Weekly Feature

2017-08-09 / Front Page

Kenmore resident co-authors new book

History of women’s wrestling pinned down
by ANNA WALTERS
Editor


Dan Murphy Dan Murphy Author Dan Murphy sheds light on how women’s wresting, once a staple of carnival side shows, has grown into something more throughout the years in his book, “Sisterhood of the Squared Circle: The History and Rise of Women’s Wrestling.”

The book includes not only a historical background on the women’s sport but also more than 100 wrestler profiles.

“Women’s wrestling in particular has become very popular over the past couple years. WWE [World Wrestling Entertainment] is trying to feature women in a more positive way,” Murphy said, adding that the wrestlers are being presented as role models.

Murphy, who graduated from Cardinal O’Hara High School in 1992, is a Kenmore resident and Canisius College alumnus.

Since 1997, he has been a writer for “Pro Wrestling Illustrated” and has overseen PWI’s annual female 50 ranking since its inception in 2008. He has also written four books on the history of Western New York.

As a writer, Murphy likes having a project, being able to do the research and pitch it to the publisher. He gave an example of having an idea, while sipping coffee, that can become a reality, such as a book on a shelf.

Murphy co-wrote the book “Sisterhood of the Squared Circle: The History and Rise of Women’s Wrestling” with Pat Laprade, who has been involved in pro-wrestling for 15 years and has contributed to many women’s wrestling promotions, including Shimmer and Femmes Fatales.

In their book, the profiles include firsthand documentation of talented women wrestlers’ careers and experiences.

According to a prepared statement, the profiles include trailblazers such as Mildred Burke and the Fabulous Moolah to today’s stars, such as Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Bayley.

According to Murphy, women’s wrestling has a rich and unique history, dating back to the 1880s.

During the 1950s and ’60s, he noted that the pioneers of women’s wrestling didn’t want to be the “traditional housewife.”

“The women were very daring and set out to do it the best way they could and got paid to travel.”

Murphy spent two years writing the book and has been traveling around the country to promote it after it was published in the spring. The author traveled to WrestleMania this year, which was held in Florida.

Murphy said the book will appeal to wrestling fans and those who enjoy inspirational stories.

“I think it’s a story of empowerment and of dreamers.”

He said a story that stands out is that of the former Mildred Bliss, an American professional wrestler who went by the ring name “Mildred Burke.” She was married to Billy Wolfe, who ran a traveling troupe of women wrestlers.

Burke started out wrestling men at carnivals and is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.

According to Murphy, Wolfe was known for cheating on Burke but she remained a face for women’s pro wrestling — emulating beauty and power — even though her life seemed to be falling apart at times.

One of the biggest challenges the authors faced was what they couldn’t include in the book.

“The deeper we dug, the more fascinating things we found,” he said, adding that they discovered a lot of material that’s still left to be told.

The book is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For more information about the author, visit www.buffalobooks.com/murphy.html.

email: awalters@beenews.com

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