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Save 20% This Weekend Only With Coupon Code “mania”

Whatever your feelings are on this promotion and that, this weekend is Super Bowl weekend for pro wrestling. So hey, let’s celebrate!

Right now, you can get 20% off your entire order using the coupon code “mania” at checkout. And right now the store is loaded down with copies of Wahoo, Princess Victoria, Chris Candido, Tracy Smothers, Mike Rodgers, Chris Michaels, Hurricane JJ Maguire, The Black Panther Jim Mitchell, and more.

Click here to start shopping, and don’t forget the coupon code: mania.

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War Chant Eddie, featuring JJ Maguire

Before JJ and I wrote his book, before we ever met in person, we collaborated on this short film. It’s a comedy bit about the origins of wrestling chants, but it was also a place to introduce JJ to people who might not know who he was.

JJ Maguire made a lot of great music. He created themes for Shawn Michaels, The Honky Tonk Man, Demolition, and Hulk Hogan. JJ also had a great sense of humor.

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My Friend the Hurricane

I almost didn’t answer the last time JJ Maguire called me. I was at Planet Fitness and had just stepped onto the treadmill for my hour long walk. The phone rang as I was trying to turn on a podcast. I would have called him back. I always do. But I decided to answer it. I walked and talked for 27 minutes that day, just catching up on life. JJ told me who he had spoken to recently, how he was hoping to make new music with Hillbilly Jim and Jimmy Hart among others, and he asked me how my family was. I told him my daughter was playing ice hockey and my son Sam was in a band.

“How old is he now?”

“He’ll be thirteen in two weeks,” I said.

“That’s about the age I started.”

We talked about getting together to do a show at some point, hopefully one where we’d make more than we spent to get there, and we hung up.

JJ and I caught up like that every month or two. We had done so since before we ever sat down to write a book together. We traded texts and Facebook messages too, sometimes every week, depending on what was going on with us. Earlier this week I sent him a text asking if he might want to join me for a show in Ashland, Kentucky. He didn’t answer back, but I didn’t think anything of it. Sometimes it took him a while, but he’d always get back to me with a text of a call.

I was out with my son and my brother-in-law today when Jamie Hemmings messaged me her condolences. I asked her what for. That’s how I found out my friend JJ Maguire was gone.

Heart sick. Those were the first two words that came to mind because that’s how I felt in that moment. Soon those words were followed by others. Generous. Gentle. Kind. Three words that encapsulate who JJ Maguire was to me and to everyone who called him a friend.

Like many wrestling fans, I didn’t know who JJ Maguire was during the years he worked with the WWF, WCW, and Hulk Hogan. I sure knew his music, though, and not just the WWF themes. In the summer of 2004, Hulk Hogan and the Wrestling Boot Band became the soundtrack for me and my friends Randy and Jamie. We knew every word to “I Wanna Be a Hulkamaniac” and “Beach Patrol,” and we blasted those tunes loud and proud in Randy’s Pontiac Grand Am.

I first heard of “Hurricane” JJ Maguire from Kenny Casanova, when he reached out to let me know that JJ was looking to write a book. Some time later it was Robbyn Nelson of the Wrestle Pop Podcast who introduced us, giving me JJ’s phone number. Robbyn knew JJ and I would click, and he was right. I called him one Sunday, and we talked for an hour. JJ was friendly, engaging, and a great storyteller. He was also very excited to be working with my fellow wrestling journalist Jim Phillips on his autobiography.

JJ and I kept in touch, and we got together in person to work a comic con in Richmond, Kentucky. My son Sam, who was just starting to play piano, came along, and Robbyn Nelson joined us for the day as well. We didn’t sell much, but we had a great time hanging out and sharing stories.

JJ and I had a lot in common beyond music and wrestling. We shared a common obsession over James Bond and The Avengers – not the Marvel Avengers, mind you, but the British TV series from the 1960s. JJ grew up on the series, which we agreed was at its best when John Steed paired up with Mrs. Emma Peel. One of the many thrills JJ had in his life was working with Patrick Macnee while shooting the TV series Thunder in Paradise. We became friends before we ever became collaborators, and when the opportunity to work together came up, we were both excited.

