Category Archives: Louisville Wrestling

Break Bread with Bolin and Cornette This Weekend

If you missed Breakfast with Bolin, you missed one of the funniest, most entertaining live wrestling chats ever held in Louisville. Even with a bad case of, well, whatever it was that was ailing the Starmaker that day, some amazing stories and timeless memories were made the day a packed room of fans gathered to hear Kenny and his best friend Jim Cornette share stories.

Bolin and Cornette are giving fans a second chance to get in on the fun, and it happens this weekend. A few seats are still available, but they will go fast. Do not miss out on this twice in a lifetime opportunity to not only spend two meals straight at the Golden Corral buffet, but to hear Kenny Bolin and Jim Cornette banter like an old time Vaudeville act.

Contact Kenny Bolin on Facebook to reserve your seat. And hurry. It will be a sell out!

Louisville Wrestling Talk with the WBKI FANatic

Friday I had the chance to talk about the new book Louisville’s Greatest Show with George Bueller, host of the WBKI FANatic on Facebook Live. George is a walking encyclopedia of all things comic books and – as it turns out – pro wrestling. If you’re into the comic book shows on the WB, this is worth liking and following every week. And if our conversation about the book intrigues you, please head over to Amazon.com to pick it up for yourself.

WBKI Fanatic Chat

Posted by WBKI – Louisville's CW on Friday, April 14, 2017

Grindhouse Academy: The Students

This is part three of a series of stories about The Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and the new Grindhouse Academy wrestling school.

The Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, is now home to Grindhouse Academy. The wrestling school was founded by Arena owner 2 Tuff Tony and Rudy Switchblade, two men with very different backgrounds and unique perspectives on the business of pro wrestling. Tony and Rudy wanted to create a place where anyone with a love of pro wrestling could give it a shot without spending a fortune up front.

“Nobody’s getting rich here,” says Tony. “The students play $10 an hour. That’s $5 an hour for each of us. We’re here because we love it, and we want students who love it as well.”

Only three of the seven students were in the ring the day I visited the Academy, but they all exuded the love and passion Tony and Rudy share for wrestling.

Zach Pittman is a Michigan native who wanted nothing more growing up to be a wrestler. When he had the opportunity, he moved to Louisville in the hopes of training at OVW. Pittman works at Ford, and his hours didn’t match up with the training schedule at OVW, but he found another way to pursue his dream at the Arena.

Pittman began his training with Mitchell Huff at the Arena before the transition to Grindhouse Academy took place. He’s now ten months in, and itching to get in front of a live crowd.

Matt McKechnie is a local who grew up around the business. “My dad worked security for wrestling promotions at the Gardens and OVW, so my baby pictures are like me and Jerry Lawler and other wrestlers.” Matt started training in June of 2016 with NWA and switched to the Arena in January.

Hollie McKechnie was the third student at practice and the newest student in the building. She was literally on day two when I met her and had been welcomed with open arms by trainers and students alike. Hollie had worked as a manager and a valet, but in doing so, she saw the value in learning how to actually wrestle and take a bump. Training also gave her more of a chance to spend time with her husband Matt.  “I already have the bumps, the bruises, and the aches, but it’s all going to be worth it!” she says.

Zach, Matt, and Hollie rave about Grindhouse. “They work with my schedule,” says Zach. “I work weekends and day shifts, so it’s nice there’s a place I can come and train when it’s convenient for me.”

“It’s a really encouraging,” says Hollie. “No one gets really hard on you. Everyone is always supportive.”

Matt added, “I’ve been to a place with free training, that I now realize wasn’t really training. Tony and Rudy are very versatile, and they are always willing to work with your schedule.”

Fans can get their first glimpse of the Grindhouse students on June 17 when the Arena will present the student show. Students will go head to head with one another as well as other wrestlers from the area, giving them their first real taste of what it’s like to be in front of a live wrestling crowd. You can expect to see more information about the show, along with promos from the participants, popping up on social media as the event draws near.

