Sunny the California Girl Tells Her Story in Living Color!

“They were an embarrassment!”

“They exposed the business!”

“They were swimsuit models and actresses.”

“They weren’t real wrestlers.”

The original GLOW girls have heard it all. They know how they were perceived and how some fans still perceive them. Thanks to the Netflix program based (loosely) on their story, many of the original GLOW girls are finally getting to share their story and change the world’s perception of who they are. The truth will amaze you.

Sunny the California Girl is one of the first to put her true life story into print. Her life story will unfold in the pages of a full color graphic novel produced by Squared Circle Comics. “Fans have already learned a lot about my life from my social media,” says Sunny. “The comic book will mix a lot of my personal story with my wrestling career

Sunny the California Girl was part of the second wave of GLOW girls. She was still a teenager when the show went on the air, but she had been a wrestling fan all her life. “I was raised by my great aunt, and the man I knew as my father figure was the man who got me into wrestling. He was best friends with Fred Blassie, and he knew a lot of the other guys. When I was in diapers, I had a photo taken of me in The Destroyer Dick Beyer’s mask. Years later, I showed him the photo, and he signed it for me.”

Sunny was a tough cookie as a kid, having taken up for her older brother when he became the target of schoolyard bullies. “My brother had a hip displacement, and his feet were larger than most kids. He looked different, and people would tease him and call him names. I had enough, and I stood up for him. The other kids threatened to fight me if I didn’t back down, so I decided to start fighting back. There I was, Sunny the California Girl who rarely won a match on TV because I was a babyface, on the street corner fighting bullies!”

Sunny proved she was a fighter at age sixteen as well when she nearly died in a drowning accident. “I flatlined for almost four minutes, and they thought I was gone. My mother had her first heart attack on the way to the hospital to see me. But I came back and pulled through.”

A few years later, Sunny also lost her brother to suicide. “He was a pastor and a psychiatrist, and he hung himself in the church basement when he was 26. “It’s in the book, along with many other stories of my life,” she says. “I have some real crazy stories, let me tell you!”

One of the key stories, of course, is how she got into wrestling. It was just a few years after she lost her brother that her father called her into the living room to watch a new wrestling program called GLOW. Sunny had become a great athlete and was doing some modeling at the time, but GLOW really caught her attention. “I was like, Wow! These are women of all sizes, shapes, and colors, and they’re all wrestling.”

At the end of the program, they announced they were looking for new girls to join the cast. Sunny sent a headshot into the studio and was one of the few girls accepted for the new cast.

“My dad never got to see me wrestle,” she says. “He passed away while we were still filming. They pulled me out of the ring during a shoot to tell me he was in the hospital, so I flew home to see him. He never got to see me wrestle, but he knew I was wrestling.”

Sunny hasn’t held anything back in her memoir, and it’s sure to be a great read that will continue to rewrite the narrative about GLOW and the wrestlers who made the show a household name. Fans who sign on to the Kickstarter will be able to add on perks including T-shirts, autographed photos and much more.

Head to Kickstarter now to support Sunny the California Girl’s graphic novel. Pick your perks, sign up, and get ready to learn a truly amazing story of one of GLOW’s brightest stars.

Nikita Breznikov Invites You to Remember “When It Was Real”

Nikita Breznikov could have filled his first book with his own life story as a wrestler and manager. He could just as easily have filled a book (or two) with stories from his mentor, the late Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff. If he ever writes one of these books, he will find an eager reading audience, as his first book When it Was Real is a wonderful look back at a forgotten era of pro wrestling: the WWWF of the 1970s.

Breznikov grew up in the era when Vince McMahon, Sr., ran the ship that would later evolve into the WWE, and he deftly takes his readers back in time for a year by year journey to the age of men like Bruno, Pedro, and Fuji. With the assistance of co-author and master historian Scott Teal, Breznikov has crafted a book that’s as much a memoir as it is a record of who fought where and when. Breznikov comes across not as an impartial narrator but a wistful fan who remembers his heroes with great fondness. He takes you back into the buildings where he witnessed many of these events in person, introducing you to the characters at ringside and the nosy athletic officials as well as the wrestlers, the managers, and other personalities that made his childhood so unforgettable. Readers will find themselves seated beside Breznikov in a long lost time when everyone truly believed – a time when it was real!

