This book was just thrown together in 2012 and is filled with typos and things that are just plain wrong. No one on Amazon has given it a rating higher than 2 stars. While I will eventually read it for completionist sake, there are well over 300 titles I will read before it! If you do read this, be sure to smile every time you see where they did a global replace of "ok" with "okay" (messing up things like "Okerlund" and "Oklahoma"). Try not to bust out laughing where it's stated that Slater "held almost every major title that there ever was in professional wrestling." The life and time of a professional wrestler, "Dirty Dick" Slater who came to be one of the most famous wrestlers all over the U.S. and Japan. How he came from Ravena, N.Y. to the Tampa Bay area and got into pro-wrestling, along with alot of other big time celeberity[sic] wrestlers.
50 Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All Time, The: The Definitive Shootby Larry Matysik I guess I don't have much need to read one person's subjective list of who he thought was "best". No-holds-barred, honest, and objective, this is a definitive look at the greatest pro wrestlers who ever stepped through the ropes. Blending the old and the new and delving into what made these 50 remarkable performers the best in their sport, this guide illustrates their contributions to the massively popular spectacle of the wrestling world. The antidote to the marketing-motivated claims made by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is provided here, sweeping aside the corporate profit motive of listing standouts who can sell DVDs and dolls and instead shooting from the hip, revealing who sincerely belongs among the cream of the crop. The complexity of choosing--and ranking--the 50 finest ever from a strong group of talented candidates also spins a secondary tale about the evolution of pro wrestling and how this unique sport operates. Revealing these stars' compelling stories in detail, this collection adds up to an entertaining and enlightening description of a monumental business through the history of its legends.
Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWEby Pat Patterson Publishers Weekly says That story line is surprisingly wistful, tender, and accessible to all readers . . . Patterson is a very good storyteller, and his tales from the road about well-known personalities such as the fun-seeking Andre the Giant and the forever-young-at-heart Ray Stevens are wonderfully told, and many of the wrestlers' time-killing pranks are laugh-out-loud funny.
Adam Copeland on Edgeby Adam Copeland (Edge) I have not been inspired to read this book yet. Greg Oliver's review reads: The latest offering from the WWE's publishing wing is Adam Copeland on Edge, an autobiography of a self-made man in many ways. It's a good, easy read, but in the end, it's just not going to stand the test of time.
Adrian Street by Adrian Street I haven't heard much about this book and it doesn't seem to be available on Amazon.
Andre the Giant (Wrestling Greats)by Ross Davies This isn't high on my "must read" list. The special on The Biography channel and the long story in Sports Illustrated are all I need to know about Andre.
Animalby George "The Animal" Steele Did George Steele have an interesting enough life to warrant a book? Perhaps. Still, I won't be rushing out to buy this one jut yet. A stand-out character in an entertainment industry where persona is everything, George “The Animal” Steele shares how he balanced his real life as Jim Myers, a highly respected high school teacher and coach, with the green tongued, hairy backed, turnbuckle eating wrestling icon he was in the ring. The memoir delves into the golden era of wrestling in the 1970s and 1980s and his entry into the World Wrestling Federation where he earned a spot in professional wrestling history despite only speaking in animal-like grunts. In reality, the educated man that overcame his struggles with dyslexia and Crohn's Disease was a father and an inspiration to many of his students and players, and the dichotomous personalities that marked this much-loved man's life are explored in his own words. The book is filled with nostalgic and humorous anecdotes about the whirlwind life of wrestling alongside such notables as Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino, both in and out of the ring.
Are We There Yet?: Tales from the Never-Ending Travels of WWE Superstarsby Robert Capiro I haven't read this yet, but the topic sounds like it would have interesting stories. Amazon's editorial review states: True, or mostly true, stories of the road from: John Cena, Mark Henry, Teddy Long, Shannon Moore, Matt Hardy, The Hurricane, Dr. Tom Prichard, Molly Holly, Dave Hebner, Rico, Brooklyn Brawler, Kane, Jim "J.R." Ross, Ivory, Victoria, Goldberg, Tommy Dreamer, Al Snow, Steve Richards, Ric Flair, A-Train, Dean Malenko, Sgt. Slaughter, Chris Jericho, Edge, Chavo Guerrero, Coach, Rey Mysterio, D-Von Dudley, Jackie Gayda, and Big Show.
Arn Anderson 4 Ever: A Look Behind The Curtainby Arn Anderson (Marty Lunde) This was the first wrestling-related book I bought (right when it came out). Arn doesn't break kayfabe, and there's no huge revelations divulged, but it's a quick read at only 164 pages, going into his childhood (he was mostly raised by his grandmother) and his years as a Horseman. There's plenty of stories of his days in the Louisiana, Georgia, and Pensicola territories. He talks about when he first met Ole Anderson. He gives his opinion on the fans, Magnum TA, The Rock & Roll Express, Sting, and Bobby Eaton. Bullet Bob Armstrong's and Ted DiBiase's opinions of Arn are also spelled out. The publisher writes: This book is a must for anyone who is a fan of prowrestling! The truth about wrestling once and for all revealed by a man who lived it. Nobody tells it like Arn,straight and to the point. The inside stories of events and people in pro wrestling from Ric Flair and the Minnesota wrecking crew to the modern day Nwo,and everything in between. This is a powerful,true life story filled with wit and wisdom thats not just for wrestling fans. Its a success story about a man who became a legend. Its about clawing and scratching your way to the top,and the sacrifices made along the way. You will love this book!
Assassin: The Man Behind The Maskby Joe Hamilton, Scott Teal Since I may not get around to reading this book, I'll include Dan Lovranski's review (since I respect his opinion, as we have similar experiences/backgrounds in the world of pro-wrestling): Despite the anticipation for the Bruiser Brody book, in my heart, I have to say the Assassin book was the one I enjoyed the most. I have all the typical wrestling books and consider myself a knowledgeable person in regard to being a fan of old-school wrestling, i.e., the days of territorial wrestling/the NWA. I felt Joe really gave good insight to the travels, troubles and experiences of pro wrestling in the days before cable TV and the WWE. My thanks for the content and production of the book. I do have to note that one of my favorite parts of the book was the description of the use and making of the original Assassin wrestling masks. Thinking of Dick Beyer trying on women's girdles on his head, with his wife in Woolworth's, makes me realize we would have fewer wrestlers from 'parts unknown' if it had not been for there wives !! Please pass along my appreciation to Joe for sharing his life's history with 'old fans' like me. --William Burnett Just by reading its table of contents, and knowing that Joe Hamilton has been in the wrestling business for a half century, I knew going in that this book would have plenty of insight, and sure enough, it did not fail to deliver. Scott Teal, the Tennessee Titan, has brought forth yet another fine effort when it comes to wrestling history, Assassin: The Man Behind the Mask (not to be confused with Alice Cooper's rockin' tribute to mad slashin' Jason). Mr. Hamilton's autobiography is a fantastic look at wrestling history and history in general. I enjoyed reading about some of the regional territories that didn't exactly get a whole lotta ink in the old Apter mags, like Vancouver, Knoxville, and the short-lived 1970s Tennessee version of the UWA (which Lou Thesz was involved in). The 'ribs' and road stories are fun comic relief (such as graceful Tex McKenzie having a true case of the 'blues'), but for me, the real meat and potatoes in this book involve Hamilton giving us a behind-the-scenes look at his tenures as a booker, ring crew leader and wrestling school teacher, as well as his valuable lessons regarding the psychology of wrestling (which some of today's young wrestlers should learn more of). He also offers his views relating to the downfall of WCW. It's great that an old school main eventer, who truly paid his dues and survived some personal hardships growing up, is still involved in the wrestling business today. These days, I can just picture Hamilton as Yoda, passing along his wisdom to many young Luke Skywalkers ('May The Flame be with you!'). A straight up 'thumbs up!' --John Watanabe Sometimes it just can't be helped. You can't live in every era. You can't see every match or performer at his peak. Even for a seasoned wrestling fan like myself, the name of Joe Hamilton and The Assassin doesn't instantly provoke memories of matches or times gone