make ESPN’s top 10 plays of the week”.

Now, I know a lot of people expected Snyder to do well considering he had to beat out Olympic Gold Medalist Jake Varner just to earn his spot for Worlds. However, from Snyder’s disposition it didn’t seem like he knew he belonged there with the rest of the 97 kg competitors; instead it seemed like he believed he was the only one at 97 kg that belonged there, a mentality that helped him earn that top spot on the podium. Although he deserves much more recognition, after becoming the youngest american wrestler to ever win a world title I’m sure he’s perfectly happy with just having that gold medal around his neck.

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