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Back to Basics

I had a great time in 2019. Not only did I meet some amazing people and share some fantastic histories with my readers, I had a chance to bridge the gap between wrestling and fiction. I released four short novels in conjunction with independent wrestlers, including Ella, Charlie Kruel, and the Bomb Shelter. I also produced a collection of short stories inspired by 19th century wrestlers and a pure science fiction novel that may… okay, does have a nod to pro wrestling in it.

All that said, in 2020, I’m getting back to what built Eat Sleep Wrestle. I’m releasing one biography by Jimmy Wheeler and two autobiographies co-written by me over the next several months. I am also planning to take on the story of Dangerous Danny McShain in partnership with his nephew Danny Daymon, and I am determined to make some headway on the story of Wee Willie Davis.

I’ll throw this out as well… if anyone has memorabilia or information about Elvira Snodgrass that has yet to com to light, please reach out. I’m not 100% sure there’s enough information out there to fill even a short book, but she remains a huge fascination for me.

Eat Sleep Wrestle is here to honor the past and celebrate the present. I want to turn wrestlers, referees, and promoters on to the stories of the past as well as fans. There’s much we can learn from those who made the business great. There are gimmicks and ideas that haven’t been seen in decades that are due for a revival. And there are unsung heroes, like McShain, Davis, and of course Jim Mitchell, whose stories need to be told.

Okay enough stalling. Back to editing Tracy Smothers’s book.

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Coming in 2020

Happy New Year again, wrestling fans. Here’s what Eat Sleep Wrestle has in store (so far) for 2020:

Babe: The Story of How Alphonse “Babe” Bisignano Turned Out Alright

Up until now, almost everything ESW has published has been written or co-written by John Cosper. This winter we are proud to bring you the first book by Professional Wrestling Historical Society founder Jimmy Wheeler. Alphonse “Babe” Bisignano, aka Babe Carnera, was an Iowa pro wrestling legend. He was also a boxer, bootlegger, a restauranteur, a promoter, a cook book author, and an icon in the city of Des Moines. This is a colorful story about an unsung hero of the past history buffs will really enjoy.

If You Don’t Buy This Book, Everybody Dies!

The long awaited Tracy Smothers autobiography is on the way! We have been hard at work on this for months, even during Tracy’s cancer treatments, and it’s going to be a doozy. It’s the longest book yet from ESW, and it’s jam packed with your favorite Tracy stories and many you’ve never heard.

Scott Romer’s Autobiography

No one else can tell you stories about rubbing shoulders with Dick the Bruiser, Mel Brooks, President George H. W. Bush, Muhammed Ali, and Israeli intelligence because no one has lived a life quite like photographer Scott Romer. He has seen sport legends, Hollywood royalty, and world leaders through the lens of his camera, and his life story is a real page turner.

In addition to these books, I have at least three more projects in the works to be announced later!

I have just two personal appearances scheduled so far for 2020 that I can announce, but I’m excited about both. In April I am headed to ASW in West Virginia to see Gary Damron’s promotion in action. I’ll be there April 18 to see Mad Man Pondo and Tracy Smothers inducted into their Hall of Fame, and Hurricane JJ Maguire is coming with me!

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, I’ll be returning to Waterloo in July for their annual pro wrestling induction weekend. I had a fantastic time back in 2018, and I am looking forward to bringing more books and more of Jim Mitchell’s personal effects to display for fans in attendance.

This is only the beginning. Looking forward to what else 2020 brings my way!

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Well, That Was a Busy Year

So 2019 was a busy year. During the last year Eat Sleep Wrestle published seven books:

Two novels with the Bomb Shelter: A Scattered Timeline and Curse of the Undead Bride.

A novel with Charlie Kruel.

A novel with Ella.

I wrote and released wrestling music impresario Hurricane JJ Maguire’s autobiography.

I wrote and released Grappling by Gaslight, a short story collection about wrestling in the late 1800’s.

And I finally released the biography of wrestling’s first African American superstar, The Black Panther Jim Mitchell.

In addition to all that…

I attended my first Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion and presented Dr. D David Schultz with the Male Wrestler Award.

I got “Colonel” Stu Gibson inducted into the New Albany High School Hall of Fame.

And unrelated to wrestling, I released a science fiction novel I really, really like called Die Alan Die.

2019 was busy.

2020 is already looking to be just as busy. There may not be as many books, but there will be a lot happening. I’ll post more about that in a few days. In the meantime, you can save 20% on your entire order when you shop here and use the coupon code “2020” at checkout. Coupon code expires January 10.

Happy New Year, wrestling fans.

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Heather Reckless is Coming!

Heather Reckless knows how to make an impression.

Her height alone makes her stand out in a crowd. Not that she’s the biggest, mind you. The Seth Rollins protege only 4’9”. But she wrestles with all the fury of someone twice her size.

