Tagged in: mad man pondo

The Power of Freight Train

Like many fans packed into the Jeffersonville ArenA last November for Terry Harper’s first wrestling show at the Southern Indiana venue, I was a little taken aback when I got my first look at Freight Train. He didn’t move like other wrestlers. He didn’t fight like other wrestlers. A couple of casual fans standing near me turned their noses up and left the building to smoke a cigarette until the match was over. It’s a shame they did, because the longer I watched Freight Train do what he does best, the more intrigued I became.

If you’re not familiar with the name, Freight Train is one of the stars of Five Dollar Wrestling. He’s a native of Charlotte, North Carolina who has achieved a level of success most can only dream of. He’s overcome the odds that stack up against every wannabe wrestler and then some. He’s the subject of the inspirational documentary, “The Power of Freight Train.”

I mentioned Freight Train didn’t move like other wrestlers. Freight Train has mild autism spectrum disorder known as Aspergers Syndrome. One of the hallmarks of Aspergers is a singular focus on one or more key interests. For Charles Stevenson, the boy who grew up to become Freight Train, there were two things that drew his interest more than any other: trains and wrestling.

Rather than hinder Stevenson’s dream of becoming a wrestler, his condition actually helped him to achieve his dream. Stevenson refused to take no for an answer when men told him he couldn’t train. He refused to take no for an answer when people wouldn’t book him. He ignored the people who laughed at him. He was persistent; he never gave up. And when 5 Dollar Wrestling opened a door, he made that dream come true.

Packed with interviews with friends and fans like like Colt Cabana, Mad Man Pondo, Crazy Mary Dobson, and even the notoriously old school Rip Rogers, “The Power of Freight Train” is a beautiful story not only of Charles Stevenson, but all the people whose lives have been touched along the way, especially Freight Train’s good friend and mentor “Manscout” Jake Manning. It was Manning who gave Freight Train a chance with 5 Dollar Wrestling, and Manning, more than anyone else, has been inspired and transformed by his friendship with the gentle giant.

“The Power of Freight Train” is a story even non-wrestling fans can enjoy. It’s an inspirational tale of a man who refused to give up on a dream and the hearts he changed along the way.

“The Power of Freight Train” is available only on High Spots.

Pondo Revives 102 Year Old Tradition

On May 7, 1915, the night before the Kentucky Derby, wrestling promoter George Beuchel presented a show at Jefferson County Armory in which the World Champion Charley Cutler defended his title against Louisville favorite Yussif Hussane. For decades after, the Derby Eve fight show was a tradition for fight fans. The wrestling and boxing promoters competed heavily (and some would say underhandedly) for the coveted Friday night spot in the Armory.

On Friday night, May 5, Mad Man Pondo put on a Girl Fight Show at Derby Expo 5 for a Girl Fight Show. The ladies put on a stellar show, as always, and as you can see for yourself, they drew a standing room only crowd.

Could this be the revival of a classic Derby Eve tradition? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Congratulations, ladies. Here’s to many more!

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.

Want a free book?

Want to read Eat Sleep Wrestle for free?

Not the blog, but the book, chronicling the stories of people like Mad Man Pondo, Aaron Williams, Tyson Dux, Marc Hauss, Eric Emanon, Mickie Knuckles, and Crazy Mary Dobson?

Fill in your email address in the box on the right side of your screen. Go to your email. Click the button confirming you want to sign up for the Eat Sleep Wrestle email list. You will immediately be taken to a page where you can download the book for free.

I promise not to abuse or sell your email address. I’ll only use it to let you know when cool stuff is happening – like a new book release. There’s one coming very soon!

Girl Fight Headed to Heroes and Legends

I was already excited to do my first wrestling convention this April. I’ll have a book table in the vendor’s hall with copies of Bluegrass Brawlers, Eat Sleep Wrestle, Lord Carlton, and the forthcoming Louisville’s Greatest Show on hand. But then my friend Mad Man Pondo unleashed this announcement today:

Per Jayson Maples of Heroes and Legends, “The fans asked for more ladies.” Good for the fans, and good for Heroes and Legends booking what will be a stellar card of entertainment. Mickie Knuckles is already an independent legend. Su Yung is one of the most talented performers today. And I can’t say how thrilled I am to see Samantha Heights on top of the card. She’s worked her butt off the last few years, and I’m happy to see her time to shine has come.

Heroes and Legends will take place April 9. Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, and Jerry “The King” Lawler are just a few of the legends scheduled to be in attendance. Visit their website for more information.

Mad Man Pondo: Author?

The cat is out of the bag. Mad Man Pondo is writing a book.

After years of being badgered by friends and fans alike, Pondo has agreed to put his incredible story into writing. It will be my honor to help him do just that.

This won’t be an ordinary autobiography, however. First of all, it’s Mad Man Pondo’s autobiography. It’s going to be filled with blood, violence, and some of the wildest tales ever spun by any professional wrestler.

Second, Pondo won’t be the only one telling the story. This story will also be told by the people who know and love the Mad Man.

Pondo is inviting all wrestlers, referees, promoters, fans, and friends who have a story to share to contribute them to this book. If you have a tale to share, please connect with my via email or on Facebook, and let me know your Pondo memories.

If you just can’t wait for the book, you can pick up a copy of Eat Sleep Wrestle while you wait. The book covers more than a dozen independent wrestlers, old and young, and a number of Mad Man Pondo stories. It’s worth the cover price just to read Austin Bradley’s epic tale, “One Night In Tennessee With Mad Man Pondo.”

