Thursday, June 28, 2012

When a Headliner No-Shows

Reby Sky, an independent wrestler who is best-known as Matt Hardy's girlfriend, has received both strong support and fierce opposition for her recent Twitter comments about former WWE Champion Sid Vicious/Sycho Sid's, who appeared on Raw Monday Night.

Here are some of her comments from @RebySky:
That piece of sh*t Sid no-shows almost EVERY show in the last yr but prances onto Raw.  Please tell us again how much you LOVE "the business".  Guess he managed not to "lose his wallet" this time.  Sad thing is, now that he got 10 more mins of fame he'll get more bookings to NO-SHOW.  F*CK people like that.  You f*ck with peoples' time, money & professional integrity because you're too much of a douche to keep your word.  I'm all for hustlin, but BLACKMAILING promoters into giving you more $ after threatening not to show then STILL not showing after they do...makes me sick.

Many fans and wrestlers have passionately picked a side.  Some have blasted Reby Sky for disrespecting one of wrestling's all-time great big men and dismissed her as a wrestler's girlfriend who shouldn't have an opinion.  Others agree with her 100 percent.

Among those opposing her is WWE Hall of Famer Sunny who, like Sid, is notorious for no-showing independent events.

As someone who has wrestled on the independent circuit, I have mixed feelings on former stars being booked on indy events at all.  Between airfare, hotel, and booking fee, they usually make more than every wrestler on the card, often just to sell and sign their own photos and other merchandise.  I don't think their appearances usually draw enough fans who wouldn't buy a ticket otherwise, but if the promotion has a solid product they might turn some of those new fans into regular fans and maybe it pays off in the long run.  Some former stars are a pleasure to deal with and show a genuine love for the business, interacting well with fans and with the locker room, while others make it painfully obvious that they are just there to get paid.  Some don't show up at all.

When a former star no-shows an independent wrestling event, everyone suffers: the fans, who've spent their hard-earned money to meet the star and are left disappointed; the promotion, which now has its reliability questioned when advertising the next star's appearance; the wrestlers, who suffer right along with the promoter when a no-show hurts ticket sales short- and long-term; and the wrestling business, which comes off even sleazier than it often does anyway.  But some former stars don't care about the business or how their actions affect it.  They only care about what they can take from it, not what they can give back to it.

Reby Sky might be an independent wrestler who doesn't have 5,000 matches under her belt.  Her greatest claim to wrestling fame might be as Matt Hardy's girlfriend.  We don't know each other and I doubt we'll ever meet .  But she spoke for a lot of us who work these small shows and feel the negative effects of stars such as Sid no-showing.  We respect the stars and what they've achieved in the past, but when they start squeezing out the little breath independent wrestling has left, they shouldn't expect a warm response from the fans, promoters, and wrestlers their selfishness affects.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The false-finish, when executed correctly, can be one of the most exciting elements of a pro-wrestling match.  It draws fans in, makes them invest in the belief that they're about to see the end, and then, at the last second, the wrestler kicks out to avoid defeat.  Unfortunately, it's terribly overused and often desensitizes the crowd so the false-finishes that really matter mean less than they should.

Pro wrestlers are notorious for another overused false-finish: the finish of their careers.  Terry Funk, Ricky Steamboat, Ric Flair...they've all retired multiple times, and they kept coming back.  It has made for some special moments but, like the in-ring false-finish, it has watered down the real retirements and left fans wondering how long until we see the retiring star back in the ring.

Last week, I announced via Facebook that my comeback was coming to an end.  I won't call it a retirement--I don't make a living as a wrestler--but I was going to walk away.  That was the plan.  And now, just days before my last match, as the referee's hand is inches from the mat, I'm kicking out.

Here's the story.

I've always been more sensitive to loud noise that most.  During the last several months, however, I have had some serious issues with intolerance to noise.

While installing a home alarm days after Christmas, I accidentally set off the 125-decibel alarm just inches from my head, and the pain was different from anything I've ever felt.  It felt like I'd been brained by Mike Tyson, and I could feel moderate to loud noise vibrate on every hair cell in my ears.

At a WWE event in late-January, I had the misfortune of sitting in front of a psychotic girl who screamed throughout the show (she screamed full sentences--who the hell does that?) and I had to remind myself several times that my son was with me so I wouldn't turn around and punch her dad in the throat, give the little nut-job something to scream about.

