Fighting Spirit

I write a monthly column for Fighting Spirit Magazine, the United Kingdom's largest pro wrestling/MMA magazine, available on newstands across the UK. You can check out more about FSM at, but in the meantime here's an archive of my columns.


"Living the dream."

Before that became a marketing slogan, a power-of-positive-thinking motto, and/or a phrase bandied about in jest by up and coming young wrestlers barely making enough money to pay the bills, that phrase would have best been applied to young Virgil Riley Runnels, Junior--better known in all the finest social circles as "The American Dream", Dusty Rhodes. As this issue takes a closer look at his son, Cody, it's only fair that we examine his controversial father as well.


Normally, when it comes time to pen my monthly prose, yours truly will engage in a dialogue with our illustrious Editor, Brian Elliott, about what subject would be suitable for me to pontificate on. He often leaves me a lot of room as far as specifics. This month, his suggestion was along the lines of, "much of our mail indicates the readers like when you do historical pieces, but many of the writers wish you'd do something on today's wrestling, which seems to contradict the former advice."


When preparing to pen this monthly column, I'm sometimes struck with writer's block on a topic, but once inspiration strikes, the words flow out in a torrent and the only problem thereafter is the editor's, trying to shave the copy so it fits on two pages. This month, the topic was immediately apparent, but sitting down to write it I still didn't know what to say.


It occurred to me when reading an advance draft of historian Greg Oliver's fine article on Harley Race set for this issue, that I knew all these stories were true, and I still almost didn't believe them. Harley Race is a living tribute to the kind of human being that used to thrive in the sport of pro wrestling, the kind that probably wouldn't even try sports entertainment, and the generation who paved the way for today's million dollar babies to be of interest to TMZ and reality TV.


"...The United States Heavyweight Champion, the wildman from Syria, the noble SHEIK!!"

Those words from countless ring announcers in countless arenas around the country and even the world signalled to wrestling fans the beginning of five to ten minutes of chaos, mayhem and carnage the likes of which they had never before seen in a wrestling ring--The Sheik's match was under way.


Many of my columns here in the UK's finest combat sports publication have been retellings of humorous stories from wrestling's past, or taking the piss out of someone who richly deserved it, but this month I'm focusing on a more serious topic which has made me refocus my priorities, both personal and professional.


With all the lawsuits and legal difficulties you hear about in wrestling these days, you'd think a prerequisite of being in the profession would be to have an attorney on retainer. WWE sues TNA, or is it vice versa--wrestlers sue promoters and vice versa--Hulk Hogan sues everybody at one time or another--and many current and former stars have brushes with the law. CM Punk, be still my heart, actually popped a fan while being harassed during a live TV show.