by. I was but a mere babe when Hamilton was one half of the hottest touring tag team of the 60s, The Assassins. Yet when I did first see him on TV two decades later, he left me with a twitch that'll never be cured. It was during a WCW PPV that had a legends theme with vets coming back and doing some matches. Hamilton was wearing his classic US style wrestling hood, incredibly plain compared to the stylish Lucha masks we see so much of today. All he did was cut some promos on Dusty Rhodes, constantly referring to him as Jellybean. But to this day, whenever one of my closest friends and I refer to Dusty, we still call him that. We might not have been around for the heyday of the Assassin, but he was still able to make an impression, even in the final stages of his career. Well, I'm happy to say that even if you have no connection or perception of the Assassin as a character, as a wrestling fan, you can't help but both enjoy and be somewhat awestruck by parts of his story. This book chronicles an era of professional wrestling that almost seems like it was 1000 years ago rather than just 40. Back then, there were no wrestling schools, so anybody wanting to get on board had to gain the confidence of veteran workers and then get stretched and beat on for months before that first match. Then they worked their way across North America, staying in territories guided by a promoter of, more often than not, dubious character until they were burnt out and moved on. Like JJ Dillon's and Ole Anderson's books (also co-authored by Scott Teal), Hamilton offers up glimpses into every side of the business since he too has done it all from worker to booker. It's almost become sad to read some of these veterans' autobiographies and seeing how solid their booking minds are in comparison to those of today. Sure wrestling is a completely different beast than it was in Hamilton's time, but there are some basic booking principles that needed to be remembered, even in 2006. Although you may be shaking your head in disbelief at the stupidity of modern booking after reading Hamilton's approach, the stories he weaves about his run-ins in with fans are even more mind-boggling. He was a prime heel in the era when people were convinced that these guys lived the dastardly life 24-7 and fans weren't afraid to show how much they hated them by physically attacking their person or smashing up their car. Many heels from the past casually mention this kind of stuff in passing and may have one or two stories to tell. Not the Assassin. He devotes a whole chapter to these crazed fanatics that would trash their cars, challenge them to fights or just try to stab them. It really does seem like a whole other world. But on the other hand, look how effective it was. There probably isn't anyone showing up to stab Edge at the next WWE show. It's a perfect example of the Catch-22 of pro wrestling: it has to be realistic enough that fans can get emotionally involved, yet still maintaining the showbiz side that separates it from anything else. Even more than the story of Hamilton, that seems to be the real message here. This really is a book that should be read by all wrestling fans, especially the younger ones who grew up on the 80s and 90s product just so they can see how different it really was. Even more important, maybe it will finally show some of those that were so excited to break kayfabe just why it was there in the first place.
A.W.A. Record Book: The 1960sby Mark JamesA record book that covers the entire AWA wrestling territory for the decade of the 1960s. This book features the cards and results for hundreds of wrestling cards that took place throughout the mid-west wrestling promotion during the 1960s.
A.W.A. Record Book: The 1970s Part 1 1970-1974by Mark JamesA record book that covers the entire AWA wrestling territory from 1970 through 1974. This book features the cards and results for hundreds of wrestling cards that took place throughout the mid-west wrestling promotion during the first half of the 1970s. Besides cards and results, this book features programs and photos.
Batista Unleashedby Dave Batista & Jeremy Roberts This will be near the bottom of my "to read" list. Dave hasn't been in the business long enough to warrant a book, plus--he isn't all that interesting. He got into the business late in life and has spent much of his time injured.
Beer, Blood & Cornmeal: Seven Years of Strange Wrestlingby Bob Calhoun This sounds like one of the most interesting book on wrestling that nobody's ever heard of. I loved reading the recaps of the matches put on by Incredibly Strange Wrestling (with such wrestlers as El Homo Loco, Cletus The Fetus, The Abortionist, The Ku Klux Klown, Uncle NAMBLA, and Harley Racist), but the only time they came to Minnesota, I didn't hear about it until it was about 6 hours too late. Matthew Polly writes: In this unforgettable insider's account of the bygone era when punk rock and wrestling ruled San Francisco, Bob Calhoun (aka Count Dante) proves that he's still the fastest mouth in the business. You may run, but you won't be able to hide from this gleefully warped tale. I couldn't put it down. The San Franciso Chronicle writes: A behind-the-scenes look at one of the best oddities to come out of the Bay Area over the past few decades. Scripps Howard News Service writes: For seven years, Calhoun tried to help ISW break through to the mainstream . . . [and now he] chronicles that unsuccessful questas well as the twisted characters he met along the way.
The Best Of Timesby Jerry Jarrett Jerry has been one of the least exciting characters when I've heard people interview him. Based on that alone, this will not be one of the first 200 wrestling books I read. In the 1940s, Jerry Jarrett's humble beginnings on Nashville's 22nd Avenue only served to drive his spirit to succeed. Putting on live professional wrestling events at the age of fourteen, Jarrett's path to success soon became apparent. From ruthless business partners to wrestlers legitimately trying to kill him, Jerry always looked ahead to the future and never let the past stop him. While most would have taken it easy after achieving the highest levels of success in wrestling, Jerry's personal drive did not have an off switch and led him to excel in other business ventures. Life and death, brutal betrayals, lifelong friendships, amazing successes, stunning defeats and none of which occurred in the wrestling ring. Jerry Jarrett's life can truly be described as a rollercoaster ride.
Between the Ropes: Wrestling's Greatest Triumphs and Failuresby Brian Fritz, Christopher Murray This has not been getting very good reviews. Description: The power players behind the wildly popular and often controversial world of professional wrestling are examined in this chronological look at the past 10 years of wrestling entertainment. The competition between the four major wrestling organizations-World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the World Wrestling Federation (later renamed as World Wrestling Entertainment [WWE]), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA)-is rendered in detail, from wrestling's late-90s resurgence and the financial troubles of WCW and ECW to WWE's singular dominance and TNA's present-day struggle for market share. The reasons behind pro wrestling's popularity surge are explored in terms of key statistics such as television ratings, pay-per-view buy rates, and live-event attendance, as well as how the major organizations have capitalized-or not-on wrestling's trends. Commentary from the authors' seven-year-old weekly wrestling radio program is featured throughout alongside opinions from The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, and Vince McMahon.
Big Apple Takedown (WWE)by Rudy Josephs Yet another book churned out by WWE. This is a 288-page fictional book of what it would be like if WWE wrestlers and valets were covert black-ops agents in their "spare time". An interesting concept, but I get the strange feeling that the execution will come off unintentionally laughable. That said, everyone I've talked to only read this book because they expected to laugh at how bad it was--but ended up enjoying it. Description: December 2001: Vince McMahon steps out of a snowy night into a diner in upstate New York for a meeting with old friend Phil Thomson, now a highly placed government official. Thomson has a strange proposition: creating a new covert black-ops group using the Superstars of World Wrestling Entertainment. The WWE's talented men and women are perfect. Highly skilled athletes with the ideal cover, they travel all across the country and the globe; no one would find it unusual to find them in a town one day and gone the next. The government would train and support the wrestlers in every way possible except one: no one must know the truth. March 2006: The Superstars have been handed their latest assignment -- take down a commercial-grade methyl-amphetamine plant that is bankrolling terrorist activities in Europe. Their mission seems simple and straightforward, until a member of their team is taken prisoner. Now all that they've worked so hard for is in jeopardy, and one of their own might be killed...
Bill Goldberg (Wrestling Greats)by Ross Davies This isn't high on my "must read" list, as it is just a biography written by someone not associated with Goldberg.