As my intolerance to noise grew, my reactions became more aggressive and, a handful of times, downright nasty.  It's as if loud noise sometimes sparks a brief case of Tourette's in me, and I've felt bad for some of the things I've said in reaction to someone unintentionally assaulting my ears.

The noise sensitivity started to have a negative effect on my ability to perform my regular job.  I usually didn't last five minutes in the office without choking down a few Excedrin.  I finally scheduled an appointment with an ENT specialist.

The ENT specialist was a strange dude who seemed more interested in sharing his story of cancer survival than in my purpose for visiting him.  He said that I have hearing loss, Recruitment, and Hyperacusis.  In a nutshell, some of the sensors in my ears are dead, so other sensors are overcompensating, and the result is the amplification of certain sounds.  So what is normal to the average person, in some cases, is intolerably painful to me.  He said trauma from wrestling is likely accelerating my hearing loss.  I left the appointment with the understanding that I could be going deaf and that wrestling could make me deaf faster.

I understand what it would mean to be deaf.  It would suck.  Driving, watching TV, having conversations, walking through Walmart, nothing would be the same.  I'd have to learn sign language (right now the only signs I know are "F--- you" "Peace" "Devil" and "Rip 'Em"), and that would be a pain in the ass.  I wouldn't hear my kid's voice evolve as he grows to become a man.

I decided it was time to step away from the ring.  If it would preserve my hearing, or at least prolong with hearing-loss process, I thought it would be best if I stopped wrestling after I fulfilled my June booking commitments.  To the credit of every promoter who'd booked me for June, each said he'd understand if I couldn't work his show.

The next day, I went to an audiologist for a hearing test, and the results showed me unable to hear some tones as well as I should and able to hear some tones that are inaudible to most people.

I went back to the ENT specialist for a follow-up visit the following week.  The doctor came in and talked about stopping the ringing in my ears.  I told him I wasn't experiencing that, he said he understood, and then we repeated this cycle several times as I became more irritated.  He also didn't say a word about deafness this time and said that nothing could be done for the hearing loss, but that my sensitivity to noise might go away in a year or two.  The doctor told me there wasn't much he could do for me but suggested I pick up these pills that should help with noise sensitivity and, when I went to buy them, I saw printed large-as-can-be on the box: "Stop the Ringing in Your Ears".  This multiplied my already strong desire to facepunch the doctor.

Most of my life, I have handled life's curveballs matter-of-factly without a whole lot of emotional attachment.  I receive the information, analyze it, and figure out if and how that information should influence my thoughts and actions.  This is how I handled the hearing and wrestling issues.  I bought some shooting-range earplugs to block sound above a certain decibel level and announced I was wrapping up my days in the ring.

Last Saturday night, I debuted for 3XWrestling in Iowa.  I worked with Jimmy Rockwell, who I knew from Metro Pro Wrestling in KC and who I liked a lot as a wrestler and as a person.  We had a fun match that he won (with a little help from WWE Hall of Famer "The Million-Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase) and I had a great time working with 3XW, one of the best independent promotions I've worked with.  As I was leaving the show, I thought about how that would be the last time I ever worked a match as a heel (which I absolutely love).  I thought about how I would soon no longer be able to create memories for the fans, to tell stories inside the ring, to do it all on-the-fly.

The reality of it all finally hit me, and it sucked.  And as cheesy as it may sound, I felt like I was leaving a big piece of myself at Boone County Fairgrounds as we drove away.

I thought about the hearing issue and about the end of my wrestling career, which was to come in one week, for most of the six-hour drive home and most of the next day.

Monday, I talked to my wife Jessica about it.  We mutually decided that, since I could lose my hearing whether I continued wrestling or not (accuracy depending on which, if either, day my doctor was sober), I should continue to wrestle because I love doing it.

Is there a chance that everything could go wrong and I could wind up deaf?  Maybe, but I can't give up wrestling for maybe.

Two years ago, I would have given my right arm to get back in the ring.  I'm thrilled that I had a chance to get back in the ring once again because, despite my love-hate relationship with the wrestling business, it is a big part of who I am.

Thanks to everyone who showed support when I thought I was walking away.  No one wants to be the boy who cried wolf, but it's a title I'll wear with pride as I continue doing what I love.

