Posted on

When It Was: A Photo Journey Like No Other

When It Was: My Life On Both Sides of the Camera is the life story of Scott Romer, world renowned photographer. That’s a title he had emblazoned on the back of a jacket during his heyday, but it’s a title he earned, shooting athletes, celebrities, world leaders, sorority girls, mobsters, boxers, and wrestlers for nearly 50 years.

There are over 250 photos in the book and countless famous faces. Here is a very brief, partial listing of the people you will see:

Rip Rogers, President Gerald Ford, Tonya Harding, President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, Ox Baker, Andy Kaufman, President George W. Bush, Joan Rivers, Eddie Creatchman, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Lennox Lewis, Vice President Mike Pence, Randy Savage, Yassir Arafat, Bruno Sammartino, the Dhali Lama, Muhammed Ali, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Franco Harris, Dick the Bruiser, Yogi Berra, Frankie Valli, The Crusher, Jennifer Capriati, Baron Von Raschke, Andre the Giant, Tommy Lasorda, Kamala the Ugandan Giant, Kirk Douglas, Terry Funk, Jim Nabors, Nick Bockwinkel, Rita Cosby, Bobo Brazil, Alan Alda, George Hamilton, Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Siegfried and Roy, Florence Henderson, and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini.

Folks, you gotta see it to believe it.

Order When It Was now on Amazon!

Posted on

When It Was: Scott Romer’s Life in Words and Photos

How do you tell the story of one of the world’s premiere boxing and wrestling photographers? You jam over 250 photos into 240 pages of stories.

Scott Romer’s new book is more than an autobiography. It’s a photographic journey through his amazing career told by Scott and many of his friends including MMA hall of fame Monte Cox, boxing promoter Fred Berns, international boxing star John Abu Lashin, and legendary grappler (and boxer!) Rip Rogers. Scott has worked as a photographer, wrestler, boxer, manager, and cornerman. He worked under his own name and the name of the nefarious Saul Creatchman. He has stories to tell and the pics to prove it all happened.

Not only will you see photos of legendary athletes, movie stars, and world leaders (including three presidents), you’ll find out what it was like to be Dick the Bruiser’s son-in-law as well as what it’s like being pulled out of line at the airport by Israeli security.

Order WHEN IT WAS now on Amazon.

Posted on

Covid-Con: The Virtual Wrestling Convention!

It started out with a Facebook message.

“What if we put on an author fair on Facebook for wrestling writers?” I asked Kenny Casanova.

What started innocently 15 days ago has blown up into a full weekend of wrestling talk. Wrestling Bookmarks Covid-Con is the first every virtual wrestling convention. All weekend long you can hear stories and do Q&A with wrestling authors, wrestlers, and other wrestling personalities on Facebook.

And it’s all 100% FREE!

The guest list includes Diamond Dallas Page, Hurricane Helms, Sunny the California Girl from GLOW, Dutch Mantell, ODB, Sid Vicious, Mad Man Pondo, Koko B. Ware, Kenny “Starmaker” Bolin, Justin Credible, Sabu, Joel Gertner, Typhoon, Gangrel, Mr. Hughes, Referee Danny Davis, Cowboy Scott Casey, and Duke The Dumpster Droese.

Authors scheduled to appear include Bill Apter, Greg Oliver, Mark James, Dan Murphy, Pat LaPrade, Bertrand Hebert, RD Reynolds, Brennon Martin, and of course… Kenny Casanova and John Cosper.

You can’t leave the house anyway, so grab some snacks, log on, and join us next weekend.

Click here to join the Wrestling Bookmarks Covid-Con Facebook Page.

Posted on

I Still Think It’s Fake: The Confession of John Stossel

Two years ago it was my privilege to present the autobiography of Dr. D David Schultz, Don’t Call Me Fake. I was able to tell the story of Dr. D from his point of view as well as his friends, fellow wrestlers, and students. The only thing missing was the man who cost Dr. D his job with WWE – the man whose wrestling story will soon be in print.

Eat Sleep Wrestle and John Stossel present “I Still Think It’s Fake: The Confession of John Stossel.” In this shocking new book you will  hear directly from John Stossell as he reveals:

Wrestling is still fake. Very, very fake.

How he faked hearing loss and injury to bilk millions from Vince McMahon.

Dr. D “hits like a girl.”

What he did with all of Vince McMahon’s money. (Hint: there are tigers involved!)

Don’t miss this amazing book, a must-read for people who love wrestling as much as they love a good April Fools gag.

Posted on

Pre-order Your Copy of Tracy Smothers’ Book!

Eat Sleep Wrestle is proud to present the autobiography of the one and only, Tracy Smothers!

