Tagged in: jerry lawler

The Ladies Steal the Show at Heroes and Legends

First things first: Heroes and Legends is a fantastic promotion. Based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, this independent wrestling group puts on a heck of a show. Heroes and Legends VIII took place today at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. If the very name of the building doesn’t remind you of the old territory days, the guest list will. Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, and Jerry Lawler were the headliners, and the King even stepped into the ring, giving the fans a classic strap-dropping performance against Dru Skillz.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The day began at noon, when the doors opened and fans came through to check out the vendor tables. Vendors included toys and collectibles, an artist, a few promoters from other area shows, a podcast, and the US military. Wrestlers for the show were sprinkled throughout the vendors to ensure that both wrestlers and vendors got some traffic.

Girl Fight put on a show that started around 1:30. The GF show was depleted due to several last minute cancellations, including Su Yung. The young competitors worked their hearts out, but could not get the attention of the crowd.

Enter Mickie Knuckles.

Mickie and Dementia D’Rose took on Amazing Maria and Samantha Heights in a tag match for the main event. Mickie tried to get the crowd’s attention and pump them up. The crowd gave her nothing, right up until the moment she said, “No Holds Barred, No DQ, Falls Count Anywhere.”

The fans popped, and the ladies literally tore the house down. Samantha Heights was duplexed down a set of bleachers steps and later tossed into a trash can. Amazing Maria was squashed beneath a steel chair. Maria and Samantha were dropped onto a table that refused to give. Fans swarmed, phones held high, to follow the action, with Sugar Dunkerton leading the crowd and the cheers in the front. It was sensational match that set the bar ridiculously high for the main show.

The Razor Ramones punk band played a brief  set mid-afternoon, then proceeded to sell cassettes – yes, I said CASSETTES – to the fans. (More on them later this week.) A battle royal took place at 4:30, with a surprise appearance by Bushwhacker Luke, and then it was show time.

The War Memorial Coliseum proved a great venue for wrestling. The main lights dimmed, and spotlights illuminated the ring, giving the whole room an old school feel. Once again, the ladies rose to the occasion, as the best match on the first half of the card was a Falls Count Anywhere battle between Randi West and Paloma Star, with Hardcore Heather Owens acting as guest referee.

Sugar Dunkerton and the former Adam Rose were an entertaining tag team in the second half of the night, and their match ended with a parade of Rosebuds, including the bunny. Their match was followed by Lawler and Dru Skillz from Indianapolis, in which Lawler gave the fans exactly what they wanted.

The main event pitted local hero Kongo Kong against Ryback, and it proved to be a phenomenal way to end the night. Kong dwarfed Ryback, who is not normally the smaller man in the match, and both men exhibited their power and agility. Ryback had no trouble powerlifting the monster Kong, while Kong brought the house down when he super-plexed Ryback from the top rope. The match became a triple threat when the masked “Ginger Dragon” entered the fray. The Dragon turned out to be Dru Skillz, who won the belt from Ryback, but Ryback and Kong teamed up on the duplicitous new champ – including two top rope splashes from Kong.

A few other thoughts on my first experience at Heroes and Legends:

Rob Conway is as good a guy as everyone says he is. The two of us graduated from New Albany High School in the early 90s, and it was great getting to meet him and hear some of his stories.

Shannon Moore shook hands with everyone in the vendor area when he arrived, even the non-wrestlers. A class act. Mickie Knuckles did the same just before she left.

I got to meet Tyger Smith, who helped train my friends Marc Hauss and Eric Emanon. Nice guy with some funny stories.

There’s nothing more cruel than teasing that we might get a Ninja (Hy Zaya) vs. Demon (Shane Mercer)  showdown at the end of a battle royal – only to see both eliminated by the masked man who won the match. So close!

Did I mention the ladies stole the show? Seriously, the WWE does NOT have the market cornered on women’s wrestling. Mickie, Heather Owens, and Randi West deliver every time. Dementia D’Rose and Paloma Star held their own with the hardcore veterans and dished some serious violence. Samantha Heights and Amazing Maria are stars on the rise.

If you’re in Northern Indiana, you owe it to yourself to check out Heroes and Legends. Jayson Maples and his crew do everything right, creating the perfect mix of classic stars with independent talent. Kudos to everyone who made today such a memorable event.

Heroes and Legends

This is going to be a busy spring for me. One week after Wrestlemania, I’ll be headed north to sign copies of Bluegrass Brawlers, Louisville’s Greatest Show, and other book at Heroes and Legends.

Heroes and Legends is an all day event at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, featuring legends of the sport and the best in today’s independent wrestling.

Headlining this year’s event are some of the biggest names in wrestling history, including legendary rivals Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat. And will also get the chance to meet WWE Hall of Famers Jerry Lawler, Bushwhacker Luke, and Ron Simmons along with Kevin Sullivan, Ryback, Hornswoggle, Kikutaro, The Sandman, Mr. Anderson, Mad Man Pondo, Marty Jannetty, Angelina Love, Matt Striker, Davey Richards, and Aldo Rose.