One day I'll have to call it quits, and I truly hope that it will be on my own terms.  Until then, I'm not ready to stay down for the three-count.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011, and 2012

When the clock struck midnight to bring in 2011, I was a different person than I am today. Sure, we grow each year, but the transformation I've experienced in the last 12 months has been unreal.

On January 1, 2011, I was a walking zombie working the overnight shift, grouchy due to sleep deprivation most of the time, and nearly 260 pounds. I was a has-been (or never-was, depending on who you ask) wrestler who wrote about my wrestling memories, among many reasons, to preserve them as they became less vivid each time they crossed my mind. Of course, I always hoped to find my way back into wrestling, but my wrestling career had been deceased for more than eight years.

I had been invited to be a part of Metro Pro Wrestling since its first show, but my work schedule wouldn't allow it. Once I left my job to start my own business (which tanked so quickly I could write a How-NOT-To book about it), I was finally able to join Metro as the Vice Commissioner.

I've worked for countless promotions and haven't liked the way most of them have operated. Many of them didn't do good business. Some were dishonest, some didn't respect the fans, others had poor locker room morale, and others just plain sucked.

When I came to Metro in March, I fell in love with the promotion quickly. The locker room was full of hungry young talent like Jeremy Wyatt, Tyler Cook, and Heroes for Hire, and veterans whose love and passion for the business was infectious like Pete Madden and Derek Stone. The TV program was great in both creative and production.

I kept thinking how I wished I could have worked for a promotion like Metro during my in-ring days. I was so infatuated with the promotion that soon I was no longer content just being an on-air personality. For years, I thought there was no chance of an in-ring return, but I finally decided it was time to find out for myself whether I still had any gas left in the tank.

Losing 45 pounds was easier than I expected. With most of the extra weight gone, it was time to step into the ring and knock off the rust. I started training at the Harley Race Wrestling Academy a couple times a week to get comfortable once again.

If I was going to return, I was going to make it count. Now the commissioner, I set my sights on Michael Strider, the most beloved wrestler in the Central States region, and started a war with him that resurrected my in-ring persona, "All That" Matt Murphy.

As the Murphy/Strider war was reaching its boiling point, I also made a surprise return to Arkansas for Traditional Championship Wrestling, defeating "Golden Boy" Greg Anthony for the TCW Junior Heavyweight Title in my first match before losing it back to him two weeks later.

I could list many accomplishments that I'm proud of, but my three proudest wrestling accomplishments happened this year. The first was seeing my wrestling-fanatic son's reaction to seeing his dad in the ring live for the first time. The second was my childhood hero, Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat, passionately praising my tag team match with my old partner Steve Fender vs. our old enemies Trevor Murdoch and Bull Schmitt on a WLW show in Eldon. And the third was my feud with Strider in Metro Pro.

Though I've had many great matches as I've had with Trevor Murdoch, Bull Schmitt, Wade Chism, and others, the heel run in Metro Pro was the most fun I've ever had in the business.

When I think of a great heel, I don't think of someone who grabs a microphone and insults local sports teams. I don't think of a wrestler who takes the crowd's breath away with flashy moves (they should be going "boo" not "ooh"). I think of someone who the audience hates with such ferocity that they'll buy a ticket to see him get his comeuppance. To be a top heel requires nuclear heat--true hatred--and that's what I set out to achieve. While a wrestling show needs all varieties of characters, I'm a firm believer that buyrate is more important than workrate. Dean Malenko was 100 times the wrestler Hulk Hogan was, but Hogan drew 100 times the paying customers that Malenko drew (probably more). Did I have a 5-star match, or even a 4-star match? No. But I had true heat, and being hated never felt so good.

2011 ended with a bang, literally. Michael Strider ended our war with the Strider Spiral followed by a sick chair shot, which blasted me on top of the head hard enough to leave a half-dollar-sized bruise on my spine. I was sore as hell for a couple weeks, but any questions I had as to whether my neck could withstand the rigors of pro wrestling were answered when I healed just fine.

I'm having too much fun to quit wrestling now. 2012 is a new year; I've got some big plans in Metro Pro Wrestling and Traditional Championship Wrestling. And if the Mayans are wrong, maybe I'll still be going in 2013.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, October 24, 2011

Project: Redemption

I never thought I'd live in a world where I'd agree with Justin Bieber, but he was right: Never Say Never.