“These kids love doing promos,” says Tony, who acts like a proud papa when talking about his students.

“They will be ready,” adds Rudy. “We will get them ready for their first real matches.”

The Arena is located on Spring Street in Jeffersonville. Contact 2 Tuff Tony on Facebook for information about booking the building as well as Grindhouse Academy.

Grindhouse Academy: Rudy Switchblade

This is part two of a series of stories about The Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and the new Grindhouse Academy wrestling school.

When 2 Tuff Tony opened the doors of The Arena on Spring Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana, one of the things he wanted most was to start a school for aspiring wrestlers. Tony is a seasoned veteran himself and knew he had a lot to teach, but he wanted a partner who could give students the things he could not. He wanted someone trained in a variety of wrestling styles, someone with in-ring experience and knowledge that would really challenge the students. Tony found all that in Rudy Switchblade.

Louisville area wrestling enthusiasts will remember Rudy from his run with OVW as well as appearances for other promoters and promotions in the area. What fans may not know is that Rudy is a twenty year veteran who began training and wrestling all the way back in 1997.

Rudy spent 10 years in the business before he came to OVW. He started his training at the School of Hard Knocks with Bill Anderson, Jesse Hernandez, and Chris Daniels. “They were pretty much the ‘it’ school at the time in Southern California, and I started with a group of guys who are all pretty famous now.”

Rudy moved on to UPW, then the Southern California developmental territory for the WWE, where he worked with future OVW and WWE stars John Cena and Rico Costantino. He spent two years in the New Japan dojo, and a few more years with Ring of Honor before coming to Louisville to train under Danny Davis, Rip Rogers, and Al Snow.

Rudy Switchblade is a student of wrestling well-versed in many styles and techniques. His is a very different path than the one his partner followed, but Rudy and Tony have become good friends as well as partners over the last six months.

Rudy and Tony are now training a half dozen students at Grindhouse Academy. Through trial and error, they’ve established a regular class schedule that seems to work best with the odd shoot job schedules of their students. It’s an open door type of setting, where students of all levels are welcome to come and go, and it’s ridiculously affordable: it’s only $10 an hour.

Wrestling purists are bound to raise an eyebrow and even a few objections to such a low price. Most training schools cost thousands of dollars and require large, up-front, non-refundable deposits. Those schools do their best to weed out the less serious students on day one, keeping the money and sending them packing. It’s an old school mentality that you won’t find at Grindhouse.

“Don’t get me wrong. We’re looking for serious students,” say Switchblade. “The difference is, we’re not here just to take you money. Tony and I are not getting rich off this. We’re doing this because we love it.”

Grindhouse is a place for those who can’t afford the big name schools. It’s a place to come and get your feet wet without getting your butt kicked. It’s a great place to see what wrestling is really all about without blowing your life’s savings on day one and having you love of the business battered by a hundred knife-edge chops.

Grindhouse Academy currently meets 3-4 times a week at the Arena. Schedule and times vary, but you can get more information on the school and the Arena by contacting 2 Tuff Tony on Facebook.

Grindhouse Academy: The Man Behind the Arena

This is part one of a series of stories about The Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and the new Grindhouse Academy wrestling school. 

2 Tuff Tony knows there are people who don’t share his vision for pro wrestling. He knows because someone keeps trying to shut him down. But in the words of the long time veteran, “They only make me stronger.”

Just two weeks ago, the Clark County Health Inspector received another phone call about The Arena, located on Spring Street across from Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville, Indiana. While some promoters might have told the inspector where to go, Tony welcomed him, as he always does. He gave the inspector full access and complied with the one request given.

“He asked me to put in a sink,” said Tony, who demonstrated the brand new plumbing in the Arena’s tiny concession area.