He’s been hired and fired from every major wrestling company. He’s wrestled all over the United States, in Mexico, and Asia. He’s held multiple tag team belts and heavyweight championships. He’s been a top guy and a jobber. He’s been a hero, a villain, and a mentor to countless young wrestlers of the last two generations. He pinned legends. He defeated cancer. And yes, he wrestled three different bears.

Few wrestlers have logged as many miles as Tracy Smothers, and even fewer have made the impact he has on today’s young stars. Now for the first time, Tracy reveals how a promising young athlete Springfield, Tennessee, who once aspired to be a high school football coach found himself at the center of a fan riot in Mexico City and a bar fight in Malaysia. He talks about the last days of the territories, the rise of the Wild Eyed Southern Boys and the Young Pistols, his star turn in Smoky Mountain, his jobbing days in WWF, life-changing concussions, the FBI in ECW, and the dance contests in the indies. You’ll hear harrowing tales about bounty hunting, delivering pizzas, and yes… going toe to toe with the legendary Ginger the Wrestling Bear.

Tracy Smothers doesn’t care if you love him. He doesn’t care if you think he sucks. He doesn’t even really care if you read his book. There’s only one thing you need to know right now. If you don’t buy this book, EVERYBODY DIES!

If you want to get a signed copy of Tracy’s book you can now pre-order one through the book shop on this our website. Books are expected in early April. That said, with the current COVID-19 situation we cannot guarantee when they will ship. Tracy and I live 2 hours apart, but we will make every effort to get together as soon as books arrive so we can ship them to everyone who pre-orders.

Click here to pre-order a signed copy.

Posted on

Available Now: The Italian Temper

The Italian Temper

Every city has its wrestling heroes, sung and unsung. Sometimes it’s the unsung heroes who prove to be the most interesting.

Everybody knows that Jim Cornette hail from Louisville, Kentucky, but you can’t appreciate the full story of the city without knowing about Heywood Allen, Blacksmith Pedigo, Jim Mitchell, Stu Gibson, and even Kenny Starmaker Bolin.

The big name everyone knows from Des Moines is NWA founder Pinky George. But when you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover the name Alphonse “Babe” Bisignano and a story so outrageous, it captured the mind of a pro wrestling historian who lives half the world away from Iowa.

Eat Sleep Wrestle is proud to be the publisher for the Professional Wrestling Historical Society’s own Jimmy Wheeler and his first book, The Italian Temper: The Story of How Alphonse “Babe” Bisignano Turned Out All Right.

Babe was a boxer, bootlegger, restaurateur, promoter, cook book author, entrepreneur, and of course, a professional wrestler. Alphonse “Babe” Bisignano had a tumultuous childhood which left him striving for more. This colorful story of an icon in the city of Des Moines, Iowa, takes you along his journey from shining shoes to a friend of the White House. From dodgy dealings to a pillar of the community. Babe had anecdotes for days, and you’ll understand exactly why once you’ve read the about his incredible life.

While all aspects of his life are covered, Jimmy Wheeler of the Professional Wrestling Historical Society naturally dove deep into the pro-wrestling side of Babe’s life. He had quite the connection with the business. Starting in the 1930s there are tales of hijinks on the road, behind the scenes goings on, the confrontation that ended his in-ring career, a major lawsuit, and finally how pro-wrestling came back around into his life much later on.

“Say the name, instant recognition. Instant prestige if he called you by name.” – Chuck Offenburger

The Italian Temper is now available on Amazon. 

Signed author copies will be available soon!

Posted on

The Black Panther Jim Mitchell Featured in Black History Month

The Black Panther Jim MitchellIt’s Black History Month, and every day I’ve been posting photos, documents, and other memorabilia from the life of The Black Panther Jim Mitchell. If you’re not following me on social media right now, you’re missing out.

The truly amazing part about almost all of this material is that it all came from the Black Panther himself. I have over 900 scans of photos, newspaper articles, magazine articles, wrestling programs, wrestling posters, and legal documents that Jim Mitchell collected and saved. These items were found in the early 2000s when a man named Dave Marciniak bought Mitchell’s house from the bank as a flip after the death of Mitchell’s step-daughter. It’s a miracle that this stuff survived the years, and it’s incredibly fortunate Dave saw potential value in these items. Rather than throwing it all away, he salvaged what he could, thinking it might be worth something one day. After all the time I spent chasing the Black Panther’s story, it was worth more than gold to me.

I’m sharing a few items every day, so if you want to catch up and follow along, here’s where you can find me:

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

And if you want to pick up the book, you can find it on Amazon or buy a signed copy direct from me.

Posted on

How Did I Get Here?

