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Pre-Order The Bomb Shelter: Curse of the Undead Bride Now!

The sequel to The Bomb Shelter’s first YA novel is finally here, and this time, they’re doing battle against the Undead Bride, Impact Wrestling’s Su Yung!

After traveling back in time to prevent an assassination attempt on Ed “Strangler” Lewis, Joseph Schwartz, Randi West, and Zodiak make a detour to a small town in Connecticut, where an ancient evil has awakened. The Bomb Shelter realizes too late they’ve fallen into a trap as the undead bride Su Yung enslaves Joseph Schwartz in order to harness his time traveling ability and create an unstoppable army of undead wrestlers!

The newest adventure from the Bomb Shelter takes you back and forth and even sideways in time, as Randi and Zodiak join forces once again with Satu Jinn to rescue Joseph and unravel Su Yung’s plot before she can plunge the whole world into darkness. Fly away to Never Never Land and battle pirates with Lost Girl Samantha Heights! Train to be a super hero with Corey Storm! And come face to face with some of the greatest names from the golden age of wrestling.

Curse of the Undead Bride is a star-studded wrestling adventure across time and space for fans of all ages – even those who never grew up!

Fans who wish to pre-order a copy of the book, signed by Joseph Schwartz and Randi West, can do so for only $20. Or, if you haven’t picked up their first book A Scattered Timeline, you can order BOTH books for only $30! Shipping is free in the US. International customers, please message for rates.

Email johncosper@yahoo.com to order, or send PayPal payment to johncosper@yahoo.com

Pre-orders will ship by the end of September!

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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. 

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What’s So Different About Impact?

Back around November, I started watching Impact. I was never a TNA fan and never saw a single TNA pay-per-view or Impact show until the fall of 2018. Never had any interest! Then Impact signed Su Yung. Then they signed oVe. Then they changed ownership. Then they signed the Rascalz. Then they signed Jordynne Grace. Then they signed Ace Austin.

That was when I decided to give Impact a try. For several months I have watched the show (Friday nights at 10 pm on Twitch) every chance I got. If I missed the Friday show, I’d catch the replay on what is now Impact+, a great subscription value at only $7.99. Not only can you watch past episodes of their show, you now get monthly live shows, shows from other promotions, and classic wrestling in the form of The Best of Wrestling at the Chase from St. Louis hosted by Larry Matysik. (RIP, good sir!)

I’ve enjoyed watching Impact. I’ve become a fan of more of their stars including Tessa Blanchard, Moose, Rich Swann, and Brian Cage, and I’ve always liked Johnny Impact. But lately, something has struck me as odd about the show. Something feels off. I couldn’t put a finger on it for a while, but it has to do with the week to week programming. The way the show is constructed seems a bit old school. The rivalries and story lines play out the way they used to on Raw and Smackdown. And the gimmick matches! One week there’s a street fight. One week there’s a deathmatch. They keep mixing things up. It’s not always one singles match after another. But it IS one match after another. Yes, you get an in-ring promo here and there, and the same back stage interviews every promotion does. But they don’t take 52 minutes to get to the action. They open with a match. Then here comes another. And another.

I don’t know how Impact was before the new owners took over, but it plays like an old school wrestling show. Not even Raw or Smackdown, mind you, but even further back in time, back when I used to watch World Class on ESPN after school every afternoon. It feels odd, really odd, because it’s not what I’m used to. I watched Raw and Smackdown for decades, and while those shows have become much more script driven, Impact is purely wrestling driven.

In all honesty this is not a tongue in cheek way of promoting Impact. If I sound sarcastic and like I’m taking sideways shots at WWE, I’m not. This essay began with me reading a Tweet about this week’s street fight between Eddie Edwards and Killer Cross and trying to puzzle out, why does this feel so strange? Why is it strange that once again, Impact has built to a special stipulation match between two wrestlers with a grudge? What is it about Impact that just feels odd?

Impact is formatted as an old school wrestling show. It only feels off because it’s been so darn long since I’ve watched such a show week after week. I’ve become a fan of the promotion and the wrestlers, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for something different in their weekly wrestling shows.

