Category Archives: Wrestling History

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!

Sisterhood of the Squared Circle is a Knock Out

A few years ago I started work on what was going to be a history of women’s wrestling. I did some research, bought a few magazines, reached out to a few ladies about interviews, but ended up setting the project aside for another, and then another. I’m glad I did. Pat Laprade and Dan Murphy have delivered one of the most enjoyable and educational wrestling books I’ve read in a while, and it’s 100 times better than the book I envisioned writing.

Sisterhood of the Squared Circle is both a history and a “who’s who.” They tell the story of women’s wrestling by introducing the reader to the ladies who wrote that history. Every era, from the dawn of the 20th century up until 2017, is thoroughly covered. You’ll meet the pioneers of women’s wrestling, Mildred Burke and Billy Wolfe’s troupe, the women who trained under the Fabulous Moolah, the ladies of GLOW, the legends of Japan, the Divas, the Knockouts, the Shimmer Girls, and the current stars of the WWE.

As much as I enjoyed Pat’s previous collaboration with Bertrand Herbert, Mad Dogs, Midgets, and Screwjobs, he and and Dan have outdone themselves. They cut through the kayfabe storylines and give you the real story behind the fight to legalize wrestling, the battle to legalize intergender wrestling, the checkered legacy of the Fabulous Moolah. They capture the struggle women have faced to be treated as equals, to receive equal pay, and to be taken seriously as wrestlers.

If I have one complaint about the book, it’s a minor one. There simply wasn’t the room to cover every influential woman in wrestling history, and my favorite golden age grappler Elvira Snodgrass is sadly missing. Nevertheless, Sisterhood of the Squared Circle is a solid book and a must read for fans who love the history of this business. It’s enough of a page turner that when my long-awaited copy of Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn arrived, Thrawn had to wait his turn until the ladies had their due.

Sisterhood of the Squared Circle is available on Amazon.com. Get it, read it, share it. Bravo, Dan and Pat. Can’t wait to see what you do next.

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

A Rare Piece of History Now in Print

For the last four months, I’ve been working with “Dr. D” David Schultz on what will be one of the most entertaining wrestling autobiographies you will ever read. The Doctor has an amazing story to tell not just about his wrestling career, but his post wrestling life as a bounty hunter.

Dr. D was trained by Herb Welch, brother of Tennessee wrestling promoter Roy Welch. Both of the brothers were trained shooters, and when Dr. D first trained with Herb, he was taught the art of shooting.

Before Herb Welch passed away, his wife gave Dr. D a booklet called How to Be a Champion. Only 40 pages in length, the booklet was essentially a shooter’s bible: photos and descriptions on how to apply shoot wrestling holds and maneuvers. Dr. D was granted permission to do with the book as he pleased, and with his permission, I’ve just released it in paperback.

How to Become a Champion was a hit from day one. It’s an amazing peek into pro wrestling past and a rare find from a man who has been somewhat forgotten by time.

How to Become a Champion is available on Amazon.com.

When I Met Ricky Morton

I never saw Ricky Morton wrestle live in his prime, but I got to meet him one night shortly after I released Bluegrass Brawlers. I was invited to do a book table at an Evolution Pro Wrestling show in Clarksville, Indiana, and the boys were kind enough to set me up at the same table as Ricky.

Ricky didn’t know who I was. He’s a legend in the business, and I was a rookie wrestling writer with one book to sell. He could have taken umbrage at having to share a table with me, but he could not have been nicer. He introduced himself, shook my hand, and asked about the book. He and his son both thumbed through it before the doors opened. He was ecstatic when he noticed a photo of his father was inside, refereeing a match with Jerry Lawler.

The doors opened, and the fans started to enter. Every time someone came up to meet Ricky, to buy an autograph, or take a photo, Ricky plugged my book. I sold ten that night, no doubt in part due to Ricky’s endorsement. He was a class act who could not have been kinder.

It was a thrill to see Ricky inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Friday night, all the mores because of our one meeting. He’s one of the good guys, and I’ll always be appreciative of the way he put me over that night.

Upcoming Events

Author Fair at the Jeffersonville, IN Library

Saturday April 8, 11 pm to 12 pm

I will be signing copies of wrestling books as well as my kids books and science fiction at this local author’s event.

Heroes and Legends Fan Fest

Sunday, April 9

Ft Wayne, Indiana

Signing wrestling books at a huge fan fest featuring two wrestling programs and special guests Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Jerry Lawler, and more.

WBKI FANatic

Friday, April 14, 2 pm

Making my first appearance on this exciting new local program hosted by George Buehler to discuss Louisville’s wrestling history as well as the new book, Louisville’s Greatest Show.

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!

Amazing Video of Lord Leslie Carlton

Lord Carlton’s daughter, the “Lady Carlton” K.K. Fluegeman, sent me a link to a recently posted video of her father. Not only do you get to see Lord Carlton in action with the nefarious Swami by his side, at the end of the video, Carlton gives a rather lengthy interview. It’s the best clip I’ve found of his lordship yet, and it’s amusing to listen to this native Californian’s attempt at a British accent.

