Tagged in: divas

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.

WWE Returns to Louisville

A few random thoughts about last night’s visit from WWE to Louisville, Kentucky.

First and foremost: the Yum Center staff is amazing and accessibility for the disabled is great. I take a friend along who is in a wheelchair, and we had a much more pleasant experience here than at Freedom Hall. Wish the doors to the pedway from the parking garage had automatic door openers, but the Yum Center staff was so helpful I can overlook that.

WWE Shop Express was not available and that was disappointing. Made getting shirts super easy last time. We went out during an early match and got a shirt with no waiting but I liked shop express better.

AJ Styles and Tyler Breeze had a great opener. Breeze held his own with AJ and made his trainer Lance Storm proud. He also had more heat than anyone other than Sheamus and Kevin Owens with the fans. They were on him from the moment his music hit. Wish WWE would give him the push he deserves on the main roster.

Nice surprise to see Baron Corbin. He looks ready.

Goldust put on the make up for a house show run in. Another fun surprise.

If Alberto Del Rio is on a card, he will give you his money worth. Does everyone realize how good he is?

Kalisto is super over with the kids. Adults too.

Nice to see Summer Rae getting to actually wrestle as Sasha Banks’s tag partner. If you’ve only seen her on WWE you don’t know how good she is.

Sasha is a superstar on the rise.

Heel Sheamus has a lot of fans. Lots of cheers for him – until he got on the mic and riffed on Kentucky.

Louisville still loves OVW alum Mark Henry.

And your main event for WWE Louisville is… Jon Moxley vs. Kevin Steen. Who would have ever dreamed back 5 years ago this would be your main event at a WWE show?? Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens did not disappoint. They tore the house down, and they proved they are ready to be the top guys in the business. Owens got the most heat from the crowd, and Ambrose gets the biggest pop from the crowd. Matter of fact, he gets a bigger pop than anyone I’ve seen in Louisville except that one guy…

This is the first time in ages John Cena did not make an appearance in Louisville. Feels a little strange, because in all honesty, this is Cena’s town. There’s no split chanting for him here because of his legacy at OVW. No doubt he’ll be back and he’ll get the pop of the night when he returns.

Ladies Night at Resistance Pro

12507167_10207078832203236_1977150445901805571_nChicago – There’s a title match headed your way  March 5 that is a must-see.

Resistance Pro Women’s Champion Crazy Mary Dobson is defending her title against LuFisto. Crazy Mary is one of the hottest rising stars in women’s wrestling. She has two appearances on NXT (so far) as Sarah Dobson, and she’s a seasoned world traveler at the young age of 22.

LuFisto’s been wrestling for most of Mary’s 22 years, traveling the world and competing with both men and women. The 18 year veteran used to tag with NXT’s Asuka, and if like what you’ve seen in Asuka, you’re going to love LuFisto.

I’ve seen these two go head to head twice, and they absolutely bring out the best in one another. After their first meeting ever, LuFisto praised Mary for the way she “loves to be dropped on her head as much as I do.” Both women love to dish out pain, and they can both take a beating.

This match will be a high energy, violent affair, and neither woman will give quarter to the other. It will be one of your favorite matches of 2016.

Click the poster above or click here to go to Resistance Pro’s website.

Take Your Spot, Ladies

11882266_1060478073985571_1326424868613623308_oThere’s a lot of talk about why Nikki Bella hasn’t dropped her Divas title, and whether or not she will break A.J. Lee’s record for most days as champion. I’m not going to speculate on WWE politics, but where some people see frustration, I see an opportunity.

Simply put: every time Nikki Bella walks back up the ramp with that title, the WWE opens the door another inch for someone else to take the ball and run with the women’s wrestling revolution.

The indies are already years ahead of the WWE in women’s wrestling. Is it really so far fetched to think that independent women’s wrestling can’t carve out a significant niche and fill the void WWE is too blind to see?

They have a saying in WWE and elsewhere: “You are not here to fill a spot; you are here to take a spot.”

Who’s going to take the WWE’s spot when they drop the ball on women’s wrestling? The ball is in mid-air. The time is now!