Tony may have one or two detractors, but wrestling fans, promoters, and the workers themselves are raving about the Arena. It’s a work in progress that has taken a lot of time, money, and move, but Tony is proud of the work that has happened. In addition to the new sink, there’s a wider, easier-access entrance in the back to allow for more accessibility for the disabled. The DJ booth has been re-designed and re-built, the downstairs locker area is constantly evolving, and one of three murals is nearly done on the wall behind the DJ.

Tony opened the Arena because he saw a need. Over the past few years, multiple promoters have tried to run in a variety of buildings, from the former Production House in New Albany, to the Colgate Gym in Clarksville, to Jammerz Rollerdrome in Clarksville. The Arena was conceived as a place where anyone could come in and, for a low price, put on a show. The Arena has the ring, the DJ booth, the locker room area, and the concessions area. It’s up to the promoter to bring the people, the wrestlers, the music, and the food.

The Arena now has three regular promotions running on a regular schedule. OSWA runs every Sunday afternoon. IWA Mid-South runs on Thursday nights. Pro Wrestling Freedom Runs on the second Friday night each month. The building has also hosted special events sponsored by Terry Harper, several Girl Fight women’s shows, and Chikara Pro Wrestling.

“One of the promoters told me he didn’t like seeing other guys’ fliers hanging up in the Arena,” says Tony. The solution: Tony put a drop down curtain over top of the cork board that holds show fliers, so promoters can cover up the other fliers during their own events.

The newest occupant in the building is Tony himself, along with partner Rudy Switchblade. Together they have begun a program called Grindhouse Academy. “Grindhouse is a place where anyone who wants to become a wrestler can give it a try,” he says. “We don’t require a large deposit up front, and we don’t take your money and try to run you off the first day. It’s low priced to give anyone a chance to give this a shot and see if they have what it takes.”

Tony’s had a few trainers in house since the Arena opened its doors, but Rudy Switchblade brings a new level of experience and knowledge to the program. “He’s been to OVW, Japan, Mexico. He knows a lot that I don’t, and he’s a great teacher.”

Grindhouse Academy meets a few afternoons every week. Interested students can contact Tony on Facebook to get more information on times and fees. I’ll share more about all of this, Tony’s partner, and their students as the week goes on.

Breakfast with Bolin Returns

If you missed Breakfast with Bolin the first time around, your second chance has finally arrived.

After being “ribbed” by Kenny and forced to carry the first Breakfast on his own when the King fell ill the night before, Jim Cornette has agreed to join Kenny and forty of his closest (i.e. paying) friends for Breakfast with Bolin 2. This time the Breakfast even will not only benefit Golden Corral’s charity Camp Corral, it will benefit the King himself, who has some serious medical bills coming due.

Breakfast with Bolin 2 will take place on Saturday April 29 from 3-6 PM at Golden Corral on Taylorsville Road in Louisville. Tickets for this twice in a lifetime event are $39.95. That includes the discussion between Kenny and Jim as well as the all-you-can-eat Golden Corral dinner buffet! There are only 75 seats available, and they are going fast.

Contact Kenny Bolin on Facebook to order your seats today.

Art work by Travis Heckel.

On Sale Tomorrow!

Louisville’s Greatest show is a labor of love that is truly four years in the making. When I started digging deep into Louisville’s rich wrestling history for Bluegrass Brawlers, I had no trouble finding stories about the OVW and Memphis years, but it was the “golden age” from 1935-1957 that fascinated me most. While I barely scratched the surface when I wrote Bluegrass Brawlers, Louisville’s Greatest Show will give you a year by year account of the Allen Athletic Club – the wrestlers, the shows, and the city that hosted them both.

