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A Little Praise for Kicking Out at Two

Every week I share what’s happening on the Kick Out at Two Podcast. Just to be clear, this is not a post about the podcast. This is about a book I highlighted recently when I interviewed contributing author and Dropkick Depression founder, Terra Caraway.

Kicking Out at Two is a short book, only forty pages worth of text, but it packs more punch than any 300+ page wrestling biography you’ve ever read. Eight independent wrestlers share their personal stories in this book. Each one has had a different journey. Each one struggles to this day with depression.

Some of the authors have been in treatment for years. Others are still struggling to get their feet under them. Each story is raw, uncensored, and real. It’s a brave feat for people whose job is to put on a front in the wrestling ring, but the authors have held nothing back.

Even if you have never personally suffered from any form of depression, I’d urge you to read this book. Depression is more common than you realize, and odds are more than a few people you know are suffering from it.

Kicking Out at Two was written to show people going through depression that they are not alone. It was written to encourage those suffering and to urge them to open up about their own stories.

The book accomplishes one thing more: even if you’re not one of those struggling with depression, it will open your eyes to just how devastating depression can be. It will give you more empathy for those suffering from depression, putting you in the shoes of those who struggle with it day by day. It makes their pain real.

Kudos to Terra Caraway, Billy Avery, Aria Blake, Mickie Knuckles, Jeff Cannonball, Kerry Awful, Angelus Layne, and P.T. Player for sharing their stories. This is as important a wrestling book as any biography you’ll ever read with a message that has to be heard.

Whatever you are going through, you are not alone!

Buy Kickout Out at Two now on Amazon.com, and please share this with someone you love.

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Kicking Out at Two Takes the Fight Beyond the Ring

Kicking Out at Two is not the most high profile wrestling book to be released in the last year, but it might be the most important.

Kicking Out at Two is a collaboration between eight wrestlers and compiled by Terra Callaway. It’s a book full of biographical stories with a common theme. All of the authors are professional wrestlers who battle depression on a daily basis.

“I wanted to provide something to people where they could see all different aspects and stories of depression in one place,” says Callaway, who also started the online resource Dropkick Depression. “Sure, some people know about my depression from one place and then may know about someone else from another place, but with it so scattered out, sometimes it’s hard to get a view of everything at once. I also wanted something people could physically see and feel in their hands. Somehow it makes it all feel a bit more real than just reading on the internet, you know?”

In addition to Terra, Kicking Out at Two features personal stories from fellow grapplers Billy Avery, Jeff Cannonball, Mickie Knuckles, Kerry Awful, Aria Blake, Angelus Layne, and P.T. Player. Callaway said she had no trouble finding men and women to speak out about their experience.

“Once I posted on the page that I was looking for people who wanted to share their stories, I got quite a few responses. Some weren’t as ready as others just yet to share so they’ve elected to do another book once it comes time for a second one. There are different stages in depression and some just need a little more time than others. I was incredibly proud of everyone who talked to me about it, even if they ended up not contributing, because it still shows they know they CAN talk about it if they want it. It shows they know they aren’t alone.”

Calloway hopes that readers will find stories they can relate to, stories that will help them realize they are not alone in their struggle. “Everyone has their own individual story and struggle, but we’re all in it together. Everything in this book is never before seen or told. So it’s definitely a different view of each individual that contributed.”

The response to the book has been incredibly positive. Readers have reached out through the Dropkick Depression Facebook to share their gratitude to the authors and thank them for speaking out. “It’s inspiring to see so many people band together for a common cause and it be so well loved. I’m incredibly happy with the reception so far.”

Kicking Out at Two is a must-read for any fan who has struggled with depression or has a loved one going through it. It’s a powerful statement to people with a real need. Said Callaway, “The whole goal of the book was to show those who suffer with depression or have sucidial thoughts that they aren’t alone and that there is always someone out there going through similar circumstances. If it helps one person speak out, ask for help, or take the steps to get help, then it was all worth it.”

You can order Kicking Out at Two in paperback or on Kindle.

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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!

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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.

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Remember Who Started The Revolution

11882266_1060478073985571_1326424868613623308_oThe WWE deserves credit for changing how they book women’s wrestling. Instead of looking solely at women’s bodies and looks, they are now signing women who have dedicated their lives to becoming wrestlers. Kimber Lee, Heidi Lovelace, and Evie continue a trend that will, in time, produce a women’s division that rivals the men’s in terms of star power and quality matches.

That said, we must be careful not to let the WWE rewrite the narrative of this women’s revolution. As much as I know they hope to take credit for changing the face of women’s wrestling, what’s happened to the WWE is an effect of what already happened at the independent level.

