Thursday, February 16, 2017

26 years ago today Southern States Wrestling was born

Me in the ring Feb. 16 1991 

Talk about a Throw Back Thursday. Today marks the 26th Anniversary of the first Southern States Wrestling event.  My friend for life Krunch and I spent that cold morning digging a wrestling ring out of a small barn. To take it to an even colder Community Center to spend the afternoon trying to figure how this ring went together. The ring was built by a legally blind man out of steel that was once a bridge on a state hwy. 

That was the beginning of wild ride. Thank you Lord for the amazing journey. SSW was the first area promotion to be covered by local papers, TV and national magazines since Ron Wright's promotion. 

It opened doors for me and lead to me doing things I never thought about like becoming a multiple time published author, TV producer, working in promotions for a National Wrestling Company, and many other side jobs related to Pro Wrestling. 

I have had so many people pass through my life the last 26 years. Some who are gone now and I dearly miss. Some I still have a bond and strong relationship with till this day. Some I can't remember for the life of me and some who I wished I never met. Let's not forget one who became my wife.

At times in my life S.S.W. was the only reason I got out of bed. It kept me running. It was a daily battle to prove I can do what I say. It has been a curse and a blessing to me. I have flown with eagles and scratched with chickens on the ups and downs with S.S.W. It is not what it once was. I'm the first to admit that mainly due to many priorities in my life have changed the last several years. I get messages all the time from people who watched online, read about us in magazines, and were faithful in attendance wanting to know when we are making a return to full time operation. 

I'm not sure that it will ever be back to what it was. I still do all the same jobs and responsibilities that I did with SSW when it was a full time promotions. The difference now is I do it for others who reward me and I don't have to take the gambles I did on my own dime.  I will always be involved in wrestling one way or another. My dime or me being paid to do it. I still love every aspect of running live events. The nerves are always there before the door opens. The excitement is always there watching the crowd react the way you wanted them to. The disappoint is also there when it does not work out as you imagined. 

I love the story telling and putting stories in my mind into action in the ring. Then on to video and into a TV program. Tuesdays for me mean TV day. They have since the 90s. They were originally spent on the phone with David Thompson or in the editing booth with him. Then as I learn how to edit I was doing it all on my own. Now I spend it either editing or helping Nathan Lyttle get the Appalachian Mountain Wrestling program ready. 

One of my true loves in life is hitting a town with posters and flyers and covering the town promoting. You learn many life lessons, meet all kinds of people good and bad, and see places and evenst you can't from home by just walking the streets. 

To those who ask me about S.S.W. I have good news. To those of you who hate me and my promotion and want us to die a fast death. I have bad news for you. We aren't done yet. I have dates booked for later in this year in Kingsport, Greeneville, and Gray Tennessee. We have other dates in the works for other towns in Tennessee and West Virginia. A brand new Southern States Wrestling website has been being built the last couple weeks. 

Today as I write this blog theses words ring in my ears
"Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me,
Other times I can barely see

Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been"

If it was not for that cold Appalachian day 26 years ago today none of this would have happened. 

Memories of that night S.S.W. was born from my first book "Do Ya Wanna Be A Wrestler, Kid? on sale now right hand side of the page.

January of 1991 came, and not one event was booked in 
the Tri-Cities area.  I was talking to Stan Lee on the phone and 
he said we should run something ourselves.  I suggested we 
could do like the other guys had been doing:  pay the rent on 
the old Gap Creek Community Center and run there on 
Saturday night.  We both agreed we would do that, but we 
wanted our event to be different than what they had been 
doing up there.  We wanted to make a card, advertise it and 
stick to the matches on the advertisements. We also didn't 
want to use just anyone who showed up, or be pressured into 
using someone we felt should not be in the ring.

I called Jimmy McKeeian and asked if he knew who 
was in charge of the building, and what we needed to do to 
rent it.  He told me that he did and that he would take us to 
meet the man. We met with the man the next day and he told 
us the rent was $50, and he got the concessions.  We agreed 
and the date was set for Saturday, February 16, 1991. 

The next day I started calling around to find out where 
the ring was that the PWA guys used.  I found out that George 
Hyatt had it. He told me that it was in his backyard in a 
storage building. He had been waiting for someone to come 
pick it up for a couple of months, and he asked me to please 
come get it.  Next, Stan and I worked out a card and started 
calling and booking the wrestlers.  I called Krunch to tell him 
about the event, and he told me he was trying to find the ring
because he and Al had a card at the end of February in 
McPheeter‟s Bend.  I told him that I knew where the ring was 
and could get it anytime; I was just trying to find a truck. 
Krunch said he would go with me to get it, that he would take 
it to Gap Creek for me and then just take it on to his house to 
have it for their event.

In the next few days, we called and lined up the card 
we wanted.  I was thinking, “Man, this is not hard at all.” 
Everyone I talked to was so nice and willing to help.  All I 
heard was, “If you need anything, just let us know”or “I‟ll be 
there to do whatever is needed.”  My first big learning 
experience dealing with pro wrestlers came February 16, 1991. 
It was a fast and easy lesson in many problems that I still have 
to deal with to this day.

On day of the event, Krunch picked me up in his big 
truck and off we went to get the ring.  We got to George 
Hyatt's house and found the ring right where he said it was. 
He had it laid out easy to load. On the way to the building,
Krunch said, “We will be dead tonight after loading and 
unloading this hunk-of-junk ring twice plus setting it up, 
tearing it down, and the matches.”  I told him, “No, don‟t 
worry. Some of the boys are coming to help us.”  He just 
laughed out loud.  I did not understand why.