The Heroes and Legends wrestling show caps the day off with a stellar main event pitting Ryback against the monstrous Kongo Kong. Aldo Rose, Jerry Lawler, Sugar Dunkerton, Hornswoggle, and dozens more will also be in action.

As if that wasn’t enough, Heroes and Legends has partnered with Girl Fight Wrestling to present an all female card earlier in the day! Su Yung, Mickie Knuckles, and Samantha Heights will headline the show for one of the best female promotions in the country.

Heroes and Legends happens on Sunday, April 9, 2017 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Tickets start at only $15. For more information, please visit the Heroes and Legends website.

Flair vs. Lawler on Louisville Television

The Great Brian Last from the 6:05 Superpodcast just posted an episode of Memphis wrestling featuring Ric Flair vs. Jerry Lawler on YouTube. What’s cool is this is a recording of the Louisville television feed from August 14, 1982, commercials included!

Click play below to get a glimpse of Louisville TV past. And be sure to listen and subscribe to the 6:05 Superpodcast.

Add ‘Rasslin to your Roku Channels Now!

A month or so back, I was surfing the Channel Store on Roku and came across a new wrestling channel simply called ‘Rasslin. Featuring a Rob Van Dam caricature on its channel graphic, ‘Rasslin promised to be a free channel boasting lots of old school wrestling. I decided to give it a try.

Simply put: ‘Rasslin is a free Roku channel with content you would gladly pay for.

The first video I watched on ‘Rasslin was an episode of WCCW from the old Sportatorium featuring the Von Erichs and the Freebirds in the main event. As if that wasn’t enough to keep me watching, the episode itself had a recently filmed introduction hosted by Kevin Von Erich and Michael Hayes. I was immediately taken back to my middle school days, when I used to watch WCCW on ESPN every afternoon after school on my Mom and Dad’s bedroom TV.

I let ‘Rasslin run for a few hours and I was treated to surprise after surprise. I saw Dick the Bruiser, Mean Gene Okerland, Dusty Rhodes, Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin, Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express, the Fabulous Kangaroos, Jerry Lawler, Bill Dundee, Andre the Giant, Roddy Piper, Dr. D David Schultz, Sgt. Slaughter. I saw matches and even full TV episodes from the AWA, Memphis Wrestling, Crockett Promotions, and more. Almost every new video brought a new surprise.

‘Rasslin has a seemingly endless supply of wrestling content, but unlike most Roku channels, they do not have a searchable menu. When you open ‘Rasslin, a live stream begins, feeding you one video after another, interrupted by the occasional commercial.

There are some more recent independent wrestling videos on ‘Rasslin, as well as some hotel room women’s wrestling and other strange matches, but ‘Rasslin does allow you to skip any video by hitting the fast forward button on your remote.

‘Rasslin is a must-have for fans of old school wrestling. It’s the perfect compliment to paid wrestling channels, full if binge worthy matches, promos, and memories. It’s a channel you can put on and leave on that feeds surprise after surprise with every new video.

A Louisville Wrestling Hall of Fame

No, don’t get your hopes up. There’s no Hall of Fame in the works by me, or anyone else I know of. Just a little hypothetical question:

If there were a Louisville Wrestling Hall of Fame, who would you want to see in it?

I have a long list of suggestions. In no particular order, they are:

Ed “Strangler” Lewis – A first ballot entry for sure, the Strangler got his famous name in Louisville after showing up two weeks late for a booking under his real name.

Heywood Allen – A referee turned promoter who was involved in the Louisville wrestling scene from the early 1900s until 1947.

Francis S. McDonogh – Allen’s successor, who took the Allen Athletic Club into its hey day in the 1950s, pioneering wrestling on Louisville television and drawing record crowds at the Armory.

Betty McDonogh – Wife of Francis and the business manager for Allen and her husband. She gets credit for helping to popularize wrestling with a female audience in the 1940s, when the promotion drew more ladies every week for a time than men.

Wild Bill Longson – The only man to win a world championship in Louisville. Longson was a fixture for the Allen Athletic Club throughout the 40s and 50s and even worked as a booker for the promotion.

“The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell – A true pioneer, Mitchell was an African American wrestler before, during, and after the “color barrier” was put in place. He was also a mentor to the legendary Bobo Brazil.

Col. Stu Gibson – A New Albany native and former football hero who became a huge heel in Louisville and San Antonio.

Wee Willie Davis – A wrestler and movie star who moved to Louisville and ran a few promotions during the late 50s and 60s.

Jerry Jarrett – Wrestler and promoter who brought Louisville into the Memphis territory in 1970.