My professional wrestling career was dead.  "All That" Matt Murphy was dead.  I was a wrestling junkie who'd been clean for years.  And as many stories of addiction go, I had a relapse.

I had been an on-air personality for Metro Pro Wrestling for several months as the commissioner.  Some of the fans knew who I was, but to most of them I was just the authority figure who made an occasional appearance during Metro Pro Wrestling's monthly live events at Turner Rec Center in Kansas City, KS, and on their weekly TV show on Metro Sports.

Then August happened.

It was the main event.  Michael Strider, the most beloved star in the Central States region, was defending the Metro Pro Wrestling TV Championship against Derek Stone, the psychotic former champion...and the man who trained me at the Harley Race Wrestling Academy.  They collided with the referee and all three men dropped to the mat.  The ref was out.  Stone was the first to his feet.  He grabbed a foreign object.

Commissioner Matt Murphy ran to the ring with a steel chair in-hand and berated Stone as Strider struggled to get to his feet.  Then, I delivered the shot heard 'round the wrestling world, a steel chair to Strider's head.

Slamming a steel chair into Michael Strider's skull.

I revived the referee.  "Count!" I demanded as Stone covered Strider.

One...two...three.  We had a new Metro Pro Wrestling TV Champion.

I yanked the belt out of a kid's hands--Strider had given the belt to the kid pre-match for safe keeping--and handed it to Stone.

"It was me, you idiot!" I yelled into the microphone, revealing myself as the Mystery Attacker in Metro Pro Wrestling's ongoing whodunit.  "Oh, one more thing..."

I pulled off my tie and unfastened a couple buttons on my black dress shirt, then ripped it off to reveal a blue wrestling singlet with ALL THAT embroidered in silver letters.

"A star is born...again."

Fans booed, commentators struggled to find the words to describe the bombshell I'd just announced.

"All That" Matt Murphy was back!

Fast-forward a month and it was time for my first weekend back in the ring.  I started off on a Friday night with Metro Pro Wrestling, where I participated in an 8-man elimination tag team match.  From there, I returned home (across the bridge from home, anyway) to Keokuk and Burlington, IA for two World League Wrestling shows on Saturday and Sunday.

After three matches in three days, I was wiped out.  It took me two weeks to recover from the physical toll the matches took on me.

During the Metro Pro show this month, the fans let me know I was on a meteoric rise to the top of their most-hated list.  They chanted insults, some PG rated and some that made me uncomfortable given the children in the audience (most of them were chanting the vulgarities, too), and they booed the hell out of me.

Enjoying the response from my adoring fans at Metro Pro Wrestling.

I wrestled Domino Rivera that night.  I'd spent months humiliating him while he served as my administrative assistant and he was looking to "come with the uppance" in our bout, but I pulled out the win by nailing him with Dinner With Kate Bender, which looks just like a piledriver except more awesome.

Domino Rivera learns that Dinner With Kate Bender isn't as fun as it sounds.

On Saturday, October 22, WLW returned home to Eldon, MO for its annual Harley Race/Pro Wrestling NOAH camp show.  Headlining the show were Kevin Von Erich, William Regal, and my childhood idol, Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat.

My friend and one of the best wrestlers I've ever been in the ring with, Ace Steel (for the few of you who don't know him, he trained C.M. Punk and Colt Cabana) returned to the ring for the first time in three years to face Regal in the main event.  It was a wrestling clinic and Ace showed that he could go toe-to-toe and hold-for-hold with the greatest technical wrestler in the world.

Three of my favorite people, Miss Natural, Lucy Mendez, and Stacey O'Brien, had an awesome three-way match for the WLW Ladies Title.  Those ladies work their asses off and I was proud to see them get such an amazing reaction from the crowd.

I had been one of the most beloved, and then hated, stars in WLW, and in Eldon a decade ago.  My tag-team partner, Superstar Steve, and I teamed up for the first time in nine years to take on our old rivals, Trevor Murdoch and Bull Schmitt.  In the early days of WLW, that match-up had stole the show countless times and just plain tore the house down many times.

The match started off clean and, for the most part, fun.  Then, while landing a leapfrog, my left knee blew out.  The crowd went into a hush as my partner and opponents stopped the action to help the referee check on me.

"It's bad," I said, swatting their hands away from my leg.  "Get someone else out here to take my place.  Get me out of here."

