WAL on ESPN is Electrifying


World-Armwrestling-League-WAL-will-be-on-ESPNESPN has been showing the World Arm Wrestling League as part of its programming and I’m hooked.  The idea of two men squaring off to see who is stronger, without punching each other in the head, is exhilarating.  Competition is vicious as men come from all over the globe to compete.  There is no better test of arm strength.

Arm wrestling is set up in tournament format with single pull’s that lead up to semi final matches, and then finals.  Most matches are over within 5 seconds as the stronger man dominates.  There is hardly any luck in arm wrestling and strategy can overcome power.  The mental battle is just as fierce as the physical.  The best are the best.


Pulling John

pullingjohnPulling John is a documentary released in 2009 that follows John Brzenk, the greatest arm wrestler of all time, as he prepares for upcoming opponents.  John Brzenk has been dominant for 25 years and I paid $2.99 to watch his mind set leading up to the Zloty Tur (one of the biggest arm wrestling tournaments).  John, Alexey Voevoda, and Travis Baegent were the focus of the documentary and the viewer gains insight to their training and intensity.  Mild mannered John Brzenk immediately becomes your favorite arm wrestler because it feels like he shouldn’t be the best, but is (even though he loses to Alexey at the end).

John Brzenk and Sylvester Stallone in Over the Top

John Brzenk and Sylvester Stallone in Over the Top

John “the perfect storm” Brzenk is still arm wrestling at 51.  He is 225 and will still pull against the super heavyweights.  Watching the greatest of all time is a privilege and who knows how much longer he can continue.  Watching a man of 51 pull against younger, stronger opponents, and still win, is what the sport is all about.


Will Arm Wrestling Gain in Popularity?

Ron Bath, John Brzenk, Travis Baegent, Cobra Rhoades, and Michael Todd in 2008

Ron Bath, John Brzenk, Travis Baegent, Cobra Rhoades, and Michael Todd in 2008

Now that there is a proper medium for distribution, the sport will grow.  With Game of Arms on AMC and now the WAL being broadcasted on ESPN, there will be a ratings surge.  If I find the programming exciting, I’m sure others will too.  Here are a few reasons why this sport grows on you.

  • Just because a left hander can dominate a division, it doesn’t mean his right hand will.  Travis Baegent will own all the left heavyweights but he can’t beat Dave Chaffee right handed, and vice versa.  This gives extra incentive to the top pullers to be the best.
  • Allen Fisher

    Allen Fisher

    The competitors also have personalities which makes it all the better.  Allen Fisher, at 59, is Mr. Intensity and even though he’s not as dominant as he was, he puts on a show every time he steps to the table.

  • Most of these guys are working other jobs and the arm wrestling is just a side gig because the money isn’t that great unless you win.  This aspect that everyone isn’t a millionaire is another reason the pullers are easy to relate to.
  • The idea that you are the “strongest in the world” is the ultimate appeal.  Training never stops because there is always someone better than you.  Even when you become the best, there are always pullers trying to overtake you.
  • It’s a sport that is simple and everyone follows the same rules.  The only way to get better is hard work which is what separates the competitors.  A truly raw and powerful display of strength that is worth watching.




By |2016-11-08T09:59:40-05:00August 11th, 2015|Sports|6 Comments

You Should Know Alexey Voyevoda

AlexeyVoevodaI’ve watched the first few episodes of Games of Arms on AMC and find arm wrestling fascinating.  The matches are usually pretty short and won by the more strategic, stronger, better man.  It’s fun trying to predict who is going to win based off of past results and class levels.  For instance, Dave Chaffee (the guy doesn’t even have a Wiki page)  recently became the world champion by beating the undefeated Russian champion Denis Cyplenkov.  This is a huge deal for Russians but doesn’t even register on the American radar.  So now when Dave Chaffee is pitted against one of the arm wrestlers from the show, he’s in a class by himself and some of these other guys are chumps.  Last match he beat his opponent using his off hand to give you an idea.  This interest lead me to look into arm wrestling a bit further and there are a few top guys whose names stand out.

Alexey Voevoda vs John Brzenk

Alexey Voevoda vs John Brzenk

Alexey Voyevoda pops up after a few searches.  To start the Alexey Voyevoda Wikipedia page – “Voyevoda holds a good deal of recognition as a professional arm wrestler, he has secured several Russian arm wrestling championships. His triumph over legendary arm-wrestler John Brzenk, was immortalized in the feature length documentary, “Pulling John”, directed by Sevan Matossian.”  When you read about John Brzenk, he’s considered the top of the top.  To beat him is extraordinary.  Alexey Voyevoda’s talents don’t end there though.  He has won many medals for Russia’s Olympic bobsled team.  Is anyone else blown away by this?  

Gold 2014 Sochi Four-man
Gold 2014 Sochi Two-man
Silver 2006 Turin Four-man
Bronze 2010 Vancouver Two-man


John Breznk vs Sylvester Stallone in Over the Top.  Look at that size difference!

John Breznk vs Sylvester Stallone in Over the Top. Look at that size difference!

So not only is this guy one of the best arm wrestlers on our planet, but he is also able to jump into a speeding sled with other people and be elite.  I don’t know how much of bob sledding requires physical attributes but whatever this guy’s’ make up is, it’s working.  These are the type of people who blow my mind.  I’m not able to be even close to the best at ONE thing and this guy is the best in the world at 2 things!  In my mind, a guy like Alexey Voyevoda should make a list of dual sport athletes and they should be considered better than one trick pony’s.  Bo Jackson comes to mind as a rival.  


By |2014-03-14T08:54:09-04:00March 14th, 2014|Sports|0 Comments

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