JJ knew exactly what he wanted in a book. He wanted to share the story of how a talented musical prodigy from Kentucky lucked into a life story greater than he ever imagined. He talked with great pride about the music he made with the Gentrys, the work he did at Glen Glenn Studios in Hollywood, and the adventures he had in wrestling. He loved to share his tales with famous people like Gene Simmons, Henry Winkler, and a very young Prince, and he was particularly fond of sharing the story of how Farrah Fawcett kissed him.

But you know what? JJ took just as much pride in his days as an amateur magician and his experience as a teenager playing high school dances as he did Wrestlemania. JJ lived every moment to the fullest. He cherished his experience in every band, in every club, and at every gig.

If there’s one thing that made him prouder than his professional life, it was his family. JJ loved to tell the story of how his father saved Strangler Lewis’s life when he choked on gum headed to the ring one night in Lexington. He was proud of his father John, who played basketball for Adolph Rupp and appeared in a few Kentucky-filmed movies. He was proud of his brothers Walter and Philip, and he was very proud of his children.

Working together on the book brought us closer as friends. We talked on a regular basis after the book came out. I shared the latest projects keeping me busy. JJ shared the latest news on potential musical gigs. And we always enjoyed getting together in person. JJ invited me down to Somerset, Kentucky to sell books at a show where he was acting as master of ceremonies. I took JJ to Fort Wayne, Indiana for Heroes and Legends.

One of my favorite memories of JJ was that night before in the hotel, listening in as JJ spoke with his lifelong pal Jimmy Hart about the big event.

“Now, Maguire, you have to dress up for this thing.”

“I know, Jimmy.”

“You gotta look nice. Now what are you wearing?”

“I have my blue coat, and my shades, and my hat.”

Yep. Like an old married couple. Or a long-term tag team.

If JJ had one wish, it was to receive some acknowledgement from the WWE for the work he and Jimmy did creating the soundtrack for a generation of wrestlers. He told me on more than one occasion he would have loved to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. I certainly feel he and Jimmy (and yes, Jim Johnston too) deserve that nod. After all, what would our memories of pro wrestling from that era be without the iconic songs like “Sexy Boy” and “Cool Cocky Bad?”

JJ and I always hoped we’d get back out on the road post-pandemic. He wanted to get something together with some of the boys like Jimmy, Koko B. Ware, Hillbilly Jim, and The Honky Tonk Man to play some music. I just wanted to be there the next time he and Jimmy got together in person to watch them interact. In fact I was hoping to get that chance this spring.

JJ has had some health issues in recent years, but as far as I knew he was doing well. Jim Phillips just talked to him last week, and Jim tells me Jimmy Hart did as well. Word I am hearing from his family was that he went peacefully in his sleep. I know JJ was a man of faith and I take comfort in that, but it’s so sudden. Even after writing all this, I am still in shock.

I’m gonna miss my friend. I’m going to miss the texts and the catch up calls. I’m going to miss there dreaming we did, talking about future projects we both had on our minds. I’m gonna think about him every time I hear “Sexy Boy” and “Demolition” and “Super Fly” and “Cool Cocky Bad” and yes, even “Beach Patrol.” I’m gonna remember how very aware he was of the blessings he had been given, and I’m going to take time to be thankful for my own blessings.

Thank you, JJ, for the music and the inspiration, but most of all, for your friendship.

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Why Wait? It’s Black Friday Now!

The Eat Sleep Wrestle office Christmas tree went up two weeks ago. So why wait to order wrestling books for Christmas?

Our website is the only place online to get these books signed. Click here to visit the book shop, and use the coupon code blackfriday to save 20% on your order.

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Casting Star Wars with Wrestling Personalities

Today is May the 4th, which has come to be known as Star Wars Day. Those who know me well know that Star Wars has been an obsession of mine longer than pro wrestling. It got me to thinking, how would I re-cast Star Wars with some of the people I have written about in pro wrestling?

Hurricane JJ Maguire as… Max Rebo

Sure, I could have gone with Figrin D’an, but I suspect the Hurricane would have found himself taking the more upscale booking at Jabba’s versus the cantina at Mos Eisley. Plus I want to hear JJ say, “Yes, Miss Snootles, we can take it from the top again.”

Princess Victoria as… Princess Leia

A bit obvious? Yes, and she’ll be disappointed that once again, she’s cast as the babyface. But like Cinderella, the space slipper fits. Nobody tells Princess Leia what to do, just as nobody tells Princess Victoria what to do!

