K-7’s Revenge: A New Indy Film Featuring Hy Zaya

Hy Zaya was one of my first interviews when I wrote my second book Eat Sleep Wrestle. He’s become a good friend, and it wasn’t long ago we added children’s book author to his list of credits.

Now, Hy Zaya’s breaking into film, and the trailer for his upcoming movie K-7’s Revenge looks like a perfect fit for the Hood Ninja.

The debut of the movie is September 6. You can real all about the movie on the official Facebook page.

See the trailer below!

On the Road This Fall

I didn’t get out anywhere this summer because I was enjoying time with the family and finishing up JJ Maguire’s book, but I am happy to say I’ve got three road trips planned (so far) for the fall.

Here’s where you can find me, and here’s who I will be with!

 

Saturday, September 14

Kentucky Zone Wrestling in Shopville, Kentucky

KZW is JJ Maguire’s home promotion. I’ll be in Shopville with over 200 fans, signing copies of JJ’s book as well as my other books.

 

Saturday, September 28

Lucha Libro at the Indianapolis Central Library – 10 am – 3 pm

An amazing event celebrating Lucha culture featuring artwork, films, exhibits, and of course – Lucha Libre wrestling. I will have books available for sale, and I will be bringing some of the Black Panther Jim Mitchell’s artifacts to display.

 

Saturday, October 5

Heroes and Legends – Allen Co. War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana

I’m returning to Heroes and Legends with both Hurricane JJ Maguire and Mad Man Pondo this fall. We’ll have copies of both of their books available, plus other titles.

Girl Fight Presents: Not Another Number One Contenders Tournament

Okay, stats junkies, prepare for some numbers coming at you.

Girl Fight is presenting yet another number one contenders tournament Tuesday, August 6, to determine who will face Samantha Heights for the Girl Fight Championship upon her return from Japan.

Here are the first round matchups with the win/loss records at Girl Fight for the eight ladies in contention:

Billie Starkz (4-5) vs. Tootie Lynn Ramsey (0-1)

Billie is going to be the heavy fan favorite for this match and the tournament, this being her home arena. Hard to pick against her in round one.

Charlie Kruel (4-10) vs. Big Mama (0-1)

Despite the 0-1 mark, I have to pick Big Mama in this one. She was too impressive in her recent Girl Fight debut, and knowing what she’s done outside Girl Fight, she’s a serious contender to win it all.

Hawlee Cromwell (0-2) vs. Sam L’eterna (1-0)

A tough call. Hawlee has yet to pick up a win at Girl Fight, but she gave Samantha Heights all she could handle in her last bout. Sam L’eterna will push her to the limit. Going to go with Sam here.

Ella (5-1) vs. Khloe (6-8)

Ella is off to one of the best starts in Girl Fight history. Her only loss came in a tag match, when she walked out on her partner. Khloe will not be intimidated, however, and she’s going to be one of the favorites for the event – if she survives Ella. I’ll give Khloe the nod to win it.

It’s going to be a great night of action. Not sure where the brackets will take us for round two, but overall… I’m going to go with Big Mama. I think she has too much power for most of the other contenders, and I expect her to come back strong after winning the hearts of the fans in her debut. Her odds get even better if her “win at all costs” side comes out.

Girl Fight takes place Tuesday night at the Arena in Jeffersonville. Front row seats are $15, general admission is $10, and bell time is at 7 pm.

PS, this will be show number 50 for Girl Fight. I now have a spreadsheet with complete results for 40 out of 50 shows. I have a running list of shows I need to find results for if you want to contribute. Click here to see what I am still missing.

Oh yes, there’s an announcement coming as to why I am compiling all this data.

Marko Stunt is (All) Elite!

There’s not a nicer, more energetic, enthusiastic, dynamic, over the top kid in pro wrestling than Marko Stunt. What Marko lacks in size, Mr. Fun Size more than makes up for in heart. And this kid is bursting to overflowing with HEART.

It was a huge surprise to all of us who have watched him in the indies when he was named to the All In Over the Budget Battle Royal last September. It came as no surprise when he announced today, on his 23rd birthday, he has signed with All Elite Wrestling.

Congratulations, Marko! Cannot wait to see where you go from here!

Now Available for Pre-Order!

The time has come!

The time is now!

Hurricane JJ John Maguire and I are proud to announce the release of his autobiography, My Life in Heaven Town on September 3!