I truly hope someone with WWE picked up a copy of this book at the Cauliflower Alley reunion. It is a love letter to the WWWF, a time capsule that could easily serve as the blueprint for a Network special or series highlighting an era that the WWE has yet to explore. I’d love to see it happen, and I can’t think of a more qualified man to host such a show than Nikita Breznikov.

Click here to order your copy of When It Was Real direct from Crowbar Press.

Honoring Papa Saint

I am buying a ticket to Destructo Pro’s wrestling show on July 6. I am not sure my schedule will allow me to go yet, but I am buying a ticket to support a wonderful family that has supported me for years.

Jason Saint became a friend before Bluegrass Brawlers, my first wrestling book, was released. He contributed some great memories and photos to the book, and he’s always been exceedingly generous about supporting and promoting my work.

When I met Jason’s father James, it was clear where Jason’s good heart came from. James was kind and warm and funny. If I had a new book for sale, he bought it. Just like his son, he was exceedingly generous and kind not just with me, but with every man and woman in the wrestling business who crossed his path.

The Saint family suffered a terrible tragedy this past weekend. James passed away in a motorcycle accident, and his wife Pam was critically injured. Two friends of James and Pam were also involved in the accident, and while their friend Bill is also fighting for his life, his girlfriend Michelle died en route to the hospital.

No one would blame Jason for taking time away from the business if he chose to do so, but out of love for his father, who he know would have told him the show must go on, he is continuing plans for the second ever Destructo show on July 6. This promotion was a labor of love for a father and son. It meant a great deal to James to build something to help not only his son, but all of the men and women who saw James as a wrestling dad. Jason said the best way to support them right now was to make the show a success, and in honor of James, I am throwing my support behind them.

I’m all about supporting independent wrestling, regardless of where it is or who is running the show, but in this case, it’s not just about the wrestling. It’s about honoring a very special man. My prayers are with all the friends and family affected by this tragedy, and I hope you’ll support this upcoming show as well.

Click here for event and ticket information.

Beefcake Holds Nothing Back in Struttin’ and Cuttin’

There’s a funny thing that happens to a lot of wrestlers when they write their memoirs. Their memory gets fuzzy. They see the past with rose colored glasses. They let bygones be bygones. They downplay their own misdeeds and bad behavior, and they put on their best face for the sake of securing a gilded place in wrestling history.

Someone didn’t give Brutus Beefcake the memo. Beefcake’s autobiography is a no holds barred tell-all in which no topic is taboo or off limits. Co-author Kenny Casanova told me when I was about a hundred pages in, “I got Beefcake to talk,” and he wasn’t kidding. Brutus isn’t shy about sharing anything, from the fan he went home with who turned out to be married; to the (very few) men who have heat with him; to the brutal parasailing accident that nearly cost him his life. It’s a page turning autobiography that WWF and Beefcake fans in particular will relish.

It all begins with baseball for Brutus, who was a stellar athlete as a young man. It was in those early days he met two future world-class athletes: Wade Boggs, who wrote the foreword for the book, and the immortal Hulk Hogan. Beefcake and Hogan were a few years apart as ball players, and it wasn’t until after high school, when both men began body building and then wrestling, that their friendship really took flight. As the Proverb says, “iron sharpens iron,” and Hogan and Beefcake pushed one another to the pinnacle of professional wrestling.

The saga of Beefcake and Hogan alone is worth the journey in the book, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Brutus takes you through his early days in the business to the evolution of the Beefcake persona to his time in Hollywood to his post WWF/WCW days. He goes into great detail chronicling the harrowing parasailing accident, a gnarly and gruesome tale best read away from the dining table. I happened to be read it on a lunch break at a Chinese buffet; not an easy task!

