The Great Story of The Great Cheyenne

Every professional wrestler has a story to tell, and some of these stories are nothing short of inspiring. Whether they make it to the WWE or spend their career in the indies, every man and woman who laces up the boots has a story about overcoming obstacles in pursuit of their dream.

The Great Cheyenne has overcome more than most in her career. She was a single mother when she told her relatives she wanted to become a professional wrestler, and she found no support at all from her family.

“The people around me thought I was ridiculous, and it wasn’t something a single mom should be doing or engaging in. I was highly criticized, but I did my best to look past that because it was worth the criticism if I felt that happy doing it.”

The Great Cheyenne refused to give in to the criticism. A fan since she was a child, she felt perfectly at home when she finally made it into a ring. “Some of us women are tomboys, you never really feel like you fit in or like you can really belong because you’re not the typical girl. I wasn’t into dresses and girly stuff, but when I stepped in the ring, I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be. The shoe fit so I wore it; in my case the boot sure did fit. I am not a small woman, so when I was in the ring it was like the ring fit me, the size of my head, my nose, my hands, and my rough nature.”

The Great Cheyenne began her training in Chicago, where she first broke into the independent scene. She later trained with the legendary Savoldi family on the East Coast and furthered her education with Hall of Fame stars like Bob Backlund and Kevin Von Erich. She developed a physical toughness only exceeded by her inner toughness, and for twenty years, she has battled to earn her spot in independent wrestling.

It has not been an easy road. Family has always come first for The Great Cheyenne, and she’s had to pass on many opportunities in order to do what was best for her children. She’s always followed her true north, steering clear of temptation and the shady side of professional wrestling while staying true to herself.

Having grown up a fan herself and breaking into the business as a single mom, children have always had a special place in The Great Cheyenne’s heart. So when the opportunity to write a book arose, it was a no-brainer who her target audience would be.

“Children are some of our greatest fans. With their innocence and with their intuition they know who is genuinely good and legit even when you are a great heel. Some of my best memories are of my fans that were little kids. I care a lot about their growth and well-being, as a single mother of two children and a daughter of a migrant mother who worked hard all the time and was tired, I am aware and conscious of the hard times some children are enduring out there feeling alone.

“I want to be a voice of hope for those little kids, for those dreamers and for those especially having hard times that they don’t even realize they can dream because their hardship doesn’t allow it. Many times our parents do not have time, are suffering depression, or just working hard, and right now with politicians coming down on dreamers, I want them to know someone is in support of their right to dream and their pursuit of happiness.”

The Great Cheyenne partnered with illustrator Jason Eaglespeaker to bring her vision to life. “I have known him for 7 years now. He did a comic strip for my character some years ago. We have been supporters of each other’s work for some years now. So I trusted him and I am a fan of his work. He has done excellent work as a grassroots indigenous Native American author, artist and community activist. I respect and believe in his work. Jason knew exactly what to say to me. I don’t believe in coincidences. I feel it was meant to be him that I worked with, his work and his messages for hope and success are solid, pure and good for our people.”

Both Eaglespeaker and The Great Cheyenne have high hopes for how the book will touch readers young and old. “We want to inspire them to live in their fight for self-preservation, truth, happiness and ultimately to follow your own North in a noisy sometimes unsupportive world. Be you and dream whatever dream makes your soul feel you are being your own you.”

The Great Cheyenne is now available on Amazon.com. If there’s a young reader in your life who is also a wrestling fan, I strong encourage you to pick this one up. Whatever their dreams may be, The Great Cheyenne’s story will be an encouragement and and inspiration to them.

The Great Cheyenne herself can be found online on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She is currently the Women’s Champion for RoadRubber Wrestling in Portland, Indiana and recently defeated, TNA’s Rebel. She will be back in Portland soon defending her title!

The Big “C” Picked the Wrong Opponent

Readers of Eat Sleep Wrestle (the book and the blog) know I am a huge fan of LuFisto. Any time she’s in the area, I make an effort to get out and see her. She’s a true pioneer of women’s wrestling, and a phenomenal person outside the ring.

LuFisto recently announced on her Facebook page that she has cervical cancer. There is treatment available to her, but her medical insurance is only going to pay part of the bill. LuFisto is Canadian, but she has lived and worked in the United States long enough she no longer qualifies for free health care.

The good news is there is something fans can help. You can go to her website and buy something. LuFisto has Best Of DVD compilations, T-shirts, autographed photos, and even used wrestling gear available for sale.

If you’re a fan of independent wrestling and/or women’s wrestling, please join me and visit LuFisto’s website, www.lufisto.com. Even if all you can afford is an autographed photo, every dollar helps.

The independent wrestling community is an incredibly generous and supportive one, filled with people who genuinely care about one another beyond the arena. I’ve seen fans and workers band together for a number of causes over the last few years. I have no doubt the same will happen for LuFisto.