Billy Kidman (Pro Wrestling Legends)by Jacqueline Mudge I don't think there are many people who consider Billy Kidman a "legend". Although I enjoyed his work in WCW, I don't think his life would be all that interesting (outside of his involvement with Torrie Wilson). You know the drill: it isn't especially high on my "must read" list.
Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling, Second Editionby Harris M Lentz This is my favorite wrestling-related book of all. It lists biographical information on just about every major star (and quite a few minor stars) in the history of the sport. A literal Who's Who of professional wrestling. Madusa helped with a lot of the content, but when she was signing my (first edition hardcover) copy she looked at it with a confused expression on her face like she had never seen a copy of the book before. It also makes a great conversation piece, as I have wrestlers autograph their bio. Almost without exception, the wrestler will want to thumb through it looking for other wrestlers' listings, and soon you are surrounded by a hoard of wrestlers! It's pricey, but well worth the cost. The American Library Association's Booklist writes: Professional wrestling has grown more popular since the first edition of this title appeared six years ago. The just-the-facts entries are arranged by wrestlers' best-known names (Rock, The). Rettig on Reference writes: information otherwise all but impossible to find Amazon's editorial review states: Though professional wrestlers are usually ignored by sportswriters and entertainment reporters alike, the popularity of these gifted athletes and showbiz pros is undeniable. Few fans are concerned with whether the wrestling is "legitimate." From Ace Abbott to Buck Zumhofe, this is the second edition of the first-ever ("major contribution'-ARBA; "most informative"-Wrestling Then & Now) comprehensive compilation of biographical information on professional wrestlers past and present, including major promoters and managers. Each entry is listed under the wrestling name most often used, with cross references to real names and other ring names. The ring name is followed by the grappler's real name, hometown, height and weight, and birth and death dates when available. The biographical data provide the era in which the individual competed, wrestling associations, titles, tag team partners, major bouts and other highlights.
Black Stars of Professional Wrestlingby Julian L Shabazz I thumbed through a friend's copy (he successfully worked the publisher into mailing him a free copy) briefly and plan to order it. While it has some glaring omissions, and spends most of its time looking at The Rock and Junk Yard Dog, there are a lot of obscure black wrestlers talked about in detail. WOW Magazine's review states: If you want to see the glorious history of the black wrestler, and you should, I highly recommend Julian Shabazz's excellent book. Wrestling World Magazine writes: ...presents the untold story of the long forgotten warriors of the ring. Whatever Happened to...? writes: his encyclopedia-like book lists short bios and attempts to point out the contribution black wrestlers have made to wrestling. SLAM! Wrestling writes: It's interesting and thorough, if not encyclopaedic. It's a handy and honest reference work... More than anything, however, it's long overdue.
Blakwidow by Amanda Storm Editorial Review: This is a story of beginnings: a seemingly ordinary woman quits her job writing computer manuals and moves over 3,000 miles to train at Killer Kowalski's wrestling school near Boston and becomes Amanda Storm. One year later finds her fighting in front of 6,000 people in one week and the proud holder of championships in three different federations. Storm regularly trains with, wrestles, and body slams men who outweigh her by over 100 pounds. This has earned her the nickname "BlakWidow," and she is quickly becoming one of the dominant female wrestlers in the Eastern United States and Canada. In BlakWidow: My First Year as a Professional Wrestler, Amanda writes about how she got to where she is now, the problems, the victories, and the upheaval in her life. How did a woman with a university English degree transform herself into the man-eating professional wrestler she is today? BlakWidow tells the whole story in a way that's never been documented before, complete with exclusive never-before-seen photographs. And the publisher writes: An exciting behind-the-scenes story of what it takes to be a professional wrestler. This is a story of beginnings: a seemingly ordinary woman quits her job writing computer manuals and moves over 3000 miles to train at Killer Kowalski's wrestling school near Boston and becomes Amanda Storm. One year later finds her fighting in front of 6000 people in one week and the proud holder of championships in three different federations. Storm regularly trains with, wrestles, and body slams men who outweigh her by over 100 pounds. This has earned her the nickname "BlakWidow" and she is quickly becoming one of the dominant female wrestlers in the Eastern United States and Canada. In BlakWidow: My First Year as a Professional Wrestler, Amanda writes about how she got to where she is now, the problems, the victories, and the upheaval in her life. How did a woman with a university English degree transform herself into the man-eating professional wrestler she is today? BlakWidow tells the whole story in a way that's never been documented before, complete with exclusive never-before-seen photographs.
Bobby the Brain: Wrestling's Bad Boy Tells Allby Bobby Heenan, Steve Anderson I plan to read this soon. It is suppsoed to be very funny, though it doesn't give any "dirt" as Bobby refuses to bury anyone. John Baber's review said Heenan avoids the easy out of just summing up his favorite matches. The fans have seen him on television, on pay per views, he touches on these briefly and moves on. He wants to tell you about the things you didn't see. It's not a tell-all, he doesn't 'out' anybody or settle scores. He just wants to tell the reader about things he found interesting in his career. Heenan is brutally honest on just how screwed up the backstage workings were at WCW, but he's concise and doesn't dwell on it.
Body Slam: The Jesse Ventura Storyby Jake Tapper This isn't high on my "must read" list, as it is just another in a long line of unauthorized biographies. Amazon's editorial review writes: In every arena, Jesse Ventura puts a headlock on the competition--now he's turning the country on its ear How did an outrageous, outspoken, boa-wearing pro wrestler nab the title of Minnesota's governor in an overwhelming upset? This is the question the nation is asking--and Washington journalist Jake Tapper provides the fascinating answers. From Jesse Ventura's Navy SEAL days, to his infamous wrestling years, to his stunning political victory, read the story of the Body, a man who truly embodies the American Dream. Get the real story on: -His intense training to become an elite Navy SEAL and his experiences overseas during the Vietnam War -His lengthy career in the pro wrestling field--from flamboyant pro wrestler to colorful commentator--including his feuds with Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon Jr. -Ventura's acting stints, including a part in the film Predator -How the Body mouthed his way to the top of shock radio -His rise through the ranks of politics, from mayor to governor--and maybe beyond -Ventura's political vision--what he sees for Minnesota and the country -And Much, much more! The Body Politic Will Never Be the Same. with 8 pages of amazing photos
Bodyslams! Memoirs of a Wrestling Pitchmanby Gary Michael Cappetta I haven't read this yet, but plan to. The product description reads: They're held captive by the glamour and the grotesque of the oldest spectacle known to man. But the inquisitive public at large, along with a vast international network of pro wrestling aficionados, yearn for more than the intriguing soap opera scenarios and daring athleticism that they view every week on television and live at venues around the world. They want a behind-the-scenes view beyond what is routinely represented to the public. In short, curious observers and ardent wrestling fans will be captivated by what Gary Michael Cappetta has delivered in Bodyslams!, Memoirs of a Wrestling Pitchman. Bodyslams! is the first book to shed light on the dangerous games that both the performing wrestlers and their corporate employers play in order to acquire power, fame and wealth. The book runs chronologically and serve s as both a history and an exposé of American wrestling as Mr. Cappetta has witnessed during his twenty-one years as an announcer for America's two dominant promotions. The contract that Gary Cappetta signed to join the broadcast team of Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling signified Cappetta's arrival at the pinnacle of his profession. As a child captivated by the wrestling spectacle and its colorful performers, Gary dreamed about becoming part of the show. As unlikely as his childhood fantasy seemed, Gary Michael Cappetta ultimately became one of the most widely recognized voices in pro wrestling. While he is trained as a Spanish language educator, he became known around the world as wrestling's foremost ring announcer. From 1974 to 1985 Gary Michael Cappetta announced for The World Wrestling Federation. In 1985, when ESPN added pro wrestling to its sports schedule, Gary joined their national broadcast team. In 1989, Ted Turner signed Cappetta to a contract to appear on TBS's WCW Saturday Night and the internationally syndicated World Wide Wrestling. Through 1995, he also performed on live prime time special s and pay-per-view productions presented by Turner Home Entertainment. In addition to two decades of international television exposure, the commanding presence of Mr. Cappetta has dignified thousands of live events in more than three hundred cities throughout the United States, Canada, England, Germany, Scotland and Ireland. Gary has announced in both English and Spanish, a skill he refined while studying at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Mr. Cappetta's bi-lingual talent was instrumental to his work as the Spanish speaking wrestling host on KCAL in Los Angeles. He recently rejoined the World Language Department at a private academy New Jersey. In addition, Gary has applied his knowledge of the entertainment field to an entirely new realm as a consultant in the music, television and video world. He is currently guiding the career of the very talented actor and recording artist, Michael Vale. Authoring Bodyslams!, Memoirs of a Wrestling Pitchman has given Gary Michael Cappetta the opportunity to grippingly and truthfully present the business of professional wrestling as has never been done before.