Hurricane JJ Maguire, The Boogeyman, John Cosper, Tracy Smothers

Inspired by Seth Godin and my good friend Nevan Hooker, I sat down recently and put together a complete timeline for my writing career. It’s interesting to look back, see how I got to where I am, and how much I have done.

And there’s still more to come!

1993 – I graduated high school and enrolled at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany. I also began volunteering to help the new youth pastor at church with a new youth outreach program, writing a few skits for the new drama team. A few weeks after dropping out of Acting 101 at IUS, I was put in charge of the drama team against my will.

1994 – The drama team at church took on the name Dramamaniacs. I taught a drama workshop at CIY and created a skit book for the workshop called Righteous Insanity. After the youth pastor suggested I try selling skits instead of giving them away, I created the first catalog for Righteous Insanity.

1995 – Thanks to the leader of the Christian organization on campus at IUS, I was published nationally for the first time by the National Drama Service.

1996 – I started taking bookings with actress Laura Gary as a comedy duo, Craving Chaos. We only did a few gigs.

1997 – I produced what became Righteous Insanity’s most popular play, Aliens. I also wrote two skits that would become my most popular, as well as the one the Dramamanaics voted their least favorite, ever.

1998 – I won the Christians in Theatre Arts dramatic sketch writing contest. I left the Dramamaniacs.

1999 – I wrote the play “The Waiting Room” In the wake of the Columbine tragedy. Righteous Insanity’s website went online for the first time. I published my first novel, The Shell Collector. Co-directed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

2000 – I co-founded the Dramatic Youth drama conference, which lasted two years. I went to work with Youth for Christ in Louisville and took “The Waiting Room” on tour around the region.

2001 – I was laid off from a full-time job for the first time. I left YFC and founded the Righteous Insanity touring company as a six person group. We struggled to keep it together through the end of the year.

2002 – A year to the day after my first lay off, I was laid off a second time. I said heck with it and decided to give Righteous Insanity a go full-time. I attended my first Youth Encounter event and taught a drama workshop. Began a three year stint as an after school drama club director at Barrett Middle School in Louisville directing A Patchwork Girl of Oz. I filmed my first short movie, Chasing Leia. The Righteous Insanity touring company re-formed in the fall as a part-time, 3-4 person group. The footage was lost, and the movie was never completed. Served one year (2002-2003) as after school theater teacher at St Rita’s Catholic School in Louisville. Co-directed Joseph for the second time in a community theater.

2003 – Directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Barrett. Righteous Insanity performed at a handful of Youth Encounter events. As a trio, we went on the road full-time in the fall, traveling across the Eastern US.

2004 – Righteous Insanity’s trio became a quartet for a short time. Interpersonal squabbles resulted in the group splintering, and we wound up as a duet for the next two years. I could have written a great book about how not to run a drama team. We did get to visit Canada, and we filmed 3 movies over the summer, including the first Fluffy film. Directed Romeo and Juliet at Barrett. An encounter with some like-minded writers in Corning, New York led to the creation of the Sunday School Dropouts website. My friend Randy moved in for nine months bringing his entire wrestling library with him. I read Mick Foley’s Have a Nice Day for the first time.

2005 – Fluffy was released. More short films were made. Righteous Insanity’s traveling company made a spring trek to Calgary that included a detour to see the Hart House. We called it quits after the fall. I met my wife Jessica at a Silvertide concert.

2006 – Started a parody Christian dating website, Get Yoked, featuring fake video personals. Got married in the fall.

2007 – Started working part-time at a local Christian high school directing drama. Directed Robin Hood and Harvey. Wrote for and acted in Specific Gravity Ensemble’s “Elevator Plays” production in Louisville. My daughter Lydia was born in November.

2008 – Went back to school to get my teaching degree. Produced the short films Tolerance and F2: Fluffy Strikes Back. Still directing plays at the high school, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Our Town.

2009 – Still at the high school doing theater, directing Joseph and Get Smart. My son Sam was born in March. The short film Bots was produced by comedian Marty Pollio. The Last Temptation of Fluffy, featuring Len Cella of Moron Movies, completed the Fluffy trilogy.

2010 – Released the novel Martian Queen. Directed a terrible presentation of Pygmalion and much better productions of School House Rock and Cinderella at the high school. Released the short story collection that was later revised and republished as Robot/Girlfriend. Purchased Clive the zombie puppet on ebay. Directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a community theater.

2011 – Attended Wrestlemania 27. Directed Annie then left the high school drama gig behind after finally accepting administration was never going to hire me on as a teacher. Started writing children’s ministry curriculum for a friend’s start-up company. Released the novel Cave World. The feature film Wingman, which I wrote, gets a brief release in film festivals.

