All posts by eatsleepwrestle

Last Chance: One Final Pair of Jim Mitchell Boots for Sale

In September I brought home nine and a half pairs of boots that belonged to “The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell.

Six and a half have been sold.

I purchased two – one for the Dan Game Museum and Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Iowa, and one for myself.

 

One pair remains.

This is the last chance to own a pair of boots worn by The Black Panther himself. This was a unique pair too, because they are laced up with black paces. I’ve bundled a few other items with this pair of boots to sweeten the pot.

Once these are sold, there won’t be any more. Lots more Mitchell memorabilia is likely coming. The pipe collection is still most definitely for sale! But barring some unforeseen circumstances, there are no more boots to be had after this.

Make your bid now on eBay.

Impact and the Future of Indy Wrestling

If you have any interest at all in independent wrestling – and even if you don’t – you need to hear Talk is Jericho’s Friday episode. Chris Jericho’s guests are Don Callis and Scott D’Amore, the new executive vice presidents of Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA). It’s an eye-opening discussion about their unique qualifications to take over the struggling promotion and take it in a new direction.

The highlight that stood out the most for me was when they discussed intellectual property rights and wrestlers. It’s well-known that Impact has finally given up the fight over control of “Broken” Matt Hardy, and the WWE and Hardy are already reaping the benefits. What D’Amore and Callis shared on the show was the reasoning behind their backing of this paradigm-shifting decision.

It was Vince McMahon and the WWF that established the idea that wrestling “characters” belonged to the promotion and not the wrestlers. Vince wanted control so he could own the merchandising and restrict people from leaving his company to make money of the characters he helped to create. The TNA policy that kept “Broken” Matt Hardy in limbo for seven months was adopted from the WWE policy.

Callis and D’Amore want to change that. They want to give a platform for wrestlers to build, grow, and market characters owned by the wrestlers. Wrestlers who sign on with Impact can rest assured they will not be starting over should their relationship with the company come to an end. The gains they make at Impact will benefit them in Ring of Honor, Japan, Mexico, Europe, anywhere they go.

Callis and D’Amore contend that wrestlers have more power now than at any time in the history of the business. It’s hard to argue with that statement. For nearly a hundred years, going back to the days of the Golddust Trio, the promoters held all the power. They controlled the territories. They controlled who won or lost. They controlled who got work and who starved.

The territories are no more. Today, wrestlers market themselves. They are savvy social media users. They have tools like Instagram, YouTube, and Pro Wrestling Tees that they are using to great effect. They give interviews on blogs like this. They appear on every podcast they can. They let their fans know where they can see them not only in person but on High Spots, Powerbomb.TV, and other networks.

Callis and D’Amore know the business of wrestling. They also know business-business. They see the market, they know the trends, and they seem smart enough to create an environment to appeal to wrestlers who are truly more independent than ever.

If you listen to podcasts, please give this episode a listen. It’s a great omen for what’s on the horizon, not only for Impact, but the independent scene at large.

2017 was a ground-breaking year for the independents. 2018 is looking even better. It will start with Alpha vs. Omega. Can’t wait to see how it ends.

Dr. D, Christmas, and Rasslin’ Memories

It’s always a pleasure to talk with Glen Braget on his wrestling podcast, Rasslin’ Memories, and this week, I made my third appearance. This time around, we talked about Dr. D David Schultz, whose autobiography should be ready to rock in January. We also hit on Mad Man Pondo, “The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell, Louisville wrestling, and Season’s Beatings, my new Christmas wrestling book.

Glen has a real passion for preserving the history of professional wrestling. His show features some great guests and incredible stories that ever fan needs to hear, no matter what era of wrestling they prefer.

You can download this week’s episode of Rasslin’ Memories on Soundcloud when you click here!

What I Learned from Dr. D

It’s been about a year since Dr. D and I met face to face and agreed to write his book together. The text is nearly complete, the cover is done, and we are hoping the foreword will be turned in soon. Not going to spill the beans who wrote the foreword, but it’s a Hall of Fame star who credits the Doctor with helping him out as a young, rising star.

Dr. D asked me today what I have learned from this process of writing his book. I thought it might be worth reposting here what I shared with him today.