Indie wrestler gets absolutely launched out of the ring with a high cross from r/SquaredCircle

Many fans got their first look at her in a video that went viral last month, where another wrestler literally flings her overhead, out of the ring, into a crowd. The first time I saw her was in Vegas last spring. One of the other ladies in a triple threat match tried to toss her out of the ring and sent her face first into the middle rope. Her neck snapped back, and she fell awkwardly out of the ring. It was a simple misjudgment, probably due to her short stature, but Heather was in her feet and walking it off in no time.

As soon as I got home, I told Pondo about her. I told him Heather Reckless is tough as hell, and he needs to bring her in. I was thrilled to see her on the card for the Wisconsin show a few months back, and I’m very excited she will be in the house on January 14 when Girl Fight moves in to Malice Manor.

Girl Fight’s We Rule the World show has a card that will not disappoint, from the hard-hitting strong-style power of Heidi Katrina to the death-defying antics of Heather Reckless. This is a show you won’t want to miss.

Visit the event page on Facebook for event and ticket information.

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Smothers Tough

Whenever the subject of toughest wrestler comes up, fans in the know never fail to mention Tracy Smothers. The first thing everyone mentions is the fact he wrestled three different bears over five matches. That’s plenty to brag about. But fans who pick up his autobiography in 2020 will be stunned to read about the riots, the shoots, and the backstage brawls Tracy has survived.

Tracy just went public about his toughest fight this week. He is currently battling stomach cancer. Over the past two months we’ve conducted interviews during hospital stays, chemo treatments, and wicked bouts of illness and infection. There have been nights he could barely talk, but he refused to take a break. Working his book kept his spirits up and kept him going.

I can tell you that all the stories about bears and riots don’t even begin to tell how tough this man is. Cancer should have known better than to pick a fight with Tracy Smothers. He’s going to crush this illness. It will just be one more story from an incredible life full of nasty, hard-won fights.

Like Tracy said on Facebook, this is not the end. It’s just a tune up, a repair job. He’s got a lot of dings under the hood, but he’s got a lot of miles left to go. I’m proud to call him a friend, and I cannot wait to unleash his full story next year.

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The Fight Goes On At Girl Fight

Girl Fight shouldn’t be running a show next week. As a matter of fact, Girl Fight should have ended just fifteen shows in.

It’s no secret that Girl Fight was created to help a current WWE Superstar who was once involved with founder Mad Man Pondo. It was intended to be a vehicle to help her network with other ladies in the wrestling business while getting experience working with some of the best veterans in the independent ranks. When said WWE Superstar ended her relationship with promoter Mad Man Pondo, he was ready to call it quits. He didn’t want to carry on.

Then Su Yung spoke up. The former Girl Fight Champion and Impact Wrestling Women’s Champion told Pondo that what he had done for his ex, he had also done for others. Yes, Girl Fight began as an opportunity for one young woman, but over the last several years nearly 200 young women have benefitted from the promotion. Su urged Pondo not to quit. She urged him to continue the promotion for her and for the other girls who had found value in this crazy idea. Other ladies chimed in and said the same. Thirty eight shows later… here we are.

Midnight Girl Fight 4: Pick Your Poison will be a show unlike any Girl Fight has presented. It’s a mixed tag team tournament featuring young stars like Ella, Charlie Kruel, and Billie Starkz as well as the return of the always unpredictable Mickie Knuckles. At the same time, Girl Fight is more of the same. By the same, I mean it’s a place where the girls can meet, network, and learn as they do battle with one another. It’s a tradition that has spanned more than a dozen states now and continues to win new fans with every outing. It’s not going anywhere, and 2020 is going to be a big year for Girl Fight.

You can buy tickets now by clicking here and purchasing direct from Mad Man Pondo. Or buy your tickets at the door. Remember, doors open at 10 pm WEDNESDAY evening, November 27, with a bell time of 11:59 pm.

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Grappling By Gaslight is now available!

Sometimes Amazon makes me wait. Sometimes they surprise me.

The surprise this morning is that Grappling By Gaslight has shipped from the printing house a week early! I will have physical copies in hand tomorrow, so the book is now available for purchase on my website. Signed copies will be ready to ship out Tuesday, and if you use the coupon code blackfriday (which is valid through Cyber Monday 12/2/19), you get 20% off your entire order. Click here to order.

As for all you Amazon shoppers, well, the book’s already available! You can go directly to Amazon and purchase it now by clicking here.

Grappling By Gaslight is a collection of historical fiction short stories based on the exploits of pro wresting’s earliest heroes. From the circus wrestlers to the con men to the barnstormers, these trailblazers paved the way for generations of grapplers to come. Order now and get it signed!

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Mickie Knuckles Returns At Midnight Girl Fight

Two weeks from tonight, someone will pull the short straw. Someone wearing black and white stripes is going to go to the ring, stand next to the ring announcer and hear her music play. Some poor soul, tasked with making the competitors fight fair and play by the rules, is going to have the unenviable task of calling a match featuring Mickie Knuckles.