About this Diva Revolution

1797971_699268903502709_2186941647616043393_nI write about wrestling. I do not aspire to write for a wrestling show or promotion or work for one in any way. I do not pretend to know how to book things better than the people who are booking for any promotion, big or small, national or local.

That said, I think it’s obvious to just about everyone watching that something is not right with this Diva’s Revolution.

The WWE held three shows in a row in the same building. On Saturday night, Sasha Banks and Bayley stole the show. They tore the house down, they held the crowd in the palm of their hands, they put on the match of the night.

Before that even happened, 15,000 plus chanted for a young woman named Blue Pants. When Big Cass’s voice started singing “The Price is Right” theme over the sound system, the fans blew the roof off the building for a woman who isn’t even signed to the company!

And then, Monday night happened. Same building. A lot of the same fans. Completely different reaction.

Something is wrong.

No, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, I do not believe it’s because no one wants to see women wrestle.

I’m not going to offer suggestions and fixes. Again, I write about wrestling, and I’m not going to pretend I know how to fix it. I am going to say that if the WWE blows this, that doesn’t mean women’s wrestling is dead. I’ve seen first hand that it’s alive and well. Women are main eventing with each other, competing one on one with men, and selling out arenas even when no men are on the card.

Women even have whole promotions and shows dedicated to them. Shimmer. Shine. WSU. Femme Fatale. Girl Fight. That’s just for starters.

Let’s hope someone at WWE who knows how to book wrestling gives the women on the main roster the booking they have EARNED and deserve. Meantime, don’t wait for Vince and Co. to get it right. Go see an indy show and see for yourself how things should be.

Women of Wrestling: I Want Your Best Story!

There are women all over the wrestling world. Some wrestle, some work as valets and managers, and some wear the black and white stripes. While many promotions (especially a certain large promotion) still treat them as eye candy and restroom break matches, others are realizing that women can not only wrestle as good as the boys, they can main event AND steal the show.

I’m working on a new project to pay honor to the women of wrestling. If you’re a current, former, or even aspiring wrestler, I want your best story for this new project.

Here’s how you can be involved.

Option 1. Send me an email at johncosper@yahoo.com with a 2-3 sentence bio and your best story. It can be something that happened in the ring, in training, on the road, or in the locker room. It can be funny, it can be touching, or it can be the best match you ever had. (Would like to keep it PG, but if it’s really, really good, will consider any story.) And please, send a photo that you have the rights to that I can use. (If the photo belongs to a photographer, please get their permission or have them send me an email granting permission to use it.)

Option 2. Send me an email at johncosper@yahoo.com with your contact info so that I can get in touch and write down your story. I know not everyone’s as good at writing things down, so if you prefer to share it orally, we will work that out. I’ll still need a photo, too.

The tentative deadline for this project is September 1.

Update: I’ve had a few people ask what kind of stories I am looking for in the book. Right now, I’m looking for anything and everything, but here are some ideas to get you started.

Stories about training

Stories about family – how you told them you were going to be a wrestler; how they have supported (or not supported) you

Stories from the road – funny things, scary things, crazy things (try to keep it PG, or at least PG-13)

Stories about matches – best you ever had, worst you ever had, funniest thing that ever happened

Stories about fans

Stories about discrimination – what’s it like trying to break in and be taken seriously in a male-dominated sport?

Stories about injuries

The end goal is to show people that the women of pro wrestling are dedicated road warriors who can fight, talk, and draw money just as good as the boys. This is about shining a light on women’s wrestling in order to make believers and fans out of people who have never seen real women’s wrestling.

Please pass this on to any women connected to the wrestling business with a good story to tell. Or email me at johncosper@yahoo.com for more info.

What #givedivasachance really looks like

10535641_385023985019013_4645483892159298916_oI’d love to sell you on attending Strictly Nsane Wrestlings Girl Fight show by saying it’s even better than the WWE divas division, but since the WWE keeps setting the bar so low for the main roster ladies, that’s hardly a great pitch. The Divas match had a terrible if predictable ending tonight. Yes, JBL, there’s a reason Nikki Bella has held the divas title for so long. It has everything to do with Mr. McMahon and nothing to do with wrestling.

Suffice to say, Blue Pants, Crazy Mary, Lufisto, and the rest will blow the Divas away. If you are in the Louisville area do not miss this show. It will change your perception of women’s wrestling.