We got to the building and no one was there.  Even the 

man with the keys to the building was late.  We had to wait on him for an hour.  He finally showed up and we got to work. 
No one else showed up to help; it was just me and Krunch. 
We set the ring up, and as soon as we started tying the ring 
aprons on, then the wrestlers started showing up.  It was like 
they had been hiding somewhere watching us until that point.
First I saw wrestlers I had called, then wrestlers I had 
not called, then wrestlers I had never met. I went down to the 
dressing room and it was full. I looked around and hung up a 
poster and said, “Hey, guys, here is the card. If you‟re not on 
it, stick around in case there is a no-show or something.” 
Some guys laughed and others said, “Who is he to tell us 
anything?”  As I started to get dressed, people that I had 
booked walked over and started telling me who they were 
going to wrestle and what they were going to do. One after 
another I told them no, that we were going to do what was on 
the poster.  As the night went on, the boys who had only 
worked for the PWA started getting mad.  The guys that I 
would not let wrestle got even worse.  Most of them left, but a 
few stayed around to run their mouths.  By bell time, you 
could see the line drawn in the dressing room.  The only boys 
from the old guard that were willing to do business and had 
no problems were Krunch, Al Bass and George Hyatt.  All the 
other guys either argued with what was asked of them or tried 
to change things in the ring.

I also had a few wrestlers just outright no-show the 
event, one of whom was supposed to bring the P.A. system. 
When I saw them a few weeks later, they all had valid 
excuses, but I found out over time that it was all an attempt to 
sabotage the event.  I had only agreed to run that event 
because I wanted a booking and wanted to help some of the 
younger guys like myself.  I had no idea what started that 
night would grow into a full-time promotion:  Southern States 
Wrestling.  I could never imagine the life lessons, problems, 
and battles that I would face in the next few years. 

1991 Videos now on DVD left hand side of the page.





Thanks for reading
Beau James
sinner saved by grace, pro wrestler
kingofkingsport@gmail.com

Sunday, February 12, 2017

24 Hour sale Don't Miss This!!!

Don't Miss This!!! A great 24 hour sale (Inside USA only) Sunday Feb. 12 3pm - Monday Feb. 13 3pm EST. Get not only my third Book but also the Legends of Kingsport DVD for the low price of only $22.50. That's right the book and DVD for only $22.50 Buy now top right hand side of the page.


Don't Miss This: 1960s Pro Wrestling in Kingsport TN

A look at wrestling in Kingsport, TN in the 1960s when Wrestling was King in the Model City. Over 100 years of history of East Tennessee Wrestling and the promoters. A week by week look at the weekly wrestling events in the city 1960-69. Bios on many of the starts. Dozens of rare photos. Notes on the the events that made this era so special. Forward by Jim Cornette.  All of this and much more.




AMW next event and This week's TV

AMW in Jackson KY

AMW in Viper KY


Here is this week's AMW TV




AMW working with school systems on importance of education and bully awareness

Appalachian Mountain Wrestling and East Kentucky Schools ate teaming up to stop bullying in schools. Here are pictures from Anti Bully Assembly Friday Feb. 4 in Viper KY. Stan Lee and myself bullied the coach until someone told Kyle Maggard and Clint Stacey and they stepped up for him. If you would like more info about what we do in the schools message me.






AMW Superstar Clinton Stacy was also Viper Elementary to talk to the primary students about the importance of working hard in school. His message was pretty clear " You can be anything you want to be in life. Dream big! But the road to your dream starts with your education!"


International All Star Wrestling is on the Air


Misty and I are glad to be a part of this exciting new promotion and their classic studio TV program.

FREE FREE FREE Next Saturday February 18 International All Star Championship Wrestling will be filming at J&J Promotions professional wrestling academy doors open at 10:30am matches start at 11:00am 16562 Highway 58 S Decatur Tn come see an actual television show being taped.

Join Ronnie Garvin and Joe Cazana as they call the action, scheduled to appear The Heatseekers with their manager the devious Izzy Slapawitz, Beau and Misty James, Stan Lee, The Arrogance of Excellence Jerry Sampson, Tom Pitner, The Machine, and many more, you will also hear from Meigs Co head Football coach Jason Fitzgerald as he will be talking about Spring Fling 17 on April 1. Admission to the taping is 100% FREE concessions will be sold.

Wrestling Fans; don't forget to catch IACW the very best in old school pro wrestling every Saturday night 6-7pm and Monday's at 9pm on WTNB Cleveland /Chattanooga and surrounding area via local broadcast and both Comcast and Charter cable systems!

Knoxville Fans; Comcast cable customers can catch the show 24/7 on Comcast VOD (Video On Demand) in the Entertainment section. Charter cable customers, catch the show 24/7 on Charter VOD (Video On demand)!

IACW, the very best in "Old School Pro Wrestling"
Featuring Ronnie Garvin, and Joe Cazana on color, and such stars as the legendary Izzy Slapawitz, The Heat Seekers, lady wrestler Misty James, Beau James, Tom "The Bomb" Pitner, The Machine, plus many many more. Watch It!!

Keep up with them IACW Facebook

Appalachian Mountain Wrestling TVs from Jan.