2012 – Over lunch with my wife in November, I said I was thinking about writing a book about professional wrestling in Louisville. She said go for it. Released the novel Space Monster.

2013 – Began research on the book Bluegrass Brawlers. Released the kids short story book Tales from the Dad Side and the sequel novel Shell Games. Cindy Maples and I co-produced the short film The Telemarketer.

Bluegrass Brawlers2014 – Released Bluegrass Brawlers. Wrote and released Eat Sleep Wrestle and launched the website. Also co-wrote a book with pro wrestler Simply Badd. Released the novel Space Kat.

2015 – Released Kenny “Starmaker” Bolin’s autobiography. Released the illustrated kids book Frank Jordan: Evil Snowman.

2016 – Met Dr. D David Schultz and began work on his book. Released Lord Carlton’s biography. Cindy Maples turned a short story of mine into the terrifying short film Out of My Mind (NSFW).

2017 – Published Louisville’s Greatest Show. Met Dave Marciniak, a former house flipper in Toledo who had found and saved memorabilia from the Black Panther Jim Mitchell. Met him in the fall and began cataloging and scanning everything he had saved as well as helping him sell most of it on ebay. Released the book Season’s Beatings as a result. Released the novel Return to Cave World and the short story collection The Big Bad Goodnight. Finally has a chance to direct my play Morbidman Meets His Maker as a fundraiser for Power Ministries – something I did mostly for my kids but also so that Annie would NOT be my final play.

Memoirs of a Mad Man2018 – Published Dr. D’s autobiography and Mad Man Pondo’s autobiography. Published a kid’s story book Good Night Ninja as a rib with wrestler Hy Zaya. Did a second fundraisers for Power Ministries directing Morbidman Returns – partly for the kids, partly because the cast had so much fun the first time, we had to do round two. Closed down the Righteous Insanity website, handing over the catalog and company to a former student, Gia Harris. Made my first trip to the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend in Waterloo, Iowa.

2019 –Published the novel Die Alan Die. Published the Black Panther biography and Hurricane JJ Maguire’s autobiography. Also released four short fiction works with independent wrestlers and Grappling by Gaslight, a collection of short stories about wrestling in the 1880s. Attended the CAC Reunion and presented Dr. D with his award. Spoke on behalf of Stu Gibson’s family at his induction into the New Albany High School Hall of Fame.

Posted on

The Golden Age for Wrestling Research

Andre the Giant - The Eighth Wonder of the World

The 2020 CAC James Melby Award Winner Greg Oliver just posted a terrific editorial on Slam! Wrestling about the quest to chronicle pro wrestling history. After reading an advance copy of the Andre the Giant biography, Oliver was struck by the incredible depth of research in the spook, especially when compared to an infamous earlier bio on the Eighth Wonder of the World. Oliver suggests we’re living in a golden era for wrestling historians and research, thanks to the resources that are not only now available but being utilized by writers and researchers everywhere.

I share this because I absolutely could not agree more. I have only been at this game for seven years, having taken my first dive into the newspaper microfilms at the Louisville Free Public Library in January of 2013. The access to such archives has improved tremendously in that short time, thanks in large part to archives such as newpapers.com. In 2013 I was hunting and rooting, scrolling through film after film and then scanning the weekly Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and occasionally Friday and Saturday sports pages. Just a few short years later I was finding results much faster from my home office, scanning the same Courier-Journal newspapers but using the advanced search features available online. In less than four months, I had a complete 22 year record of the Allen Athletic Club. Between my work schedule and family life, it would have taken me years to compile the same data at the library.

Every year it seems more wrestling fans and history buffs are jumping in the waters. As a community, we are uncovering, recording, and preserving the history of professional wrestling faster than ever thought possible. This is a golden age for the wrestling historian. It’s also a golden opportunity for fans and especially workers to learn that history for themselves.

This past weekend, when a wrestler at PPW told me about the stack of wrestling books he was reading, I added to it and gave him a copy of the Black Panther book. I always love hearing that a wrestler wants to know the history of the business because that tells me, this is someone who wants to learn from the past. This is someone who appreciates those who came before. This is someone who might just discover something that hasn’t been done in decades and use it (making what is old new again) to become a star.

Whether you’re a wrestler, a referee, a manager, a student, or just a fan, I encourage you to do the same. Read the Andre book. Read Have a Nice Day. Read Lou Thesz’s incredible autobiography Hooker. Read Queen of the Ring. Read Adnan Al-Kaissie’s hard to find/ harder to put down memoir. Your favorite past time has an incredible past. More and more, it’s there waiting for you to discover.

Posted on

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.