Tracy Smother as… Yoda

A man who poured himself into many young pro wrestlers over the last few decades could easily be cast as Obi Wan, but Obi Wan only had two pupils. Yoda trained countless Jedi, and the Smothers family is now legion across pro wrestling.

Scott Romer as… Han Solo

With that camera strap always over his shoulder, one could draw a direct comparison to Chewbacca, but let’s be honest. Romer was a survivor, a hustler, and a ladies man. Plus think of all the great Romer pics of him posing with Lando, Jabba, and the glitterati of the galaxy.

Mad Man Pondo as… Boba Fett

As we all learned to our great delight in The Mandalorian, Boba survived the ultimate death match against the Sarlacc Pit. Can’t you see Pondo vs. Terry Funk fighting it out on a skiff in a no rope, loser falls in the Sarlaac Pit match? It would be the biggest draw on Tatooine since Anakin vs. Sebulba.

Chris Candido as… Luke Skywalker

Chris Candido was a natural heel, just as Victoria was, but I have to go wth Luke. Why? Well, people said Chris was a little short for a WWF Superstar, and we all know Luke was a little short for a Stormtrooper.

Dr. D David Schultz as… Darth Vader

“Oh you think the Dark Side is fake, do ya?” John Stossel better be glad Dr. D wasn’t a Sith. He’d have never left MSG alive that night in 1984! Chris Candido would have gotten a kick out of being booked opposite one of his heroes, and just think how awesome those Dr. D promos would sound in James Earl Jones’s voice.

Click the photos above to order the books!

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Well, That Was a Busy Year

So 2019 was a busy year. During the last year Eat Sleep Wrestle published seven books:

Two novels with the Bomb Shelter: A Scattered Timeline and Curse of the Undead Bride.

A novel with Charlie Kruel.

A novel with Ella.

I wrote and released wrestling music impresario Hurricane JJ Maguire’s autobiography.

I wrote and released Grappling by Gaslight, a short story collection about wrestling in the late 1800’s.

And I finally released the biography of wrestling’s first African American superstar, The Black Panther Jim Mitchell.

In addition to all that…

I attended my first Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion and presented Dr. D David Schultz with the Male Wrestler Award.

I got “Colonel” Stu Gibson inducted into the New Albany High School Hall of Fame.

And unrelated to wrestling, I released a science fiction novel I really, really like called Die Alan Die.

2019 was busy.

2020 is already looking to be just as busy. There may not be as many books, but there will be a lot happening. I’ll post more about that in a few days. In the meantime, you can save 20% on your entire order when you shop here and use the coupon code “2020” at checkout. Coupon code expires January 10.

Happy New Year, wrestling fans.

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Hurricane for Hire in 2020!

For almost 50 years, Hurricane JJ Maguire has been making music with the Mouth of the South Jimmy Hart. The pair met in 1971, when JJ won an audition to become the new drummer for The Gentrys, laying down the beats on their hit single “Cinnamon Girl.” Since that time, Jimmy Hart has relied on JJ Maguire to be the music to his lyrics, and the two of them composed some of the most iconic songs in wrestling history.

“Sexy Boy.” “Cool Cocky Bad.” “American Made.” “Demolition.” Jimmy Hart and JJ Maguire penned 114 pieces of music for WWF and WCW including the entrance themes for Bret Hart, Greg Valentine, Jimmy Snuka, The Million Dollar Man, the Nasty Boys, and many more. They were also the music and lyrics on Hulk Hogan’s solo album “Hulk Rules,” and they teamed up to form the beachside bar house band on Hulk’s TV show Thunder in Paradise.

Outside of wrestling the Hurricane had his own solo adventures playing in bands and working for a recording studio in Hollywood, California. He shot pool with Jackie Gleason, talked cars with Henry Winkler, talked Kentucky burgoo with Bob Hope, and even got a kiss from Farrah Fawcett.

In spite of all his success, JJ Maguire was content living a humble, quiet life back in his hometown of Somerset, Kentucky. That is until the day his son came home from school and asked, “Dad, is it true you wrote all those wrestling songs back in the 80s?” Inspired by his kids, the Hurricane chose to come out of retirement and share his story, now chronicled in his autobiography My Life in Heaven Town. Looking ahead to 2020, the Hurricane is looking to get out on the road to meet the fans and even perform a little music.