This is the true story of a boy who went from Somerset, Kentucky to the Sunset Strip en route to the greatest show on Earth, the World Wrestling Federation. It’s JJ’s personal story of his musical journey, his time with the Gentrys, his glory days writing hit WWF theme songs with Jimmy Hart, his brief TV career on Thunder in Paradise, his run with Hulk Hogan’s Wrestling Boot Band, and so much more.

It’s an epic journey with cameos by Prince, Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason, Farrah Fawcett, Gene Simmons, Henry Winkler, Blackstone the magician, Patrick McNee, Vince Neil, John Landis, and many, many more.

We are now taking pre-orders for signed copies of the book, which will ship out on September 3.

Signed books will cost $20 plus $3 shipping in the US.

(For our international customers: shipping to Canada is $16, Europe is $25.)

PayPal accepted at johncosper@yahoo.com. Feel free to email with any questions!

Four Steps to Finding Your Ancestor’s Wrestling Past!

One of my favorite things in this job is when I get emails from people asking me to help research their relatives. So many people have heard stories about a grandpa, great-grandpa or great uncle who was supposedly wrestler, and they want to know more. I am always happy to lend a hand in these circumstances, mining my own databases as well as searching the web, but I thought I’d share my own process for researching wrestlers of the past for anyone who wants to give it a try.

Step 1: Know Who You Are Looking For

Your grandpa might have been Joe Smith to the family, but who was he in the ring? Like actors and pop stars, many wrestlers adopted ring names to allow them to separate work from home. The first thing you need to know is what name they used in the ring. The Black Panther Jim Mitchell used his real name, Jim Mitchell, in addition to his Black Panther moniker, but Lord Leslie Carlton was born Leo Whippern and had previously wrestled under the name Tug Carlson. Maybe Joe Smith was Masked Samson, or Krusher Smith, or “Jumpin’ Joe” Flash. Knowing their ring name is going to be key to telling their story.

Step 2: Find Out Where They Were

If your relative worked for any length of time, especially during the golden age, their matches should be recorded on Wrestlingdata.com. This free website is far from complete, but it’s a goldmine of information. Not only can you learn alternate ring names and other trivia, you can get a general sense of where they wrestled and when, broken down by month and year.

Prior to writing Jim Mitchell and Lord Carlton’s biographies, I went through the records on wrestlingdata.com to put together a timeline of their careers. Again, these weren’t complete, and I was able to find some inaccuracies in Jim Mitchell’s timeline. (There were a lot of Black Panthers back in the day!) But the timeline gave me an overall sense of where these men were and when.

Incidentally, I already have a similar timeline put together for Wee Willie Davis and Elvira Snodgrass.

Step 3: Search for Their Story

Once you know their ring names and have a good sense of where they were, head over to newspapers.com. This is a pay site, unfortunately, but it’s not too expensive and well worth the cost. You can subscribe to the archives of many individual newspapers, or you can get a general subscription to all the papers on the site.

Once you’re signed up and logged in, the real treasure hunt begins. Type in the name you are looking for in quotes and hit search. You may not hit pay dirt right away, but if you don’t, do not get discourages. The search may need some tweaking. You can modify your search terms, filter by date, and even filter by state.

Be sure to try all the aliases you have for your search subject. Also, if you come across a misspelling of their name, try searching by that misspelling. You’d be amazed how poorly the old newspapers were proofread, especially the sports section, and especially the wrestling results.

It may take some time, but if you stick with it, you’ll get a handle on how to search newspapers.com and figure out the idiosyncrasies of the website and its archives. More important, you’ll begin to piece together the story of that sweet grandpa of yours, whether he was a fresh faced babyface or a dastardly heel.

4. Share What You Learn

After you start finding stories and photos from the past, share them. Share with family, of course, but join some of the pro wrestling history groups on Facebook and share them in the groups. Not only will you find a delighted and eager audience for your ancestor’s story, you may find new photos, new leads, and new information that someone else already has.

The pro wrestling history community is very giving and very supportive. We’re all working together to find the pieces of this long-lost jigsaw puzzle that is wrestling’s past. I wish you story hunters luck, and if I can ever be of service, email me!