Yep, That Was History

There were a few things I did not enjoy about the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble. I didn’t enjoy Stephanie McMahon’s commentary. I didn’t think Naomi’s Kofi Kingston routine was necessary. And as I’ve said many times, I hate hearing the WWE try and make the women’s revolution all about themselves.

That said this was a history making night, and a delightful first ever Women’s Royal Rumble.

The match had a terrific mix of new stars and old. I was always a big fan of Lita, Beth Phoenix, and Trish Stratus, and though I was never crazy about Michelle McCool, she had an outstanding run in the Rumble. I was thrilled to see Sarah Logan get the #3 spot and a long run before being eliminated by my old crush, Molly Holly. But it was Vicky Guerrero who put the biggest smile on my face. I’m just sorry she was eliminated so quickly (and carefully) because I have a feeling she had something to say.

Some of the head-to-head matches were a real treat as well. Seeing Beth Phoenix stare down Nia Jax for one, and the Trish Stratus-Mickie James slug fest was quite a rush. I was glad they held Ronda Rousey’s debut until after the Rumble rather than during, and I was very happy that in the end, the right woman won.

No, the WWE did not light the fire of the women’s revolution. This revolution belongs to the ladies who made people take women’s wrestling seriously – first in the independents, and now in the WWE.

This was a history making night. Congratulations to the 30 women who made it so memorable.

Go Sarah Logan Go!

Four years ago I had the pleasure of sitting down at Applebees with this young woman and Mad Man Pondo. She told me the story of how she fell in love with wrestling, how she started training, and all the bumps and bruises she had collected along the way. I told her story and featured her on the cover for the book Eat Sleep Wrestle.

Tomorrow night, she will be one of 30 women in the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble.

Congratulations, Sarah Logan! So proud of you.

Yes, You Do Want to See Madi Maxx

Every now and then you go to a show and see a new wrestler who make you sit up and take notice. That happened a month ago when I saw Madi Maxx for the first time. She came into the Jeffersonville Arena as a complete unknown to the Girl Fight crowd. Forty-five seconds after picking up a mic, every fan in the building wanted to slap the “Paris Hilton of professional wrestling” in the face.

Madi was just eight years old when she decided what she wanted to do with her life. That was when he father took her to Monday Night Raw for the first time.”I had never before seen or heard of WWE, or any wrestling for that matter. I instantly fell in love with everything about it. The emotion, the characters, the show, the energy, literally everything. I knew after that I wanted to get the same response from an audience and I started doing moves off my dressers, on to my pillows, and even my friends when they let me!

As a child of the Attitude era, Madi was drawn to some of its brightest stars, including Lita and Edge. “They were my wrestling heroes. I wanted to be just like them. They were also the ones who influenced me the most, along with The Hardys. I was drawn to them because they were all so different than anyone else on the roster. They created such a response from the crowd and filled arenas with energy! Everything they did I was infatuated by everything they did!”

Although Madi’s parents bore some of the responsibility for her infatuation with professional wrestling, they didn’t expect it to last. Madi never wavered in her dream, and when she was seventeen, she took her first steps towards pursuing that dream. “I was home during the summer, and I decided spontaneously I am going to do this NOW! I contacted a school, USIWF, and I called my mom once I got a response. Her and my dad both came with me to my first day and made sure I really wanted to do this. They have been supportive ever since, and have never once doubted me or tried to talk me out of it.”

Madi trained with Josh Gerry at USIWF for a year and a half. She then moved to Louisville, Kentucky and began training at Ohio Valley Wrestling with Matt Cappotelli and Rip Rogers. While in Louisville, she captured the OVW Women’s Championship. “It was incredible! I went to OVW with one mission, and it was to put my name on the list with all the other Women Champions, including Beth Phoenix! Holding the same title she held was something I will always remember and cherish.”

Madi’s determination to make her mark on the business led her to High Spots in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she now trains with a number of other hopefuls. She’s already faced some stiff competition in Nicole Pain and LuFisto and is scheduled to face Taeler Hendrix and Chelsea Greene in the coming months. She has her eyes set on Queens of Combat in 2018, and she hopes to make her West Coast and International debuts this year.

Madi has the skills to become a top star, both on the mic and in the ring. What’s more, she’s a true student of the game who absorbs as much as she can from everyone she meets.

“The lessons I have learned that are the most important to me are, ‘crawl, walk, run,’ which my first coach taught me. Meaning you can’t learn everything in a day, you have to stick with it and really give it your all! The second is, ‘trust no one,’ which is a really big one that I have kept in mind wherever I go.”

Madi listed LuFisto as one of her favorite opponents. You can see the two of them in action in the video below. You can also follow her on Twitter @madi_maxx, Instagram @maxxmadi, and Facebook.

