Pro Wrestling Opinion Exclusive – Q & A – John Cosper Discusses Tracy Smothers’ Autobiography “If You Don’t Buy This Book, Everybody Dies”
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
As someone who has been hired and fired from every major wrestling company, played many roles, held many championships, beat cancer and wrestled three different bears, Tracy Smothers has damn near done it all in the business.
Smothers grew up in Springfield, Tenn. and experienced everything from Mexico City fan riots to Malaysian bar fights. He survived the territories’ last days, broke through in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, served as a jobber in his World Wrestling Federation days and even had a hand in Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Pro Wrestling Opinion recently had the chance to talk to John Cosper of Eat Sleep Wrestle and co-author of Smothers’ 314-page autobiography “If You Don’t Buy This Book, Everybody Dies,” now available on Amazon.
Pro Wrestling Opinion – What would you say was yours and Tracy’s biggest goal with this autobiography?
John Cosper – The goal was to tell Tracy’s story in his own words. Tracy has so many amazing stories, from wrestling bears to working the territories to working for the “big three” during the Monday Night Wars. We wanted to get all the stories everyone has heard in print and we captured a lot of stories that have never been told. This book is going to be a treat for wrestling fans of all eras.
Pro Wrestling Opinion – What significance would you say this book serves the modern generation of wrestling fans?
John Cosper – Outside of Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Tracy was never the top guy, but he worked with everyone. He saw the big stars on their way up and many on the way back down. In recent times, he has had an incalculable impact on the modern independent scene. There are hundreds of young stars who call him “Pops” and hang on his every word. He watches every match and he gives positive, constructive feedback to anyone who will listen.
Pro Wrestling Opinion – Which would you say was the biggest challenge in telling a story of this magnitude?
John Cosper – That’s easy. We wrote this book while Tracy was battling cancer! There were nights we spent two hours on the phone while he was hopped up on medication and hooked up to chemo. There was one scary night when we hung up after five minutes and he had to be rushed to the hospital. Of all the fights Tracy has had, cancer was the worst. He’d rather wrestle 20 more bears than go through that again. It’s a miracle he survived and he will tell you working on the book gave him a reason to keep going every day.
Pro Wrestling Opinion – Did you have any other potential titles for the book or was it set from the beginning?
John Cosper – The title was my suggestion from the start, but we did hear and consider two others. Tim Denison is the guy who connected me to Tracy. He’s a good friend of Tracy’s who wrote one of the forewords for the book and he suggested the title “Tracy and the Three Bears.” Hy Zaya, who also wrote a foreword, suggested “G is for Jail ‘Cause a Thug Can’t Spell.”
Pro Wrestling Opinion – How does it stand out or differ from other pro wrestling autobiographies?
John Cosper – Every book is different because it gives you another angle on the wrestling business. The more vantage points we get, the better we can see the bigger picture. Tracy has worked with everyone and for everyone. He’s been hired and fired from every major company. He pulls no punches and more often than not, his stories are hilarious.