"Someone get Harley!" Trevor yelled.  Someone ran to find Harley Race.

Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat came to ringside.

"What's going on?" my childhood idol asked.

"I hurt it bad, sir," I said.  "I just need to get out of the ring."
Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat checking on my after I blew out my knee.

Bull sat between the top and middle ropes to widen the gap for my exit while Trevor and Steve carefully helped me to my feet.

I felt my balance shift and Steve was gone.  He ran across the ring and drilled Bull with a boot to the face.  Trevor let go of me and took one step toward Steve.  I whipped Trevor around and kicked him in the gut, then planted his head into the mat with the BDT from Pay TV, a beal throw into a DDT.

The whole damn building had been swerved.  They groaned and booed.  Steamboat cursed me from ringside.

I blew them all a sarcastic kiss, then did a few jumping jacks to show them I was fine.

"Thanks, Dragon," I told the man who I'd worshipped as a kid, drawing a fiery glare from him.

Harley stormed back to his spot at the merchandise table, realizing I'd fooled him along with everyone else.

Steve and I pummeled Trevor for the next several minutes while he desperately tried to make the tag to Bull.  Finally, he caught me with a running bulldog to give himself the time to make it to his partner.  The crowd erupted when their hands clapped together and Bull became the legal man.

Bull knocked me and Steve down with punches and clotheslines, then fired me into the corner and whipped Steve into me.  Trevor shot Bull into us, sending me and Steve both face-first to the mat.  The crowd was roaring.  Bull clotheslined Steve over the top rope and, as I staggered to my feet, my opponents set up for the finale.  Trevor clipped my legs while Bull hit me with a clothesline--the Sweet-and-Sour, made famous by former WWE World Tag Team Champions Trevor Murdoch and the late Lance Cade.

All that was left was referee Scotty Z's three-count.

The crowd came to its feet when announcer Dan Gier rang the bell and announced Trevor and Bull the winners.  But even though the good guys had their hands raised, there were no losers in that match.  We'd recreated the magic we'd made a decade ago, back when we were young and our dreams were as big as our imaginations.  And I'd like to think that the fans were winners, too, because that was one hell of a match.

All four of us embraced in the ring, drawing applause from the fans, and raised each other's arms.  This was a special night.

Referee Scotty Z, "All That" Matt Murphy, Trevor Murdoch, "Superstar" Steve Fender, and Bull Schmitt after our match Oct. 22 in Eldon, MO.
Steamboat stormed into the locker room.  For a moment, I wondered if I was going to get an ass-chewing for making a fool of him.  His stern look softened and he grinned ear-to-ear.

"Excellent match," the Dragon said, then went on for several minutes about what he loved about it.

As Steamboat sang our praises, I was overwhelmed with the greatest sense of satisfaction I've had as a professional wrestler.

Life is like a photo montage; your life experiences--the memories, the moments--are small snapshots that make the big picture that is you.  The memory of Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat praising what I'd done inside the ring with three of my closest friends will always stand out as one of the greatest pictures in my montage.

I don't know if Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat has ever had a more thrilled recipient of his handshake.

Trevor Paul (Trevor Murdoch's son), Hunter Murphy, and Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Macho Memories

It was the most terrifying thing I'd ever seen. And for a seven-year-old boy, I'd seen a hell of a lot. My hero, Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat, lay helplessly while the WWF Intercontinental Champion, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, tried to kill him right in the middle of the ring. The first strike, a Savage double-axehandle from the top rope that drove a prone Steamboat's throat into the steel guard-rail, had been devastating. But this was criminal. I cried and yelled at Steamboat to move, but it was no use. "Macho Man" launched from the top rope and smashed the timekeeper's bell into Steamboat's throat.

My hero was surely dead.

I've shared my memories of that famous 1986 match several times in my book, in blogs, and in interviews. And I've credited Steamboat for being the one who inspired my dream of becoming a professional wrestler. But the one thing I haven't done is give credit to the other half of the team that created that magic: Randy Savage.

Lex Luthor. Darth Vader. The Joker. Marshmallow Man. Without villains, there are no heroes. And Savage was the most dastardly villain of my childhood. Not only did he try to kill my hero, he also treated his beautiful, pure-as-snow valet, Miss Elizabeth, like garbage. Men and boys of all ages daydreamed about rescuing her from him. But none of us ever did anything to help her and she suffered for it.