Madi Maxx is a face to watch and a name to remember. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in the coming years.
[Credit for top photo goes to photographer John McEvers.]

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

 

Snowball Fight: Girl Fight Delivers Again

Girl Fight returned to its unofficial home base Tuesday night in Jeffersonville with a terrific night of action. The names and faces are always changing, but Mad Man Pondo continues to find new talent to mix with veteran stars and put on a hellacious show.

Tuesday night’s event featured an 8 woman tournament for the number one contendership to Su Yung’s Girl Fight Championship. Aja Perreira impressed fans right out of the gate with a opening match victory, putting on a high energy display of athleticism that would win fans over all night long. Randi West, Amazing Maria, and the returning Mickie Knuckles also won their first round matches against Scarlet, Savannah Evans, and Thunderkitty respectively before the first intermission.

Perreira faced Randi West in the second round and sent shockwaves through the Arena when she scored a victory over the veteran. No one was more surprised than Randi West, but in a show of good sportsmanship, she congratulated the younger star before leaving to a nice ovation.

Amazing Maria faced Mickie Knuckles in an all-out war. It was great seeing Mickie back in action after taking an extended break from wrestling. Mickie had a tremendous run of matches for Girl Fight, Pro Wrestling Freedom, and other promotions earlier in the year before being sidelined with personal issues. She was in rare form Tuesday, not only bringing the violence but harassing Referee Sean all night.

Amazing Maria took the loss but more than held her own against Knuckles. The self-proclaimed “Most Hated Woman in Wrestling” received more cheers than boos in both matches. It’s been a treat watching the young Canadian grow as a performer over the last few years, and I expect big things on the horizon for her in 2018.

The same can be said for Madi Maxx, who took the ring and cut a vicious promo on the crowd before facing Daysie Day in a non-tournament match right after Maria and Mickie. The former OVW Women’s Champion was a new face to most of the audience, but she quickly made enemies of everyone in attendance with her sharp with an take-no-prisoners attitude. Maxx backed up her talk in a show-stealing battle with Day. Maxx got the victory, but both women fought like they had something to prove. These are two names to watch for at Girl Fight and beyond.

Following a second intermission, Aja Perreira faced Mickie Knuckles in a terrific finale. Dressed in boy briefs and a Deadpool—unicorn T-shirt, Knuckles was the clear favorite, but the fans were solidly behind Perreira. Once again it was Perreira shocking the crowd with an upset victory over Knuckles, setting up a championship match at a future show with Su Yung. Knuckles lost the final battle, but she claimed a small victory in the end when she finally managed to give Referee Sean a wet, sloppy lick across his face.

Girl Fight was established for the expressed purpose of exposing more fans to women’s wrestling and helping younger stars gain in-ring experience and back stage wisdom. This promotion continues to deliver on both fronts, and along with a number of other outstanding women’s promotions, it is fueling the fire of the true women’s revolution. Some new stars were born Tuesday night, and rising stars continued their ascent. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for this exciting promotion.

The Truth about WWE’s Women’s Revolution

Ian Rotten posted this on Facebook tonight. It deserves to be shared.

The women’s wrestling revolution is not a product of the WWE. It was born in the indies, in places like the Girl Fight show I attended tonight. It belongs to the women Rotten mentions and more. And it was necessary because… well, I’ll let him say it:

“I haven’t seen anyone say anything about this so I am going to… The WWE is so proud of their women’s revolution, when the WWE and how they treated women and used women is the reason why there is a need for the women’s revolution.

“While they were doing bra and panty matches, girls were on the Indies bringing respect to women’s wrestling. As I have said before, women like Lacey and Rain, Mischif, Cheerleader Melissa, Sara Del Ray, Daizee Haze, Mickie Knuckles, etc. were killing it on the Indies. Not to mention Shimmer being around for years, Shine, and as of late Rise.

“WWE, you were the one disrespecting women… Now all the way in 2017 you want to act like you’re doing something? Once again, WWEs hypocrisy at it’s finest.”

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.

The Jim Cornette Experience

If you’re a fan of wrestling history, be sure to catch today’s episode of the Jim Cornette Experience. I’m on the show today talking about a few of my favorite things: The Allen Athletic Club, Elvira Snodgrass, and The Black Panther Jim Mitchell.

If you’ve already listened to today’s show, you can follow the links below to read more about the books and stories I’ve been working on.

The Black Panther Jim Mitchell

Elvira Snodgrass Part 1 and Part 2

Bluegrass Brawlers: The Story of Professional Wrestling in Louisville

Louisville’s Greatest Show: The Story of the Allen Athletic Club

Herb Welch’s How to Become a Champion

“Dr. D” David Schultz (autobiography coming soon!)