Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fury Announced for ECWA's Super 8 Tournament

NECW Triple Crown Champion, "Straight Edge" Brian Fury was announced as one of the competitors in this year's Super 8 Tournament, presented by the East Coast Wrestling Association and taking place on Saturday night, November 10 in Newark, Delaware.

This is the 11th annual Super 8 Tournament, which has become the premiere event of the independent wrestling world.

ECWA, which has been in business since 1967 under promoter Jim Kettner, is the longest running independent company in America. I am not ashamed to tell you that ECWA has been a big influence on me as a promoter. Jim Kettner is a first class gentleman and a true credit to the sport of professional wrestling.

There are a lot of wrestlers based here in New England who are extremely underrated outside of our area, and for years, Brian Fury has been one of them. I am thrilled for Brian and am glad he's getting such a richly deserved recognition.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Book Review: Brody by Larry Matysik & Barbara Goodish

People may complain about the current era of pro wrestling in terms of the product being put out by WWE, TNA and others, but this era is noteworthy for a new value placed on the history of pro wrestling. This era, having been launched by the success of the A&E special The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling, and by Mick Foley's first best selling book, has produced a rash of wrestling books and some unique looks into the people and events that have shaped this industry we call professional wrestling.

Brody, by Larry Matysik and Barbara Goodish, is the story of the late, great Bruiser Brody (real name Frank Goodish). Brody, who murdered in a dressing room in Puerto Rico in 1988, was one of the top stars in the history of the mat game - a fiercely independent bear of a man, who was highly intelligent both in and out of the ring, as well as being a great friend, father and husband.

Brody is a fascinating and compelling book on many levels. The book chapters are written alternately by Matysik (the protege of the late NWA founder and St. Louis promoter, Sam Munchnik) and Barbara Goodish (Frank's widow). A balance is struck between Bruiser Brody and he what he meant to pro wrestling and Frank Goodish and who the man was behind the character of Bruiser Brody. The result of this choice is a book that is as informative and thought provoking as it is tragic and compelling.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is the discussion of the what the wrestling world was going through in the mid to late 1980's and the total upheaval of the pro wrestling business as Vince McMahon began his national expansion of the then WWF, and the world that was then called "independent wrestling."

Bruiser Body was an icon and an idol for many who were in the wrestling business during his sadly curtailed career. I remember my dear friend, the late "Boston Bad Boy" Tony Rumble speaking in reverential tones about Brody and what a great friend he was and what a great credit to the business he was.

Brody, who made his greatest impact as a star in Japan, was not really a part of the great national TV era of the 80's. The book speculates on what might have happened had Brody lived longer. It is a shame that younger fans who did not live in the territory era, did not get the chance to experience Bruiser Brody and understand his impact first hand, and another reason that this book is such a treasure.

Brody is one of the greatest wrestling biographies ever - brilliantly written, emotionally charged and a fitting tribute to a pivotal figure in the annals of professional wrestling.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Book Review: Pain And Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling

"Pain and Passion" is the perfect title for Calgary Herald reporter Heath McCoy's chonicle of the history of Stampede Wrestling and the legendary Hart family. Those few words sum up the experience of the professional wrestling business - the ups and downs, the triumphs and tragedies.

The book plays out like a sweeping epic, from the bitter childhood and hard life of patriarch Stu Hart to the rise and fall of Stampede as a full time territory to the numerous Hart family tragedies to the resurrection of Stampede as a small independent company and the next generation of Hart kids up to and including the Chris Benoit tragedy.

One could argue about which old time territory was the greatest, but there is no denying that Stampede was one of the most influential operations in the history of pro wrestling. The talent that came through Stampede over the years is staggering. This is a fair and balanced "warts and all" type of story. The author's skill as a journalist is also balanced by his obvious fondness for the glory days of the territory.

In the introduction, McCoy says that "the game has lost something special,' a statement that I wholeheartedly agree with and one that applies to all professional sports today. In "Pain and Passion," McCoy deftly captures and conveys that "something special" that made Stampede and the territory era one those of us that grew up in it remember with reverance.

The saga of the Hart family itself is fascinating reading. Even if you were not a wrestling fan, it would be hard not to be intrigued by the Harts and all the personalities within the family.

If you are a true student of the wrestling business, I can't recommend a book more strongly than this one.