New Acquisition: A Louisville Wrestling Program from 1952

One of the first things I acquired when working on the book Bluegrass Brawlers was a copy of the 1953 Police Benefit Show program. In the 1950s, the Police Benefit Show was THE biggest wrestling event of the year in Louisville, the night they brought in the biggest stars for the biggest card. It was Louisville’s Wrestlemania.

Just a few weeks ago, the 1952 program popped up on eBay. It’s now in my collection. Here are a few images from that program.

All of the Police Benefit Shows are chronicled in the book Louisville’s Greatest Show. Fingers crossed, one of these days I hope to lay my hands on the 1954 program featuring Jim Mitchell.

Coming in 2020: The Story of a Not-So Wee Little Man

I said when I hit 500 followers on Facebook, I would announce a new book project. We shot past that benchmark last night, so here it is.

I am happy to announce I am not in the early stages of research on a book about the life of Wee Willie Davis!

Davis was a notorious heel in his time, a 6’6″ monster who appeared all over the United States from the 1930s through the 1950s. In the 1940s, he followed his buddy Mike Mazurki into the film industry and appeared in more than two dozen films including Mighty Joe Young, The Asphalt Jungle, Son of Paleface, Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, and Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief. He also made a splash on television as a contestant on The $64,000 Question, and he was the co-inventor of an early form of “heads up display” technology called the Glowmeter.

Davis has a unique connection to the Louisville, Kentucky wrestling scene as well. Not only did he work for Francis McDonogh and the Allen Athletic Club, he is the missing link between the Allen Club and Memphis Wrestling. He partnered with McDonogh’s widow Betty to open his own wrestling promotion in 1958 and later became the local point man when Dick the Bruiser took over the territory in the 1960s.

It took me almost five years to compile enough information to finally tell Jim Mitchell’s story, and while I don’t expect Davis to take quite as long, I do plan to take my time and do it right. My current goal is to release his story in late 2020, but that’s subject to change. The good news is you’re going to see at least 3-4 books from me between now than then, including to very exciting autobiographies that I’ll be announcing in the coming months.

Wee Willie Davis was a colorful personality and a man of many talents. He’s become a fascination of mine, and I am looking forward to sharing his story with a generation that’s never heard of him.

 

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.

Cauliflower Alley Club to Honor Dr. D in 2019

Some people sacrifice their bodies for professional wrestling. Some sacrifice more. In December of 1984, “Dr. D” David Schultz did what he was trained to do. He protected the business that put food on the table for his wife and daughter. He received more praise than criticism for slapping John Stossel by knocking John Stossel, but it still cost him his career.

In 2019 the Cauliflower Alley Club will honor “Dr. D” David Schultz with the Men’s Wrestling Award at their Reunion in Las Vegas. It’s an honor long overdue and much deserved, and it’s an honor that comes from his peers.

Congratulations to my friend “Dr. D” David Schultz on this honor!

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.

Three Must Do Road Trips for True Wrestling Fans

Without a doubt, Wrestlemania is the biggest destination even for pro wrestling fans every year. Even if you’re not a WWE fan, there are so many promotions running shows, so many things to see, and so much to do (including Wrestle Fest), it’s a huge draw every year.

That said, there are a few other annual events that die hard fans should seriously consider attending in 2019 or beyond. These events are smaller but they provide a much better opportunity to interact with stars of the past and present.

First up is the annual Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion April 29 through May 1. Founded in 1965, the Cauliflower Alley Club holds an annual reunion to honor stars of the past and present and provide an opportunity for wrestlers and fans to gather and celebrate professional wrestling. The CAC Reunion takes place at the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas. Special rates are available to the event, and discounted tickets are available to CAC members. (Yes, fans can join too!) CAC does a lot of work helping older, ailing wrestlers, and it’s the one annual event where wrestlers are honored by their peers.

Second is the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, held in Wichita Falls, Texas at the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame. The class of 2019 has already been announced, and this coming spring they will honor Charlie Fox, Baron Michele Leone, Lord James Blears, Abdullah the Butcher, Ronnie Garvin, Owen Hart, Bob Roop, Gory Guerrero, Beverly “the Hammer” Shade, Ann Laverne, Johnny “Red Shoes” Duggan, Wally Karbo, and the Midnight Express. The PWHF hosts an entire weekend of festivities, and like the CAC Reunion, gives fans a better chance to interact with the wrestlers in attendance than other fan fests.