Lord Carlton’s biography is available now in paperback on Amazon.com. Click here to order your copy!

 

Can’t Spell WWE without I-N-D-Y

Dear WWE and NXT Fans:

I’d like to introduce you to a few people.

This is Aaron Williams, “The Baddest Man Alive.” Aaron had a great weekend because he just won the Pro Wrestling Blitz Heavyweight Champion.

These are my pals Eric Emanon and Thomas Brewington. They had a great weekend as well. They are now the New Phoenix Gemini Tag Team Champions.

And this is the King of Dayton and proud member of Ohio Is 4 Killers, Dave Crist. Dave had a great weekend too. He pinned John Wayne Murdoch clean to become the new IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion.

Why am I telling you about these gentlemen? Because I want you to know them. I want you to follow them. I want you to support them.

As a WWE fan, I know you are aware just how many independent wrestlers have become part of the world’s largest wrestling promotion. A.J. Styles, Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Cesaro all had stellar careers in the indies before making it to NXT and WWE. If you’re also following NXT, then you’re already following the rise of Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Cassius Ohno (aka Chris Hero), Ruby Riot (aka Heidi Lovelace) and the other indy “darlings” the WWE has snatched up recently.

I want you to know that the independent wrestling promotions that Gargano, Ciampa, Hero, Lovelace, and the others left behind are not dying off like the old territories the WWF killed in the 1980s. They are thriving. They are growing not only in popularity, but in quality. I want you to know this because I want you to become a fan.

Yes, it is true, the independent scene is full of green wrestlers, spot monkeys, and guys who only care about getting their s*** in, but there are many men and women and tag teams still working the independents who could easily fill any spot on the NXT or WWE roster right now.

Independent wrestling is growing. There are more promotions in more places than there have been in a generation. Your local promotion(s) may run monthly or weekly, which means you can see live wrestling far more often than you are now with the WWE.

True, the crowds and venues are smaller in the indies, but that also means tickets are more affordable, and your access to the wrestlers is greater. You’re closer to the action and at a much better price, and the heels can actually hear you when you call them names.

And here’s the best part: you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to meet your favorite stars. The T-shirts at the gimmick tables are half of what you’ll pay at a WWE show. Everyone is happy to shake your hand and take a selfie – except maybe Mr. Darius Carter.

I’m not telling you to give up the WWE. I enjoy the Network and NXT as much as any fan. But make no mistake: the WWE and NXT would not be what they are without the INDY scene that has come to be. I’m offering you the chance to see more live wrestling. I’m asking you to give guys like Aaron, Dave, Eric, and Thomas a chance. I want you to get out there and discover other guys like Matt Riddle, Ron Mathis, The Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim, Desmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz, Gary Jay, Chip Day, Murder One, Timmy Lou Retton, Matt Cross, Michael Elgin, Menace, Facade, Jake Crist, Sami Callahan, and Jimmy Rave. I want you to discover the other ladies who fueled the “women’s revolution,” like Kelly Klein, LuFisto, Su Yung, Samantha Heights, Leva Bates (remember Blue Pants?), Mickie Knuckles, Rachel Ellering, Taeler Hendrix, Candice LeRae, Veda Scott, Mia Yim, Allisin Kay, Jessicka Havok, and Jordynne Grace. I want you to discover the amazing tag teams packing houses across the country including the Hooligans, Viking War Party, War Machine, OI4K, and the Carnies. You can even find comedy wrestlers, guys like Colt Cabana, Space Monkey, and the notorious party animal, Joey Ryan.

There’s never been a better time to get into independent wrestling than now. Search a few of these names on YouTube. Find and follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Then find a promotion running in your area. I’m not asking you to trade one for the other. Just get out and support the superstars of tomorrow, today. They will not let you down.

Sincerely,

A converted, die-hard indy wrestling fan

Enjoy Every Moment

My friend Jason Saint loves to take photos. As a fan, he took photos with every wrestling personality he met. Now that he’s behind the curtain working as a manager, he still takes photos with everyone.

Some wrestlers think it’s too much of a “mark” thing to do, taking photos with guys in the locker room, especially the legends and veterans. Others (wisely I think) realize that those photos are memories worth taking.

No one is promised tomorrow, and no one is promised that when you part ways with someone, you will indeed see them again “down the road.”

The last two weeks have been a sobering reminder that the heroes of the past will not always be with us. Chavo, Sr., Nicole Bass, George “The Animal” Steele, and Ivan Koloff are just the latest to leave us forever. The road ends for everyone sooner or later. All the more reason to savor – and save – every moment we can.

Take some photos this weekend. Snap a photo with someone at their table. Take some in the locker room. Don’t be afraid to ask for those selfies. There’s no telling whether your paths will ever cross again.

Love and prayers to the families of Chavo, Nicole, George, and Ivan.

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