Throughout the book, Beefer and Casanova offer additional stories and quotes from many friends and in-ring rivals that enhance and support Beefcake’s tale. Hulk Hogan is never far away, of course, and the “bromance” between the Barber and the Hulkster is really a highlight of the book.

Struttin’ and Cuttin’ is a great wrestler’s story, a larger than life tale from a larger than life persona. It’s raw, honest, and often very funny. Having read the book, I can understand why Beefcake thanked Kenny Casanova so many times in his WWF Hall of Fame speech.

Order your signed copy of Brutus Beefcake’s memoirs at the WOHW Publishing website.

Girl Fight Wrestling Presents Fall from Grace

It was a memorable night on Tuesday when Girl Fight made its return to the Jeffersonville Arena. The four year old women’s promotion always brings great action and rising stars when they come to town, but it was the good weather that stole the show early in the night. Fans who visit the Southern Indiana wrestling hot spot know that “Hot” is the key word in the summertime, as the air conditioning is rarely on. A cold front the day before brought mild temps from outside, and the fans set up around the Arena – two of which got involved in the show – made it a pleasant evening for the fans and the wrestlers, even with a packed house.

Charlie Kruel and Khloe kicked off the evening with a Street Fight, and the Girl Fight regulars wasted no time getting into a brawl that raced around the building. In the first “fan” spot of the evening, a sturdy metal oscillating fan no-sold a hard-driving head butt that go the fans’ attention. Kruel dominated much of the action, but the wily “youngest daughter of Tracy Smothers” Khloe had just enough to steal a win.

The second match of the evening was a show stealer, featuring the British born Japanese star Heidi Katrina against Alyx Sky. Katrina had just flown back from Japan on Monday, but if she was feeling jet lag, it was not apparent. She rocked Alyx Sky with her British/Japanese strong style tactics and quickly won the fans over with her hard-hitting form. Both ladies had a great debut for Girl Fight, but it was Katrina who took the convincing victory.

The psycho from Waverly Hills Ella took the ring next against another newcomer to the Arena, Big Mama. They had a tall task, following Katrina and Sky, but Big Mama’s energy and enthusiasm got the crowd into the match early. Big Mama is a powerhouse you can’t help but love, especially when she’s across the ring from a twisted soul like Ella, but it was Ella who stole a victory leading into intermission.

It’s a great night of wrestling when you get to see some of your favorite TV stars. Not only did Girl Fight deliver with TNA’s Knockout powerhouse Jordynne Grace on Tuesday night, fans got an added bonus when Dave Crist came to the ring with Samantha Heights. Dave is one of the best kept secrets on the Impact roster. As good as he is in the ring – and few people sell as well as he does – he’s hilarious when he gets into it with the fans. Folks sitting on my side of the ring were treated to a Dave Crist roast of the front row hecklers including a gem I tweeted during the show: “Sir, you’re bald because God hates you.”

Dave could easily have upstaged the action in the ring with his mouth, but a very game Hawlee Cromwell gave the always game Samantha Heights all she could handle. Samantha is a long time fixture at Girl Fight, and the fans love to hate her more than anyone. The Lost Girl used the ropes and some interference from Dave Crist to steal a win from Cromwell.

Jordynne Grace was next, facing Girl Fight’s teenage sweetheart Billie Starkz, who won a victory over Impact’s Su Yung at the last Jeffersonville Girl Fight show. As always, Starkz showed she belonged in the ring with Impact star, fearlessly attacking Big Momma Pump and taking some of Jordynne’s best shots, but it was not to be her night. Grace was too strong and too dominant, and her power eventually wore down Starkz. Most fans agreed it was the match of the evening, not to mention a fitting co-main event. Girl Fight has always been about giving young stars a shot against more experienced veterans, and it wasn’t too long ago Jordynne Grace was one of the up and comers working for the same promotion!