Finally, there is the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend at the George Tragos and Lou Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame at the Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa. Just like the events above, fans and wrestlers mingle for three days in a much more intimate, personal setting than regular fan fests. The Dan Gable Museum us a treat for wrestling fans, well worth the visit, and you just can’t beat the access you get to the stars of the past. I attended this event myself in 2018 when Booker T, Owen Hart, and Dan Severn were honored, and I really enjoyed spending time hearing stories from folks like Bruce Hart, Rock Riddle, and Koji Miyamoto. I hope to go again in future years.

This is not a call to skip Wrestlemania weekend or even Wrestlecade in the fall. It’s a challenge to diehards to go beyond Wrestlemania, to celebrate the past, and to connect with your childhood heroes. Professional wrestling has a rich history that deserves to be preserved and celebrated, and I would love to see more fans do just that by supporting these organizations. Whether you prefer Vegas, Texas, or Iowa, make plans to attend one of these events in 2019 or 2020. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

Buy Direct and Save for Christmas

Okay, shameless plug time.

The Christmas shopping season is now here, and if you buy direct from Eat Sleep Wrestle, you can save on everything with free shipping in the US. Prices are good through the Christmas season, or until we sell out!

Don’t  Call Me Fake signed by Dr. D – $25

Memoirs of a Mad Man signed by Pondo – $20

Bluegrass Brawlers – $10

Louisville’s Greatest Show – $10

Eat Sleep Wrestle – $10

Lord Carlton – $10

How to Become a Champion – $10

Good Night, Ninja – $10

Season’s Beatings – $10

Quantities are limited, and a few titles are close to being sold out.

Email johncosper@yahoo.com to order or to inquire abut international shipping costs. Payment is accepted by PayPal or by check or money order.

Midnight Girl Fight Preview: Randi West

Girl Fight Wrestling has granted Eat Sleep Wrestle total access to the roster for its second midnight show, Midnight Girl Fight 2: Howdy, Pilgrim! Today is part eight of this series, featuring Randi West.    

I don’t know how many Girl Fight shows Randi West has missed in the past, but I know if she wanted, she could go back and fix that. She can do it, because she is a time traveler.

The muscle of the time bandit trio known as Bomb Shelter is always a fan favorite wherever she goes. She fears no opponent, male or female, and she can take as much as she can dish out.

Randi is one of the rare women who has no trouble getting booked on all-male shows, but she truly enjoys promotions like Girl Fight. “I love the positive energy that is present in both the locker room and the crowd. Everyone is there to have fun, there is no drama. The group of women on the roster are hungry and talented.”

Randi sees Girl Fight as one of many promotions that have changed the perception of women’s wrestling. “We are no longer just a side show or a mini act to enhance the men. We are The Show.”

Randi’s opponent is a new face to Girl Fight and the wrestling business at large. Alice has been training with Randi at the Bomb Shelter’s home base, and the teacher couldn’t speak more highly of the student. “She is so talented for being 16 years old, I think that she will surprise a lot of people. She has this very innocent young look to her but when the bell rings she turns into a fierce competitor. After all she was trained by me.”

Now, there have been rumors circulating about a book the Bomb Shelter plans to release in a the near future, a volume that will pull back the curtain on their time traveling exploits. I had to ask Randi, and she was eager to confirm the story.

“Bomb Shelter will be releasing a young adult novel based on our adventures throughout space and time. The book includes other wrestlers such as Sugar D, Rich Swann, Thunderkitty, Satu Jinn, The Hooligans and Pondo. We found an amazing writer to help us put our idea into reality. I am a huge fan of books. Reading helped me thru times in my life that nothing else could. Books are a great way to step out of your reality for a few minutes and experience some magical escape, even if it’s just a few chapter.. I’m so excited about this product and its release. I cant wait for 2019.”

Getting back to Midnight Girl Fight, Randi is hopeful that the unusual bell time will actually draw more fans than normal. “We have so many amazing fans. GF wants to make sure that everyone of them gets the opportunity to see us perform. Some fans are unable to make the 7pm shows because of work or various reasons. This is our way of sharing with those fans as well.”

