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Back to Basics

I had a great time in 2019. Not only did I meet some amazing people and share some fantastic histories with my readers, I had a chance to bridge the gap between wrestling and fiction. I released four short novels in conjunction with independent wrestlers, including Ella, Charlie Kruel, and the Bomb Shelter. I also produced a collection of short stories inspired by 19th century wrestlers and a pure science fiction novel that may… okay, does have a nod to pro wrestling in it.

All that said, in 2020, I’m getting back to what built Eat Sleep Wrestle. I’m releasing one biography by Jimmy Wheeler and two autobiographies co-written by me over the next several months. I am also planning to take on the story of Dangerous Danny McShain in partnership with his nephew Danny Daymon, and I am determined to make some headway on the story of Wee Willie Davis.

I’ll throw this out as well… if anyone has memorabilia or information about Elvira Snodgrass that has yet to com to light, please reach out. I’m not 100% sure there’s enough information out there to fill even a short book, but she remains a huge fascination for me.

Eat Sleep Wrestle is here to honor the past and celebrate the present. I want to turn wrestlers, referees, and promoters on to the stories of the past as well as fans. There’s much we can learn from those who made the business great. There are gimmicks and ideas that haven’t been seen in decades that are due for a revival. And there are unsung heroes, like McShain, Davis, and of course Jim Mitchell, whose stories need to be told.

Okay enough stalling. Back to editing Tracy Smothers’s book.

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Coming in 2020

Happy New Year again, wrestling fans. Here’s what Eat Sleep Wrestle has in store (so far) for 2020:

Babe: The Story of How Alphonse “Babe” Bisignano Turned Out Alright

Up until now, almost everything ESW has published has been written or co-written by John Cosper. This winter we are proud to bring you the first book by Professional Wrestling Historical Society founder Jimmy Wheeler. Alphonse “Babe” Bisignano, aka Babe Carnera, was an Iowa pro wrestling legend. He was also a boxer, bootlegger, a restauranteur, a promoter, a cook book author, and an icon in the city of Des Moines. This is a colorful story about an unsung hero of the past history buffs will really enjoy.

If You Don’t Buy This Book, Everybody Dies!

The long awaited Tracy Smothers autobiography is on the way! We have been hard at work on this for months, even during Tracy’s cancer treatments, and it’s going to be a doozy. It’s the longest book yet from ESW, and it’s jam packed with your favorite Tracy stories and many you’ve never heard.

Scott Romer’s Autobiography

No one else can tell you stories about rubbing shoulders with Dick the Bruiser, Mel Brooks, President George H. W. Bush, Muhammed Ali, and Israeli intelligence because no one has lived a life quite like photographer Scott Romer. He has seen sport legends, Hollywood royalty, and world leaders through the lens of his camera, and his life story is a real page turner.

In addition to these books, I have at least three more projects in the works to be announced later!

I have just two personal appearances scheduled so far for 2020 that I can announce, but I’m excited about both. In April I am headed to ASW in West Virginia to see Gary Damron’s promotion in action. I’ll be there April 18 to see Mad Man Pondo and Tracy Smothers inducted into their Hall of Fame, and Hurricane JJ Maguire is coming with me!

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, I’ll be returning to Waterloo in July for their annual pro wrestling induction weekend. I had a fantastic time back in 2018, and I am looking forward to bringing more books and more of Jim Mitchell’s personal effects to display for fans in attendance.

This is only the beginning. Looking forward to what else 2020 brings my way!

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Well, That Was a Busy Year

So 2019 was a busy year. During the last year Eat Sleep Wrestle published seven books:

Two novels with the Bomb Shelter: A Scattered Timeline and Curse of the Undead Bride.

A novel with Charlie Kruel.

A novel with Ella.

I wrote and released wrestling music impresario Hurricane JJ Maguire’s autobiography.

I wrote and released Grappling by Gaslight, a short story collection about wrestling in the late 1800’s.

And I finally released the biography of wrestling’s first African American superstar, The Black Panther Jim Mitchell.

In addition to all that…

I attended my first Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion and presented Dr. D David Schultz with the Male Wrestler Award.

I got “Colonel” Stu Gibson inducted into the New Albany High School Hall of Fame.

And unrelated to wrestling, I released a science fiction novel I really, really like called Die Alan Die.

2019 was busy.

2020 is already looking to be just as busy. There may not be as many books, but there will be a lot happening. I’ll post more about that in a few days. In the meantime, you can save 20% on your entire order when you shop here and use the coupon code “2020” at checkout. Coupon code expires January 10.

Happy New Year, wrestling fans.

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Heather Reckless is Coming!

Heather Reckless knows how to make an impression.