Mickie Knuckles likes to hurt people. She loves to torment her opponents, and she can’t help but constantly push the boundaries of fairness and good sport. At least one individual will be put in the position of constantly having to tell Mickie to get out of the ropes, to let go of the hold, and please, please stop with the spit and the boogers and other bodily fluids.

Midnight Girl Fight on November 27 will be an absolute treat for fans. Mickie has had some of her most memorable runs in Girl Fight, including as the promotion’s champion. She’s a showstopper. She’s a can’t miss, mist see attraction. It’s an absolute win for the fans who will stay up ‘til the early morning hours on turkey day to see if she and partner Mad Man Pondo can win it all.

It’s a nightmare for whomever has to call her opening round match. What if she gets mad? What if she comes after the ref? Worst of all – what if she advances and that poor bedraggled ref has to call her match not once, not twice, but three times in one night?

The doors open for Midnight Girl Fight at 10 PM on Wednesday, November 27 at the Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Click here to find Mad Man Pondo on Facebook and order tickets now!

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New Artist Supplies Grappling by Gaslight Cover

From day one, I’ve enjoyed working with independent artists and designers on the book covers for Eat Sleep Wrestle. It’s always been a point of pride for me, and many of my long time readers appreciate the variety and uniqueness of the book cover art we’ve commissioned.

Grappling by Gaslight is a project that has percolated for more than five years, and I wanted something special. I wanted original art that would capture the spirit of the stories within and the era depicted. I put out an open call on Facebook, and my friend Korey Dawson jumped on it.

Korey is proprietor of the most dangerous bookstore in the civilized world, Paradox City Books and Games. It’s a little place on Main Street in Rising Sun, Indiana, not far from the casino, and it’s so worth the extra drive from Cincinnati, Lexington, or Louisville if you’re ever in the area. You might want to message him first through the store’s Facebook page to make sure he will be open.

Korey is not an artist himself, but his friend James Grant is. Korey had mentioned James to me in the past as a guy who didn’t know how talented he was and needed someone to show him he could actually make money at this. Korey put us in touch, and I pitched James the idea.

A day later, Korey messaged me excitedly. “I’m sitting next to James, and you have to see this!” He sent me screen shots of two pencil sketches that became part of the final design. I knew I was going to get the cover I wanted.

James crafted a beautiful book cover that I cannot wait to see in actual print. I’m proud to say I was his first paid client, and it was well worth taking a chance on a new and talented artist.

I asked James where I could send people who admired his work and might wish it hire him for themselves. He says you can add him on Facebook and also visit him on DeviantArt. Click the links, and enjoy.

Thank you, James, and thank you Korey. I’m very excited about this book!

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Midnight Girl Fight Returns Thanksgiving Eve

As soon as Halloween is over, I’m ready for Christmas. I was jamming to “Christmas in Hollis” right after I dropped my kids at a friend’s house to go trick or treating last Thursday night. I’ll have Christmas decorations sorted next weekend, my outside lights hung (but not yet lit) the following weekend, and five full sized Christmas lit and decked the weekend after that. And yes, I’m already rolling with purchasing Christmas presents.

That’s not to say I am overlooking the last week of November. No way! I’ll be up at 9 am Thanksgiving morning, watching the Macy’s Parade and preparing the creamed corn, the sweet potatoes, and the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner at my in-law’s house. But before that happens I’ll be staying up late Wednesday night to catch this year’s edition of Midnight Girl Fight.

“Pick Your Poison” is the theme for the second ever Thanksgiving Midnight Girl Fight, and the eight ladies competing on Wednesday November 27 beginning at 11:59 pm have all chosen a male tag team partner for the occasion. Eight intergender teams will compete in a winner take all tournament, and the lineup is stellar.

The Bomb Shelter will be in the house, with Randi West bringing husband Joseph Schwartz as her partner. Charlie Kruel has teamed up with Akira, and Girl Fight’s current number one contender Ella will be teamed up with Titan. Teen sweetheart Billie Starkz has chosen her IFHY stablemate Jonathan Wolf as her partner, and Wolf’s regular partner Shawn Kemp will be tagging with Allie Kat.

The newly crowned Shimmer champion Kimber Lee will be making her long-awaited return to Girl Fight for Pick Your Poison. In her corner is current Impact star and a member of the Rascalz, Zachary Wentz. Joseline Navarro has to be considered a heavy favorite given that her partner is none other than the powerful heavyweight Calvin Tankman, but it’s the final pairing announced today that will no doubt get the most attention. Girl Fight founder and Deathmatch Hall of Famer Mad Man Pondo has teamed up with a true Girl Fight legend. Making her long awaited return to the ring, after a year’s absence, it’s former Girl Fight champion Mickie Knuckles!

It’s anybody’s guess which poison paring will claim victory, but it’s a sure bet you will miss all the action if you wait until after the turkey is done to show up at the Arena. Midnight Girl Fight begins Wednesday night, the night before Thanksgiving, at 11:59 pm. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Mad Man Pondo on Facebook. Click here to visit his page and send him a message now!