Update: It IS Here!

The Black Panther Jim Mitchell’s is now available in paperback.

I just received the final draft of the foreword from WWE Hall of Fame Mark Henry earlier this week, and the book is now available for purchase.

If you are interested in a signed copy, they are $15 plus $3 for shipping in the US. (International orders, please inquire for shipping.)

As a special offer, now through March 8, you can add Bluegrass Brawlers or Louisville’s Greatest Show for only $7. That’s $25 for the Jim Mitchell book and the Louisville wrestling book of your choice, while supplies last.

Email me to order, or send PayPal to johncosper@yahoo.com.

This has been a long time coming. I am very proud of this book and happy to have joined forces with Mark in presenting it to the wrestling world. I can’t wait for all of you to read it.

Louisville’s Own Stu Gibson in Action

Several months ago I was able to sit down with Stu Gibson’s youngest sister Mary Lou Heinz to hear more about Stu, his family, and his life in and out of wrestling. One of the things Mary Lou gave me was a DVD of old family videos, and the first thing on that DVD was about 3 minutes of silent footage of Stu wrestling.

As best as I have determined, the footage was shot in 1974 or 1975 in Stu’s adopted hometown of San Antonio. There’s a singles match, followed by a battle royal. You will very quickly recognize a certain French giant in the mix during this second match.

To learn more about Stu Gibson, you can read the bio I wrote for the Pro Wrestling Historical Society. Or better yet, order a copy of my book Louisville’s Greatest Show. Stu is the airborne wrestler flying over Gorgeous George on the front cover.

My thanks to Mary Lou for allowing me to share this!

Sabu is Almost Here, and Vader is Coming!

Kenny Casanova keeps knocking them out. He’s about to release the much-anticipated autobiography of Sabu, and word is the Vader book will finally go to press this spring as well.

I have not read the Sabu book, but I did read an earlier draft of Vader’s. It’s one of the top five best wrestling biographies I’ve read. If you’re a fan of Kenny’s previous works with Kamala, Brutus Beefcake, and Dangerous Danny Davis, you will not be disappointed.

Kenny is a very gifted writer, and I can’t wait to see what he’s done with Sabu’s story. You can pre-order the book now on Kenny’s website and get a signed copy. Click here to order.

Support your favorite wrestlers, and support guys like Kenny who are helping to preserve the history of this crazy business.

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.