2018 in Review

In 2018, Eat Sleep Wrestle LLC became an officially registered company.

We released Dr. D David Schultz’s autobiography, Don’t Call Me Fake.

We released Mad Man Pondo’s autobiography, Memoirs of a Mad Man.

We released a revised version of Louisville’s Greatest Show with expanded biographies of Stu Gibson and Elvira Snodgrass, among others.

We revised and rereleased Lord Carlton’s biography.

We also released this delightful little kids book in collaboration with Hy Zaya.

I produced a short film in conjunction with my long time friend and collaborator Ally LaBar that got a lot of love.

And there was also this one with Hurricane JJ Maguire and Sonny Burnette.

 

I attended numerous shows at the Jeffersonville Arena hosted by Pro Wrestling Freedom, Paradigm Pro Wrestling, and Terry Harper, among others.

I attended the first two standing room only Midnight Girl Fight shows.

Dr. D and I attended several wrestling events together including Heroes and Legends in Fort Wayne, Rocket City Wrestling Con in Huntsville, SICW in East Carondelet, Illinois, and Starrcast in Chicago.

Hurricane JJ Maguire and I took in the first ever Richmond Pop and Comic Con.

I attended the Hall of Fame induction weekend in Waterloo, Iowa.

And oh yeah… I went to this little independent wrestling show called ALL IN.

Hard work in 2018 has led to three exciting opportunities in early 2019. Two new books will be released: the first in what we hope will be a series with the Bomb Shelter, and the biography of the Black Panther Jim Mitchell.

I will also be attending the Cauliflower Alley Club with Dr. D in April/May.

2018 was great. 2019 is looking even greater.

Thank you, readers, fans, wrestlers, promoters, referees, and friends. Happy New Year.

“Don’t Call Me Fake” Wins the 2018 Smith Hart Award

Today I had the honor of appearing on Hart Beat Radio with Bob Johnson and Bruce Hart to accept the Smith Hart Award for Dr. D’s autobiography, “Don’t Call Me Fake.”

Thank you to the listeners of Hart Beat Radio for this tremendous honor.

Thank you again to Dr. D David Schultz for allowing me to help tell your story.

I’ll be on Hart Beat Radio next weekend as well to discuss the upcoming biography of The Black Panther Jim Mitchell. I’ll also be attending the 2019 Cauliflower Alley Club to see Dr. D accept his Male Wrestler Award.

2018 was a terrific year. 2019 is going to be a great year as well.

Black Panther book cover revealed

This is the book I’ve waited five years to write. It’s almost here, and will be available in early 2019.

The biography of Jim Mitchell is a game changer for the history of professional wrestling, especially for African Americans. It’s a story that has to be read to be believed!

Art work is by the incredibly talented Adrian Johnson, who heard me talking about Mitchell on Jim Cornette’s podcast and reached out to me. And yep, that’s Gorgeous George with his lavender trunks in the headlock.

The Black Panther Auctions: What’s Left?

I’ve had a few messages since the latest edition of The Jim Cornette Experience was released asking what Black Panther memorabilia still remains to be sold. There’s not much left. Actually, there’s a LOT left, but not that many lots to sell and not much that’s wrestling related.

Here’s a run down of what’s on eBay – and the one big lot that isn’t.

A copy of H.L. Mencken’s “A Book of Burlesques”

A program from a Lou Costello Foundation boxing show

A calendar by  artist Earl MacPherson

Three pieces of monogrammed luggage: small, medium, and large

An art poster depicting the fight between Mitchell’s friend Joe Louis and Max Baer

A pair of autographed photos by African American musicians

One lot of possessions remains other than these, intact, in Toledo, Ohio: Mitchell’s pipe collection. Mitchell was an avid pipe smoker and collected pipes from around the world. Some he bought. Some were fights from friends or fans. He had hundreds, maybe thousands of them.

There are three large wooden display boards holding a number of these pipes, and three large rubbermaid tubs containing hundreds more. Photos are below.

We do not have a set asking price on this lot, but we hope we can keep it all together, the way Mitchell kept it. Looking for the right buyer, a wrestling fan/ pipe lover who wants to help preserve an amazing part of this man’s history.

Email me at johncosper@yahoo.com for information on any of these items.

Black Panther Items Up For Sale

The second round of Black Panther memorabilia has been split up into lots, and all lots and individual items have been posted on my Facebook page. These items are all headed for eBay, if not sold directly, and all reasonable offers are being accepted.

This is a rare change to get ahold of letters, personal documents including marriage certificates and tax returns, and other unique memorabilia.

Click here to go to Eat Sleep Wrestle on Facebook and see what’s available.