 

The Women’s Wrestling Revolution Continues

10535641_385023985019013_4645483892159298916_oLast week, it was the women – not the men – stole the show on a live NXT special broadcast on the WWE Network. It wasn’t the first time this has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Insider reports say that Triple H and Stephanie are pleased with how the women have been presented on NXT and want to change how they are presented on the main WWE product, but Vince McMahon refuses to allow change to happen.

Meanwhile, in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Mad Man Pondo remains a few steps ahead of all three of them.

Following a sensational debut with the May Girl Fight show, Pondo’s Strictly Nsane Wrestling has announced a second show on July 7. Pondo’s bringing back some of the women who made this a can’t miss event including Crazy Mary Dobson, The Lovely Lylah, and Mary Elizabeth Monroe, and he’s added two more stars to the lineup: indie darling and grassroots Tough Enough hopeful LuFisto; and the most popular woman on WWE programming without a WWE contract, “Blue Pants” Leva Bates.

Decades ago, women like Mildred Burke were powerful and popular enough to actually headline a wrestling card. Women’s wrestling has been treated as a side show attraction for a long time, but indie fans are finally recognizing that the women of the squared circle are not filler. They are wrestlers to the core, and on any given night they can steal the show.

July 7 at the ArenA in Jeffersonville, they are the show!

Meet the Lovely Lylah

11150360_742747235842254_5067231748321184467_nIf you’re going to Girl Fight in Jeffersonville next week, bring some extra cash, and hit up the Lovely Lylah’s table. If you’re lucky, she’ll have cupcakes or cake pops. Whatever she’s charging, they’re worth the price.

The Lovely Lylah hails from the Pacific Northwest. She never dreamed of being a wrestler as a kid, but when her brother and some of his friends started training, she tagged along. It was there that Playboy Buddy Rose spotted her and saw potential. Lylah started training with Rose and soon found herself taking bumps against both women and men.

When the opportunity availed itself, Lylah moved to Louisville, Kentucky to train at the legendary Ohio Valley Wrestling. It was there that, with the help of Al Snow, she cultivated the powerhouse princess persona she uses most often in the ring. She’s comfortable playing the good guy, but when she’s a real delight when the princess lets her dark side take over.

Lylah is a powerful competitor who isn’t afraid to mix it up with the guys or girls, and she looks to have her hands full next week against The Real Lady Delilah Reignz. She’s a star on the rise and one of many wrestlers who will give you your money’s worth at Girl Fight.

You can read more about the Lovely Lylah in Eat Sleep Wrestle. And please follow her on Twitter @lovelylylah. Grab the book. Go see her wrestle. And remember what I told you about the cake pops!

Don’t Call Them Divas – This is Wrestling

girlfightWomen have been wrestling just as long as men. In fact the very first match featured in the book Bluegrass Brawlers: The Story of Professional Wrestling in Louisville is a mixed gender match that took place in 1880 when a circus wrestler named Ida Alb issued an open challenge to any man in Louisville for a 3 out of 5 falls contest, just to prove wrestling was not fake.

Sadly, women’s wrestling has never really been considered on equal footing with men’s. Even in today’s WWE, women’s matches are too often booked poorly, treated as restroom break matches before the main event.

It’s time you experience what women’s wrestling really is.
Tuesday Night May 12, Strictly Nsane Pro Wrestling and the ArenA in Jeffersonville, Indiana, presents Girl Fight, a night featuring some of the best independent wrestlers from across the country. You won’t see any guys on the bill. Tuesday night belongs strictly to the ladies.

TNA Knockout Havok will be in action against Hardcore Heather Owens. Crazy Mary Dobson, who just made her NXT debut last week, will do battle with Tessa Blanchard, daughter of the legendary Tully Blanchard. The Lovely Lylah, Mary Elizbeth Monroe, Samantha Heights, and others will also be in action.

This week I’ll be spotlighting a few of these talented wrestlers on the blog. Please understand, this is not a night of popcorn matches. This is professional wrestling at its best, featuring some of the hardest hitting, highest flying performers on the independent scene today.

Girl Fight will change your definition of “hit like a girl” in a very dramatic way.