It’s been almost 10 years since I started writing about pro wrestling in December 2012. Okay, so that’s eleven months out, but what’s pro wrestling without a little exaggeration?
The book that started it all, Bluegrass Brawlers (2014), is no longer available on Amazon or Kindle. That’s because I’ve gone back to the beginning to create a new edition, a 10th anniversary edition, if you will.
Bluegrass Brawlers is getting a major overhaul. I spent the last several months compiling every wrestling result from 1880 through 1966, when Louisville went dark before the Memphis era. I also conducted more than a dozen new interviews including Jeff Van Camp, Al Snow, Billie Starkz, Bryan Kennison, Charlene McKenzie, Hy Zaya, Cash Flo, Josh Ashcraft, Judi-Rae Hendrix, Maria James, Haley J, Ryan Howe, and Doug Basham. And I still have a few more to go.
The original book covered four distinct eras: The Pioneers (1880-1920), The Allen Athletic Club (1935-1957), the Memphis era (1970-1997), and the OVW era (1996-2014). All four of those sections have been expanded, some by a little, some by a lot. I also expanded on the Dick the Bruiser era (touched only briefly in the 2014 edition), filled in the time gap between 1920-1935, and told the story of Louisville since 2014.
New stories covered in the new edition include:
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 promotion.
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.
Tales from the first students at OVW including Doug Basham and Nick Dinsmore.
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.
And the rise of women’s wrestling in Louisville and beyond.
The new book includes a lot more photos and 50% (and counting) more written content. Thanks to a more professional layout, it’ll still be around 330 pages.
Last but not least, the book is getting a brand new cover. Artist Adrian Johnson, who did covers for Tracy Smothers and The Black Panther Jim Mitchell, is working on something really special.
The target release month is March. So far, it’s on schedule. I’ll announce more here and on my social media in the coming months!
This new edition has been a long time coming. It’s going to be special.