Tagged in: women’s wrestling

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.

Shayna Baszler on the Kick Out at Two Podcast

If you heard last week’s episode of the Kick Out at Two Podcast (and if you haven’t, shame on you!), you heard Britt Baker tell the story about the time she was called upon as a dental student to assist fellow wrestler and MMA star Shayna Baszler with a broken tooth after a match. The tooth story is only the tip of the iceberg with Baszler, according to Baker, and this week, the Kick Out at Two delivers with their second women’s interview in a row.

Get to know Shayna Baszler on this week’s edition of the KOAT podcast, available on iTunes, Soundcloud, and Stitcher. And if you missed Britt Baker go back and get last week’s episode as well.

Kick Out at Two is the place to meet the rising stars of Indy wrestling. Be sure to subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode!

Britt Baker on Kick Out at Two

I forgot to ask Righteous Jesse who was on the podcast this week. I usually check in with him on Thursday, the night Bonnaroo Brittany is frantically editing and uploading the new episode for the week. I just checked my Podcast app and was thrilled to see it is none other than Britt Baker.

Britt Baker is one of my favorite ladies on the independent scene, one I’m really hoping will swing out this way in the coming year. The pride of Pittsburgh has been on a roll over the last year, and she’s become a star to watch in 2017. This week she discusses a number of things with the KOAT gang, including donuts and her status as the “sweetheart” of AIW, and she answers questions from KOAT’s Twitter followers.

Download the Kick Out at Two Podcast every week from iTunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud. It’s a great place to discover all that’s happening in independent wrestling.

Can’t Spell WWE without I-N-D-Y

Dear WWE and NXT Fans:

I’d like to introduce you to a few people.

This is Aaron Williams, “The Baddest Man Alive.” Aaron had a great weekend because he just won the Pro Wrestling Blitz Heavyweight Champion.

These are my pals Eric Emanon and Thomas Brewington. They had a great weekend as well. They are now the New Phoenix Gemini Tag Team Champions.

And this is the King of Dayton and proud member of Ohio Is 4 Killers, Dave Crist. Dave had a great weekend too. He pinned John Wayne Murdoch clean to become the new IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion.

Why am I telling you about these gentlemen? Because I want you to know them. I want you to follow them. I want you to support them.

As a WWE fan, I know you are aware just how many independent wrestlers have become part of the world’s largest wrestling promotion. A.J. Styles, Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Cesaro all had stellar careers in the indies before making it to NXT and WWE. If you’re also following NXT, then you’re already following the rise of Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Cassius Ohno (aka Chris Hero), Ruby Riot (aka Heidi Lovelace) and the other indy “darlings” the WWE has snatched up recently.

I want you to know that the independent wrestling promotions that Gargano, Ciampa, Hero, Lovelace, and the others left behind are not dying off like the old territories the WWF killed in the 1980s. They are thriving. They are growing not only in popularity, but in quality. I want you to know this because I want you to become a fan.

Yes, it is true, the independent scene is full of green wrestlers, spot monkeys, and guys who only care about getting their s*** in, but there are many men and women and tag teams still working the independents who could easily fill any spot on the NXT or WWE roster right now.

Independent wrestling is growing. There are more promotions in more places than there have been in a generation. Your local promotion(s) may run monthly or weekly, which means you can see live wrestling far more often than you are now with the WWE.

True, the crowds and venues are smaller in the indies, but that also means tickets are more affordable, and your access to the wrestlers is greater. You’re closer to the action and at a much better price, and the heels can actually hear you when you call them names.

And here’s the best part: you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to meet your favorite stars. The T-shirts at the gimmick tables are half of what you’ll pay at a WWE show. Everyone is happy to shake your hand and take a selfie – except maybe Mr. Darius Carter.

I’m not telling you to give up the WWE. I enjoy the Network and NXT as much as any fan. But make no mistake: the WWE and NXT would not be what they are without the INDY scene that has come to be. I’m offering you the chance to see more live wrestling. I’m asking you to give guys like Aaron, Dave, Eric, and Thomas a chance. I want you to get out there and discover other guys like Matt Riddle, Ron Mathis, The Hitman for Hire Mr. Grim, Desmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz, Gary Jay, Chip Day, Murder One, Timmy Lou Retton, Matt Cross, Michael Elgin, Menace, Facade, Jake Crist, Sami Callahan, and Jimmy Rave. I want you to discover the other ladies who fueled the “women’s revolution,” like Kelly Klein, LuFisto, Su Yung, Samantha Heights, Leva Bates (remember Blue Pants?), Mickie Knuckles, Rachel Ellering, Taeler Hendrix, Candice LeRae, Veda Scott, Mia Yim, Allisin Kay, Jessicka Havok, and Jordynne Grace. I want you to discover the amazing tag teams packing houses across the country including the Hooligans, Viking War Party, War Machine, OI4K, and the Carnies. You can even find comedy wrestlers, guys like Colt Cabana, Space Monkey, and the notorious party animal, Joey Ryan.

There’s never been a better time to get into independent wrestling than now. Search a few of these names on YouTube. Find and follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Then find a promotion running in your area. I’m not asking you to trade one for the other. Just get out and support the superstars of tomorrow, today. They will not let you down.

Sincerely,

A converted, die-hard indy wrestling fan

Watch Now: Jordynne Grace vs. Mr. Darius Carter

What’s better than seeing two of your favorite wrestlers matched in the ring? When the promoter of said match posts it for free online!