Fans can see Randi and more at Midnight Girl Fight 2 on November 21 at the Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, 1416 Spring Street. Bell time is at 11:59 PM.

The Legendary Casey Brothers

If you walked into a restaurant and saw two actors sitting on opposite ends of the room – one an Oscar winning mega star, the other a life-long character actor – which table would you be most likely to approach? Most people would migrate to the Oscar winner just to get that photo and autograph and say they met them, but a handful – myself included – would want to sit with the character actor. He may not be a household name. In fact he probably falls into that category of, “That one guy who was in that one thing.” But the character actor is not only going to take more time with you, being that he isn’t approached as often, he’s going to have way, way better stories to tell.

The Casey brothers, including professional wrestlers Jim and Steve, would comfortably fit into the character actor seat opposite the top draws of their era, but their story is no less compelling than that of Lou Thesz, Gorgeous George, of Buddy Rogers. As a matter of fact, if you were to travel to their native Ireland, you’d find that the Caseys, all seven of them, are legendary figures in their homeland.

I first heard about The Legendary Casey Brothers from Mildred Casey, Jim’s widow. She told me how writer Jim Hudson had come and taken down the stories from Jim Casey himself for the book, verifying everything through news clippings of the time. The result is a well-documented, well-told story about a family that produced some of the most competitive and unbeatable athletes in any era.

The Casey brothers were champion rowers to begin with, having built up their strength working their father’s farm and rowing the nearby waterways all their lives. They soon sought and conquered bigger challenges including tug of war (a huge sport in Ireland at the time), boxing, and professional wrestling.

The Legendary Casey Brothers is more than a wrestling book. It’s a terrific sports book. It’s a wonderful story about a group of brothers whose greatest competition was each other. The wrestling stories are kayfabe, which only makes you love Jim Casey more for protecting the business even as an old man. That said, the author invites you to do the research for yourself should you dispute any of the claims made regarding the Caseys’ dominance on the water, on the mat, and yes, even in tug of war. It’s all public record, and thanks to Jim Hudson, Jim Casey, and Myrtle Casey, it’s been compiled and preserved in a wonderful book.

The Legendary Casey Brothers is available on Amazon.com in paperback and on Kindle.

Nine Days Until the Rich City Comic and Pop Con

On Saturday November 3, Eat Sleep Wrestle will be in attendance for the first annual Rich City Comic and Pop Con in Richmond, Kentucky. John Cosper will be on hand with books as well as two special guests.

Mad Man Pondo is a deathmatch legend, a veteran of nearly 30 years who has been hit with everything from light tubes to barbed wire bats. He’s toured North America, Asia, and Europe, appeared in a feature role in the horror film 2001 Maniacs, and been a featured character in multiple video games. He’s rubbed shoulders with great and near great celebrities including Marilyn Manson, Vanilla Ice, and Jonny Fairplay, and he’s shared the ring with legends like Terry Funk, Junkyard Dog, Nikolai Volkoff, and Kevin Sullivan. He is the founder and promoter of Girl Fight Wrestling, and his autobiography Memoirs of a Mad Man has been a top seller on Amazon.

Hurricane J.J. Maguire (far left in the photo above) is a musician, composer, producer, and singer. For a brief time he was a member of the Gentries, and his life-long friendship with “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart led him into the world of professional wrestling. For nearly two decades he composed and recorded wrestling themes for WWF and WCW Superstars including Shawn Michaels, the Honky Tonk Man, Bret Hart, Demolition, and Hulk Hogan. He was also the chief composer and musician on Hulk Hogan’s solo album and performed with Jimmy Hart and Hogan. His upcoming autobiography will feature stories about his time with WWF, WCW, and Hulk Hogan as well as encounters with music legends like the Beatles and a very young Simon Cowell.

Mad Man Pondo and Hurricane JJ Maguire will both be at the Eat Sleep Wrestle table at the Rich City Comic and Pop Con on November 3 at the Richmond Mall, 830 Eastern Bypass in Richmond, Kentucky. The show runs from 10 AM to 4 PM, and admission is free. Come say hello, buy some merch, get some autographs, and take some photos. And be sure to visit the other great artists and vendors who will be in attendance. Rumor has it an old pal of mine named Clive the Zombie may even make an appearance.