Louisville’s wrestling past

If you’ve read Bluegrass Brawlers, you already know some of the tales from the 1930s-1950s about Heywood Allen and the Allen Athletic Club. This coming year I am doing more research on the Allen Club and “that gang of Allen’s” that brought pro wrestling legends like Lou Thesz, Orville Brown, Bronko Nagurski, Buddy Rogers, Baron Leone, Mae Young, June Byars, Mildred Burke, Fritz von Erich, and many more to Louisville every Tuesday night at the Columbia Gym.

I am putting this post out in the hopes I can track down relatives, descendants, or other folks who might have info on Allen and his various cohorts. The names I have (so far) are listed below who were part of Allen’s gang (or his story in general). If you have information on any of these folks, please message me and let me know. I would love to hear from you!

Heywood Allen

Heywood Allen, Jr.

Francis S. McDonough

“Miss Betty” Bessie McDonough

Kid Scotty Williams

Blacksmith Pedigo

“The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell

Stu Gibson

George Lewis

Wild Bill Cantrell

Sgt. Buck Moore, LMPD

Johnson S. Mattingly (former KY Athletic Commissioner)

Mel Meiners

Get to know “The Big Guy”

I don’t get a lot of time to listen to podcasts, but there are a few I try to keep up with: Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana, The Steve Austin Show, The Jim Cornette Experience, Ice Cream Headache, and Talk is Jericho.

Chris Jericho did an interview with the Big Guy, Ryback, last week. It’s one of the best, and it’s a great chance to hear from the man behind the hype. I was really impressed with his story, and many people were impressed with the shoot promo he did on the last Raw of 2014.

It’s more proof, too, that the WWE needs to take the scripts out of the hands of the new guys and let Ryback, Roman Reigns, Cesaro, and others be themselves. These are smart, talented, and funny guys, and they need to be getting over the old fashioned way – on their feet, not on script.

Listen to the Ryback interview and many others by visiting the Talk is Jericho web page.

LA Fights – A new vision for pro wrestling

Many wrestling fans and wrestling professionals like to talk about what’s wrong with professional wrestling. Nigel McGuinness is through talking. He’s ready to do something about it.
The retired indy wrestler spent the past six months creating a brand new concept for professional wrestling, one that melds traditional pro wrestling with an MMA fight style and a TV mockumentary approach to storytelling akin to shows like The Office. While “LA Fights” is not designed to compete with the WWE or even TNA, McGuinness hopes it will bring back fans and revolutionize the industry.
“People are tired of the lack of depth to both characters and storylines,” says McGuinness. “It has a similar structure to Lucha Underground from what I’m led to believe, but there is far more complex storytelling and characterization. The in ring style is a never before seen hybrid between mma and pro wrestling.”
McGuinness has a script for six episodes already written. What he lacks is the funds to make the project a reality. For that, he is calling on all wrestling fans to back his Kickstarter campaign.
I asked McGuinness whom we might expect to see in LA Fights. “Casting will only take place if the project is funded,” he said, “but I of course have a few people in mind for certain roles.” That said, McGuinness promises in his promotional video that if the project is funded, he will come out of retirement to wrestle again.
Fans who back the project on Kickstarter will get access to the episodes before the general public, as well as additional perks like a video diary chronicling the production, T-shirts, and even walk-on roles. If the project is a success, McGuinness envisions more episodes will follow.
“The goal is to get as many eye balls on the first series to establish the brand, show what it capable and then sell a second season to a major channel. It is specifically written for a second season.”
So why should wrestling fans back LA Fights? “Because they believe in my ability to create a product. Because they want to see something new in the genre. Because they want to be part of this generations evolution instead of sitting back and waiting for something that may never happen.”
Watch the first promotional video below, then go to Nigel’s LA Fights Kickstarter page to make your own contribution.

Punk vs. Hero

This is one of the greatest matches that most fans have never seen. An outstanding duel more than a decade old featuring CM Punk and his greatest rival, Chris Hero. This one gets a mention in Bluegrass Brawlers and is on the short list to be featured in a new book I’m starting soon. Block out an hour of time, get a snack and a drink, and enjoy an indy masterpiece.

The Fall Guys – A must read for iBook users

When I was working on Bluegrass Brawlers, one of the books recommended to me by Jim Cornette was Fall Guys by Marcus Griffin. Published in 1937, Fall Guys was the first book to expose professional wrestling as a work. Griffin chronicles the inner workings of the Goldust Trio (Strangler Lewis, Billy Sandow, and Toots Mondt) in great detail and gives you an insider’s view of professional wrestling in the early 20th century.

I finally had a chance to pick up and read this book, and it’s a tremendous read. It’s a fascinating look at the origins of many of pro wrestling’s unique language and traditions.

Fall Guys is out of print, and not available on Amazon. It is, however, available on iBooks, and it’s worth the cover price.

Click here to buy Fall Guys on iTunes.

Ace Perry Goes Viral

Ace Perry is one of the busiest guys in the Midwest. In addition to weekly Wednesday night shows at Rockstar Pro Wrestling in Dayton, Ohio, and IWA Mid-South in Clarksville, Indiana, the Hoosier has dates set in the coming weeks with WCWO, Generation Next, Emerge Wrestling, and Infinity Pro.

Come spring, the young wrestler will have to block off one night to dress all the way up and head back to high school. He has a prom date with his biggest fan, Amanda. Amanda is a high school junior with autism, and a few weeks back, Ace made her Christmas by asking to take her to the prom.

Perry, who trained with Dru Skillz and Appollo Starr (aka the Soul Shooters) in Indianapolis, did not expect the video of that event to go viral, and he’s quick to deflect any attention he gets to Amanda. “She’s the real hero,” he posted recently on his Facebook.

Perry says he’s always enjoyed helping others, but he doesn’t see it as a requirement for the job of being a pro wrestler. “It’s just who you are,” he says.

Follow @AcePerryIndy on Twitter to keep up with the rising star. Just don’t look for him on prom night!

Two Years Ago Today

BluegrassBrawlers-coverIt was two years ago today I went to Ohio Valley Wrestling’s last TV taping of the year. That night I met up with Erin, an old friend who has been a fixture behind the OVW concessions counter for years, and told her my intention to write a book about Louisville wrestling.

Six days from now, many wrestling fans in Louisville and elsewhere will find that book, Bluegrass Brawlers, under their Christmas tree.

It’s fitting that today is the day I officially launch this blog. I’m very excited to continue sharing stories about wrestlers and wrestling, past and present.

And if you enjoy Bluegrass Brawlers, there’s much more to come!

 

We are just getting started

The wrestling world is full of babyfaces – and not just in the ring. Eat Sleep Wrestle is looking for the real babyfaces, wrestlers who are making a difference in their community by giving back. Whether it’s charity work, religious work, or just plain doing the right thing, Eat Sleep Wrestle will share their stories with the world.

If you know a wrestler, a promotion, a promoter, a ref, a manager, someone tied to the wrestling business who is making a difference, email us so we can share their story.