All posts by eatsleepwrestle

Indy Podcast Round Up for August 12

Here’s what’s happening on my favorite indy wrestling podcasts this week:

Dave Dynasty welcomes Izzy Slapawitz to his podcast on Monday, August 14. Dave is hard at work on a new YouTube compilation series featuring a number of matches from various promotions in the Midwest. Should be exciting.

The story collectors at Talkin’ the Business have the Ace of Spades Ace Austin on the show. They promise an inspirational story of knowing what you want from an early age and stopping at nothing to get it.

Finally, Kick Out at Two presents the first of their interviews recorded live at the 2017 Scenic City Invitaitonal in Chattanooga. First up is an early morning live Q&A with SCI competitor Corey Hollis.

Check out these podcasts on iTunes or wherever you happen to download or steal your podcasts every week, and get to know who’s who and what’s happening in independent wrestling!

I’m Learning Japanese

Back in January, I set an unusual goal for myself. I decided I want to learn Japanese.

It happened because I decided to pick up New Japan for a month just to see Wrestle Kingdom. I had trouble navigating the mixed language site, and I ended up watching the show with the Japanese commentary instead of English. I loved it, and I was intrigued. So I decided to pick up Japanese.

Just a month or two before watching Wrestle Kingdom I heard Kevin Owens tell the story of how he learned English by watching Monday Night Raw. I wondered if it was possible for an American fan to do the same watching New Japan.

Four months later, Duolingo released their Japanese language module. I’ve been working at it ever since, and in July, I re-subscribed to new Japan World. Is it working? Well, no. Not yet. I’m still very much a beginner, but I’m determined. I’m also loving New Japan way more than WWE right now. As a matter of fact I’m planning to drop the WWE Network this fall and go exclusively with New Japan.

I’ll repeat that in case you missed it. I am unplugging WWE this fall in favor of New Japan.

Fans, if you are sick of what you’re seeing on TV, there are options. Vote with your remote. Vote with your subscriber dollars. Pick up New Japan World, or CHIKARATOPIA, or CZW, or High Spots. Or drop ’em all and get the free Rasslin’ channel on Roku.

The WWE doesn’t listen to your complaints on Facebook and message boards. As long as you keep on paying your $9.99 a month, they could care less what you say on Twitter, Reddit, or any other website.

You know what they do care about? People hitting the unsubscribe button. That’s how you get their attention.

Right now, the best wrestling is not at the biggest company. I know I’m not alone in this sentiment. If you are tired of being disappointed, stop setting yourself up for disappointment. Cancel the Network. Find something new. Find something you love and support that. Stop supporting the stuff that’s letting you down.

Indy Podcast Round-Up 8/5/17

Want to know what’s happening in independent wrestling, particularly in the Midwest and Southern states? Here are a few podcasts to get you started.

Kick Out at Two has been a friend of Eat Sleep Wrestle for a long time. This week, amid preparing to visit the Scenic City Invitational and hosting Southern Underground Pro Wrestling’s show on Sunday August 6, they took the time to interview Brutal Bob Evans. Bob is the Obi Wan Kenobi of today’s indy scene. He’s the guy giving everyone the tough, common sense talk that if they apply it will help them expand their brand and build their business as a pro wrestler.

Kentucky’s own KC and Dave on Talkin’ the Business pride themselves on bringing their listeners the best stories from the indy wrestling scene. They love shining the spotlight on guys and ladies most folks haven’t heard of (but soon will), and this week their guest is rising star Axton Ray. TTB and KOAT are both new every Friday on iTunes and wherever you download your podcasts.

The Dave Dynasty Show broadcasts out of south central Indiana every week on Mondays. This coming Monday Dave’s guest is one of the most influential trainers and veterans in the region, the great Al Snow! Dave’s show can also be found on iTunes and other fine podcast outlets.

Final note for this week’s indy round-up is not a podcast note but a TV programming note. If you’re not watching Impact wrestling, you will want to start this coming August 17. The best kept secret in the Midwest, the phenomenal tag team of Jake and Dave Crist, will make their debut on Impact as oVe: Ohio vs. Everything. Check out the teaser below.

