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Bluegrass Brawlers Returns

It’s back, and better than ever.

The second edition of Bluegrass Brawlers is now available on Amazon, and for all you signed book lovers, it’s available to pre-order here as well. Revisiting my first wrestling book has been on my agenda for years. There were a few facts that needed to be corrected (like the demise of the Columbia Gym), and there were far too many stories left out of the original. The omissions weren’t intentional; the information just wasn’t as accessible as it is today.

Bluegrass Brawlers now includes almost 50% more text: filling in time gaps, expanding on stories that were all too brief, and covering the many changes that happened since 2014.

Just to give you a preview, here are some of the new stories included:

Steve Callaway, a long forgotten African American wrestling hero from the turn of the 20th century.

Promoter Abe Finberg, who booked wrestling at the Gayety Theater and later created a heavyweight wrestling promotion.

Promoter C.B. Blake and the Savoy Theater.

The feud between Blake, booker Heywood Allen, and the Kentucky State Board of Athletic Control, the first state institution that attempted to regulate wrestling.

Louisville fan favorite Jack Reynolds.

Gorgeous George comes to Louisville – and to dinner.

Wahoo McDaniel in Louisville in the early 1960s.

Phil Golden’s All Star Wrestling.

New Albany native Jeff Van Camp, better known in the ring as Lord Humongous.

A hilarious fan story about Flex Kavana, aka Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, courtesy of Michael Ewing from The Seated Senton.

Tales of the first class at Ohio Valley Wrestling.

The sale of OVW to Al Snow.

The rise of the Legacy of Brutality.

The growth of the indie scene in Southern Indiana.

Crazy Mary Dobson becomes Sarah Logan in the WWE.

The rise of women’s wrestling in Louisville and beyond.

I also conducted a number of interviews for the new edition, including “Lord Humongous” Jeff Van Camp, Al Snow, Billie Starkz, Bryan Kennison, Charlene McAnally, Hy Zaya, Cash Flo, Josh Ashcraft, Judi-Rae Hendrix, Rebecca Ann Bridget, Maria James, Haley J, Ryan Howe, Sierra, Doug Basham, Flash Flanagan, Sarah (Logan) Rowe, and Rico Costantino.

The book is also jammed with more photos, from Matty Matsuda to Billie Starkz, who you may notice is also on the cover.

Fans who can’t wait to grab a copy can click here to order on Amazon.

And fans who want to get a signed copy can click here to pre-order.

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Loretta Kendall Blends Romance and Rasslin’

Loretta Kendall’s story reminds me of my own. She had a desire to write romance novels, but she was looking for something different. “I started out writing sports romance novels, and I noticed that outside of Diana Hart, no one had written about wrestling,” says Kendall. “I thought, wow, there’s really a niche for this!”

Kendall didn’t have to look far for inspiration. She has family in the wrestling business, and she worked with a number of wrestlers behind the scenes, including Bill Dundee, Jimmy Valiant, and the late Brian Christopher. “I know what real life is like for those guys. I wanted to show that side of being a wrestler. I looked to see if anyone else had done wrestling themed romance, and outside of Diana Hart, there wasn’t much.”

In just a few short years Kendall wrote and published a number of novels, and she’s found a strong following. “I have about fifteen books out, and eight or nine are wrestling-themed. My first wrestling series of books has already topped 70,000 reads.”

Kendall is still new to the market and has hopes of getting out to author fairs and wrestling shows to find new fans.  In the mean time readers can learn more about her and her books on her website,

Wrestling truly is for everyone, and the same goes for wrestling books. If you enjoy romance and wrestling, I hope you’ll give her a look!

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Midnight Girl Fight Preview: Alice

Girl Fight Wrestling has granted Eat Sleep Wrestle total access to the roster for its second midnight show, Midnight Girl Fight 2: Howdy, Pilgrim! Today is the thirteenth and final entry of this series, featuring Alice. 

Randi West has faced some dangerous women in the years she’s been in the ring. Just the other night, she faced fellow Midnight Girl Fight competitor Amazing Maria in a deathmatch. But Wednesday evening, Randi will be wrestling against a student of hers who goes by the name… Alice.

That’s right, Alice.

Just… Alice.

Here’s the deal, wrestling fans. Alice is the one competitor who, no matter how many times I tried, would not grant me an interview. In fact I was urged by a few parties not to approach her, though no one would give me a good explanation why.

Randi West described Alice as a shy, quiet girl who “transforms” when the bell rings. She wouldn’t elaborate further, but something tells me Randi has a very compelling reason for facing her own student at Wednesday’s show.

What is it that transforms Alice in the ring? Did Randi accidentally unleash some cryptic danger when she brought the girl under her wing? Is Alice the Anakin to Randi’s Obi Wan?

Is it already too late for Randi to save her student?