I’ve learned a lot this past year. Writing this book has changed how I look at the wrestling business. It’s taught me a lot about the justice system and how it works.
As far as Dr. D David Schultz… I’ve come to see a man who always worked harder than everyone else around him. He is demanding of himself and those around him, but he is the best and most loyal friend to those who are the same to him.
The biggest impression I take away from the book is the loyalty of the people he trained and worked with. From the men he trained to become wrestlers, to the men he traveled with, to the men and women of the bail bonds person community, every one of them was eager to sing his praises and say how much they admired the man.
Fans might be surprised to learn that Dr. D, bounty hunter, could be a completely different person than the one they used to watch on TV. Yes, he could kick in doors and drag a man to the ground when needed, but he could also be compassionate, caring, and understanding. Dr. D had a way of knowing when to be tough and when to be tender. He took the fear out of facing the music for men and women caught in a bad spot. He let them know someone was on their side.
Personally, Dr. D has been been extremely good to me and my family. I appreciate the trust he placed in me to tell his story and to look through the boxes of history he sent my way to assist in the writing. I’ve had my hands on everything from legal depositions to Stampede Wrestling programs to Hulk Hogan’s wedding invitation. That was a huge trust, and quite a thrill.
I really appreciated the kindness Dr. D showed to my kids. They are big Dr. D fans. Sam and Lydia have both told their friends they know someone who beat up Hulk Hogan!
Dr. D and his wife, who read every page of the book as well, pushed me to become better writer this year. They challenged me to go above ant beyond what I have done in the past. I hope I have done his story the service it deserves and written a book his friends, his fans, and those who have never met him will greatly enjoy.
More than that, I hope I can have the same impact on others that Dr. D had on the men and women who remain loyal to him to this day. I hope I can be the kind of person who is honest, who has compassion for those in need of help, and who brings out the best in others. Those are the qualities I admire most about Dr. D.

Allen Gets Busted

I’ve been doing some long-overdue digging into Heywood Allen’s pre-Allen Club past in Louisville, specifically pulling results for the Savoy Athletic Club he booked prior to starting his own promotion. Allen became the booker for C. B. Blake’s promotion at the Savoy Theater in the spring of 1930, and in the fall of 1930, he found himself in a bit of a pickle with some local fans.

At a show on September 4, some fans inquired as to the health of local favorite Blacksmith Pedigo, who had been injured during his last match in Louisville and absent ever since. Allen told the fans that Pedigo was “coming around” and would soon be back in action. The fans then told Allen that they had seen Pedigo wrestle and defeat Ray Meyers in Indianapolis only a few days prior on Labor Day weekend.

Allen became “indignant,” according to a fan who shared this story in a letter to the Courier-Journal published on September 28. Allen claimed he had visited Pedigo on Labor Day and he was not at all in wrestling shape. The fan then went on to quote from the Indianapolis Star the results from the Labor Day show, in which Pedigo defeated Meyers 2 out of 3 falls.

It was easier to fool the fans in the days before the Internet, but as the old saying goes, you can’t fool all the people all the time. That said, I doubt that “J.F.B. of Indianapolis,” who said, “This sort of thing, in all fairness to the wrestling public, should be stopped,” was ever welcomed back to the matches in Louisville or Indianapolis with open arms.

Bluegrass Brawlers: A must-have for Louisville sports fans

From Ed “Strangler” Lewis to John Cena, the champs were here.

Louisville, Kentucky may not be the first name people associate with professional wrestling, but the River City has had a front row seat to witness the greatest stars in the history of the business. Bluegrass Brawlers tells the story from the very beginning, starting with the circus performers, the barn stormers, and the legendary 19th century champion William C. Muldoon. You’ll learn how Robert Fredericks became “Strangler” Lewis and see how the city first fell in love with the sport. You’ll discover the Allen Athletic Club era (also chronicled in Louisville’s Greatest Show) when Lou Thesz, Orville Brown, Mildred Burke, Wild Bill Longson, and Buddy Rogers put the gold in the golden age.

Memphis fans can relive the glory years of the Louisville Gardens, when Jerry Lawler was King. You’ll read about the world’s first scaffold match, rise of Jim Cornette, and the Jeff Jarrett-Dutch Mantell battle that took place at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. You’ll also read about the hey day of OVW, the developmental system that produced Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Batista, John Cena, and many more. Plus you’ll meet the man they call “Starmaker” Bolin and Ian Rotten, the unsinkable promoter of the legendary IWA Mid-South.

Bluegrass Brawlers is the book that started it all for me, and it’s still my top seller. It’s a great gift for wrestling fans of all ages.

