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.

New Releases for Paperback and Kindle

Last week saw one new release in paperback and two Kindle releases from Eat Sleep Wrestle!

First up is the bedtime story “Good Night Ninja,” a collaboration between myself and my long-time friend Hy Zaya. Hy has always enjoyed sneaking selfies with sleeping passengers on wrestling road trips, and we decided to turn these delightful photos into a children’s book. Mad Man Pondo, Referee Man Bun, Jason Saint, Tyler Matrix, and Shane Mercer are just a few of the supporting characters in this short story.

Next up, the biography of Lord Leslie Carlton has finally come to Kindle. Kindle readers get all the same stories and images as paperback readers with one added bonus: the photos of Lord Carlton’s artwork inside the book are in color! 

Finally, I rereleased Louisville’s Greatest Show for Kindle over the weekend. This is actually an updated version of the book with expanded biographical profiles of Stu Gibson, Elvira Snodgrass, Blacksmith Pedigo, and “The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell. The paperback edition was quietly updated as well, so if you haven’t yet read my favorite book out of the bunch, this is the time to do so!

Meet Mad Man Pondo and Hurricane JJ Maguire on November 3

November 3 is the first annual Rich City Comic and Pop Con in Richmond, Kentucky, and Eat Sleep Wrestle will be there. Joining me for this special event will be Mad Man Pondo and “Hurricane JJ” Maguire.

Mad Man Pondo is a deathmatch legend, a JCW Hall of Fame who released his autobiography “Memoirs of a Mad Man” this past summer. Pondo will be signing books and taking photos with fans as well as promoting his own Girl Fight Wrestling promotion.

“Hurricane JJ” Maguire is an unsung legend, the composer and co-author of over 100 wrestling themes. Maguire partnered with Jimmy Hart on songs like “Sexy Boy,” “Honky Tonk Man,” and the song from Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth’s wedding, “Together.” He also appeared in our recent short film, “War Chant Eddie.”

The Rich City Comic and Pop Con takes place at the Richmond Mall, and admission is free. Come meet Pondo, JJ, and myself and see all the other amazing vendors.

And be sure to “meet” my old pal Clive the Zombie at the Moturoais booth.

What Was the Best Thing about Starrcast?

What were the best things about Starrcast 2018? Everyone has their own list, but here’s mine in no particular order (save the last one).

Hanging out with Randy Pease – an old friend who is the reason I started writing about wrestling in the first place.

Watching Macauley Culkin thumb wrestle Scott Steiner.

Meeting Dr. D’s fans.

Meeting Mark James.

The Katie Vick photo op at the Wrestlecrap booth.

Hanging out with the Wrestlecrap crew.

Meeting Bill Apter.

Watching Road Warrior Animal push Lex Lugar around in his wheelchair.

Seeing Erik Hodson’s amazing wrestling art work everywhere.

Meeting Jerry Lynn.

Seeing my friend and fellow author Brennon Martin again.

Visiting with some amazing podcasters, both those broadcasting and those just attending.

Joey Ryan shaking Dr. D’s hand.

Meeting Haku.

Shooting a video with Hurricane Helms.

And the absolute #1 best part of all – the amazing staff of volunteers who made the event possible. I’ve been to many comic cons and fan fests the last 10 years, and by far, Starrcast had the hardest working, most helpful, most responsive volunteer crew I’ve ever seen. Yes, there was congestion and chaos, but these amazing workers kept the gears moving, and everyone had a good time. They are the #1 reason I would recommend this event to any fan or vendor or wrestler considering where to invest their time and money in 2019.

Because you know, where there’s an ALL IN 2, there will be a Starrcast 2!

The Past Matters to Starrcast Fans

When Cody Rhodes received the ten pounds of gold, the belt his father Dust once held, it was Earl Hebner who handed it to him.

When Tessa Blanchard took the ring Saturday for the women’s match, Tully Blanchard and Magnum TA were waiting to wish her well at ring side.

Hangman Page and Joey Janela wrestled under the watchful eye of ECW legend Jerry Lynn. Tiger Hattori called the match for Marty Scurll and Kazuchika Okada. And it was the Macho Man’s own brother Lanny Poffo, Frisbees in hand, who unleashed “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal upon the Sears Centre Saturday night.

It was no surprise to me that the past mattered to the ALL IN crew. Cody is well known reverence for his father and days before wrestling was all about the WWE. What impressed me most this past weekend in Chicago was how many fans hold the past with the same regard.

Going into the weekend, I was very excited to meet Bill Apter and see not only the men and women who made wrestling great but the reporters and writers who have covered it for so long. It was no shock when my mouth dropped open as an elderly photographer introduced himself to Doctor D as George Napolitano. I love these people. That’s why I do what I do. But I know not every wrestling crowd is as enamored with the sport’s history as I am.

I honestly wasn’t sure how the Starrcast crowd would receive guys from wrestling past. I was very pleasantly surprised.

I saw it in all the fans who stopped by to say hello to Doctor D. Podcasters like the hosts of the Lapsed Fan Podcast and Internet wrestling reporters like “Docta D” from D.C. stopped by to show their appreciation and of course, buy “the best book ever written about rasslin’.” There were fans who traveled from all over the country and even as far as Amsterdam to come and say hello to the Doctor. We sold out every unsigned copy of the book we brought with us and were selling pre-signed books right up until the Doctor packed for home.

Fans who insisted in buying books included the aforementioned Jerry Lynn and Hurricane Helms. Shannon Moore, who we met three weeks earlier in Huntsville, Alabama, stopped by to say hello, and say what you will about Joey Ryan, but he went out of his way to shake Doctor D’s hand and say what a big fan he was.

I saw respect for the past in the line that quickly formed and helped Bill Apter sell out of the 20 copies of his book he brought with him. “My wife said I should bring more,” he said mid-way through the sales blitz. “I guess she was right!” I hear the other writers at the show did a brisk business as well, including the guys in the basement vendor hall. RD Reynolds at Wrestlecrap sold out of his inventory completely.

It was hard to miss the respect heaped upon the legends lined up at Starrcast. From Sgt. Slaughter to Ron Simmons, everyone had a line of fans waiting to say hello and take a photo. Haku was mobbed when he sat down to sign with his two sons on Saturday morning. Haku was also one of the most lovable, likable people I’ve ever met in this business – which somehow makes the legends of his toughness all the more terrifying!

Perhaps the best sign of respect was the T-shirt writer Brennon Martin spotted on a fan. Brennon, who authored a book about his grandmother Christine “Teeny” Jarrett, found a young woman with a homemade “Teeny” T-shirt in the vendor hall. Teeny was never a TV personality. She is known only to those who care enough to learn about the past beyond what one can glean from the WWE Network.

I was wrong about the Starrcast crowd, and I am glad I was! As Cody said Saturday night, wrestling does not belong to one company. It belongs to everyone who works in the ring and every fan at ringside. It’s exciting to see that the future of the business belongs to people who care about the past – especially the things that happened before the monopoly. It’s my honor to be one of those keeping those stories alive, and it’s a pleasure to be witness to the revolution of the 21st century.