Ali vs. Inoki: The Forgotten Legacy

I wrote a while back that if you visit the Muhammed Ali Center in Louisville, there’s one fight from the Champ’s career that is very conspicuous by its absence. It’s the legendary – some would say infamous – boxer vs. wrestler match that took place in 1976 against Japan’s Antonio Inoki. While many people look on that match (if they glance at it at all) as a disaster and a public failure, the battle between Ali and Inoki in many ways opened the door not only for the rise of sports entertainment and the WWE, but mixed martial arts. At least that’s the contention of MMA writer Josh Gross, who has shed a bright light on the forgotten Ali match in his book, Ali Vs. Inoki.

Gross has put together a phenomenal look at one of the most bizarre chapters in boxing and wrestling history. The 320 page work is an exhaustive look at the events leading up to the fight, the participants on both sides, the fight itself, and the aftermath. Gross covers the fight from all sides, giving his reader a perspective from all sides on the fight including Ali and his handlers; Ali’s corner man, the great Freddie Blassie; referee and deciding judge “Judo” Gene LeBell; and the enigmatic Inoki and his seconds, including the legendary shooter Karl Gotch, whom Gross maintains could hardly contain himself from entering the ring and twisting both men, Ali and Inoki, in knots. Gross also tells some amusing stories about the WWWF side of the story, including a tale told by Vince McMahon, Jr., about taking Ali down in his hotel room. The reader is left to decide for him or herself if they believe McMahan’s version of events. (I for one, am not buying!)

Gross is an MMA guy, and his bent leans toward the world of mixed martial arts all the way. Nevertheless, he gives a fair and balanced look at the world of professional wrestling as well as boxing. Ali Vs. Inoki is a must read for any fight sports fan and a must have for wrestling book collectors. It’s a brilliant look at the fight some want to forget but no one ever will, a turning point in the career of Muhammed Ali (who never was the same after the bruising his legs took during the bout), and a groundbreaking matchup that inspired a new wave of fight sports that continues to thrive to this day.

Ali Vs. Inoki is available on Amazon.com.

Wrestlers Read Free!

Today’s post is a shameless plug, but it’s a shameless plug with heart!

I’ve made this offer in private to a few people I’ve come to know I the wrestling business, but now I’m making it public. Long before I was writing about wrestling, I was writing science fiction. Space opera, sci-fi comedy, nothing heady like Asimov but fun and adventurous like Flash Gordon meets Douglas Adams. I have several novels and a short story collection published in print and ebook formats.

If you’re in the wrestling business, and you enjoy reading this type of fiction, I’d like to hook you up for free.

If I have your attention, I invite you to take a look at my personal website, www.johncosper.com, and take a look at the books now available. If you see something you like, Email Me and I’ll be happy to send any and all books you want in PDF or ePub format.

Sounds great, man, but I don’t read ebooks. I like to hold a real book. 

I completely understand. If that’s the case, email me the title or titles you want and we will work something out.

Is it okay if I share the books you send me with other wrestling friends? 

Absolutely. Matter of fact as long as you’re sharing with people who are willing to say, “Hey, I read a great book and you should too,” you can share with anyone you like.

If you need something to read on your next road trip or long flight, please visit www.johncosper.com and Email Me to get your books.

Indy Books: The Next Step to Growing Your Territory?

Today’s independent wrestling workers are very tech savvy. They use Youtube as an endless library of wrestling videos, a place to study wrestling’s past and improve their work. They use sites like Pro Wrestling Tees to sell their merch online. They use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites to promote shows, themselves, and grow their network.

The Internet has played a huge part in growing the new independent scene. Now, a new website has come along that will give wrestling workers an even better opportunity to grow their brands and their opportunities.

Indy Books is a social media platform specifically for wrestlers, promoters, referees, and other workers in the business. Think of it as a LinkedIn for wrestling. This is a place to connect with friends in the business, make more friends, discover uncharted territories, build your own loops, plan carpools, and most importantly, grow your brand.