Her height alone makes her stand out in a crowd. Not that she’s the biggest, mind you. The Seth Rollins protege only 4’9”. But she wrestles with all the fury of someone twice her size.

Indie wrestler gets absolutely launched out of the ring with a high cross from r/SquaredCircle

Many fans got their first look at her in a video that went viral last month, where another wrestler literally flings her overhead, out of the ring, into a crowd. The first time I saw her was in Vegas last spring. One of the other ladies in a triple threat match tried to toss her out of the ring and sent her face first into the middle rope. Her neck snapped back, and she fell awkwardly out of the ring. It was a simple misjudgment, probably due to her short stature, but Heather was in her feet and walking it off in no time.

As soon as I got home, I told Pondo about her. I told him Heather Reckless is tough as hell, and he needs to bring her in. I was thrilled to see her on the card for the Wisconsin show a few months back, and I’m very excited she will be in the house on January 14 when Girl Fight moves in to Malice Manor.

Girl Fight’s We Rule the World show has a card that will not disappoint, from the hard-hitting strong-style power of Heidi Katrina to the death-defying antics of Heather Reckless. This is a show you won’t want to miss.

Visit the event page on Facebook for event and ticket information.

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The Fight Goes On At Girl Fight

Girl Fight shouldn’t be running a show next week. As a matter of fact, Girl Fight should have ended just fifteen shows in.

It’s no secret that Girl Fight was created to help a current WWE Superstar who was once involved with founder Mad Man Pondo. It was intended to be a vehicle to help her network with other ladies in the wrestling business while getting experience working with some of the best veterans in the independent ranks. When said WWE Superstar ended her relationship with promoter Mad Man Pondo, he was ready to call it quits. He didn’t want to carry on.

Then Su Yung spoke up. The former Girl Fight Champion and Impact Wrestling Women’s Champion told Pondo that what he had done for his ex, he had also done for others. Yes, Girl Fight began as an opportunity for one young woman, but over the last several years nearly 200 young women have benefitted from the promotion. Su urged Pondo not to quit. She urged him to continue the promotion for her and for the other girls who had found value in this crazy idea. Other ladies chimed in and said the same. Thirty eight shows later… here we are.

Midnight Girl Fight 4: Pick Your Poison will be a show unlike any Girl Fight has presented. It’s a mixed tag team tournament featuring young stars like Ella, Charlie Kruel, and Billie Starkz as well as the return of the always unpredictable Mickie Knuckles. At the same time, Girl Fight is more of the same. By the same, I mean it’s a place where the girls can meet, network, and learn as they do battle with one another. It’s a tradition that has spanned more than a dozen states now and continues to win new fans with every outing. It’s not going anywhere, and 2020 is going to be a big year for Girl Fight.

You can buy tickets now by clicking here and purchasing direct from Mad Man Pondo. Or buy your tickets at the door. Remember, doors open at 10 pm WEDNESDAY evening, November 27, with a bell time of 11:59 pm.

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Midnight Girl Fight Returns Thanksgiving Eve

As soon as Halloween is over, I’m ready for Christmas. I was jamming to “Christmas in Hollis” right after I dropped my kids at a friend’s house to go trick or treating last Thursday night. I’ll have Christmas decorations sorted next weekend, my outside lights hung (but not yet lit) the following weekend, and five full sized Christmas lit and decked the weekend after that. And yes, I’m already rolling with purchasing Christmas presents.

That’s not to say I am overlooking the last week of November. No way! I’ll be up at 9 am Thanksgiving morning, watching the Macy’s Parade and preparing the creamed corn, the sweet potatoes, and the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner at my in-law’s house. But before that happens I’ll be staying up late Wednesday night to catch this year’s edition of Midnight Girl Fight.

“Pick Your Poison” is the theme for the second ever Thanksgiving Midnight Girl Fight, and the eight ladies competing on Wednesday November 27 beginning at 11:59 pm have all chosen a male tag team partner for the occasion. Eight intergender teams will compete in a winner take all tournament, and the lineup is stellar.

The Bomb Shelter will be in the house, with Randi West bringing husband Joseph Schwartz as her partner. Charlie Kruel has teamed up with Akira, and Girl Fight’s current number one contender Ella will be teamed up with Titan. Teen sweetheart Billie Starkz has chosen her IFHY stablemate Jonathan Wolf as her partner, and Wolf’s regular partner Shawn Kemp will be tagging with Allie Kat.