Booker T: From Prison to Promise: Life Before the Squared Circleby Booker T. Huffman I've heard from multiple people that this is a very good read, from the trouble Booker got into growing up, to turning his life around and getting into wrestling. A spirited tale of redemption from a seemingly insurmountable life of tragedy and crime, this first autobiography of professional wrestler and TV commentator Booker T. Huffman details his life before celebrity status in the ring. Beginning with Booker T's single-parent upbringing after the passing of his father, this powerful account reveals the gritty reality of his formative years--from the gruesome accident Booker T witnessed at the age of 13 that led to his mother's death and his subsequent life of abject poverty as an orphan in urban Houston to years of reckless drug use, dealing, and violence that culminated in a five-year prison sentence for robbery. With engaging candor Booker T writes of his refusal to allow his years of crime to cloud his future and his decision to take responsibility for his life and make a positive impact in his community. This intimate profile chronicles his transition from absentee father to locating his child in foster care and taking custody; events that led Booker T to pursue a better life and a career with the WWE by attending World Wrestling Alliance training camp. It also sheds insight into Booker T's relationship with his seven siblings, including his brother and eventual tag team member Lane "Stevie Ray" Huffman.
Bret 'Hitman' Hart: The Best There Is, the Best There Was, the Best There Ever Will Beby Bret Hart and Perry Lefko This isn't high on my "must read" list, but since Bret wrote it I'll probably eventually read it after I get through with the wrestling books I deem to have a higher priority. I've talked to people who liked this book and others that were disappointed that there were huge gaps in his career that were left out of the book. There are many family photos, but none from his days in the WWF. Bret claims he's writing a new three-volume book about his career, so hopefully that'll be a little better than this one.
Bret Hart (Wrestling Greats)by Ross Davies This isn't high on my "must read" list, as it is just another in a long line of unauthorized biographies.
Briscoby Bill Murdock This isn't high on my "must read" list, as I wasn't a huge fan of Jack or any of the Brisco family members. The product description states: Jack Brisco went from NCAA Champion at Oklahoma State University to NWA World Heavyweight wrestling champion. As one of professional wrestling's biggest stars of the last 50 years, Brisco lived an extraordinary life in and out of the ring. In this marvelous book, full of photos, author Bill Murdock spins a spellbinding story that takes you behind the scenes of the athletic world's most intriguing sport. About the Author: William Murdock was named by six-time world heavyweight champion Lou Thesz, "One of our finest wrestling historians; my personal wrestling historian...." Educated at Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College, Mars Hill College, Duke University and Harvard University, Murdock is a former amateur wrestler and coach. He is a feature writer for W.I.N. Magazine and serves as the vice-chairman of the International Wrestling Institute and Mustum in Newton, Iowa. Mr. Murdock is the Executive Director of the Eblen Charities in Asheville, NC.
Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling's Rebelby Larry Matysik This isn't high on my "must read" list. Sure, Frank Goodish was a kind man outside of the ring (and apparently a real pain to most promoters) and I really enjoyed his matches when I was a kid, but I don't think I need to read a book about him. Book description: The most unpredictable and charismatic grappler of all time? The brute that made brawling an art before the term "hardcore" was coined? The confrontational businessman who fought for every penny he felt he deserved? "Bruiser" Brody had no peers when it came to blood and guts, controversy and independence. Most wrestling promoters portrayed their top talent as exactly that kind of free-spirited, take-no-guff personality. They didn't mean it, though - which explains why so few would admit to respecting Brody even as they featured him time and again. So why did they give him work? Simple. "Bruiser" Brody delivered the goods in the ring and at the box office. In the 1970s and early 80s, Brody was one of the few performers, along with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, to be recognized as a national star. With his fiery personality, Brody also conquered the international market.
Broken Harts: The Life and Death of Owen Hartby Martha Hart, Eric Francis I feel bad that I haven't had a chance to read this yet. There are about ten wrestling books ahead of it in my reading queue. Amazon's editorial review states: The wife of wrestler Owen Hart recounts their life together, her husband's wrestling career, and his death as he fell from the top of an arena doing a stunt during a televised wrestling match.
Bruno Sammartino: An Autobiography of Wrestling's Living Legendby Bruno Sammartino This isn't high on my "must read" list, as I was never that big on Bruno. The biggest complaint I've heard from people who were fans of his is that he never breaks kayfabe in the entire book, to the point where he denies that razor blades were ever used to draw blood. He also makes painful efforts to deny that matches are ever predetermined.
CAN YOU TAKE THE HEAT?: The WWF Is Cooking!by Jim Ross This isn't high on my "must read" list. I do a lot of cooking, but I don't need WWE recipes. Amazon's editorial review states: Can You Take the Heat? offers something seldom found in a celebrity cookbook: a WWF-style announcement for each recipe. This is important, both to give the book the raucous flavor so crucial to the entertaining identity of the World Wrestling Federation, and to introduce some of its worthy names that might be unfamiliar to the culinary world. The announcer, Jim "J.R." Ross, gives the personal background of each dish. Thus, Sgt. Slaughter is represented both by the specifics of his Mess Hall Dip (the secret is the 12 ounces of sour cream, "or more if desired") and by Ross's reminiscence about the night he and Sarge shared an $8 room in Baton Rouge and Sarge introduced Ross to a local restaurant's best menu item, Sweet and Sour Chicken. "After a sake or two, Sarge could damn near balance an entire egg roll on his chin!" Sarge orders you to enjoy his dip, and regrets that if he were to yield to the impulse to share with you his secret recipe for Slaughter Steak, he'd be forced "to use the Slaughter Cannon and the Cobra Clutch on you." Though lots of the entries exist to be silly--you can live without Mick Foley's Knuckle Sandwich recipe--the book isn't just a gag. You really can make J.R.'s Slobberknocker Pork Chops and Stone Cold Steve Austin's "Stomp a Mud Hole in Your Steaks and Ribs" Simmering Sauce. Do try this at home, folks!
Canvas Countdown: The world of wrestling in 100 listsby Paul Meehan This is a "lists" book for Kindle, and details his love for professional wrestling across 100 distinct lists, covering everything from the major US promotions to the UK indies, Japan and personal views on 30 years of following the sport.
Catch Wrestling: A Wild and Wooly Look at the Early Days of Pro Wrestling in Americaby Mark S. Hewitt Not the type of thing I buy wrestling books for. Anything-goes catch wrestling from England merged with the rough-and-tumble fighting of the American frontier to spawn one of the most lethal fighting arts ever - North American catch-as-catch-can wrestling. This book chronicles the exploits of an elite group of wrestlers who took on all comers in packed arenas, carnivals and dirt lots all across America. Contains matches featuring wrestler, boxers and jiu-jitsu practitioners and a superb collection of old photos, poster and ads.
