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A Spotlight on John Lepantz

by Dale Pierce

October 2005

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I have covered some truly strange and unique people over the years, both in magazines and in newspapers. I have done pieces on a variety of subjects on the net and encountered all types of people. Even in columns for this page, we have a variety of pieces dealing with Christians and Antichrists, dead stars from the past and scarely known indies hoping to make the grade. Yet out of all the people dealt with on this site, my piece on John Lepantz may be the most unique.

From his Denver, Colorado homebase, John Lepantz works at the busy Stapleton Airport during the day, but by night has created a massive cult following for himself in one of the strangest fields of all. He promotes all-girl wrestling cards and releases girl wrestling videos.  For information on his products come to http://www.zeusproductionsvideos.com or drop an email to lepantzeus@aol.com for information.

He is not the first man to do such things. Over the decades there were a host of "dirty movies", starting with old 8mm and Super 8 films, depicting women in erotic apartment fights, swimming pools or an occasional wrestling ring. While most were moonlighting actresses or strippers, an occasional pro entered the action. At this time, the retired lady wrestler, Mildred Burke, also got into the act, with a whole line of women videos, most held in the ring and featuring her trainees. These were seldom erotic, like her competition, though an occasional bra was lost, yet they sold like wildfire. Presumedly, she made more off her film business in her years away from active wrestling, then she ever did as world champion in the pro circuits.

After the film craze was replaced by video, then dvd, the business seemed to slip into seperate patterns and divide itself. Those making erotic videos went one way, while those appealling to the pro matches went the other, selling to the ever increasing fans of the big time promotions such as the WWF or WCW. Lepantz was smart enough to include both worlds.

He ran actual wrestling shows, using established pro women. Some wore regular trunks and tights, others skimpier outfits. Those with clothing fetishes went nuts, as did the pure fans of women wrestling who wanted only action in the ring. In a couple of years, he put together quite a stockpile of footage to place on the market.

One of his key players was the recognized wrestling star, Sue Sexton, who also worked in movies such as American Angels, where she played, you guessed it, a lady wrestler.  Ever the pro, her bouts were death serious and left more than one person wondering just how real the action was. Unlike in some places, where the fakery was wondered about or even admitted to by the participants themselves, onlookers wondered if she, herself, was really beating the hell out of people. No one really gave much information out and to this day, some fans still wonder.

Lepantz also booked Cheryl Rusa, known as Lightning in the pro ranks. She was also seen in some films, in cameos, such as one of the women mudwrestlers attacking Paulie Shore in The InLaws or whatever the hell the movie was called. The title slips my mind as it was not the greatest of productions. Lightning looks better in the Zeus videos.

At the current moment, wrestling itslef seems to be dying off and attendance is down, even at the big time promotions. With this in mind, Zeus Productions have been cutting back on live shows and new tapes, but within the next year, a whole new series of matches may be shot, depending on how things go. While the owner/producer loves both wrestling and filming, his other job has cut greatly into his time. Some of the wrestlers have also been seeking other lines of work, one as a stunt double, another as a psychic reader and still another as a fitness trainer. Still, wrestlers are people to assemble on a moment's notice and at any time, more shoots could be scheduled.

He may not be a John Carpenter or a Lucio Fulci. He may not even be comfortably thrown into this article section with the directors, actors or others mentioned here. Still, Lepantz has found a niche for himself and is resting comfortably on his merits. While he may not be known to film fans around the world, wrestling enthusiasts recognize his name with ease.

His brand of mild erotica and fast-paced action have caught on, elevating Lepantz to somewhat peculiar cult status among the faithful. Hopefully, the bell will sound and the bouts will resume again, with this man right there to record, promote and sell the action to his growing band of afficionados.

 

© by Dale Pierce


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