Sounds, terrifying, right?

People once said the same thing about the name Freddy. And Jason. And Michael. and Chucky.

Fans can see Alice, Randi, and ten other amazing women tear the house down at Midnight Girl Fight 2 on November 21 at the Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, 1416 Spring Street. Bell time is at 11:59 PM.

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Midnight Girl Fight Preview: Thunderkitty

Girl Fight Wrestling has granted Eat Sleep Wrestle total access to the roster for its second midnight show, Midnight Girl Fight 2: Howdy, Pilgrim! Today is part four of this series, featuring Thunderkitty. 

Girl Fight prides itself on presenting the best in independent women’s wrestling. The ladies who have been regulars or semi-regulars over the years are not cat-fighting,  hair-pulling divas. Fans know wen they come to see someone like Thunderkitty, they’re going to see a fight.

Like fellow competitor Hayley Shadows, Thunderkitty has had a match on WWE television, facing Carmella on Smackdown. She has enjoyed some stiff competition at Girl Fight, including an intergender battle with the notorious Tracy Smothers at their Gender Wars show. “My most memorable Girl Fight match was against Randi West a couple years ago,” said Thunderkitty. “She also has no problems punching a broad in the face.”

Thunderkitty intends on doing a lot of punching on November 21, when she faces the self-described “dog lady,” Cassandra Golden. “She’ll be up against someone that’s lived more than three of her lifetimes that ain’t afraid to fight a dog. Or a dog-lady. Or both at the same time.”

Thunderkitty is not just a competitor. She’s a fan of what Girl Fight has done for women’s wrestling. “There’s more women’s wrestling locally now for folks to go see. And it travels to different areas too.”

As with all the competitors, I asked her why fans should come out for the late night bell time on November 21. “Well, good wrestling obviously,” she began, “But seriously though, what have you got to do? You probably don’t gotta work the next day. Better than sitting at home chugging Nyquil because you have to deal with your family.”

Fans can see this match and more at Midnight Girl Fight 2 on November 21 at the Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, 1416 Spring Street. Bell time is at 11:59 PM.

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Midnight Girl Fight Preview: Hayley Shadows

Girl Fight Wrestling has granted Eat Sleep Wrestle total access to the roster for its second midnight show, Midnight Girl Fight 2: Howdy, Pilgrim! Today is part two of this series, featuring Charlie Kruel’s opponent for the event, Hayley Shadows. 

Hayley Shadows is no stranger to the Girl Fight scene, and she’s certainly no rookie like her opponent at Midnight Girl Fight 2. She faced Su Yung at a Girl Fight event in 2017, her favorite match at the promotion thus far, and she also made an appearance on WWE Smackdown facing Tamina. “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that I was given on Smackdown to go against someone like Tamina Snuka. By far my biggest achievement of my career so far.”

Shadows is also proud of her association with Girl Fight and welcomes every opportunity she gets to work with them. “Girl Fight gives women a chance to perform within themselves. Not only do we get to steal the show, but every single one of us gets specific roles. There’s no other company around here that does an all women’s show, every show. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of, and to grow, and learn from all the other women that get to be a part of it as well.”

Hayley is no stranger to her opponent, Charlie Kruel, and she’s looking forward to giving Kruel another beat down. “I’ve wrestled Charlie multiple times, and beat her every single time. I’m the original, and she can’t hold a candle to the one that’ll rip her head off of her shoulders!”

Shadows is excited to be a part of the second ever midnight show. “Not only is Girl Fight the only promotion that does a Midnight show, but it’s also filled talented women that strive at the chance of opportunity. We all work extremely hard to put on the best shows possible, and with it being at midnight you know it’s bound to get chaotic.”

Fans can see this match and more at Midnight Girl Fight 2 on November 21 at the Arena in Jeffersonville, Indiana, 1416 Spring Street. Bell time is at 11:59 PM.

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A Classic Rivalry Comes to the Arena

Every great hero is defined by the greatness of his enemies. Superman is great because of Luthor. Batman is great because of the Joker. Spider-Man is great because of the Green Goblin.

The same can be said for the legendary men and women of the squared circle. Careers are often defined by the rivalries that made them great. Flair vs. Steamboat. Rock vs. Austin. The Rock N Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express.

One of the greatest rivalries in modern times is headed for the Arena in Jeffersonville. Fans of Pro Wrestling Freedom have already come to expect greatness from both Chase Owens and Jason Kincaid, but they’ve yet to see the two go head to head in the Arena. That changes on Friday June 9.

Owens and Kincaid have battled each numerous times around the world. Theirs is a rivalry that helped to define a promotion, specifically NWA Smoky Mountain. These two men know each other inside and out, and their battles in Tennessee and beyond are legend to the fans who were there.