Jerry Lawler – The King of Memphis could lay equal claim to royalty in Louisville with all the legendary nights he had at the Gardens.

Jim Cornette – Arguably the most famous Louisville native in the pro wrestling business. Considered one of the greatest managers of all time. With the Rock N Roll Express going into the WWE Hall of Fame, one can only hope Jim and the Midnight Express will be next.

Danny Davis – Wrestler and manager during the Memphis era who moved to Louisville and founded OVW.

Ian Rotten – Former ECW wrestler who founded IWA Mid-South, a promotion that has lasted just as many years as the more mainstream OVW.

Kenny “Starmaker” Bolin – Louisville native and life-long nemesis of Cornette, Bolin helped launch the WWE careers of more than 4 dozen wrestlers who once belonged to Bolin Services.

John Cena – OVW’s most famous son.

CM Punk – IWA Mid-South’s most famous son.

The “OVW Four” aka Rob Conway, Nick Dinsmore, The Damaja, and Doug Basham – Four Southern Indiana natives, two (Conway and Dinsmore) from right across the river, who made it to the WWE after starting in the OVW beginner class. Basham and Damaja were a tag team in the E. Dinsmore became the surprisingly popular U-Gene. Conway is the only Louisville native to win the WWE Tag Title and went on to become a two-time NWA World Champion.

Dean Hill – Current “owner” of OVW, Hill was a ring announcer at the Louisville Gardens before becoming the voice of Louisville wrestling as OVW’s TV announcer.

Okay, Louisville fans, let’s hear it. Who would you put in a Louisville Wrestling Hall of Fame?

Tuesday Night at the Gardens

If you’re a fan of Bluegrass Brawlers, you’re going to love this.

Jim Cornette has been working for two and a half years on a book about the Memphis era in Louisville. Today, that book is now available for purchase on Amazon.com and Jim’s website.

Tuesday Night at the Gardens is an in depth look at Louisville wrestling from 1970-1975. The book features complete results and more than 500 illustrations chronicling the rise of Memphis wrestling at Louisville Gardens. It’s a tremendous collectible for fans who remember the Memphis era and anyone interested in wrestling history.

If you order through Jim’s website right now, you will also get a two hour DVD featuring matches from that same era, absolutely free. If you’ve never seen the video compilations Cornette has put together (like his incredible Mid Atlantic films collection), you are in for a real treat.

Click here to visit JimCornette.com and pick up the new book and the free DVD. And if you haven’t already picked it up, be sure to get my book on Louisville history from 1880 to the present, Bluegrass Brawlers: The Story of Professional Wrestling in Louisville from Amazon.com.

The Man of Tomorrow

11898628_943554585710617_1993227650622410364_nFans of Kenny Bolin know that Kenny is largely down on today’s wrestling and wrestlers. So when Kenny Bolin offers praise to one of the young independent wrestlers of today, he does not do so lightly. Such was the case when Kenny got back from the Lawler-Funk show in Tennessee, where Kenny got a look at The Man of Tomorrow, Daniel Eads. “Best new talent on the show,” says Kenny. “Me and Chris (the Prince, who is equally stingy with praise for today’s talent) liked him a lot.”

I first met Daniel Eads almost a year ago in New Albany. He’s a big guy with a good physique, and he stands out even among the biggest and fittest wrestlers. His fellow wrestlers suggested the nickname “Man of Tomorrow” because he bears a resemblance to Superman, but Eads will be the first to tell you he wasn’t born that way.

Eads grew up in a rough family situation. “I was a bit of an outcast. I was quiet and nerdy, and didnt have a back bone. I grew up with an abusive alcoholic stepdad, and dad that abandoned me. I was sexually abused, fought depression for half my life, and I didn’t have a great support system.”

Eads had some friends in school who were wrestling fans. This was the era of Goldberg, RVD, and Evolution in the WWE, and Eads began watching so he would have something to talk about with friends. Much as he enjoyed it, becoming a wrestler was never even a consideration for him. “I was a scrawny little kid that competed in cross country, track, and swimming. I weighed a whopping 125lbs. I had no muscle, no spine and no voice. Then I went to college started working out and next thing you know my soon to be best friend Ian Lowe is telling me to give it a shot. I thought I’d have a couple decent matches here and there, but it wasn’t until my match with Chase Stevens that even Ian finally said ‘Dude….You got it.'”

Eads began training with IWAU in Olney IL, under Josh Totten and Steven Davis and worked briefly with Tony Kozina with Rip Rogers at OVW in Louisville. Like the wisest of the young generation, Eads values the input of wrestling veterans, and he takes the opportunity to pick their brains any chance he gets, including Tracy Smothers, Chase Stevens, Jerry Lawler, Jim Cornette, and Bob Orton.

“He came to me to review his match,” says Kenny Bolin. “I was shocked he even knew who I was, but he seemed to know a lot.”

