Categories: Schenectady County
The International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum will hold its 10th induction ceremony this weekend.
Twelve people have been selected as the 2011 induction class by a panel of 30 wrestling professionals, including former managers, promoters, historians, referees and wrestlers themselves.
“If you make it into a Hall of Fame and you’re picked by your peers, its fantastic,” said Hall of Fame President Tony Vellano. “With the museum being so young, the inductees are even better. Right now, we’re inducting all the legends that should have been in years ago. In the future, it will start leveling out to the modern people, but for those being inducted now, it was more grueling.”
Vellano began the Hall of Fame and Museum 10 years ago, originally in Schenectady. He moved it to Amsterdam after two years to allow for more space.
Upstate New York was chosen because of its proximity to other sports halls of fame. Vellano said there are 23 in the state, seven within 90 miles of Amsterdam.
“They’re all in smaller upstate towns. I don’t know why, but they just seem to flourish,” he said.
All of the pieces in the museum’s displays have been donated by wrestlers, usually through Vellano’s job as deputy commissioner for the state Athletic Commission, where he oversees wrestling and boxing. He said getting the items takes a lot of work.
“If people don’t see their favorite star, it’s because they haven’t given it to us yet, but eventually I’m sure they will,” he said.
Friday and Saturday are packed with wrestling action. Total Non-stop Action Wrestling will perform Friday night at Amsterdam High School with professionals Rob Van Dam, Mick Foley, Jeff Jarrett, Tommy Dreamer, Samoa Joe and more set to perform. They will also collaborate with the high school wrestling team on the event.
“It’s really great we’re getting national coverage,” said Vellano. “All these guys were once larger-than-life WWE stars. They usually do arenas, not gymnasiums. It will bring notoriety to Amsterdam.”
About 25 former professional wrestlers are expected to attend or wrestle in the event.
On Saturday, there will be a wrestler meet-and-greet and a collectors convention. Wrestlers will also being giving away awards at a classic car and motorcycle show at the Spring Fling happening downtown.
Later on that night, the induction dinner will be held at America’s Best Value Inn at 7 p.m.
“This is a milestone for us, and I’m excited,” said Vellano. “Now, we just have to pray the weather holds out.”
Visit www.pwhf.org for tickets or more information.