Mad Man Pondo, the hardcore legend who has bled in countries across the globe, didn’t think anyone would want to read about his life. It took John Cosper a while to convince him that there was not only a market for it, but that he was a gifted storyteller with tales that needed to be preserved.
The result of the joint project is the just-released Memoirs of a Mad Man (unleahed on the public, appropriately enough, at midnight at a Girl Fight show he promoted on June 29th).
“I never thought people really cared that much about what I had to say,” Pondo (real name Kevin Canady) told SLAM! Wrestling. “John Cosper had faith in it, and said, ‘No, there’s so many people. You need to a write a book about Mad Man Pondo.’ Well, it just so happened that I lived near him.”
Cosper, the man behind Eat, Sleep, Wrestle (eatsleepwrestle.com, has already done books with “Dr. D” David Schultz and K. K. Fluegeman, who is the daughter of Lord Carlton.
This was something else entirely.
“It was a blast to work with Pondo. He is one of the great storytellers in wrestling, which is one of the reasons I wanted to work with him,” said Cosper. “I also got to hear stories first hand from a number of people he’s befriended and worked with along the way like Jonny Fairplay, the Honky Tonk Man, Kevin Sullivan, and Chris Hero. I’ll never forget the day at lunch when he handed me his phone and I found myself talking to Terry Funk. That was a treat.”There are surprising number of celebrity connections in the book, beyond the foreword by the one and only Vanilla Ice. Canady was a casting agent for Jerry Springer, had run-ins with David Blaine and Benny Hinn; and rubbed shoulders with the likes of MC Hammer, Eli Roth, and Robert Englund.
Cosper said that his subject surprised him every day. “Pondo has lived life to the fullest and still does. He never met a stranger, and he’s completely fearless. He tells the most outrageous stories of places he’s been, people he’s met, and things he’s done. The moment you start to doubt him, he produces pictures to prove it.”
After 29 years in pro wrestling, Pondo said his memory is still pretty good. Cosper said it is better than that: “His memory was amazing. He has an encyclopedic memory of names — people and promotions — and places. If someone I interviewed for the book gave me a story with a few gaps in it, Pondo filled them in.
“I’ve done so much over my wrestling career,” Pondo said. “I can remember 10 things over a hundred things that I’ve done. But I feel like the book has a lot of good memories, some not so good. Some stories some guys wouldn’t put in their book, but I wanted it to be as honest as it could be. I don’t think I had trouble remembering the good things that are in the book. I say that, but then I’ll think of a story and I’ll be like, ‘Dammit, I should have put that in the book.’ So maybe part two, who knows?”
In the end, as the press release promises, it’s an “all-out extreme autobiography as graphic and over the top as a Four Corners of Pain Deathmatch.”
Buyer beware. Have the bandaids nearby.