When "Macho Man" became a babyface (wrestling lingo for good guy), the wrestling fanatic in me was thrilled. But the Steamboat worshipper in me would never forget what he'd done to "The Dragon".

Randy Savage was one of wrestling's greatest success stories. He captivated millions, became a household name, enjoyed success in other forms of entertainment as a spokesman and actor.

Randy Savage. Rapper. Sorry, I just can't put those words in the same sentence. But it's cool that he tried.

As a wrestler, he was one of the top 5 stars from 1985-1998. He was believable, innovative, and intense. Fans either loved or hated him but they never felt indifference.

I'm saddened to hear about the death of Randall Mario Poffo, a.k.a. Randy "Macho Man" Savage. "Macho Man" was one of the greatest characters and a big influence on many of today's greatest stars. And while I'll always remember him as the villain who tried to kill my hero, I'll also remember him fondly.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Peace & Quiet: O-ver-ra-ted (clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)

"If I'm writing and the house catches fire, call the fire department. But leave me alone." That was the rule around my house back in the olden days. My wife, for the most part, respected my need for solitude during marathon writing sessions in the computer room. I needed peace and quiet, no distractions, so I could focus on creating.

Alone with my thoughts, I produced zero finished full-length manuscripts and added at least 100 documents to my computer's Incomplete & Abandoned folder. I wasted a lot of years of my writing life consumed by self-doubt, afraid to male a mistake, and worrying about how each word would be received by editors and readers and critics. Alone with my thoughts, I was my own worst enemy.

I tried everything to break out of my funk. I read books on writing. I listened to the Writing Excuses podcast. I journaled. I wrote fiction and non-fiction, poetry, short stories and screenplays. I wrote in the morning and at night. I wrote using Word and writing software and longhand. I replaced computer desks and notebooks and everything else I could blame for my writing woes. Nothing could help me work through it.

Then my son came along and rescued me from peace and quiet. The interruptions and distractions that were once a sin in my house have become commonplace:

"Dad-dee...can I play the Star Wars game on the computer?"

"Dad-dee...I'm thirsty."

"Um, Dad-dee...when I'm a parent, I don't think I'll want to drive a car."

My wife joins in:

"I'm making tacos next week. Would you rather have beef or chicken?"

I wonder if Elmore Leonard's wife has ever interrupted him during sacred Writing Time to ask him "beef of chicken?"

But to my surprise, the distractions and interruptions have actually been refreshing. They keep my mind from wandering to self-doubt and other thoughts that quickly become barriers to my writing productivity.

I'm also becoming less interested in solitude. These days I'm more comfortable writing from my living-room chair than at one of the desks in my writing den.

My writing self from eight years ago wouldn't even recognize me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 18, 2011

Once It's in Your Blood...

Just a few months ago, I was content with my role as a passive wrestling fan. I watched WWE programming once in a while with lukewarm interest, mostly to see how a few of my friends were doing and what storylines they were involved with.

An old friend said I was getting bitter towards the wrestling business. He couldn’t have been more wrong. I love wrestling, always have and always will, but I had already struck out with WWE as a writer didn’t see any future for myself in the business. I thought it would be best for me and for my family if I just stayed away from wrestling.

And I tried. I pushed wrestling to the back of my mind did what I could to leave it there. My wrestling DVD library started to collect dust. And as I finished the first draft of my latest book, The Somebody Obsession: A Nobody’s Desperate Journey to Stardom, I wrote about my relationship with wrestling as if (and believing) I’d found closure.

My passion for wrestling never died and I could still feel it inside, but I dismissed it as indigestion and moved on with my life.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Still undefeated against Foley

UndisputedUndisputed by Chris Jericho

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was fitting that Mick Foley wrote the foreword to Chris Jericho's memoir, UNDISPUTED: HOW TO BECOME THE WORLD CHAMPION IN 1,372 EASY STEPS, and passed the torch to Jericho as the new champion of wrestling books. Jericho uses the formula that made Foley's books so successful, creating a personal connection with his readers with his openness and wit, and in the process does it even better than the long-reigning king of wrestling authors.