The women’s wrestling revolution belongs to the fans who demanded more. It belongs to every man and woman who ever attended Shimmer, Shine, Girl Fight, WSU, or any number of women’s shows. It belongs to the people who did not go to get popcorn when the women came out at their local indie show. It belongs to the people who chanted “Let’s go Heidi!” “Kim-ber Lee!” and my personal favorite, “Mary’s gonna kill you!” (WWE fans take note – this must follow Crazy Mary Dobson to the WWE!)

The revolution also belongs to the trainers who were committed to creating wrestlers and not divas, legends like Lance Storm, DJ Hyde, Danny Davis, the Dudley Boys, and others too numerous to mention. It belongs to promoters who gave women the chance to shine not only against one another, but against men. It belongs to the men and women who put women in the main event and put their most prestigious titles – including the Grand Championship of CHIKARA – on women who had earned it.

Most of all, it belongs to the women who chose wrestling not because it was a stepping stone to acting or modeling, but because they could not see themselves doing anything else. It belongs to the rising stars of the WWE and NXT. It belongs to women like Veda Scott, LuFisto, Mickie Knuckles, Kelly Klein, Tessa Blanchard, Randi West, Su Yung, Taeler Hendrix, Britt Baker, Rachael Ellering, Amazing Maria, Leva Bates, and Samantha Heights, who are grinding it out night after night in the hopes of filling the spots that have just opened at the top of the independent ranks. It belongs to the young women now taking their first bumps in the hopes of following a trail that now stretches further than it ever has in the business of wrestling.

The WWE deserves credit, not for changing women’s wrestling, but for recognizing that it has already changed. Yes, it is a revolution, but the revolutionaries are not in an office in Stanford. They’re in the ring, every night, putting their bodies on the line for a sport they love.

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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.

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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.

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Indy Expansion: PWF and AWE Join Forces

14947657_1210551835690034_5367452111594581714_nIn what could be an interesting sign of the times, two promotion separated by two states have begin a “working relationship” between their two companies. Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment, headed by Stan Robinson and Joshua Von Wheeler, announced their newly formed alliance with Pro Wrestling Freedom’s Jimmy Feltcher and John Norris.

PWF and AWE have already been sharing talent over the past several months, with AWE mainstay “Do or Die” Chip Day being crowned the first PWF Champion in September. AWE’s Murder-1, Adrian Armour, and Jimmy Rave have also made themselves at home in the Southern Indiana promotion, while a handful of PWF talent have made their way down south, including Mickie Knuckles, Gary Jay, Tripp Cassidy, and the current Georgia Crown Tag Team Champions Team IOU.

The open agreement means that titles from both promotions can and will be defended in either promotion. It also means more talent from Atlanta will be headed to Indiana and vice versa. Aaron Williams, a PWF regular from Ohio, was quick to announce his desire to work Atlanta on Facebook.

PWF and AWE can both be found on Facebook as well as Twitter. Follow them at @ATLWrestlingEnt and @pwfofficialpro, respectively.

It’s exciting to see promoters coming together for the common good of their fans and the wrestlers. Here’s hoping we’ll see more of these agreements, giving more men and women a chance to follow their dream full-time while giving the fans an even better show every time the bell rings.

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Pro Wrestling Freedom Delivers

13095793_1069991786412707_6899430250700239435_nPro Wrestling Freedom is new name in the Louisville/ Southern Indiana indy wrestling scene. As crowded as the local market is with wrestling promotions, you’d think there wouldn’t be room for one more, but PWF offers a product unique and exciting enough to set it apart. No one promotion can deliver with every wrestling fan, and from the looks of things tonight, PWF is finding its share.

PWF is anchored by a strong group of Louisville area stars headed by Hy Zaya and his road partner, “The Iron Demon” Shane Mercer. But like the now dormant D1W, PWF also draws some of the top stars from other regions. Murder One and Chip Day were up from Atlanta for tonight’s show, and Rockstar Pro’s current champ Aaron Williams was in from Ohio. The result is a mix of new and familiar faces, all of whom left everything they had in the ring.

It would be hard to pick a standout match from tonight’s show, but the battle between Shane Mercer and Timmy Lou Retton would be a good place to start. Mercer is a beast in the ring, a powerhouse of strength who never disappoints. Retton’s red, white, and blue gimmick is deceptive; while he looks like a comedy act, he truly is a dynamic and gifted athlete who can not only match Mercer with the power moves but surprise you with his tumbling and gymnastic skills.

Aaron Williams and Chip Day didn’t disappoint in the semi wind-up. Their match turned out to be more comedy than I’m used to seeing from Williams, but were well-matched in personality and talent. “I have until five!” became a catchphrase for the fans as well as the grapplers before the night was over.