The newly crowned Shimmer champion Kimber Lee will be making her long-awaited return to Girl Fight for Pick Your Poison. In her corner is current Impact star and a member of the Rascalz, Zachary Wentz. Joseline Navarro has to be considered a heavy favorite given that her partner is none other than the powerful heavyweight Calvin Tankman, but it’s the final pairing announced today that will no doubt get the most attention. Girl Fight founder and Deathmatch Hall of Famer Mad Man Pondo has teamed up with a true Girl Fight legend. Making her long awaited return to the ring, after a year’s absence, it’s former Girl Fight champion Mickie Knuckles!

It’s anybody’s guess which poison paring will claim victory, but it’s a sure bet you will miss all the action if you wait until after the turkey is done to show up at the Arena. Midnight Girl Fight begins Wednesday night, the night before Thanksgiving, at 11:59 pm. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Mad Man Pondo on Facebook. Click here to visit his page and send him a message now!

 

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Lucha Libro a Smash in Indy

I have to admit, I had my doubts. It was Friday when I learned that the streets on either side of the Central Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library would be shut down Saturday morning. I was emailed a pass and given instructions for getting the police to allow me to pass through into the parking garage, but I knew that everyone who wanted to attend the Lucha Libro event would really, really have to want to get there to deal with traffic, road closures, and the parade.

My daughter and I arrived just before 9 am. Turns out we were one of the lucky few the police allowed to enter the garage. By 9:30, all vendors were being turned away and made to park elsewhere. The library staff was nervous. “The parade was supposed to be next weekend,” one of them told me. The guys who organized the event from La Sardina remained optimistic, but with only a handful of vendors set up and waiting by the time the building opened at 10 am, we were all wondering if the event would be a bust.

It was anything but a bust!

Lucha Libro was a first of its kind free event celebrating of Lucha Libre wrestling hosted in the gorgeous atrium of the downtown Indianapolis library. The event included vendors of wrestling memorabilia, arts and crafts related to Lucha culture, and of course, lots and lots of Lucha Libre wrestling. In spite of the traffic and parking situation, the crowd began to gather for the day’s festivities as soon as the doors opened. I don’t know where they parked or how far they had to walk, but no one seemed to mind. It was a beautiful day, and the families and fans that braved the traffic situation came ready to have fun.

The wrestling got under way around 11:30, about half an hour after it was scheduled to start, and fans were treated to some terrifically entertaining matches. There were plenty of masked men and luchadores performing death-defying aerials and acrobatic maneuvers, but there are some surprise treats that delighted the indy wrestling fans in attendance. Not only did Calvin Tankman put in an appearance, delighting the crowd in the “technico” role by squashing a “rudo” who insulted the crowd, we also got Dylan Bostic vs. Dale Patrick, a match my friend Randy (the guy who got me into wrestling books all those years ago) commented he would have paid to see.

It took the non-wrestling fans and kids a while to get into the spirit of things. The bi-lingual master of ceremonies, who did a tremendous job all day, brought the crowd along by explaining the good vs. evil nature of Lucha Libre and helping the new fans know how to play along. By the third match of the day people were beginning to get into the spirit, and when the first luchadore took to the air, flying over the top rope to land on an opponent, the gasp from the crowd was magical.

By the end of the afternoon, when technico Jake Omen won a title vs. hair match to save his long locks and win the Lucha championship, the crowd in the atrium had easily swelled to near 300. “Any independent promoter would kill for a crowd like this,” Randy commented.

Many of the fans who came early stayed for the full day’s activities, and folks who just happened to be visiting the library ended up sticking around as well. I had a fantastic time not only enjoying the wrestling with my daughter (who was seeing wrestling live for the first time) but sharing a table full of Jim Mitchell memorabilia with fans.

I don’t know if the library and the boys from La Sardina have plans for the future, but I would say the event was a smash hit. Here’s hoping this becomes an annual tradition.

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Updated Fall Schedule

One show is in the books on my fall book tour. Here are your next three chances to catch me at a show!

Saturday, September 28

Lucha Libro at the Indianapolis Central Library – 10 am – 3 pm

An amazing event celebrating Lucha culture featuring artwork, films, exhibits, and of course – Lucha Libre wrestling. I will have books available for sale, and I will be bringing some of the Black Panther Jim Mitchell’s artifacts to display.

 

Saturday, October 5

Heroes and Legends – Allen Co. War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana

I’m returning to Heroes and Legends with both Hurricane JJ Maguire and Mad Man Pondo this fall. We’ll have copies of both of their books available, plus other titles.

 

Wednesday, November 27

Midnight Girl Fight 4: Pick Your Poison – The Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana

What’s better than a Girl Fight show? A Midnight Girl Fight Show of course! For the second year in a row, the ladies will do battle in the wee hours of the morning before turkey day. Bell time is at 11:59 pm, on minute before midnight, and this year’s “Pick Your Poison” event will be a mixed tag team tournament.

