Swimming with Piranhas: Surviving the Politics of Professional Wrestling." />

 

SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling
   Sun, September 20, 2009



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

Raw in Miami


Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame inductions


WWE Battleground


ROH in Detroit


Smackdown & Main Event in Ottawa


Raw in Montreal


WWE in Kingston







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT





Swimming with Piranhas: A preview of the upcoming book III
By HOWARD BRODY - Special to SLAM! Wrestling



Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!

Pre-order Swimming With Piranhas


"Perseverance? Persistence? Pugnacity? Or plumb nuts?" These are the first words that my friend Jim Cornette uses to describe me in the foreword he has written for my forthcoming book, Swimming with Piranhas: Surviving the Politics of Professional Wrestling.

Scheduled to be released in just a few weeks, Swimming with Piranhas is a candid look at professional wrestling from my point of view and covers a 25 year period in which I dealt with both the famous and infamous of a fascinating industry. Some of the people I discuss include: Herb Abrams, Brutus Beefcake, Bill Behrens, Eric Bischoff, Bruiser Brody, Steve Corino, Jim Cornette, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Mike Graham, Scott Hall, "Playboy" Gary Hart, Hulk Hogan, Steve Keirn, The Great Malenko, Vince and Linda McMahon, Dusty Rhodes, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Dr. Red Roberts, Bob Roop, Tony Rumble, Mario Savoldi, Dan Severn, Rockin' Robin Smith, Gordon Solie, Kevin and Nancy Sullivan, Terry Taylor, Luna Vachon and the Blackhearts, Sean Waltman, "Cowboy" Bill Watts, and many more.

In 1989, my best friend Craig Cohen and I were about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime -- a journey that would last a few years for him, but wrangle me in for the next 20. In this excerpt, from Chapter 6: "WOW! NO, WWOW!" I talk about how we sold our first "Wild Women of Wrestling" event and how we planned to produce a national television show with virtually no experience.

Enjoy!

* * * * *

Now that I had done my homework, Craig was more at ease with the idea of us doing television, although I think he still felt we were biting off more than we could chew. But, like me, he was determined to make the project work. All we needed was a production company to shoot and edit our pilot.

While Hiro [Matsuda] suggested we speak to F&F Productions out of Tampa, which had done much of the production work for Championship Wrestling from Florida and were experts at producing sports programming, including pro wrestling, Bob Roop and Red Roberts suggested we speak to the company they used when producing the GWA [Global Wrestling Alliance], Pompano-based Media Productions. After meeting with both companies and weighing our options, Media was more accommodating and offered a variety of flexible options, including the ability to use their soundstage and do an in-studio shoot. However, because the standards of television wrestling had been reestablished by the WWF and WCW and their multi-camera, high-end productions, there was no way a studio wrestling show could work nationally. We needed an arena-based event in order to get a decent station lineup and international licensing agreements; it's still true today, 20 years later.

We still hadn't promoted show one, but that was about to change. With Luna [Vachon] as our booker (although matchmaker and finish-caller would be a more appropriate title), Phyllis Lee all set to get us talent and all the paperwork in place, we were now ready to sell our first wrestling show. One of the wrestlers we had planned to use, Denise Klimowicz (who wrestled at the time as Dazzling Denise but would eventually work under the ring name Ariel Dee), suggested to Luna that we try to sell a show to a club she frequented, J.J.'s Other Side Lounge. J.J.'s was billed as a place "For Women and Friends." Simply put, J.J.'s was a lesbian bar.

After Denise set up a meeting for us, Craig and I walked into this lesbian bar to sell the owner on the idea of a ladies' wrestling show. And while that might sound like the setup for a very bad joke, we were one hundred percent serious when we walked in, and when we walked out of there 45 minutes later we had our first signed contract. Despite our reserve when we walked out of the establishment with a deposit check, once we got back to Craig's car, it was high-five central. In our minds this would be the first of many WWOW shows -- we felt there was nothing to it. You walk in, you make your pitch by laying out your plans, you tell them how much you want and you say, "Sign here." Boy, were we naive!

However, in the meantime, we were riding this unbelievable high. Not only were we less than a month away from doing our first show, but we were preparing for a huge undertaking in producing television. What were we thinking?

Since Media Productions was local and had produced a year's worth of wrestling for Global, we were set to go with them until another company came into the picture with an opportunity we just couldn't ignore. In another one of those friend-of-a-friend introductions, we found ourselves talking turkey with Mizlou TV Sports, one of the premier sports production and syndication companies of the time.

Unlike the traditional networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, Mizlou produced and distributed sports programming to a network of "affiliates" that were set up on an event-by-event basis. Mizlou's TV network leveraged affiliates of all three major networks plus independent television stations and, later, regional sports networks.


Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!


  • Pre-order Swimming With Piranhas
    In Swimming With Piranhas, the former president of the National Wrestling Alliance, Howard Brody gives a first hand account of how hes been able to survive the world of pro wrestling politics, despite getting a few bloody noses along the way. It covers aspects of the pro wrestling business that have yet to be captured on paper. This book reveals the true war stories as Brody takes the reader into the boardrooms and back offices of the most exciting business in the world: professional wrestling.