Jason Saint’s Horrorshow stable made its presence known during the show in a few entertaining matches. Saint is a maniacal presence at ringside who can anger you while also making you laugh. Nick Depp and Team IOU were well matched with the heel manager. Depp was entertaining in his match with the legendary Mickie Knuckles, and Nick Iggy of Team IOU is a heat magnet with his non-stop banter.

The main event was a first time ever confrontation between Hy Zaya and Murder One. A far from some of the more technical wrestling matches on the card, this turned into a brawl. Hy Zaya and Murder One lived up to their top billing with a violent melee that ended in a double count out, setting up a prolonged after show struggle and the main event for next month’s card.

PWF is running in The Arena in Jeffersonville. The next show is June 3, and all the details will soon be posted to their Facebook page. A street fight rematch between Hy Zaya and Murder One is already booked, and it looks like Chip Day and Shane Mercer will be a go as well.

Indy wrestling is alive and well. Buy a ticket, buy a T-shirt from a wrestler, and support the men and women keeping the tradition alive.

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Death is Coming

One of the highlights of Eat Sleep Wrestle is a chapter about deathmatches, a particularly brutal form of professional wrestling frequently involving barbed wire, fluorescent light tubes, and all manner of weapons. The chapter included descriptions of some of the most brutal and barbaric deathmatches ever attempted. Nearly all of them originated from one tournament: IWA Mid-South’s King of the Deathmatch.

Next weekend, Death returns to the place CM Punk once described as the ideal location for Wrestlemania. The first round matches and stipulations have already been announced, and it looks like this year’s event will only add to the tournament’s bloody legacy.

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The KOD tournament will also feature a title match between IWA-MS champ Hy Zaya and the Iron Demon, Shane Mercer. The two young stars have built a rivalry and a legacy worthy of following in the footsteps of IWA-MS legends past Chris Hero and CM Punk. Any match between these two is not to be missed.

The Weekend of Death also features the Queen of the Deathmatch Tournament. Originally created as a way to feature hardcore legend Mickie Knuckles, the ladies’ tournament has become a must-see event for deathmatch fans in its own right. IWA Mid-South has always been at the forefront of promoting women’s wrestling, and this weekend, eight women will vie for IWA Mid-South’s most prestigious women’s crown.

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For more information, visit the IWA Mid-South Facebook page. Tickets are selling fast!

 

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Meet Crazy Mary Dobson

1797971_699268903502709_2186941647616043393_nWe are two days from Girl Fight at the ArenA in Jeffersonville, and today’s introduction features the hometown girl who has taken the wrestling world by storm.

Some kids get into wrestling because of their Dad. Crazy Mary Dobson got into wrestling because of her Grandma.

Growing up, Crazy Mary was surrounded by boys, so she mostly did what the boys did: play video games and wrestle. She started watching wrestling on TV with her grandmother and in 2011, she went to her first Juggalo Championship Wrestling show. That’s where she saw Mad Man Pondo for the first time.

Shortly after the JCW, Mary decided that wrestling was for her. She reached out to Pondo on MySpace and asked him how she could get her start. “He told me that Mickie Knuckles could train me, if I could get to Charlestown, Indiana. I wrote him back and told him, ‘I live in Charlestown, Indiana!’”

Mary has since traveled the world, wrestling and training any place that would have her. She’s been to Japan, England, and Germany. She’s been in barbed wire death matches and mixed gender tag matches. She’s even attracted the attention of the WWE, where she’s been a Rosebud, Miz’s makeup girl, Kane’s boss, and most recently… Becky Lynch’s opponent on NXT, Sarah Dobson.

Crazy Mary is a high flier, an energetic performer who loves getting dropped on her head as much as she loves leaping from the top rope. “Lufisto told me she loved me because I like getting dropped on my head as much as she does!”

She has a pin fall victory over Amazing Kong, and she’s the co-owner of the JCW Tag Team Championship with Mad Man Pondo. At Girl Fight, she goes head to head with the daughter of a legend: Tessa Blanchard.

If you’re in the Louisville area, this is a can’t miss opportunity.

Nothing’s for sure in the world of wrestling, but Crazy Mary may very well be on her way to the top of the industry. We’ve been spoiled rotten in this area the last few years, watching her grow and mature into one of the must see attractions in independent wrestling. This could be your last chance to be able to say, “I saw her before she became a legend!”

You can follow Crazy Mary on Twitter @crazymarydobson. You can also read more of her story in Eat Sleep Wrestle.

Keep your eyes open; you’ll likely see her on WWE television again very soon.

(Photo credit: Ichiban Drunk.)