The “Strange” Tale of New Origins Wrestling

John Strange didn’t choose wrestling. Wrestling chose him. At age 15 he found himself at an independent wrestling show that looked nothing like the wrestling he knew from TV. It was bad. Really bad. It was so bad, he turned to the person next to him and said, “I could do better than that.” A gentleman seated behind him leaned forward and said, “Prove it.”

John’s challenger turned out to be a wrestling promoter who had his own training school. So at age 15, John Strange began his journey into the world of professional wrestling.

One of the promoters John worked for in the early days was a Earl Kelly, who started running shows in Kentucky during the late 90s. Strange met Earl’s daughter Alicia, and the two got married.

Kelly packed up and left Kentucky in the early 2000s for Florida. He returned a few years later and tried to pick things back up where he left off, but things didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. Kelly closed shop, and when he did, the Stranges bought his ring.

“We just thought it would be fun to have a ring in the backyard,” John Strange recalls. “But then fans started showing up at our door. They begged us to run shows. They wanted us to start a promotion. One fan even tried to hand us $1000 cash to go toward applying for a license.”

Once again, wrestling was calling. John and Alicia decided that they would give it a go, and New Origins Wrestling was born.

John and Alicia opened the promotion in Alicia’s name, and the second generation promoter proved to be a natural for the business side of wrestling. “She does all the promoting and handles all the business side. She learned well from her father.”

New Origins prides itself on being one of the most fan-friendly promotions running today. “When you see us on television, you’ll notice we don’t play to the camera. Our focus is always on the fans. We want to give them the best show possible because they’re the ones paying money to see us.”

New Origins is also very in tune with what the fans are saying, and Alicia Strange is always ready to listen. “I think being a female promoter is an advantage for her,” says John. “Fans aren’t as intimidated by her as they might be a male promoter. They have no trouble going up to her, saying hello, or making suggestions.”

New Origins also prides itself on giving back to the community, using their shows as fundraisers for Toys 4 Tots, local fire departments, and other worthy causes.

New Origins has a regular cast of local stars on its roster, including the Soviet Stud, Stevie P, Chris Noble, and the 4 Real Rejects Izzy 4 Real and Devon Blake, but they love to feature the best talent possible, not only in the region but the nation. John Morrison, Davey Richards, and Mad Man Pondo are just a few names who have made their way to NOW to be part of the action.

New Origins runs monthly shows in Irvine, Kentucky and is currently taping new episodes for broadcast on the TEN Network for Roku. You can also follow them on their Facebook page.

A New Belt for the Ladies

A great promotion needs a champion to lead it. This Friday, Girl Fight will give this belt to the winner of their first ever championship tournament.

15027662_1387038241329551_8641240713873269487_n

Mad Man Pondo is the mad genius behind Girl Fight. For the last couple of years, he’s been bringing the best of the best together to show the world that anything boys can do, girls can do better. Santana Garrett, Leva Bates, LuFisto, Crazy Mary Dobson, Samantha Heights, Randi West, Mickie Knuckles, Cheerleader Melissa, and Tessa Blanchard are just a few of the amazing stars to appear on cards across the Midwest. Rebel, Su Yung, Khloe Belle Smothers, Slady Wilson, Amazing Maria, and more are scheduled for Friday’s big event.

Friday marks not only the crowning of a champion, but the first ever Girl Fight show in Kentucky. For more information on Friday’s show, visit the event page on Facebook.

New Stores on Pro Wrestling Tees!

Piggybacking on yesterday’s blog about supporting indy wrestling, here are some NEW pages on Pro Wrestling Tees from wrestlers profiled right here:

“The Real Elite Athlete” Mike Orlando

Eric Emanon/ Indy Card Mafia

“The Project” Thomas Brewington (also ICM)

“The Baddest Man Alive” Aaron Williams

And one more for good measure:

Mad Man Pondo

Please support these guys by buying their merch AND going to their shows. If they’re not working anywhere near you, you can find Aaron Williams on Rockstar Pro Network and the other guys on High Spots.

The Louisville Slugger Heads Home… For Now

13118990_10205325277125716_7262700987332590819_nAustin Bradley’s sojourn into Japan has come to an early end, but from the sound of things, this is not “The End.” Austin will be back. He will be stronger than ever. He will be back in front of his hometown friends soon, and he will return to his brothers in Japan.

Here’s the news in his own words.

“Well guys unfortunately I have some bad news. During training yesterday my shoulder was dislocated. I went to the doctor following the training session and had some test and scans and today the results came in. My rotator cuff is torn and is gonna put me out of action for at least 2 months. So the Zero 1 office has decided it best for me to go home and recover and come back once I heal.

“This will not be the end of Austin Bradley as a member of the Zero 1 team. The month I have been here has been amazing. I’ve had some great matches, and I am so glad to be a member of this dojo. Thank you to Zero 1 as a whole for giving me this opportunity. It’s time to recover and come back stronger than ever.

“Coming home early isn’t easy for me, but no one needs to feel sorry or apologize. I got to do things and have experiences that most in this business never will. It’s not goodbye forever. It’s see ya later. I will come back to Japan and finish my mission, but now it’s time to focus on recovery. I want to thank all the people who have stayed by my side. Thank you to all of you for your love and support.

“One final thing to share about Japan: among the wrestlers, when you pose for a photo with the middle finger in the air, that’s called Pondo-style. The more you know.”

Thanks to everyone who has followed Austin’s story here as well. Austin has already overcome many challenges in his life, some of which I chronicled in Eat Sleep Wrestle. There will be more tales to tell, and I plan to carry them for him on future returns.

Please give Austin a follow on Facebook.