The final match of the evening was a first for Girl Fight: A steel cage match between Randi West and Savanna Stone. Stone is only 19 herself but a stellar wrestler and dastardly heel. She was more than up to the challenge against the Toughest Broad in the Galaxy, dragging West out of the ring and brawling around the Arena before the bell. It was during this melee that a second oscillating fan got involved when Stone threw West into the fan. Unlike its metal counterpart, the white, plastic and metal fan sold the move like a veteran and disintegrated on impact. It did appear after the match that it will make a full recovery and cool the Arena’s human fans again.

Although the crowd was surprisingly down for the match, Stone and West delivered a great fight inside the cage. Stone is an absolute star on the rise, having already caught the eye of WWE, and she has more than proven she belongs at the top of any card with her recent appearances for Girl Fight. Randi West took the victory by escaping the cage, getting a well-deserved pop from the crowd, but it was Stone who sent everyone out on a high note after she responded to the fans’ cry to “Knock him out!” and decked referee Sean O’Brien. She dropped the formerly man-bunned ref with a Dr. D style open handed slap and then returned to pummel him with her fists before escaping to the back. West came in and feinted a shot at Sean herself but helped him to his feet so he could raise her hand in victory.

Girl Fight continues to deliver show after show. Give Mad Man Pondo credit for having an eye for new talent and a nose for great matches, but give the ladies their due. They love this promotion, they love the Girl Fight fans, and they always leave it all in the ring. They’ve also made a significant impact on the women’s revolution, providing a launching pad for ladies who now call WWE, AEW, Ring of Honor, and Impact home. It’s only a matter of time before some of the new faces at Girl Fight make their way onto TV as well.

Girl Fight will be in Tennessee on June 21 and in Illinois for their second Death Becomes Her deathmatch show on July 13. Visit their Facebook page for information on these and other upcoming shows.

Rocket City Goes EXTREME

Last summer I had the pleasure of attending Rocket City Wrestling’s Wrestlingcon, an exciting evening of wrestling with a special meet and greet featuring Dr. D David Schultz, Jimmy Hart, Road Warrior Animal, Tracy Smothers, Shannon Moore, and Lindsey Snow. I just received the flyer for Wrestlingcon 2, and let me tell you… it’s extreme.

This year Rocket City is presenting an ECW reunion including Sandman, Jerry Lynn, Super Crazy, Joel Gertner, Francine, Tracy Smothers, and Raven. Shannon Moore and Lindsey Snow will also be returning along with the king of the wrestling magazines, the one and only Bill Apter.

Any one of these people would be worth the price of admission, but having them all together for this special event makes Wrestlingcon 2 a can’t miss event.

Rocket City Wrestlingcon 2 takes place Saturday, August 17 at Meridianville Middle School in Hazel Green, Alabama. Bell time is 7 pm. You can find all the information on Wrestlingcon 2 on their Facebook event page, and you can buy tickets now if you click here.

Headlocks for Hayden

Pro wrestling is a community that cares about its own. Not just the workers, but the fans. Shawna Reed recently lost a special friend, a young man named Hayden Field, an 11 year old boy who loved wrestling. After Hayden died in a car accident, Shawna was moved to put on a show in his honor with all proceeds benefiting Hayden’s family.

Headlocks for Hayden takes place on Saturday, July 13th at 190 N Brookwood Avenue in Hamilton, Ohio. The first ever Hayden Field Memorial Tournament will be one of the highlights, an eight person bracket featuring some of Hayden’s favorite wrestlers: Cody Hawk, Eric Fallen, Mark Magnum, Scotty Amos, Che Solo, Jame Rose, Jay West, and of course, Shawna Reed.

In addition to the show, there will be a merchandise raffle with items donated by stars from Future Great Wrestling, The Code, WWE, Eat Sleep Wrestle, and more.

Tickets are available for purchase at Future Great Comics in Hamilton, Ohio. Prices are $8 for front row (which is selling out fast!) and $6 for general admission. Show information can be found on the Headlocks for Hayden event page on Facebook.

 

Mad Man Hall of Famer

Last Friday night, Kevin Gill inducted Mad Man Pondo into the inaugural class of the GCW Deathmatch Hall of Fame. It’s an honor well-deserved, and to be blunt – you simply can’t have a deathmatch hall of fame without Pondo.