In addition to the year by year account of the promotion and owners Heywood Allen and Francis S. McDonogh, Louisville’s Greatest Show also features more than twenty profiles of local and national wrestling stars, including:

Indiana University wrestling coach Billy Thom

Lord Patrick Lansdowne

Blacksmith Pedigo

Hall of Fame Hydroplane racer Wild Bill Cantrell

Kid Scotty Williams

Hans Schnabel

Kentucky Athletic Commissioner Johnson S. Mattingly

The legendary Wild Bill Longson

“Cousin Alviry” Elvira Snodgrass

Fred Blassie, before he was “classy”

Promoter’s wife Betty McDonogh

Chicago Bears star Fred Davis

Sgt. Buck Moore of the Louisville Police

Colonel Stu Gibson

WHAS sports director Jimmy Finegan

Ed “Strangler” Lewis

Mel Meiners

“The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell

Louisville police detective and ref Ellis Joseph

Ring announcer George Lewis

Wee Willie Davis

Louisville’s Greatest Show is the story of a city that loved wrestling and the men and women who made wrestling a Tuesday night tradition. The book is filled with never-before-published photos and stories you won’t find anywhere else.

Louisville’s Greatest Show will be available on Amazon.com and other online retailers this weekend!

New Title on the Line Friday at PWF

Pro Wrestling Freedom is one month away from its first year anniversary show, and in only eleven months, PWF has given fans a chance to see some of the best talent from the Midwest and Southeast. A packed house is expected this Friday night at the Arena in Jeffersonville, and fans will get to see four wrestlers vie for a shot at a brand new title.

Two qualifying matches will be held this week for the PWF Tri-State Championship. “Infinite” Cole Roderick takes on “The Baddest Man Alive” Aaron Williams in one match, while “The Catalyst” Dustin Rayz faces Tyler Matrix. The winners will compete to become the first Tri-State Champion at the May anniversary show.

PWF will also feature Chase Owens defending his Smoky Mountain Championship vs. Matt Cage, and Chip Day defending the PWF title against Gary Jay for the second month in a row. It’s also the only place you can grab a copy of my new book Louisville’s Greatest Show this Friday night.

Visit the PWF: Deception page for show information and tickets. Bell time is 7:30 PM Friday night.

Release Date March 10: Louisville’s Greatest Show

Louisville’s Greatest Show is ready, and the release date is now set.

I will be selling and signing copies at the Pro Wrestling Freedom Show March 10, 2017 at the ArenA in Jeffersonville, Indiana, right across the river from Louisville. Books will be available for $15. The book will be on sale that same weekend on Amazon for $19.95.

Come down and see why PWF is rapidly becoming one of the most talked about promotions in the Midwest. Several great matches on the card, including Chase Owens defending his Smoky Mountain title in Jeffersonville against Matt Cage and a rematch for the PWF Title between Chip Day and Gary Jay.

Big thank you to Jimmy Feltcher for hosting the book release!

 

Louisville’s Greatest Show – Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!!

For 22 years, the Allen Athletic Club’s weekly wrestling show at the Columbia Gym was the place to be on Tuesday night. Promoters Heywood Allen and his successors Francis and Betty McDonogh overcame the Great Depression, the 1937 flood, a World War, and a “crooked” athletic commissioner to bring the best of the golden age of wrestling to Louisville.

Now for the first time, author John Cosper (Bluegrass Brawlers) presents the full story of “That Gang of Allen’s,” the wrestlers, referees, announcers, and others who made Tuesday Louisville’s favorite night of the week. This is the story of the true golden age of wrestling, when men and women wore their Sunday best to see hometown heroes like Blacksmith Pedigo, Kid Scotty Williams, Stu Gibson, Mel Meiners, Sgt. Buck Moore, and “The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell mix it up with Lou Thesz, Gorgeous George, the French Angel, Buddy Rogers, Freddie Blassie, Johnny Valentine, Mildred Burke, Mae Young, Bobo Brazil, and Ginger the Wrestling Bear.

From mud matches to masked men; from Wild Bill Cantrell to Wild Bill Longson; from live TV to live alligators, the Allen Athletic Club was Louisville’s Greatest Show. This is the story of Louisville’s first great wrestling promotion and the families that made wrestling a vital part of the city they loved.

Louisville’s Greatest Show will be released in March!

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