Catch Wrestling, Round Two: More Wild and Wooly Tales From the Early Days of Pro Wrestlingby Mark S. Hewitt Not the type of thing I buy wrestling books for. Take another trip back to the raucous early days of pro wrestling as Mark Hewitt brings you even more blow-by-blow accounts of dozens of the most famous and infamous mat battles of the day, as well as the backstage stories of the colorful characters who crisscrossed the country from the 1880s to the 1960s in search of fame, glory and cold, hard cash. From all-comers matches to high-profile card events, from dirt lots and carnivals to packed arenas, from country boys to skilled scientific wrestlers, the fighting lore is packed in here tighter than a Strangler Lewis headlock. Filled with extremely rare photos culled from the libraries of fight fans and historians and the family scrapbooks of the wrestlers themselves, Catch Wrestling: Round Two offers up such gems as: The most notorious double-cross in wrestling history. London's legendary Alhambra Tournament of 1908. Japanese sensation Matsada Sorakichi's U.S. debut. Wrestler vs. boxer mixed matches. Celebrity referees, celebrity wrestlers and the French Angel. The Gracie brothers and the fight scene in 1930s Rio de Janeiro. Read the true stories of Tigerman Pesek, Midget Fischer, Earl Caddock, Billy Wicks, Lou Thesz, and all the other grapplers who paid for their place in sports history with blood, sweat and pain.
Chair Shots & Other Obstacles: Winning Life's Wrestling Matchesby Bobby Heenan, Steve Anderson This is supposed to be pretty funny. I'll eventually read it. Alex Marvez writes: Heenan espouses his opinions on marriage, family and education with the same wit that helped make 'The Brain' most memorable. The inside flap contains: Chair Shots and Other Obstacles: Winning Life's Wrestling Matches is an introspective look into the wit and wisdom of legendary professional wrestling manager Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. "Chair shots" is a part of wrestling vernacular, but it is also a metaphor for setbacks and impediments that one experiences in life. Heenan has had his share of challenges-both personal and professional. He also has learned his share of lessons, but not in a formal education setting. The world has been his classroom, and observing life around him, his curriculum. In his new role of "self-help guru," Heenan dispenses that wisdom through tangible and downright funny examples and anecdotes of a 59-year life and a five-decade career in professional wrestling. And what a career it has been. Heenan shares his many "chair shots," from battling pesky promoters and fanatical fans to combating cancer, which Heenan refers to as "the ultimate heel." Heenan also shares his seemingly infinite supply of humorous stories about many wrestling legends including: Dick the Bruiser, Andre the Giant, Vince McMahon, and Hulk Hogan. Finally, "The Brain" sums up his experiences with a last bit of advice: "Don't be a 'Bobby Heenan.' I'm not even saying to be a Ray Heenan. Just be a clown. That's the best advice I can give anyone... Now, when do I get paid?"
Cheating Death, Stealing Lifeby Eddie Guerrero, Michael Krugman This could be good, but considering the lack of hype from WWE, I'm guessing it was something they just slapped together when Eddie was being pushed--but realized it wasn't very good. It's 320 pages.
Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journalby Mick FoleyWhile Mick's earlier books were the best of the best, they seemed to get less and less inspired as he went along. The undisputed king of the literary ring is back with another handwritten, hardcore home run. Forget the ghost writer and the computer keyboard - this mesmerizing memoir is straight from the pen and notebook paper of the Hardcore Legend, Mick Foley, chronicling the heart-pounding build-up to "Lockdown", one of the most important matches of his long and storied career. Foley's every limit is tested, as he battles back the formidable tag-team of Father Time and Mother Nature - overcoming a host of injuries and serious self-doubts to get back in the ring with one of his all-time favorite foes. With his trademark blend of wit and wisdom, wildness and warmth, Foley dishes previously untold stories from his remarkable life, including his transition from WWE to TNA, his ill-fated stint as a television commentator, his tumultuous relationship with Vince McMahon, his thoughts on performance enhancing substances in sports, the troubling list of wrestlers dying way too young, and his soul saving work in Sierra Leone.
Cowboy and the Cross, The: The Billy Watts Story: Rebellion, Wrestling and Redemptionby "Cowboy" Bill Watts "A must-read." -Dave Meltzer, columnist, Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Not a typical story of redemption, this autobiography is the compelling narrative of the profound change religion can make in even the most hardened heart. Former pro wrestler "Cowboy" Bill Watts documents his entire life story-from youthful altercations with the law to success as a sports star to personal salvation. Though largely about his personal journey, Watts's account also discusses the mechanics and power struggles of pro wrestling and his own role in one of the most savage promotional wars ever to hit the state of Georgia.
Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darknessby Dustin Rhodes, Mark Vancil This was one I was going to pass on reading, as I didn't think it would be all that interesting. From people who have read it, it sounds like it's a decent read as Dustin is very open about his past addictions. I would have preferred if it had fleshed out some of the stories I've heard about him and Terri. He first burst onto the scene in the nineties, covered in gold face paint and exhibiting a one-of-a- kind flamboyant style that bewildered his foes and thrilled his fans. Inside the ring, Goldust is as tough as they come, known for using outrageous mind games and taking down his opponents with unparalleled ruthlessness. It's no surprise, then, that wrestling is in his blood; Goldust is the son of Dusty Rhodes, “The American Dream.” What is it like to be the son of a wrestling icon and follow him into the same profession? In this no-holds-barred account, Dustin Rhodes speaks frankly and openly about his journey. He talks about being a young boy who desperately missed his dad. A young man who only wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and threw aside a football scholarship to eke out a meager existence in regional wrestling. A green wrestler struggling to prove to his peers that his work, not his name, had gotten him to where he was. Rhodes describes how, in the midst of a painful five-year estrangement with his father, he finally made a name for himself as Goldust and then let it all go, tumbling into a descent of self-medication that led him away from a red-hot career as a WWE Superstar and nearly cost him his life. When he finally hit bottom, Rhodes knew where to look for help from the family he always had: his father and World Wrestling Entertainment. When he got clean and sober and was offered the chance to wrestle for WWE, he snapped up the offer. The everyday existence of life on the road, working with and watching the new Superstars-- like his brother Cody Rhodes--has reminded Rhodes of why he loves being a wrestler. Cross Rhodes is an intimate portrait of one man's road to redemption and a unique glimpse into one of the most famous families in WWE.
Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rulesby A.J. Mendez Brooks Everything I've heard about this says it should be near the top of my "must read" list. Although she goes into her WWE run a bit (two-thirds of the way into the book), this is more focused on her triumph over mental health issues. Also--not much of the book is dedicated to info on CM Punk if you were hoping for that. AJ Mendez Brooks is a New Jersey native, Florida transplant, and Illinois resident who complains about being cold literally every day. A former professional wrestler with the WWE, she has won numerous wrestling awards and championships as well as inspired a generation of young girls to wear sensible shoes. She studied film and television production at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts before they politely asked her to go away. AJ currently works with several animal rescue and youth oriented nonprofit organizations. She has been the mom of numerous rescue dogs, and exclusively adopts the system's lost causes, because she is attached to her stomach ulcers. She lives with her husband, their dog, and her PS4 in Chicago, Illinois.
Dad You Don't Work, You Wrestleby George South and Mark James Not in the top half of my "must read" list, but I'll get around to it! George South is a hold out from the glory days of professional wrestling. If you spend any time with him it's quickly apparent that the priorities in is life are his family, wrestling and his savior, Jesus Christ. As a child in the 1970s, he grew up watching Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. He knew then that he would soon be in the ring with his idols, men like Paul Jones, Wahoo McDaniel, Blackjack Mulligan, Ric Flair, the Anderson Brothers and Masked Superstar. Throughout his 30 plus year career in professional wrestling, George has maintained his strong faith in his Savior, Jesus Christ. Never willing to compromise, George has been able to stay on his daily walk with the Lord as well as keeping his focus on his wonderful family. George's journeys have taken him to the NWA, WCW and WWF and he's faced a who's who of wrestling legends. These experiences led George to open his own wrestling school which is still open today. Every weekend George still drives up and down the road to wrestling shows, thrilling the old-school fans. This book documents George's humble beginnings through his long career in professional wrestling. It's an amazing story told by an amazing man.
Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination, and Survivalby Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman While I'm a fan of Brock's WWE work and a huge fan of Heyman's ECW booking and his WWE manager stint, I just don't think that Brock has led that interesting of a life to the point that I want to read a book about it. A 5-page article? Sure. An entire book? Not really. I don't follow MMA, and while I follow the Vikings, his stint there was too short to have many great stories. Brock Lesnar has been, and is one of the most popular - and polarizing - figures in sports and sports entertainment. Whether fans love him or hate him, they never miss an opportunity to watch Brock when he squares off with an opponent. He is a celebrity of the first order, but disdains fame, avoids the media, and remains intensely private. Now, for the first time, Brock tells his incredible story in his own words. Brock relives his long journey to become the best college wrestler in the country, his meteoric rise in World Wrestling Entertainment, and what lead him to walk away from fame and fortune when he was at the top. He talks openly about the accident that derailed his plans to play in the NFL, his professional wrestling comeback in Japan, and his transformation and rebirth as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. Fans will get an insider's look at Brock's career in the UFC - the training, the competition and what it takes to be, and to remain a champion. Brock will also talk about the illness that nearly killed him, his will to survive, and what he really values and aspires to be. Powerful and real, this remarkable memoir is the story of Brock's determination and domination, and the making of a true champion.
Death of WCW, Theby R.D. Reynolds, Bryan Alvarez I've heard good things about this book. In 1997, World Championship Wrestling was on top. It was the number-one pro wrestling company in the world, and the highest-rated show on cable television. Each week, fans tuned in to Monday Nitro, flocked to sold-out arenas, and carried home truckloads of WCW merchandise. It seemed the company could do no wrong. But by 2001, however, everything had bottomed out. The company -- having lost a whopping 95% of its audience -- was sold for next to nothing to Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment. WCW was laid to rest.
Divas Uncoveredby Michael McAvennie This looks like it might not be half-bad. A lavishly illustrated photojournal combining text and images that capture the Divas of World Wrestling Entertainment at their most sensual, energetic and revealing. The book is full of unique, exciting photo layouts which illustrate the Divas as some of the sexiest women in the world today. Diary-style comments show them to be powerful, insightful women who enjoy working hard and playing hard. In the words of top diva Trish Stratus: "We're sexy, we're strong, we're beautiful and athletic - and we've redefined the word Diva"
Do Ya Wanna Be A Wrestler, Kid?by Beau James, Dr Donnie Brannen This is a strange book. It has nothing but five-star reviews on Amazon, but everyone's I've talked to hated it.
Drawing Heatby Jim Freedman Maurice Forrester called it The best book about wrestling.
Drawing Heat the Hard Way: How Wrestling Really Worksby Larry Matysik While not as "insider" as the title might suggest, this book does a good job of relating how Vince K McMahon's hold on pro-wrestling shapes the sport for everyone (for the worse and, occasionally, for the better). A personal and insightful look at the sport of wrestling, this memoir explores how and why professional wrestling captivates millions of loyal fans. Exposing how wrestling really works--how it is booked, promoted, reported on, and broadcast, as well as how steroids come into play--this book scrutinizes the sport's power brokers, including Dave Meltzer and Vince McMahon, and analyzes how announcers and wrestlers are reshaping the sport through illusion and spectacle that, despite mistakes and controversies, continues to win the devotion of fans. Revealing personal experiences with zeal, this tell-all is the ultimate take on what it means to be a wrestling fan from someone who understands the inner workings of the business.
Electing Jesse Ventura: A Third-Party Success Storyby Jacob Lentz Library Journal writes: Jesse Ventura's volatile but appealing personality was a less significant factor in his 1998 election as Minnesota's governor than the state's unique political environment, concludes Lentz, a native Minnesotan and political science scholar. Minnesota provides generous election campaign funds for established third parties and is one of only seven states that allows residents to register and vote on the same day. Almost 70 percent of these election-day registrants voted for Reform Party candidate Ventura over State Attorney General Skip Humphrey (Democratic Farm Labor Party) and St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman (Republican Party). The media did not take Ventura's campaign seriously until late into the election and therefore paid less attention to his vague platform than to those of the two major candidates. In addition, nasty fighting between Humphrey and Coleman and support of the "dudes" working-class men and women with family incomes of less than $50,000 helped give Ventura, the former professional wrestler, 37 percent of the vote enough to elect him. Lentz presents an engaging investigation of Ventura's victory and what it might mean for future third-party candidates. Recommended for academic and most public libraries. Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Eric Bischoff: Controversy Creates Cashby Eric Bischoff, Jeremy Roberts This is actually on my "to buy" list, but isn't in my top ten. I've read about 10% of the book just thumbing through pages in teh bookstore, and while there is some interesting insight into how his mind worked, it's missing that edge that really grips you as a reader. Description: Eric Bishoff is one of the most controversial figures in the world of wrestling. Under his watch as president of WCW, the company went head to head with Vince McMahon and the WWE and beat them at their own game before ultimately imploding. First hired as part of WCW in the role of on-air announcer, Bishoff was asked by then WCW owner, Ted Turner what he thought was need to beat the World Wrestling Federation - Turner liked his answer, and Bischoff was appointed president of the company . With Turner and his money behind him, Bishoff declared war. He hired top, recognized talent away from WWE; he produced a show that looked more dangerous, was more sexy, and with more of an edge that anything being done by the McMahon and his team. Going head to head with the WWE, but broadcasting live, Nitro became the number one wrestling show for 80 consecutive weeks. However, the formula for the WCW's success, also became the blueprint for its failure. Top heavy with highly paid talent with control over their storylines, the WCW stumbled, and the WWE stepped in and took the lead in the ratings and never gave it up. When Time-Warner bought out Turner, they found that the WCW was losing millions a year, and all WCW programming was cancelled. Vince McMahon swept in and was able to buy the entire company for pennies on the dollar. In this no-holds-barred look at his career and life, Eric Bishoff will discuss the things that he did right and all that he did wrong as he helped shape the sports entertainment industry into the billion dollar business it is today.
Exquisite Mayhemby Ehret It's not high on my "must read" list. This is only peripherally wrestling-related.
Fabulous Moolah, The: First Goddess of the Squared Circleby Ellison It's not high on my "must read" list, but I'll eventually read it. This book got very mixed reviews. Some people liked it, others thought Moolah was too full of herself and didn't give kudos to any of the other groundbreaking females of her era.
Farewell Keystoneby Cory Clement This is a book of fiction that includes a major character (Sonya) who is an aspiring pro-wrestler--so I have added it this list and plan to read and review it.
Foley is Good: And the Real World is Faker Than Wrestlingby Mick Foley Another easy read. Not quite as good as the first. Still, Foley's writing style make this (lengthly) book a fast read, and there's plenty he didn't put in the first book. Foley has a nice style to his writing that makes it sound like he's talking to you over a beer. He has some good stories to tell and his humor makes him a decent storyteller. I definitely recommend this book. Amazon's review says: Not only is gap-toothed Mick Foley a heavy character in the World Wrestling Federation, he is the undisputed literary champion of the wrestling bestseller. It's amazing that there is such a thing as a "wrestling bestseller," and that fact owes largely to the No. 1 bestselling success of Foley's first book, Have a Nice Day! Now he's back with another memoir, Foley Is Good: And the Real World Is Faker Than Wrestling, and fans will not be disappointed by the jokes, the jibes at fellow WWF arm-twisters, and the genial charm of the literary behemoth of our time.