Take a look at the promo video put together by NWA Smoky Mountain chronicling this storied rivalry. Then head over to Facebook and get your tickets for PWF: The Crucible, Friday June 9 at the Arena in Jeffersonville.

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The 1954 Derby Eve Wrestling Show

63 years ago today, the Allen Athletic Club presented a Derby Eve wrestling show at the  Columbia Gym. The show drew 2100 in attendance that night.

Baron Leone def. Wild Red Berry
June Byers def. La Claire
Johnny Valentine def. Menace via DQ
Tangara drew with Vic Holbrook
Menace’s manager def. Tommy Tucker
Notes: 2100 attendance for the Derby Eve show.

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A Leadership Lesson from the Wrestling World

I’m not going to name names because it’s not important. You can fill in the blanks on your own, or go read Bluegrass Brawlers. I’d rather you look beyond the names, though to learn something about leadership.

A certain independent promotion was offered the chance to become the training ground for a national wrestling promoter. The opportunity had a huge upside for the tiny promotion: more money, more prestige, better talent, and big names. Soon the tiny wrestling promotion was filled with new students, all of them under contract to the bigger promotion. These new stars became an integral part of the weekly touring, television tapings, and storylines, and the little independent promotion flourished.

But there was a problem in the relationship between the big promotion and the little. Before long, a man at the corporate office began calling the man in charge at the little promotion and saying, “We need Wrestlers A, B, and C on the road this weekend!” The man at the little promotion would tell him, “Wrestler A is our champion, and B and C are in the main event of a show we’ve been promoting this weekend!” The man in the corporate office said, “I don’t care! These are OUR wrestlers, not yours, and we need them!”

You see, the man at the big corporate office hundreds of miles away never kept up with the action at the little promotion. He didn’t watch the show. He didn’t know who was a heel and who was a babyface. And you know what? He didn’t care. The man at the corporate office only cared about his own problems, and he didn’t care if solving his problems made trouble for the little promotion.

I’ve come to see that a lot of organizations end up like these to wrestling companies. Leaders and directors and bosses become so distanced from the action, they forget what it’s like to interact with customers and employees at ground level. They see their spreadsheets and flowcharts. They don’t see how their decisions impact lower managers, or employees. Or customers.

A good leader never forgets where he or she came from. They welcome the opportunity to be reminded of their roots. They take the time to look up from their computer screen, to go back to the beginning, to listen to the people doing the work.

Just a few thoughts for anyone who aspires to be a truly great leader.

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No More Rasslin’ on WHAS: 1953

A few months ago I posted a story here about how WHAS began broadcasting live wrestling from the Columbia Gym in Louisville. The show went on the air in the spring of 1950 and was abruptly canceled in September of 1953. Turns out there was a reason for the show’s sudden disappearance.

The weekly wrestling program presented by the Allen Athletic Club was the highest rated show in the Louisville television market, much to the delight of sponsor Fehr’s Brewery and much to the dismay of the so-called defenders of good taste. Those who longed to see the show yanked from the air got their wish thanks to an on-air interview not with a wrestler, but with a fan.

WHAS sports director Jimmy Finegan, who called the action during the weekly program, would interview fans about the action in between bouts. One week, a fan who was upset over the actions of a negligent referee became a little too colorful with his language, and as it turns out… that was that.

The Allen Athletic Club had a brief run on WAVE-TV a few years later when they ran on Friday nights, but it only lasted a few months. One of the aforementioned defenders of good taste wrote a scathing article for the Courier-Journal in 1961, celebrating the demise of professional wrestling on the local air waves so many years before. Little did he know that Memphis would come to town nine years later, making live and televised wrestling bigger than ever in the River City.

Incidentally, Fehr’s Beer is poised to make a comeback in the Louisville area just a few weeks from now. A recent post on their Facebook page promised that the first batch of Fehr’s XL, made from the original recipe, will be available shortly after Thanksgiving.

You can read the original story about wrestling on WHAS by clicking here.

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A Louisville Slugger in Japan – Day 3

Update from Austin, who got to watch the NXT Dallas special with Masato Tanaka, who tweeted the photo below of Austin and several other trainees staying up late for the show.


“Day 3 in Japan. Day 2 of training. The training is tough, but the dojo is like a family. We live together, eat together train together and wrestle together. Everyone has been very open and helpful. I have learned so much in just one day.

“Wrestling here is 100% different than the states. Everyone does their part, from the young boys to the gaijin all the way to the veteran Japanese wrestlers. It’s a great atmosphere.

“Exploring the city and temples was amazing. There is so much to experience here and so much to learn. Its still crazy to me that I’m here. I woke up this morning and could not believe where I was and what I am doing. I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity.

“A few people for people state side too look up. D-man (Canada) Shaun Guinness (Ireland).”

Austin’s posting photos on his Facebook page daily. Click here to follow him and see what he’s been up to!