More Black Panther Jim Mitchell Memorabilia Available

A few weeks ago, I made my second trek to Toledo to pick up more memorabilia from the Black Panther Jim Mitchell. This time around I brought back his matching set of three suitcases, chock full of programs, letters, photos, and other mementos from his life in wrestling and afterward.

As before, the owner wants to sell this memorabilia. I’ve started posting photos on my Facebook page, where fans and collectors are welcome to make offers and buy items outright. Anything not sold there will go on my eBay store.

See some photos below to whet your appetite, then head to Facebook or eBay for more.

Black Panther Round One – Complete

I’m packing and shipping the last pair of the Black Panther Jim Mitchell’s boots this week.

Two pairs remain at my house. One will go to the Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Iowa. One stays with me.

I am hoping to make another run to Ohio in the next few months for more of the Black Panther’s memorabilia. It’s been amazing seeing and touching all this history. I can’t wait to put all that I’ve learned together and finally tell his story properly.

Five Matches

Someone on Facebook recently posed an interesting question: if you had a wrestling time machine and could go back to see any wrestling match, what would you go back to see?

I didn’t have to think about my answer. As a hug fan of the Black Panther, I’d want to go back to the night he is most famous for: the night he and Gorgeous George incited a riot at the Olympic Auditorium. Then I got to thinking, what other matches would I want to see if I could return to any night in wrestling history?

Here are my top five, in order:

August 24, 1949, Los Angeles. Gorgeous George vs. The Black Panther Jim Mitchell at the Olympic. George was one of the biggest heels of his day, and the Panther was a beloved star. On a hot summer night, George went too far. He tossed Mitchell from the ring and refused to let him back in. One fan jumped in the ring to give George some payback, and George leveled him. In an instant the entire crowd was on its feet, and a riot raged on for hours. Mitchell and George escaped to the back, but several people had to be hospitalized. One woman even sued George and Mitchell for her injuries. I have the program from that night and a letter summoning Mitchell to answer for his part in the riot that evening. They are the prizes of my wrestling memorabilia collection.

February 1, 1944, Louisville. Mildred Burke vs. Elvira Snodgrass at the Columbia Gym. If Mitchell is my all time favorite grappler, Elvira is a close second. I’d love to see the greatest women’s champion of all time against the toughest, meanest, scrappiest heel she ever faced in front of a hot Louisville crowd. This wasn’t the only time they faced one another in Louisville or the biggest crowd in Louisville to see them do battle, but it was the night they were the main event attraction. How incredible would it be to see Heywood Allen chomping on his cigar, overseeing the action in the Columbia Gym?

Jerry Lawler vs. Andy Kaufman in Memphis. The Kaufman/Lawler feud is one of the most fascinating stories in wrestling history, both for the in-ring action and the behind the scenes machinations. It’s the greatest work of the modern era and a blueprint for how to do kayfabe in an era when kayfabe is supposedly dead. Some how, some way, I’d have to have a ringside seat so I could see the back and forth after the match with Danny Davis telling Jerry that Andy will pay for the ambulance.

The Road Warriors vs. The Midnight Express, Night of the Skywalkers. Cornette has been a friend and a great asset in my research of Louisville wrestling history. The scaffold match was far from the best work either of these legendary tag teams did, but just to see it all unfold and watch poor Jimmy slip through the arms of Big Bubba (RIP) would be priceless.

When Hero Met Punk, IWA Mid-South, Clarksville, Indiana 2003. Before Punk made it to WWE or even Ring of Honor, he had some of the greatest battles in the modern indy era with Chris Hero, now NXT’s Kassius Ohno, in front of one of the most passionate crowds in wrestling today. Matches like these are the reason CM Punk said his ideal place for Wrestlemania would be the old warehouse in Charlestown, Indiana, where many of their brawls took place. This particular match went almost 93 minutes, and for the last 15-20 minutes, the entire crowd was on their feet. Watch this, their Tables and Ladders duel, or their 60 minute brawl, and join me in hoping that when Kassius Ohio reaches the main roster, WWE will make amends with CM Punk and give these two one last battle – at Wrestlemania.

Honorable Mention: The 1951 Derby Eve Show, Jefferson County Armory, Louisville. I’m going to cheat here, but this has to be one of the greatest cards ever presented in Louisville. Francis McDonogh, who took over the Allen Club from Heywood Allen in 1947, made the annual Derby Eve Show and the Police Benefit Show that took its place a monster even every year. Have a look at the card and tell me you wouldn’t want to be one of the 8000 in attendance that night:

Wild Bill Longson vs. Dutch Heffner
Bill Longson, Fred Davis (of the Chicago Bears), and Freddie Blassie vs. Ivan Rasputin, Stu Gibson, and Dutch Heffner
Mildred Burke vs. Mae Young
Lou Thesz vs. Green Dragon

 

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.