Forgiven: One Man's Journey from Self-Glorification to Sanctificationby Vince Russo Editorial Review: One of the key professional wrestling or "sports entertainment" writers, Vince Russo helped pen modern wrestling's most electric storylines. Revealing the true, behind-the-scenes stories from some of wrestling's most famous moments, including Bret Hart's lost championship and the rise to superstardom of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, and The Rock, this autobiography is the one that every wrestling fan has been waiting for. Touching and beautifully written, this memoir offers a modern day parable about the price of success and the power of redemption. I'm not sure how much I want to read about Vince Russo and his mail order "minister ordination".
Frank Gotch : World's Greatest Wrestlerby Mike Chapman It's not high on my "must read" list, despite the face that I am a bit of a mark for the old-time history of the sport. I don't know if this book is as good as Hooker by Lou Thesz, but I will eventually want to read this book and write up a review.
Friday Night in the Coliseumby Geoff Winningham Last time I checked, the cheapest used copy was $75.00. I've actually heard good things about this book, but unless the price drops a bit, I might resort to looking for a copy at the library.
Gordon Solie, Master of the Ringby Gordon Solie I will read this before too long, despite the fact that the cheapest used paperback copy is currently going for over $60.00 (and I've seen copies for sale for over $200.00). The "Dean of Professional Wrestling Announcers," Gordon Solie was the reason I started watching pro-wrestling back in the ealy- to mid-1970s. These days, I find it hard to enjoy a match without hitting the mute button since the announcers take so much away from the product rather than adding to it.
Gordon Solie... Something Left Behindby Pam and Bob Allyn I started reading this (I was really looking forward to it) but haven't managed to finish it. About a year before Solie's death, the wheels were in motion for me to ghost-write his autobiography--but with his declining health, that never happened. This was written by his daughter Pam Allyn and son-in-law Bob Allyn, so I certainly hope they do him justice with this book. The book contains more than 150 photos and also discusses his life before getting into the Sport of Kings.
Gotch: An American Heroby Mike Chapman It's not high on my "must read" list. Both Frank and Karl Gotch were before my time. Matt Furey, publisher of GAIN Magazine writes: Mike Chapman just released the best written book of his career (he has 12 titles to his credit). Chapman's latest, "Gotch: An American Hero" is an historical novel based upon the life of professional wrestler Frank Gotch, America's first world champion. This book is 279 pages long and has the makings of a movie written all over it (are you listening Hollywood?). When reading the book you'll wish you had lived back in the early 1900's...and were able to train right alongside Gotch, Farmer Burns, Dan McLeod and the others. "Gotch: An American Hero" is written in a down-home Iowa dialect that doesn't really exist anymore, and even if it never did, reading the dialogue will be like drinking poetry. Each sentence pulls you closer into the fantasy world of old-time pro wrestling. Every page comes to life and throws you into a realm of "the good old days" of real professional wrestling. Gotch's matches and his life are covered in vivid detail and presented in such a realistic fashion that you'll feel like the champion is your friend. It isn't often that you'll read a book and feel like you're right there, watching the whole parade. You will when you read "Gotch: An American Hero." This book belongs in the library of every grappling enthusiast. Dale Anderson, columnist for WIN Magazine writes: "This is a great book about the greatest wrestler of all time. But it is much more than a story about a wrestler. It's also an exciting history of sports and sports figures at the beginning of the 20th Century. Of all of those early century sports legends, Gotch was the most famous. I liked the way the author told about Gotch's wrestling on the floor of the Roosevelt White House and in front of the largest crowd to see a sporting event in Comiskey park. The author's story telling ability makes it very easy to get wrapped up in this book until Y2K." Andre Gibson, International Wrestling Institute & Museum website columnist writes: As a long time devotee of the sport of wrestling, I found Gotch: An American Hero to be an entertaining trip through the past. Frank Gotch is a truly outstanding sports figure in American history and deserves to have a book written about him by America's top wrestling historian. I highly recommend this book.
Grappling Glory: Celebrating a Century of Minnesota Wrestling & Rasslingby Ross Bernstein This one sounds rather interesting, but it'll have to wait until I get through the autobiographies that are higher on my list. It has forewards written by Jesse Ventura, Verne Gagne & J Robinson. The book cover jacket written by the author reads: Minnesota's amazing amateur and professional wrestling histories come to life like never before in best-selling sports author Ross Bernstein's newest coffee-table book, "Grappling Glory." Featuring interviews and biographies from hundreds of our state's greatest wrestlers, coaches, media personalities, supporters and fans, the book is both intriguing as well as insightful. In it are stories ranging from inspirational to heartwarming to downright hilarious. While these two completely different animals, wrestling and rassling, surely make for some odd bedfellows, Bernstein went to great lengths to make sure that each entity had its own place in the book: amateur in the first half and professional in at the latter. He also made sure to acknowledge that amateur wrestling is a sport, while professional wrestling is a form of sports-entertainment. There are many common denominators between the two, however, in that they both require incredible athleticism, extremely hard work and a boat-load of self-confidence to succeed. Both have also produced a whole bunch of extraordinary people over the years, and that is what this book is all about - celebrating the achievements of those who have made Minnesota proud both on the mat and in the ring. With some 350 photos, the book highlights a tremendous sampling of local heroes - both native Minnesotans as well as transplants. Some were obvious choices, while others came from way outside the box. All of them, however, had a very unique and interesting story to tell, and all of them have touched the lives of countless people along the way. Bernstein spent nearly a year doing research and interviewing wrestling aficionados from all spectrums of the world of sports and entertainment to get the inside scoop. On the amateur side, the book dives into the state-of-the-state of youth, high school, collegiate and Olympic freestyle & Greco-Roman wrestling. Take a trip back in time as you read about and look at pictures of every high school state champ from the very first tourney in 1937, all the way through 2004. From in-depth interviews with dozens of local high school coaches, to feature chapters on every college and university program statewide - it's all here. Highlighting this section are the two-time National Champion Golden Gophers, as well as Division III powerhouse, Augsburg, which has very quietly turned its program into a dynasty over the past two decades. In addition, there are even sections devoted to junior college wrestling as well as the advent of women's wrestling too. Now, on the professional side of the fence, the book chronicles the glorious history of grappling in the Gopher State, going all the way back to the turn of the century - when the "f" word (fake) dared not be mentioned out loud... or else! It also features a huge chapter on the history and evolution of the old American Wrestling Association (AWA), and its legendary founder/promoter/world champion - Verne Gagne. There are also more than 100 feature biographies on nearly every home-town or home-grown pro wrestler with ties to Minnesota as well. From "Jumping" Jim Brunzell to "Mean Gene" Okerlund, and from Stan "Big K" Kowalski to Larry "The Axe" Hennig - the AWA's entire cast of colorful characters is all on board. Learn about life on the road from Joe Laurinaitis (aka "Animal") of Road Warriors fame; find out what Baron Von Raschke is up to these days; and laugh yourself silly reading about the antics of legendary wrestler-turned-trainer Eddie Sharkey. Relive the glory days of watching the action up close and personal out at the old Minneapolis Auditorium, it will be a trip down memory lane that will surely bring a smile to your face. It was all about the journey and about making a difference... and the difference these legends have made has left a truly lasting legacy - for all of us all here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. From high school state champs to world heavyweight champs, their personal memories dot the canvas of this century-long saga, in what is sure to be a wonderful trip through time. Signed personalized copies of the book are available from the author's website.
Hacksaw: The Jim Duggan Storyby Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Scott E. Williams Despite the fact that I turn the channel every time Jim comes on my TV, Williams has been able to get decent stories out of wrestlers for whom he ghostwrites. Offering professional wrestling fans a ringside seat into his adventurous life, WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Jim Duggan recounts for the first time key moments and legendary bouts both inside and outside the ring. Known to millions of enthusiasts as a charismatic patriot--with an American flag in his right hand and his signature two-by-four in his left--Duggan here reflects on his early life as a student-athlete on the Southern Methodist University football squad. Drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, Duggan shares how an injury-plagued rookie season curtailed his football ambitions and paved the way for a brighter career in professional wrestling. Rising to fame in the Cold War–era 1980s, Duggan immediately put himself at odds with anti-American “heels” and engaged in legendary feuds with some of the most legendary names in the sport, including the Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, and Andre the Giant. In this who's who of top-tier wrestling, Duggan reveals not only the high points of championship bouts but also the low points that occurred far away from the TV cameras and screaming fans, including his fight against kidney cancer during the prime of his career. With each page peppered with Duggan's charming wit, fans will find much to enjoy and discover about the man they once knew only as “Hacksaw.”