I was excited to read about Indy Books because the potential for a site like this is huge. It consolidates wrestling contacts into one place. It allows promoters and wrestlers to advertise open dates to one another in a more private forum than Facebook and other open social media platforms. Used well, Indy Books can be the place where previously undiscovered diamonds in the rough can launch their careers faster than ever.

If you’re a wrestler, promoter, ref, etc. I encourage you to visit Indy Books and set up your profile today. As I wrote the other day, the time is ripe for the independents to rise up. Sign up for Indy Books, and seize the day.

Opportunity Knocks for Indy Wrestling

Hollywood isn’t making movies for American audiences. The cost of blockbuster films has skyrocketed so high, they can’t make their money back if they make movies for American movie goers. Movies are being made for international audiences. Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Tom Cruise Mummy debacle… Hollywood doesn’t care if we like them or not. They make money overseas. They made enough money internationally to justify making more. This is the trend in Hollywood, and it’s spreading.

The WWE is doing the same thing. You want to know why the Great Khaki is back? You want to know why Jinder Mahal is your Smackdown champion? Because there are 1.3 billion people in India, an audience and a market the McMahons covet. It’s clear they are going after India, and it’s clear they don’t care if it costs them fans here.

While the WWE is focused on India, Jeff Jarrett is loading his roster to make Global Force Wrestling a household name. While the WWE continues to push for subscriptions overseas, New Japan is making in-roads in America, thanks in part to their partnership with Ring of Honor. New Japan now has an app for Amazon Fire and Google Chromecast. I am one of the many waiting for the Roku channel to be released.

This is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for the #2 and #3 American promotions to gain ground. It’s an opportunity for the #1 Japanese promotion to invade our turf. It’s an opportunity for the independents, who never lose sight of their base audience, to steal some thunder.

Two weeks ago on the Kick Out at Two Podcast, Righteous Jesse said something I’ve observed myself. Loops are coming back. Territories are re-forming. The more wrestlers network and share rides, the more promoters are willing to help each other out, the better it gets for everyone.

The time is ripe. It’s the best opportunity the modern day independent wrestling has ever had. Time to seize the moment, ladies and gentlemen.

The WWE wants India. Who wants America?

Kentucky’s Own Hillbilly Jim

I had no idea Hillbilly Jim had a book until I stumbled across a copy at Half Price Books. It’s a light read, one I completed in a day, and I’ll be honest: it’s got flaws. It stars on page one when the author (not Hillbilly Jim himself) attributes the phrase “Pencil Neck Geek” to Jerry Lawler instead of Freddie Blassie. He later refers to Memphis wrestling as the AWA, and he credits Antonio Rocca – not Gorgeous George – as being the wrestler who made people want to buy a television in the 1950s.

Clearly, Hillbilly Jim’s biographer isn’t in tune with wrestling or wrestling history. But he does have a good yarn to tell, and if you can get past the factual issues (most of which have nothing to do with Hillbilly Jim’s story), you’ll enjoy reading the tale of the poor Kentucky boy who rose to become the #2 babyface in the Hulkamania era of the WWF.

Hillbilly Jim is the star here, and he comes across the way you remember him. There’s no dirt, no scandal, no tell-all reveals to be found here. Just a simple story about a Kentucky boy who grew up playing basketball and ended up becoming a major professional wrestling star.

The Amazon reviews are largely negative on this one, and if you’re a stickler for getting the facts right, it will get under your skin. J. Michael Kenyon would have pulled his hair out over some of the errors. But if you grew up watching wrestling in the 80s and remember the infectious grin and positivity of Hillbilly Jim, it’s a trip down memory lane worth taking.

Praise for “Louisville’s Greatest Show” from a Fan Who Remembers

When you work on a book about events from 60-80 years ago, there’s always a nagging worry in the back of your mind you’ve got it wrong. In writing the book Louisville’s Greatest Show, all I really had to go on were the newspaper clippings I found online and a few scattered memories left by fans. I was fortunate enough to get in touch with Dr. Allen McDonogh, son of Louisville promoter Francis “Mac” McDonogh, and get his perspective on the golden age of Louisville wrestling, but I never was able to find anyone who was there in the seats, just as a fan.