Hurricane JJ Maguire is currently scheduled to appear in East Elmhurst, New York on November 16 courtesy of Monte and the Pharaoh. He is also booked at the New England Fan Fest in Warwick, Rhode Island in July 2020. He is available for appearances to sign autographs, give interviews (including podcasts), work as a master of ceremonies, appear ringside with talent, and even perform a little music.

If you’re interested in scheduling Hurricane JJ Maguire for your event you can contact him directly. Email him at hurricanejj53@gmail.com to get the ball rolling. You can also email me at johncosper@yahoo.com if you’re interested in having both of us attend and event.

JJ Maguire loves meeting the fans and he’s an energetic and dynamic storyteller. It’s long past time he had a chance to have his own story told!

 

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Hurricane JJ Maguire Book Preview: Wrestlemania II

Hurricane JJ Maguire was the music to Jimmy Hart’s lyrics on more than 100 songs for WWF and WCW. He had a ringside seat – literally – for some of the greatest moments in the early days of the WWF and Wrestlemania, and his memoir, My Life in Heaven Town, is jammed full of stories about wrestling, music, and Hollywood. 

The following is an excerpt from the book selected by JJ Maguire himself. It’s about his first trip to Wrestlemania, and it begins as many of his adventures begin, with a phone call from Jimmy Hart. 

Jimmy Hart called me up one day and said, “Maguire, I’m coming out there with WWF for Wrestlemania. I don’t know my way around LA,” said Jimmy. “The only other time I went out there was when I did a bikini beach movie with the Gentrys. Can you show me around?” I told him I would be glad to.

I picked Jimmy up at the airport along with one of the wrestlers he was managing: King Kong Bundy. Bundy got in the front seat, and I took the two of them to the hotel. They were sharing a room together, so we went upstairs and I sat on the bed while they got unpacked. We watched TV for a bit, and then Bundy decided he was thirsty.

“Do you and Maguire want a Coke? I’m going to go get a drink.” 

“Sure, Buns,” said Jimmy. “I’d love a Coke.” 

Bundy left the room, and the two of us went back to watching TV. It was pretty quiet in the hotel, and we were having a nice conversation when all of the sudden – CRASH! BAM BOOM! We heard a terrible noise and felt the floor shake. 

“Maguire!” said Jimmy. “It’s an earthquake!” 

“No, Jimmy,” I said. “I’ve been out here long enough to know what one feels like. That wasn’t an earthquake.”  

Jimmy’s face dropped. “Oh my gosh. That must be Bundy. Go down and see if you can find out what happened.” Jimmy didn’t want to get involved so lucky me, he sent me to find out what happened. 

I went down the hall and around the corner to where the vending machines were and saw a Coke machine overturned and smashed. This wasn’t the kind of soda machine you see today with the plastic front. This was solid metal, and it was in about forty pieces. It looked like an atomic bomb hit it. 

Bundy was standing there drinking a Coke. “What happened?” I asked. 

Bundy nodded to what was left of the machine. “That damn thing ripped me off, and I’m not taking it. I body slammed the machine.” 

I looked and saw Cokes everywhere. It’s a wonder none of them burst. 

“Hold your hands out, Maguire,” said Bundy. I held my arms out, and he loaded me down with about twenty Cokes, and he grabbed an armload for himself. We started walking back down the hall, and Bundy was handing them out to other hotel guests as we passed them. 

We walked back in the room, and Jimmy sat up. “What happened down there, Buns?” 

“The machine ripped me off, so I body slammed it. We don’t have to worry about running out of Cokes for the weekend.” 

“Okay,” said Jimmy, and not another word was said about it. We had plenty of beverages to last us the weekend, and we enjoyed every one of them. 

When it came time for the show, which took place at the Coliseum, Jimmy and Bundy took me with them. This was Wrestlemania II, and even though I didn’t work for the company, I had full access to everything. 

Wrestlemania II was a star-studded event, and I got to meet some great people that day… The biggest thrill for me that weekend was getting to meet the legendary Robert Conrad, who starred in the classic TV show The Wild Wild West. Robert Conrad was the guest timekeeper for Wrestlemania II in Los Angeles. I was such a huge fan of Robert Conrad growing up, meeting Elvis would not have been as big for me. Bob, as I came to know him, brought his grandson with him that day, and we walked all over the arena that night, from set up all the way through the show that night. We spent the whole day together, getting to know one another. 