Order now on Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.

Meet the Black Panther in Louisville’s Greatest Show

If you’re interested in knowing more about The Black Panther Jim Mitchell, you won’t find any books dedicated to him – yet. I am hoping to change that in the next year or two, but in the mean time, you can get to know the Louisville native in my latest wrestling history, Louisville’s Greatest Show.

Louisville’s Greatest Show dives deep into the lost golden age of pro wrestling in the River City. For 22 years, the Allen Athletic Club was one of the top sports attractions in the city, bringing the best in professional wrestling to Louisville every Tuesday night at the Columbia Gym and other venues. This was the era of legendary stars like Orville Brown, Lou Thesz, Wild Bill Longson, and Buddy Rogers. It was also the era of Mildred Burke, Mae Young, Elvira Snodgrass, and the biggest women’s wrestling stars in the history of the business. It was also a time of mud matches, midget wrestling, bear wrestling, alligator wrestling, and yes, even a wrestling wedding or two.

Louisville’s Greatest Show not only breaks down the 22 year history of the Allen Club, it gives you up close biographies of more than 20 local and national stars of the era. You’ll get to know The Schnitzelburg Giant Mel Meiners, WHAS sports legend Jimmy Finegan, Louisville homicide detective/ referee Ellis Joseph, IU wrestling legend Billy Thom, Blacksmith Pedigo, Betty McDonogh, Chicago Bear Fred Davis, and Kid Scotty Williams.

You’ll also get up close with three of my all-time favorite wrestlers: Jim Mitchell, Stu Gibson, and Elvira Snodgrass.

Louisville’s Greatest Show is available in paperback and on Kindle. Order it today on Amazon.com.

Net Neutrality and Indy Wrestling

If net neutrality ends, what does that mean for independent wrestling?

Independent wrestling has thrived thanks in part to a free and open Internet. Youtube has given us a wealth of video from wrestling’s past and present. Fans not only have the WWE Network but CZW Studios, the High Spots Network, New Japan World, Impact, Ring of Honor, Powerbomb.tv and dozens more. Facebook Live has changed the game even further, and the Billy Corgan-owned NWA is now using that platform to bring live action to the fans.

Could all of that wrestling, all of that momentum, really come to an end in less the two weeks?

Rumor has it the “gatekeepers” of the Internet want to create fast lanes for content creators who will pay for it, while minimizing and slowing down the creators who don’t. Do you think New Japan is going to pay for a fast lane? Or High Spots? Or CZW? There’s only one promotion I know of that even has the money, and I imagine when they pay up, they’ll pass that cost onto their subscribers. Bye bye, $9.99.

If you haven’t raised your voice, do it. Call your Senator. Call your Representative. Sign every online petition. Demand that Congress take action if the FCC won’t.

Raising our voices with our government is a must right now, but it’s not the only action we should take. We need to start a dialogue. Fans, promoters, wrestlers, podcasters, bloggers, and anyone who makes even part of their living from the wrestling business need to come together and ask the question: where do we go from here? Is there an alternative to the “new” Internet landscape? Where can promotions take their video? How do we get the fans to follow? What do we do to make sure this is not the end of the indy revolution, but just a speed bump on the way to a new era?

No one could have predicted the indies would return like they have. If net neutrality ends, I believe we can do the impossible once more.

Season’s Beatings: Christmas Wishes from the Golden Age of Wrestling!

While combing through the many programs in the Jim Mitchell collection, I came across a 1947 Christmas edition of Pacific Athletic News (PAN) that featured Christmas greetings from more than four dozen wrestlers, promoters, and other wrestling personalities. These photos and the accompanying messages were so fun, I decided to compile them into a book.

Season’s Beatings is a photos book bearing holiday wishes from some of Southern California’s biggest stars. Photos in the book include Gorgeous George, Ed “Strangler” Lewis, “The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell, Sandor Szabo, Enrique Torres, the Duseks, Karl and Wee Willie Davis, Bobby Bruns, Danny McShain, Mike Mazurki, Ed Don George, Hans Schnabel, Jan Blears, Yvon Robert, Morris Siegel, Angelo Savoldi, and Bronko Nagurski.

Season’s Beatings is a perfect gift for a wrestling fan or yourself. It’s guaranteed to become a yuletide tradition. If someone on your list prefers head locks and body slams to visions of sugar plums, order your copy today on Amazon, only $9.99.

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