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Pain Torture Agony – The Story of a Legacy of Greatness

When you attend a wrestling fan convention as a vendor, it’s always a crap shoot. Sometimes you do well. Sometimes you spend more than you make. By all accounts this year’s Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion was a success for all the wrestling authors in attendance, but especially for Ron Hutchison, who released his autobiography Pain Torture Agony at the Reunion. I sold nearly 100 books in three days. Ron sold out of his 75 by lunch time on day one.

I had never met Ron and did not know his story before I attended CAC. I knew he was involved with CAC, and I had read a few emails from him regarding Dr. D’s seminar at the Reunion, but it wasn’t until I picked up a copy of the book for myself through Crowbar Press that I learned the rest of the story.

Ron Hutchison was a kid who lived his dream and became a professional wrestler. Hailing from Ontario, he trained not in the Hart dungeon but with Sweet Daddy Siki and Johnny Powers at Sully’s Gym in Toronto. Although small in stature, he earned the respect of many promoters, including Jack Tunney, and worked as an enhancement wrestlers a number of times for the WWF in the early days of the Wrestlemania era.

Hutchison’s legend really began when he stepped up and took Johnny Powers’ place as a trainer at Sully’s. Just as Stu Hart had once been the go-to trainer for Canadian dreamers, Ron became the man in the East. It started with Adam Copeland, who won free tuition to train with Ron thanks to a handwritten essay reprinted in Ron’s book. Adam’s life long friend Jay Reso followed, and when the two broke out as Edge and Christian for WWF, more students followed, including Trish Stratus, Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, Sinn Bodhi, and Traci Brooks.

Pain Torture Agony is a wonderful account of Ron’s career in professional wrestling. It is at times painfully honest and hilariously funny as Ron opens up about everything from his falling out with Siki to his devotion to the Cauliflower Alley Club to his involvement with Carmen Electra’s Naked Women’s Wrestling League. (Yep, that was a real thing.) Ron’s love for the business and even more for his students shines through, and Ron is equally proud of those who didn’t “make it big” as he is for the Hall of Fame and CAC Award winners. There are personal testimonials sprinkled throughout the book from Edge, Christian, Trish, Gail, Beth, Sinn, and many more wrestling personalities from Ron’s past.

Throughout the book, Ron hints often at how tough and demanding he could be with his trainees, including the “Pain Torture Agony” training regimen that gives the book its name. If there’s one thing I came away wanting, it was the chance to sit down with one of Ron’s old pupils to hear more about Ron’s “dark side” as a trainer. This isn’t a criticism of the book, mind you, but a genuine curiosity to hear more. Pain Torture Agony made me a fan, and I suspect there are more great stories yet untold. Whether Ron has a second book in him, or whether his students will do the talking, I look forward to hearing more about one of the greatest trainers of his generation!

Pain Torture Agony is available from Crowbar Press. Click here to order in the US or Canada.

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Paradigm Pro Star Headed to Impact!

A little over a year ago, I got my first look at Ace Austin at Paradigm Pro Wrestling. Every time I’ve seen him in person, he’s only gotten better.

Ace is another wrestler based out of Dayton, Ohio, part of the core now at Impact that includes oVe and the Rascalz. He’s a dazzling superstar in the making and a great get for my weekly Friday night wrestling fix.

Huge congrats to Ace Austin, and to Impact. Cannot wait to see him on Twitch every week.

Photo credit to Mouse’s Wrestling Adventures.

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What Wrestling Are You Watching?

Which promotions are you watching?

What networks do you subscribe to right now?

Right now, for me, it’s all about Impact and New Japan.

Impact has all my favorite people. Dave Crist, Jake Crist, Jordynne Grace, and the trio known as the Rascalz were faves of mine before they were on TV. I don’t have cable, but I’ve been watching them on Twitch every Friday night since they started streaming live. I hate to see their rating continue to slide because it’s a really, really great wrestling show.

And New Japan is… well, despite some high profile departures, it’s STILL New Japan. Ibushi is staying. Jay is the new IWGP Champ. And there are these two guys named Naito and Okada still there who are arguably among the best in the world.

Whatever you’re watching, I hope you’re watching to enjoy, not to complain. If you don’t like what’s on one show, turn it off. You have alternatives everywhere now.

I’ll be watching New Japan on the treadmill, and I’ll be on Twitch Friday evenings watching Impact. If you haven’t seen Impact in a while, I really hope you’ll give it a chance.