And yes, since it is Black Friday weekend, I will be offering some deals exclusively for the Girl Fight fans in attendance!

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KZW: The Building May Be Hot, But the Crowd Is Hotter

I always enjoy getting away from Jeffersonville and Louisville to check out wrestling in other areas. Last year I traveled to East Carondelet, Illinois and experienced the fan frenzy that surrounds SICW, a promotion run by the great Herb Simmons. It’s small town wrestling at its best: a packed crowd, popular babyfaces, and dastardly heels. This week’s excursion to Kentucky Zone Wrestling in Somerset, Kentucky felt a lot like SICW with the fan frenzy as hot as the air in the Shopville Elementary Gym.

I sensed the excitement about the evening’s activities as soon as I drove into town. At the T-intersection that leads to Somerset, I saw a sandwich sign by the road that announced there was “Wrestling Tonight” at the gymnasium. Promoter Dennis Spradlin told me there were 14 signs set up around town, and the show had already received press coverage thanks to the impending release of master of ceremonies Hurricane JJ Maguire’s autobiography at the event. I’m told there was good word of mouth buzz about the book and the show around town as well.

It was 87 degrees at bell time, and the un-air conditioned gym was balmy, but that did not stop a crowd of about 200 from packing into the building. This was KZW’s annual Caged Fury show, an evening of cage matches each with multiple contenders. KZW’s roster includes a lot of long-time Central Kentucky stalwarts, but there were some promising young stars as well, guys who are already making am impact beyond the Kentucky/Tennessee region.

The highlight of the evening was the confrontation between Team Evil, a group of five heels managed by the notorious David Barnabas Spector, and Team JJ, a contingent led by JJ Maguire featuring four top babyfaces and the legendary Tracy Smothers. Competitors entered the cage at two minute intervals ala the Royal Rumble, but all stayed in until the babyfaces won the match by pinfall. The good guys grabbed hold of Spector and brought him into the ring, holding him in place for Tracy Smothers to do some real damage.

And that’s when it got really great.

Instead of leveling Spector, Tracy took out the babyfaces, shocking the crowd. “He’s double crossed ‘em!” a fan shouted, making my night and capturing the spirit of the evening. Tracy grabbed a microphone and shot on the state of Kentucky and the fans, leading to a 30 day suspension from KZW’s startled co-owner JJ Maguire.

Several matches were set for upcoming shows in the chaotic final moments, as angry good guys demanded a shot at the villains, and the fans went out with a fury, hoping that maybe next time, Spector and his goons would get theirs. Fans were also reminded that the action resumes not next month but this coming Saturday, September 21, in nearby Williamsburg.

KZW has truly filled a niche in their community, offering the fans of south central Kentucky a welcome live wrestling promotion that delivers the action they love. If you’re in the region or just curious to check them out for yourself, you can follow them on Facebook.

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Elev8 Wrestling Invites You to Witness History for Free!

Ben Wood and I go back a long, long ways. Before I got into writing about pro wrestling history, the two of us crossed paths in the Louisville independent film scene. He made a few short films for me, including The Last Temptation of Fluffy, and before making appearances in Escape Plan and Happy Death Day 2 U, he appeared in the must-see indy flick Overtime with Al Snow. (Trust me, it’s worth looking up.)

Ben still wrestles from time to time, but over the last few years, he’s been part of the office building a fantastic promotion down in Louisiana. Elev8 Pro is about to mark their third anniversary in a big way. Ultimate Valor 3 is the name of the show on October 12, 2019. The historic Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center in Chalmette, Louisiana is the venue, and the cost? Absolutely free!

The Civic Center in Chalmette was a regular stop for Mid-South Wrestling in the 1970s and 80s, a building frequented by stars like Ted DiBiase, Jim Duggan, and Junkyard Dog. The Elev8 Pro crew is thrilled to give fans a chance to see what they are about, free of charge, in a building overflowing with history.

Ultimate Valor 3 is sponsored by the St. Bernard Parish Government and the St. Bernard Parish Recreation Department, the Tonry Law Firm, and Cane’s Chicken Fingers. It is presented in partnership with the The League of Angels, an amazing organization doing big things for special needs children in the community. The League of Angels is an organization “all about the kids,” so it’s only fitting this free wrestling event is open to (and appropriate for) all ages.

Folks, if the sudden surge in professional wrestling companies getting television contracts hasn’t clued you in, the independent wrestling scene is bursting with hard working, passionate, dedicated talent that deserves your attention. if you’re in the Chalmette area, do not miss this once in a lifetime even October 12 at the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center.

Click here to go to the official Facebook event page.

#togetherwerise #stbenardparish #louisianawrestling #elev8pro #leagueofangels #event #historic