If you want to see the induction ceremony, you can catch the replay on Fite.tv for only $4.99.

Pondo took two boxes of his autobiography to Jersey with him and SOLD OUT! For those who missed getting a copy, you can order a signed copy through Eat Sleep Wrestle. The cost is $20 plus shipping ($5 in the US, $15 for Canada), and we accept PayPal. Message me at johncosper@yahoo.com to order.

Congrats again to Mad Man Pondo, and huge props to GCW and Kevin Gill for honoring him.

Pro Wrestling Revolver Arrives in Indiana

There are many promotions today who strive to be old school. They look for and book wrestlers who can work Memphis style. They strive to present wrestling the way it was. There’s even a delightfully fun group in Ohio that presents wrestling in the late 19th century format.

Pro Wrestling Revolver is not that type of show. There’s a lot of variety to be sure, but it’s an evening of modern wrestling at its most modern, filled with hard hits, high spots, steel chairs, comedy wrestling, and yes, a good helping of the flippy “stuff.” It’s a promotion that gives you dream match ups and odd pairings you never would have imagine that work better than you’d ever expect. It’s a promotion where a camping tent can become a title holder. It is, as advertised, a show “for our generation, by our generation,” as founder “The Draw” Sami Callihan made clear before the show even started.

“I know you all have phones,” he said. “Take ‘em out. Go on Twitter and follow @pwrevolver. We want you to take pictures. We want you to take video. If you want to stream the whole show, that’s fine. Tag it with #5000candlesinthering. That’s the only way this thing grows!”

That’s not the normal speech you hear at a show. Not even the smaller promotions who have deals with High Spots (as Revolver does) want you to film anything. Sami’s love for his promotion, his wrestling family, and his fans comes through in everything he does at Revolver. It was clear the fans at the Jeffersonville Arena last night took to Sami’s way of doing wrestling during their Indiana debut Tuesday night, and Revolver proved to be a welcome new addition to the Southern Indiana scene.

Later in the show, Sami commented on one of the criticisms he heard when he started Revolver. “They said, ‘He’s only doing this so he can book his friends!’ Well, I happen to think my friends are the best damn wrestlers in the world!”

It’s a bold boast, but how can you argue when your opening match is an Impact X-Division Championship bout between Rich Swann and Trey Miguel? Neither man is a stranger to the Arena, and they put on the fast, frenetic match fans expected from this dream combination. They were quickly followed by another one on one outing between Jake Crist and Project Monix. Crist, like Callihan, is part of Impact’s heel faction oVe, but here in the area where he cut his teeth with brother Dave as Irish Airborne and then OI4K, Jake can do no wrong. Despite the heat, fans were all in for this match and 100% behind Crist.

Two of RISE Wrestling’s top stars clashed in a match between Nevaeh and Kimber Lee. It’s hard to understand why WWE signed and then dropped Kimber Lee because she’s so good at everything she does. Despite the rising temps in the building, Kimber and Nevaeh put on a very strong match that proved Revolver’s women’s contingent does not take a back seat to the men.

One thing Revolver created that is truly unique is the Open Scramble Championship, a title defended in a match that can have any number of competitors at one time. Tuesday night, the Open Scramble title was defended by a camping tent. Yes, this is where the old time fans would have left if they hadn’t already, which is a shame because “Tent” and the eight men in the ring with Tent put on a great show. Arena favorites like Tyler Matrix and ZDP mixed it up with people like the 1 Called Manders and Jake Manning in a fast, frenetic bout that ended with Tent pinning Manning. Manders in particular impressed me in this bout. It’s been a year and a half since I first saw the former Iowa Hawkeye, and he’s turning into a very powerful wrestler.

A Fatal Four Way to determine a new Number One Contender for the Revolver Championship closed the first half of the show, featuring Caleb Konley, Impact’s Ace Austin, AEW Casino Battle Royale competitor Acey Romero, and the always impressive Jessica Havok. Arena fans have watched Austin bloom into a star over the last 18 months at PPW, and he proved to be a fan favorite, but all four competitors impressed in this one. Romero got the pin on the fearless Havok to become the Number One Contender.