What impressed me most about him wasn’t just as he was nice (he was!) but how massive he is in person. When he was getting his tuxedo on right before show time, I reached around him and gave him a hug from the side. I’ve since given that same side hug to wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan. Hulk is big, but I swear to you, Robert Conrad was even bigger around the shoulders! 

Bob invited Red and his son to come backstage later on that evening. The two of them were old friends, so much so that when he was alive, Elvis was jealous of Robert Conrad because he and Red were so close. 

When Wrestlemania II came to a close, I said goodbye to Jimmy and the WWF and went back to my work with Glen Glenn Studio. I was working a lot of hours at Glen Glenn with some amazingly talented people, but I had no idea that I would soon become a part of the growing entertainment juggernaut that was the World Wrestling Federation. 

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KZW: The Building May Be Hot, But the Crowd Is Hotter

I always enjoy getting away from Jeffersonville and Louisville to check out wrestling in other areas. Last year I traveled to East Carondelet, Illinois and experienced the fan frenzy that surrounds SICW, a promotion run by the great Herb Simmons. It’s small town wrestling at its best: a packed crowd, popular babyfaces, and dastardly heels. This week’s excursion to Kentucky Zone Wrestling in Somerset, Kentucky felt a lot like SICW with the fan frenzy as hot as the air in the Shopville Elementary Gym.

I sensed the excitement about the evening’s activities as soon as I drove into town. At the T-intersection that leads to Somerset, I saw a sandwich sign by the road that announced there was “Wrestling Tonight” at the gymnasium. Promoter Dennis Spradlin told me there were 14 signs set up around town, and the show had already received press coverage thanks to the impending release of master of ceremonies Hurricane JJ Maguire’s autobiography at the event. I’m told there was good word of mouth buzz about the book and the show around town as well.

It was 87 degrees at bell time, and the un-air conditioned gym was balmy, but that did not stop a crowd of about 200 from packing into the building. This was KZW’s annual Caged Fury show, an evening of cage matches each with multiple contenders. KZW’s roster includes a lot of long-time Central Kentucky stalwarts, but there were some promising young stars as well, guys who are already making am impact beyond the Kentucky/Tennessee region.

The highlight of the evening was the confrontation between Team Evil, a group of five heels managed by the notorious David Barnabas Spector, and Team JJ, a contingent led by JJ Maguire featuring four top babyfaces and the legendary Tracy Smothers. Competitors entered the cage at two minute intervals ala the Royal Rumble, but all stayed in until the babyfaces won the match by pinfall. The good guys grabbed hold of Spector and brought him into the ring, holding him in place for Tracy Smothers to do some real damage.

And that’s when it got really great.

Instead of leveling Spector, Tracy took out the babyfaces, shocking the crowd. “He’s double crossed ‘em!” a fan shouted, making my night and capturing the spirit of the evening. Tracy grabbed a microphone and shot on the state of Kentucky and the fans, leading to a 30 day suspension from KZW’s startled co-owner JJ Maguire.

Several matches were set for upcoming shows in the chaotic final moments, as angry good guys demanded a shot at the villains, and the fans went out with a fury, hoping that maybe next time, Spector and his goons would get theirs. Fans were also reminded that the action resumes not next month but this coming Saturday, September 21, in nearby Williamsburg.

KZW has truly filled a niche in their community, offering the fans of south central Kentucky a welcome live wrestling promotion that delivers the action they love. If you’re in the region or just curious to check them out for yourself, you can follow them on Facebook.

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On the Road This Fall

I didn’t get out anywhere this summer because I was enjoying time with the family and finishing up JJ Maguire’s book, but I am happy to say I’ve got three road trips planned (so far) for the fall.

Here’s where you can find me, and here’s who I will be with!

 

Saturday, September 14

Kentucky Zone Wrestling in Shopville, Kentucky

KZW is JJ Maguire’s home promotion. I’ll be in Shopville with over 200 fans, signing copies of JJ’s book as well as my other books.

 

Saturday, September 28

Lucha Libro at the Indianapolis Central Library – 10 am – 3 pm

An amazing event celebrating Lucha culture featuring artwork, films, exhibits, and of course – Lucha Libre wrestling. I will have books available for sale, and I will be bringing some of the Black Panther Jim Mitchell’s artifacts to display.

 

Saturday, October 5

Heroes and Legends – Allen Co. War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana

I’m returning to Heroes and Legends with both Hurricane JJ Maguire and Mad Man Pondo this fall. We’ll have copies of both of their books available, plus other titles.