I first saw Jordynne Grace about three years ago in a “Falls Count Anywhere in Clark County” match at IWA Mid-South. It was a brutal affair between Jordynne and Heidi Lovelace that spilled out into the parking lot (but sadly, not much further). Jordynne won thanks to an assist from the notorious Kongo Kong, but both women left no doubt as to their toughness.

Grace has grown a lot in the last three years. She’s been tagging with another favorite of mine, LuFisto, and she’s getting high profile title shots like this one at Battle Club Pro against the notorious Mr. Darius Carter. Watch the match below, and be on the lookout for both of these young stars in your area.

Aria Blake on Kick Out at Two

As a fan of women’s wrestling, I was thrilled when Kick Out at Two did No Men November. I’m equally thrilled that they haven’t waited another full year to book their next female guest.

Aria Blake is only a few years into her career, but she’s off to a fast start. She’s an ACW Women’s Champion who has worked for SHINE, Girl Fight, and many other promotions. She’s a student of Jay Lethal, and this week, she’s sharing her story on the podcast.

Download Kick Out at Two every week on iTunes, Soundcloud, and Stitcher.

Get to know today’s indy wrestlers. They are the stars of the future.

Your New SHINE Champion – LuFisto!

I got home from NXT in Louisville last night to see this pleasant surprise on my Facebook feed:

LuFisto has been called a lot of things in her career. When she first started training, she was told she was too small. Later, she was told she was too “big.” When she applied for the last round of WWE Tough Enough, it was implied that she was too “experienced.”

LuFisto is a warrior who has survived injuries, disappointments, and heartaches. She felt like giving up so many times, but so far, she’s refused to quit. Yesterday she traveled to Florida for a show. As she put it, she is “going back home with a heavier bag.”

LuFisto is one of the wrestlers who made me fall in love not with women’s wrestling but independent wrestling. She’s a hard-hitting showstopper, and a must-see any time she’s in town. She is gracious with fans and fellow wrestlers alike. She is a class act who was willing to give a budding wrestling writer one of his first interviews. For that, I will always be grateful and always be a fan.

Congratulations, LuFisto, you earned it!

Best of 2016 with Kelly Klein

Kelly Klein was one of the first wrestlers I ever profiled on this blog. Sine that time, when she was known as Mary Elizabeth Monroe, she has risen to become one of the top stars in ROH’s Women of Honor promotion. While the WWE continues to push the narrative that they invented the women’s wrestling revolution, it is women like Kelly Klein who have truly led the charge for women’s wrestling to earn equal respect with the men. She’s beautiful, she’s technically sound, and she has one of the sharpest wrestling minds in the world.

I asked Kelly to submit one of her favorite matches of the year a week or so ago. As fate would have it, the day I had scheduled to release her Best of 2016 installment, ROH came through and posted one of the matches she is most proud of. Here’s this week’s Women of Honor Wednesday match featuring Kelly Klein vs. ODB.

If you haven’t heard it, I strongly urge you to download Kelly’s episode of the Kick Out at Two Podcast. You can also check out two more favorite matches from Kelly, vs. Crazy Mary Dobson and vs. Sumie Sakai.

Eat Like a Wrestler: Lodgerdoodles

If you never had the pleasure of seeing The Lovely Lylah, aka the Powerhouse Princess, in action, I feel sorry for you. Not only did you miss a powerhouse talent in the ring, you also missed out on the amazing sweet treats this talented lady often sold at her gimmick table. From cake pops to cupcakes to cookies, Lylah makes something to suit every sweet tooth, and today, she was kind enough to share one of her favorite recipes with us.

Lodgerdoodles are a variant on snickerdoodles and a favorite treat of a certain NXT signee formerly known as Crazy Mary Dobson. Lylah made these all the time for Crazy Mary when they were both working out of Louisville, and this recipe was actually a Christmas gift for all of Lylah’s friends a few years ago. I’ve got one in my house who likes snickerdoodles as well, so you better believe I’ll be giving this one a shot myself.

INGREDIENTS:

1 box of white cake mix

2 eggs

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1TBS Cinnamon

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Set aside for the last step.

Mix the cake mix, eggs, and oil until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into one inch balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat.

Place 2 inches apart on a nonstick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet covered in parchment or aluminum foil so they won’t stick.

Cook at 350° until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

Sad to say a series of car accidents and resulting health issues have forced Lylah into retirement from the ring. She’s a great lady who had some tough breaks, and I wish her nothing but the best!

Kick Out at Two with Rachael Ellering

rachael_ellering_-_cionohlweaeycp4Die hard old school wrestling fans know the name Ellering. Paul Ellering is the Hall of Fame manager of one of the most devastating tag teams of all time, the Road Warriors. Current fans may know him as the mastermind behind NXT’s most devastating new force, the tag team known as Authors of Pain. He’s a legend in the business, and whenever he shows up, destruction follows.

But since this is No Men November on the Kick Out at Two Podcast, this week’s episode is not about Paul Ellering. It’s about Paul’s daughter, the second generation superstar making a name for herself in the independents, Rachael Ellering.

Rachael is an exciting young performer who is making her mark all across the country. She’ll be in the Louisville area this Thursday (Thanksgiving Night!) with IWA Mid-South, at NOVA Wrestling in Virginia on Friday, and WrestleCade this coming weekend.

Download the Kick Out at Two Podcast, and find out why Rachael calls herself the One in One in a Million!