Wrestling has given Eads the support system he never had as a kid. “The fans were the first people to truly believe in me, and many of my friends in the business said that I was going to be the one to break out and become someone. So many have gone out of their way for me, not because I asked or begged, but because they see something and notice my work ethic. That’s what keeps me going every day, working to become bigger, stronger, faster.”

Like many young stars, Eads has his eyes set on the WWE, and he wants to achieve that dream for his supporters as much as for himself. “I’ve never been more convinced in my heart that I’m meant to do something like I am with wrestling. I’d sacrifice anything to achieve this opportunity and make this far fetched dream a reality.”

While Eads is not a Superman fan himself (he prefers Marvel over DC), he discovered he had much more in common with the Man of Steel than his looks. “Feeling like an outcast, never truly fitting in, yet feeling like I’m meant for big things. I love the gimmick because I can be a beacon of hope for people with my story and the things I can do inside and outside the gym. I want to ‘live the gimmick’ and be big, strong, fast, and agile like Superman is. And when I see kids get on the edge of their seats, there’s on better feeling.”

Currently, Daniel Eads can be seen working for Bert Prentice and USA Championship Wrestling in Tennessee and Southern Illinois. Given his deep respect for the past and his drive to succeed, Eads is headed for even greater things in the future. Take a good look at the Man of Tomorrow, folks. He may well be the Superstar of Tomorrow as well.

Lawler vs Funk – Not for the last time

This may be the last time these two men step into the ring together at a live event, but it’s hardly the last time fans will enjoy their work. These are two of the greatest wrestlers of all time, rivals and innovators with a great history individually and as rivals.

Lawler is 65. Funk is 73. Neither man acted their age over the weekend, and that’s just the way the fans wanted it.

New Hope for Louisville Gardens?

1101130843There’s a lot of buzz about the Louisville Gardens and a “hidden treasure” I discovered when working on Bluegrass Brawlers.

The treasure is a Kilgen pipe organ installed just above the stage area inside the Gardens. The pipe organ is also a one man band, with percussion and brass instruments incorporated into its workings. It’s a priceless treasure that, until recently, was in danger of being lost forever due to neglect of the building.

This week, both the Courier-Journal and WFPL radio ran stories about the building, the organ, and an effort to save them both. Click on the hyperlinks to read what they had to say.

Originally built as the Jefferson County Armory, the Louisville Gardens began hosting pro wrestling in 1913. Ed “Strangler” Lewis was one of the very first to main event inside the building. He was followed by a host of world champions and trail blazers including Charlie Cutler, Americus, Stanislaus Zbyszko, Wladek Zbyszko, Joe Stecher, Orville Brown, Bill Longson, Lou Thesz, Mildred Burke, Buddy Rogers, The Sheik, Fritz Von Erich, and Bobo Brazil.

During the Memphis years it was home to Jerry Lawler, Bill Dundee, Dutch Mantell, Handsome Jimmy Valiant, Jimmy Hart, Jim Cornette, and the Fabulous Ones. Louisville Gardens also hosted many of the WWE’s biggest legends before they were stars, some with Memphis and others with OVW. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, The Undertaker, Kane, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, John Cena, Batista, Brock Lesnar, and Randy Orton all worked the Gardens on their way to the top.

Andre the Giant wrestled there. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan had his in-ring debut in the building. Bret Hart had his last successful WWF title defense before the Montreal Screwjob in the building. That same show was also Brian Pillman’s final PPV appearance before he passed away.

And yes, believe it or not, Andy Kaufman stepped into the Memphis ring inside Louisville Gardens.

Louisville Gardens is a beautiful building with an incredible history. The building and the organ are treasures that deserve to be preserved and enjoyed for years to come. Here’s hoping the Gardens has not seen the last wrestling match inside those hallowed halls.

Click here to view some photos of the organ on the Bluegrass Brawlers Facebook page. And please give the page a like while you are there!

Bluegrass Brawlers on tour – September 24

BluegrassBrawlers-coverI’m very happy to announce I’ll be giving my first live presentation based on Bluegrass Brawlers later this month in Owensboro, Kentucky.

The talk will be held at the Daviess County Library in Owensboro, KY on September 24 at 6 PM Eastern. I had the privilege of visiting the same library a year or so ago for a screening of a short film I wrote called The Telemarketer. It’s a gorgeous place, and they’ve got a full calendar with all sorts of special events and speakers. They even had an acclaimed independent horror film made inside that building.

I’ll be sharing stories about Ida Alb, William Muldoon, Ed “Strangler” Lewis, Heywood Allen, Jerry Lawler, Jim Cornette, Kenny Bolin, and John Cena. Over 130 years of wrestling history in Louisville.

The event is free, and I will have copies of the book available to purchase. If you’re a wrestling fan and in the area, I hope to see you there!