Unlike his autobiography A LION'S TALE: AROUND THE WORLD IN SPANDEX, Jericho's new book UNDISPUTED is a memoir, chronicling his journey through WWE as he becomes one of the biggest stars in the wrestling business while he battles to be taken seriously as a musician and actor. The book is an intriguing look inside all three forms of entertainment and shows how his success in one venue often serves as a hindrance in the others. His metal band, Fozzy, struggles to break away from its reputation of a gimmick act and becomes a legitimate band that headlines sold-out events in some places and flops in others. HIs acting career seems doomed before it starts, as the black cloud of wrestling superstardom lurks over his head while he tries to catch a break as a "real" actor.

UNDISPUTED is entertaining cover-to-cover and, although I expected to skim over his adventures in music and Hollywood, those tales prove to be every bit as captivating as the wrestling. But there is plenty of wrestling in UNDISPUTED, offering readers an peek behind the curtain from his highly anticipated and disappointing start in WWE to his reign as the first-ever Undisputed Heavyweight Champion then back into mid-card purgatory. He details the political forces that worked against him, his backstage fight with the feared Goldberg, the heartbreaking loss of his close friend Eddie Guerrero, and the senseless Benoit family tragedy.

A LION'S TALE came close to unseating Foley's HAVE A NICE DAY: A TALE OF BLOOD AND SWEATSOCKS as the greatest wrestling book of all time; I'd call it a draw. UNDISPUTED surpasses them both and now reigns as the new king of the wrestling genre.

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why I passed on the YA genre

A teen walks into the guidance counselor's office at school.  The kid is having a hard time finding his own way: his relationship with his parents has deteriorated and his grades have declined during the last couple years; he continues struggling to find acceptance at both home and school.  The counselor gives him that "I've got just what you need" look.  Ritalin?  Nope.  Prozac?  Nope.  She slides open her desk drawer and lifts out a paperback book.

"Read this," the counselor says.

The teen looks at the book.  "The Somebody Obsession?  You think I should become a professional wrestler?"

"Absolutely not," the counselor says, chuckling.  "But the book is about so much more than wrestling.  The guy who wrote it became a wrestler, but he has quite a journey along the way.  You should read it--I think you'll find that you have a lot in common with the author.  Just make sure I get it back when you're finished."

This was my vision.  My book, I daydreamed, would be the modern, nonfiction version of The Catcher in the Rye.  I'd be the real-life Holden Caulfield; teens would read  my story and think destiny brought them and my book together.  It would be quoted in locker-room speeches and commencement addresses, love letters and manifestos.

Friday, January 28, 2011

THE SOMEBODY OBSESSION reaches #1 on Amazon bestsellers list

THE SOMEBODY OBSESSION: A NOBODY'S DESPERATE JOURNEY TO STARDOM is currently ranked #1 on the Amazon Kindle bestsellers list in the Wrestling category!  This was one of my main goals for the book, and it took just a couple weeks to get there.  Many thanks to everyone who bought the book! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The new book debuts on Kindle bestseller list

Current Kindle bestseller list, wrestling category: The Professional Wrestler (#11) and The Somebody Obsession (#15). The Professional Wrestler peaked at #3 a couple months ago--I'm confident The Somebody Obsession will make it to #1. Go to to download the free Kindle reading app for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.

You can order THE SOMEBODY OBSESSION for Kindle for just $2.99 by clicking here:
The Somebody Obsession: A Nobody's Desperate Journey to Stardom (Kindle version)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sheldon Goldberg reviews THE SOMEBODY OBSESSION

THE SOMEBODY OBSESSION: A NOBODY'S DESPERATE JOURNEY TO STARDOM has just received its first review on Amazon.

Wrestling promoter/journalist/historian Sheldon Goldberg is the author of the review.  His voice is among the most respected in the wrestling industry and, though I never had the pleasure of working with Mr. Goldberg, I've always admired him.

Here is his review:

As someone who has read a good 60% of the pro wrestling bios out there, "The Somebody Obsession: A Nobody's Desperate Journey to Stardom" by Matt Murphy ranks with the very best of them right alongside Mick Foley's bestsellers and Brett Hart's autobiography. 

Matt's autobigraphical tale of his journey from troubled childhood to fondling, but not quite getting a grasp on the brass ring that is pro wrestling superstardom, is compelling, poignant, and often laugh out loud funny. As interesting as the lives of the big stars who have endeared themselves to us or entertained us in the squared circle throughout the years may be, this story of a man who tried and came close is in many ways more interesting than any of them. 