Sci-Fi, J Michael Kenyon, and Thelma Todd

My latest book release is not a wrestling book. It’s a science fiction novel about a man whose ex-girlfriend from another dimension shows up and tries to kill him. I know it sounds far-fetched, but it’s actually just the tip of the iceberg of a story that involved multiple worlds, time travel, a pro wrestler (surprise, surprise), and a silver screen legend named Thelma Todd. The book is also dedicated to the late, great pro wrestling historian J. Michael Kenyon, a man I bonded with talking about old wrestlers, including the Black Panther Jim Mitchell, and surprisingly, Thelma Todd.

For those not familiar with her, Todd became a star near the end of the silent film era and was one of many actresses to make the transition from silent to “talkies.” She appeared in a number of comedy films with Zasu Pitts and made two features with the Marx Brothers, Horse Feathers and Monkey Business. She was beautiful and extremely funny and would have had a long and successful career had she not died so young under tragic and mysterious circumstances.

Todd was found dead sitting in a car in the garage of the home of a friend, not far from a restaurant she owned. It was believed she had died from carbon monoxide poisoning and the question became: was it murder? A grand jury heard testimony from friends and witnesses who had seen Todd the night of her death (a list that included pro wrestler Lord Lansdowne), but they ultimately ruled her death to be “accidental with possible suicidal tendencies.”

J. Michael Kenyon was one man who didn’t buy the suicide line. Not only was there no evidence for suicide, other clues left behind and overlooked pointed to murder. JMK regaled me with some fantastic stories about visiting the crime scene, walking the hill from the house to the restaurant below, and examining the evidence for himself. It was an obsession that, just like his love for wrestling and baseball, he took very seriously.

The Thelma Todd subplot began as part of my way of parodying a modern convention in science fiction. A lot of sci-fi writers enjoy lacing their work with references to the 1980s, so I created a character who was instead obsessed with the golden age of cinema. Are not only meant to not only poke against convention but (hopefully) inspire readers to watch a Marx Brothers film or at least look up the story of how Orson Welles lost control of The Magnificent Ambersons. When JMK passed away while I was still working on the book, it seemed only fitting to dedicate it to his memory.

If you’re not a fan of sci-fi, that’s cool. To each his or her own. But if you like sci-fi mixed with humor, especially if you have a fondness for Turner Classic Movies as I do, you should give this one a read!

Click here to buy on Amazon!

JJ Maguire Shares His Story in My Life in Heaven Town

Some fans (not many, but a few) were disappointed that Dr. D David Schultz’s book spent so much time on his bounty hunting days and “not enough” on his wrestling days. Dr. D told the story he wanted to tell, and I think it’s only fair to let fans know that Hurricane JJ Maguire is doing the same.

JJ Maguire is truly the master of wrestling ring music. As Jimmy Hart’s go-to songwriting partner since their days in the Gentrys, JJ collaborated on 110 pieces of music for WWF, WCW, and WWE. His list of credits probably looks like your playlist of favorite wrestling themes, as he wrote the entrance music for Demolition, the Honky Tonk Man, Bret Hart, Ted DiBiase, Shawn Michaels, and (in WCW) Hulk Hogan. He was a member of Hulk’s Wrestling Boot Band, contributing music to the album “Hulk Rules,” and he’s currently the host and MC for Kentucky Zone Wrestling.

That said, JJ Maguire is far from just a wrestling guy, and his upcoming autobiography “My Life in Heaventown” is hardly just another wrestling story. JJ Maguire was a musical prodigy who turned heads at the piano at the tender age of five. He was a member of the legendary rock group The Gentrys and played with numerous other bands from Kentucky to California. He wrote music for Hulk’s TV show Thunder in Paradise and even won a recurring role on the show.

In a career spanning six decades, he’s rubbed shoulders with Prince, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, Vince Neil, Gene Simmons, Kirstie Alley, Henry Winkler, Robert Conrad, Mark Mothersbaugh, Telly Savalas, Carol Alt, Patrick MacNee, and John Landis. He visited the shop of the legendary Hollywood car builder George Barris. He discussed Kentucky burgoo recipes with Bob Hope. He shot pool with Jackie Gleason inside the Great One’s basement. He even got a kiss from Farrah Fawcett.

Yes, JJ Maguire is the master of wrestling ring music. Yes, he is the face of Kentucky Zone Wrestling. And yes, he wrote or co-wrote a lot of your favorite wrestlers’ theme songs. But his book is more than just a wrestling story. It’s a story for music lovers, for TV and film lovers, and for anyone who has ever had a dream. “My Life in Heaventown” is a story about a Kentucky boy whose talent took him further than he ever dreamed possible!