Tag Archives: Rob Bigwood

Queens pro arm wrestlers to be featured on new AMC show


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYC Arm Control

Two Queens professional arm wrestlers will show their muscle in a new series on AMC.

Rob Bigwood, a Forest Hills resident, and Whitestone native Mike Ayello, are part of NYC Arm Control, the New York team on the show. The new series, “Game of Arms,” will feature professional arm wrestling teams from five states. The other members of the New York team are Mike Selearis, Dan Fortuna and Kevin Nelson.

The show intends to reveal the sport of arm wrestling in documentary style episodes starting Feb. 25. It will not only show the brawn that wrestlers need to participate, but the personal lives of the athletes.

“Game of Arms not only focuses on the technique and skill in this high-stakes world, but also the family, careers and personal struggles of each man outside of the sport,” said the AMC website description about the show.

The series will follow the personal lives of the country’s premier arm wrestling figures, such as Ayello, who is a firefighter from Ladder 135 in Glendale. Ayello said the show followed him around at home and also featured his work in the FDNY.

A graduate of Bayside High School, before he became an arm wrestler, he was a bouncer at clubs around New York City. He used to arm wrestle with the fellow bouncers, and being at 6 feet 5 inches, 270 pounds, he always won. Four years ago someone challenged him to wrestle in the professional circuit and he started researching professional arm wrestling and attending amateur tournaments. He quickly worked his way through the ranks and is recognized as one of the strongest arm wrestlers in the country.

Bigwood, who is vegan, is being featured among various accomplished vegan male athletes in a new documentary called “The Game Changers” by James Wilks, a former MMA welterweight champion and fellow vegan.

Both men believe that arm wrestling needs a show, such as the one on AMC, to expand.

“It’s actually a huge underground thing, but no one just taped into it yet, but I think this show will bring it out,” Ayello said.

The series is coming from Matt Renner and Ethan Prochnik, the Emmy Award-winning producers of the “Deadliest Catch,” and executive producer Dan Ilani.

Trailers have already been circulating about the show.

 

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Vegan arm wrestler wants to bust myth that men need to eat meat


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

When Forest Hills resident Rob Bigwood gave up meat to live a vegan lifestyle a few years ago, he was scared he would become weak.

Bigwood, 30, is an interactive art director in Manhattan by day and a professional arm wrestler by night. He has been competing in tournaments for more than a decade and aspires to be the best, but wanted to stop thinking of animals as just protein.

“I don’t feel it’s right to eat an animal when there are so many other options,” Bigwood said. “They don’t have a voice so I speak for them.”

Bigwood is now being featured among various accomplished vegan male athletes in a new documentary called “The Game Changers” by James Wilks, a former MMA welterweight champion and fellow vegan.

The concept of the film is to study whether males need to eat meat to be physically strong and the psychology of why eating meat is a requirement to be a “real man.”

Wilks and his film crew have traveled around the world to talk with various vegan athletes, including strongman Patrick Baboubian, who carried 1,216 pounds 10 meters, setting a new record; four-time NBA champion John Salley; and Andy Lally, a NASCAR driver who was the Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year in 2011.

“Our goal is to create a new vision of what eating plant food is like,” said Joseph Pace, creative producer and the script writer of the documentary. “There have been too many stereotypes like that’s something for weak people and women. Our deeper message is that it won’t make you less of a man to care about stuff.”

And Bigwood really cares for animals. His change to veganism began after seeing piglets at a farm. Later that day when he tried to eat a bacon and egg sandwich, he felt sick remembering how the pigs were like little puppies.

The arm wrestler dislikes factory farms and even that humans kill animals for clothing. His love for animals has actually had an adverse effect.

But Bigwood’s compassion hasn’t affected his ability. In 2011 he won the won the New York City Big Apple Grapple arm wrestling tournament and various professional arm wrestlers said that Bigwood has gotten stronger since his lifestyle changed. More surprisingly, they say, his stamina has also grown and he has become more difficult to pin. Despite all the benefits, some in the field said they said can’t make the commitment just yet.

“It’s the way to go if you can handle it,” said Gene Camp, president of the New York Arm Wrestling Association. “I personally cannot, because I still like a hamburger and I still like to have a steak.”

“The Game Changers” is set to be released across the country next year.

 

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