After intermission, fans were treated to an IWA Mid-South Jr. Heavyweight Championship bout between Louisville’s Logan James and Cincinnati’s Aaron Williams. Williams has been a long-time fixture in the area with IWA Mid-South and previously D1W. He’s also no stranger to Sami and the rest of the Dayton crew thanks to his long-time association with Rockstar Pro. How this guy is not signed to one of the top promotions, I’ll never understand. James looked equally impressive even in defeat as Williams defended his title successfully.

The evening’s long tag team match as a three team affair that spilled out into the crowd, much to the delight of the fans. I have to admit, I was disappointed that Dave Crist was paired with Madman Fulton in this match instead of his brother, but Dave and Fulton proved to be an entertaining comedy duo. Impact fans have yet to see just how truly talented Dave is. He had the fans roaring as he berated the big man for using him as a weapon, spinning him overhead to knock down opponents and tossing him over the ropes into four other men. Crist played to the crowd at every opportunity. “Does my safety mean anything to you people? Huh?” From his facial reactions when he takes a boot to the face to his own death-defying aerial maneuvers, Crist can do no wrong.

The Iron Manager J.T. Davidson accompanied Sami Callihan to the ring for his Revolver Championship match with Larry D. The crowd was split on this affair, but as with every other match, most fans could go either way in the end. It was a hard-hitting contest that brought the fans to their feet in the end as the long-time veteran Larry D kept the title from “The Draw.”

Callihan called for the cameras to be shut off while the ring was set for the main event, and Callihan thanked the fans once more for their energy and attendance. He also promised Revolver would be returning in a few months in the hopes that Jeffersonville would become a regular part of their circuit. Two prize packages were then given away to fans – one by raffle, and the other given to the fan who posted the best tweet using the evening’s hashtag #5000candlesinthering. Both fans walked away with Revolver prize packages including T-shirts, stickers, and a copy of every DVD on the sales table.

A Bunkhouse Brawl between MLW’s Mance Warner, Impact’s Zachary Wentz, and the enigmatic Jimmy Jacobs closed the show. As strange as that combination sounds, it was a fantastic way to close out the show with all three men brawling into the crowd and using everything from haystacks to particle board as props. Warner has mega-star written all over him and sounds like a modern version of Steve Austin playing to the crowd, but it was the under-rated Zachary Wentz who took the win.

Manders returned to the ring with a couple of beers to celebrate with Wentz, and Wentz rewarded him with a Stone Cold Stunner. At that point, DJ Eric Montgomery hit Stone Cold’s theme music, and Wentz proceeded to stun everyone from Dave Crist to Madman Fulton to a few fans invited to join the fun.

“Cut the cameras!” Callihan bellowed over the microphone. “This is not part of the video! Vince will sue the hell out of us!”

For what it’s worth, I asked a friend who was backstage what the atmosphere was like in the locker room. I was told it was one of the most energetic locker rooms my friend had ever seen. Everyone working for Revolver loves what they are doing and who they are doing it with. It’s more family than business, and the wrestlers were having as much fun as the fans.

Revolver’s home base is Des Moines, Iowa, where my in-laws live. For close to a year, I’d been dropping hints to my wife that I’d like to plan a trip West to visit family that would coincide with Revolver’s schedule. I still want to make that trip, but I was quite delighted Revolver decided to open shop ten minutes from home. This is one of the most energetic and exciting indy federations, and for fans who like the high spots and fluffy “stuff,” this is must-see wrestling. Sami Callihan has a good thing going, providing a showcase and a launching pad for some of the best talent in pro wrestling. It’s a Dayton, Ohio centric roster, and I’ve long believed Dayton is where some of the biggest stars of tomorrow are being made. I can’t wait to see where Revolver and this talented roster of rising stars go next. 

You can find more information about The Wrestling Revolver on their website. Be sure to follow their social media links as well.