Even if you are not a fan of pro wrestling, Matt Murphy's story is a top notch page turner that anyone who ever had a dream will surely identify with. This is one of the best bios of any kind I've read in a while.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Crash Course in Marketing

Self-publishing my autobiography has allowed me the freedom to do pretty much whatever the hell I want with all things relating to my book.  I can't say I'm intimidated; I was responsible for 99% of the marketing of the original version, which was released by a so-called "traditional" publisher.

I've learned a lot in the months leading up to the book release.  With the help of two excellent Kindle books, Are You Still Submitting Your Work to a Traditional Publisher? by Edward C. Patterson and Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity through Social Networking by Steve Weber, I created a low-cost marketing plan to help my book become a success. Its effectiveness is TBD.


If you'd like to read the new book in PDF, EPUB, or MOBI (Kindle) format, please send me a message including your email address and which format you prefer and I will email it you a digital copy.  My email is mjhmurphy at gmail dot com.

All I ask in return is that you take a couple minutes to share your thoughts about the book with the rest of the world by leaving a review on the book's Amazon product page after you read it.

This offer is limited to the first 50 readers.

Friday, January 14, 2011

THE SOMEBODY OBSESSION now available on Amazon

It's ten days ahead of schedule but THE SOMEBODY OBSESSION: A NOBODY'S DESPERATE JOURNEY TO STARDOM is now available.  Click here to view it on Amazon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Like father, like son

I guess I should have seen it coming.
It's not that I don't want my son to love wrestling.  I loved it as a kid and it played an important part of my life.  But I can't help but feel a little uneasy right now.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Scrivener - my favorite writing software

I've bought several software programs to make my writing as easy as possible, but most of them just got in the way.  It was the same story every time: I would download a demo of a writing program, convince myself it would help me write a bestseller and I'd one day become its celebrity endorser, then within hours of using the full version I would close the program and switch to my word processor.  I was running out of excuses to tell my wife when she asked why I was using OpenOffice to write instead of using the new software that cost a day's wages.

Then I found Scrivener.

Before I get too far into this review, you should know that Scrivener is currently available for Mac only.  But don't fret, Windows users, it's coming to your OS early this year.

TRAILER TRASH is a treasure

Buying dirt-cheap Kindle books can be kind of like dumpster diving: there's a lot of garbage, but once in a while you'll stumble across a treasure. 

TRAILER TRASH by Timothy Boling was an impulse purchase several months ago and it wasn't until yesterday that I finally opened the digital file to give the story a chance. It was a pleasant surprise. The short novel was well-written and featured an interesting cast of characters. Boling really brought Tramp Manor, the run-down trailer park that's a nuisance to everyone except those who call it home, to life. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

My title is weird

THE SOMEBODY OBSESSION--it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it?  A book title is important and I don't like the way mine sounds.  So why did I name it that?  Three reasons:

1. The book is about the life experiences I collected that contributed to my obsession with becoming what I believed was a somebody, my journey into professional wrestling, and what I learned from the experience.  The first quarter-century of my life was driven by this obsession, so I think the title is appropriate.
3. I couldn't think of anything better.

THE SOMEBODY OBSESSION release date is three weeks from today

Just three weeks to go until the official release date of THE SOMEBODY OBSESSION: A NOBODY'S DESPERATE JOURNEY TO STARDOM, although it may actually show up for sale on Amazon a day or two before then.  While I don't expect to make a significant profit from the book, I'm confident that the Kindle version will quickly ascend to #1 on the Amazon bestsellers list in the Wrestling category and hope the print version can do the same.  Those will be nice accomplishments, but it would be nice to see my book crack the top 100 on the overall Kindle bestseller list as well.  The success of the book will be highly dependent on word-of-mouth and Amazon reviews, but I believe I have a solid marketing plan that will get my story in the hands of enough readers to make it successful.

Because I self-published, Amazon doesn't have my book available for pre-order.  So it makes little sense to do a whole lot of marketing until I have a place to send the traffic.  I created a Facebook page for THE SOMEBODY OBSESSION, but that hasn't turned out too hot with just 40 followers so far.  Turns out most of the 400-plus people who were sent the invite never received it and Facebook won't allow me to resend it to them.  You can follow it by clicking here.