Today, one of those fans found me. His name is Jim Oetkins, and out of the blue, he called to give me a pat on the back and an “Atta boy” for bringing back some of the greatest memories of his adolescence.

Now 79 years of age, Jim was thirteen years old when he experienced wrestling at the Columbia Gym in 1951. His father got tickets to the Tuesday night shows through a connection at work, and wrestling became an almost weekly ritual.

“I remember seeing it live, and watching on TV with Jimmy Finegan calling the action. I remember all the ads you put in the book from the weekly papers. I worked as a paper boy for the Courier-Journal back then, and if I missed a week, the first thing I’d do Wednesday morning when I got my stack of papers was flip to the sports section to see who won the night before.

Jim shared a funny story about two men sitting in front of him one night during a bout between the hated German Hans Hermann and long-time Louisville stalwart “Wild Bill” Longson.

“One guy turns to the other and says, ‘Hermann’s gonna destroy your guy Longson!’ The other says, ‘You wanna make a bet on it?’ He pulled out his wallet and started flashing twenty dollar bills. The other guy leaned in and whispered, ‘You know it’s all fake, right? They aren’t really wrestling for real!’ But his friend wouldn’t have any of it. He kept pushing his pal to put some money on the line!”

Jim thanked me again for the trip down memory lane, promising to put the book in a prominent place on his bookshelf. I thanked him for one of the greatest compliments I could ever receive on a book like this one. It was my honor and pleasure to tell the story of this long-lost history.

Louisville’s Greatest Show is available in paperback and on Kindle. Go to Amazon.com to order your copy today.

The Power of Freight Train

Like many fans packed into the Jeffersonville ArenA last November for Terry Harper’s first wrestling show at the Southern Indiana venue, I was a little taken aback when I got my first look at Freight Train. He didn’t move like other wrestlers. He didn’t fight like other wrestlers. A couple of casual fans standing near me turned their noses up and left the building to smoke a cigarette until the match was over. It’s a shame they did, because the longer I watched Freight Train do what he does best, the more intrigued I became.

If you’re not familiar with the name, Freight Train is one of the stars of Five Dollar Wrestling. He’s a native of Charlotte, North Carolina who has achieved a level of success most can only dream of. He’s overcome the odds that stack up against every wannabe wrestler and then some. He’s the subject of the inspirational documentary, “The Power of Freight Train.”

I mentioned Freight Train didn’t move like other wrestlers. Freight Train has mild autism spectrum disorder known as Aspergers Syndrome. One of the hallmarks of Aspergers is a singular focus on one or more key interests. For Charles Stevenson, the boy who grew up to become Freight Train, there were two things that drew his interest more than any other: trains and wrestling.

Rather than hinder Stevenson’s dream of becoming a wrestler, his condition actually helped him to achieve his dream. Stevenson refused to take no for an answer when men told him he couldn’t train. He refused to take no for an answer when people wouldn’t book him. He ignored the people who laughed at him. He was persistent; he never gave up. And when 5 Dollar Wrestling opened a door, he made that dream come true.

Packed with interviews with friends and fans like like Colt Cabana, Mad Man Pondo, Crazy Mary Dobson, and even the notoriously old school Rip Rogers, “The Power of Freight Train” is a beautiful story not only of Charles Stevenson, but all the people whose lives have been touched along the way, especially Freight Train’s good friend and mentor “Manscout” Jake Manning. It was Manning who gave Freight Train a chance with 5 Dollar Wrestling, and Manning, more than anyone else, has been inspired and transformed by his friendship with the gentle giant.

“The Power of Freight Train” is a story even non-wrestling fans can enjoy. It’s an inspirational tale of a man who refused to give up on a dream and the hearts he changed along the way.

“The Power of Freight Train” is available only on High Spots.

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