Hardcore Diariesby Mick Foley I plan to read this soon, as it sounds "edgier" than his first two autobiographies. As Mick describes it: What was I thinking? Another autobiography? A third? Who did I think I was, Winston Churchill? Why would I want to set my pen loose on hundreds of sheets of notebook paper unless I really felt I had something worth writing about? Besides, I had a wrestling comeback to prepare for, mentally and physically, provided I could get Vince McMahon and the WWE creative staff to embrace what I was sure was the single greatest storyline of my career. Then it hit me: the storyline. I would give WWE fans unprecedented access to World Wrestling Entertainment, covering everything from conception to completion. I would recount how I felt about specific interviews and matches, whether they helped or hurt. I would expose the backstage politics, shed some light on my rocky relationship with Vince McMahon, offer insights into my personal dealings with WWE Superstars, and tell stories about my favorite Divas. But I wasn't interested in writing just a wrestling book. I wanted to share moments from my personal life as well, from a humorous look at my unlikely dinner with polarizing neocon Paul Wolfowitz, to my haunting meeting with a severely burned boy in Afghanistan, to my peculiar obsession with a certain jolly old elf. I knew I could make the fans care about this storyline, provided I could once again find the passion to make the story come to life in arenas around the country and on television sets around the world. Most importantly, I had to ask myself a vital question, one upon which this whole idea, and therefore the book you hold, hinges: Was I willing to become the first voluntary member of the Vince McMahon "Kiss My Ass Club"? I sat on the idea for a few days, to let the idea ripen and mature in my mind, like a fine vintage wine, and to figure out if I was really willing to kiss his ass. I mean, literally kiss a man's ass. Sure, I'd been kissing the same guy's ass figuratively for a decade. But this was different. Did I really have the testicular fortitude required for such a task? In front of millions? Including my wife and kids? I made the call.
Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of the ECWby Scott E. Williams It's not high on my "must read" list. Description: Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of the ECW offers a frank and balanced look at the evolution of the company, starting even before its early days as a Philadelphia-area independent group called Eastern Championship Wrestling in 1992 and extending past the death of Extreme Championship Wrestling in 2001. Writer Scott E. Williams has pored through records and conducted dozens of interviews with fans, company officials, business partners, and the wrestlers themselves to bring readers the most thorough account possible of this bizarre company.
Hardcore Truth, The: The Bob Holly Storyby Bob Holly, Ross Williams Bob Holly wasn't one of my favorite wrestlers, and stories I've heard about him backstage paint him as being a cancer, so this won't be high on my list to read. The wrestling legend Bob “Hardcore” Holly tells all in this autobiography that chronicles his journey from fighting in bars for money to the bright lights of the World Wrestling Federation. Holly reveals how he took more body slams and clotheslines outside the ring than in and that long before he was known as “Hardcore Holly,” he had an unquenchable passion for professional wrestling. Ultimately, Holly would hold the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hardcore Championship seven times, the WWE Tag Team Championship three times, and the National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship once. But in the midst of his career achievements was a rollercoaster of success and frustration, and Holly reveals the plethora of missed opportunities and broken promises that marked his road to television stardom. Replete with fast motorcycles, faster cars, wrestling bears, betrayal, and lost love, Holly shares his uncompromised view of his past and the current state professional wrestling.
Hardy Boyz, The: Exist 2 Inspireby Matt & Jeff Hardy I'll eventually buy this, but it's not in my top five "to read" books, despite getting very good reviews from just about everyone I've talked to. Amazon's editorial review states: Matt and Jeff Hardy have proven that a relentless drive for success can make your wildest dreams come true. While still in high school, Matt and Jeff decided to become professional wrestlers at any cost. In a business that usually prizes giants, they were told their aspirations were unreasonable and impossible. But after the tragic loss of their mother, they began to pursue their goals with unstoppable determination. The Hardy Boyz: Exist 2 Inspire tells the story of Matt and Jeff Hardy's journey to WWE superstardom. Whether taking beatings from Razor Ramon and Nikolai Volkoff during their first WWE matches or winning the WWE Tag Team Championships against the Acolytes, the Hardy Boyz have experienced all the pains and pleasures that sports-entertainment has to offer. Their fast-moving, high-flying ring style has raised the bar for anyone who aims to follow in their footsteps. From receiving a standing ovation for their 1999 No Mercy ladder match against Edge and Christian to winning singles championships, Matt and Jeff have succeeded both as a team and as individuals. Still in their mid-twenties, the Hardyz have long careers ahead of them. The Hardy Boyz is the inspirational true story of two small-town North Carolina boys who clawed their way to the top of the magical world of professional wrestling and achieved their childhood dreams.
Hart Stringsby Julie Hart Yet another book out of the Hart family. Being married is one thing, but being married to Bret “Hitman” Hart--former five-time World Wrestling Entertainment Champion--is another. In her vibrant and honest memoir, Hart's ex-wife and the mother of his four children chronicles the ups and downs of balancing life with a superstar husband in the circus world of professional wrestling. Beginning with Julie's teen years and early romance with Bret, the story follows the couple's marriage, children, divorce, and continued presence in each other's lives, culminating in Julie's growing role as one of the new matriarchs of the ever-expanding Hart family in Calgary. Vividly detailed and humorous, this authentic account of Julie's life as an individual, wife, mother, sister, and friend is told by, quite arguably, the Hitman's toughest opponent and greatest ally of all time.
Have a Nice Day!: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocksby Mick Foley An easy read. Lauded by many a fan as the best book written by a professional wrestler. I'll agree that it is good (and I'm glad Foley penned it without assistance from a ghost writer) but I won't call it "the best". This is the book that started the big boom era of wrestlers writing books, as it was the first to reach the top of the New York Times best sellers list (with the huge hype machine of the WWF behind it). Foley went on to pen a second autobiography, several books for children, and one fictional novel (each to varying degrees of success--but no where near the sales of his first two books, since wrestling has cooled down from the boom period and Foley has stayed out of the public eye for the most part). Daytona Beach News writes: Foley's humor alone makes 'Have A Nice Day!' a must read.
Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestlingby Bret Hart I'll be reviewing this one fairly soon. It's not on my list of top 10 wrestling books to read, but I'm glad to hear that Bret doesn't shy away from telling about his bad side in this book. As Bret says: For as long as I can remember, my world was filled with liars and bullshitters, losers and pretenders, but I also saw the good side of pro wrestling. To me there is something bordering on beautiful about a brotherhood of big tough men who pretended to hurt one another for a living instead of actually doing it. Any idiot can hurt someone.
Hollywood Hulk Hoganby Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) It's not high on my "must read" list. I'd love to read Dave Meltzer's personal copy that he has been scribbling "corrections" in the margins each time he reads a lie. Greg Grant's review said Over all, a fun read. It's a good summary of Hogan's career and his accomplishments that doesn't dish the dirt on anybody and has a couple of great, revealing moments about the business of pro-wrestling and Hogan himself. One thing that got me right off the bat is Hogan's description of how barbaric 'rasslin really was. I heard vague semi-horror stories before and Foley mentions in his book about how bad stuff used to be before his time, but Hogan vividly describes the kind of crap he had to go through and things that were considered "normal" in his time. There's a nice moment in the book where Hogan talks about bumping into Andy Kaufman in the lockerroom and how Kaufman was scared shitless and tried to quickly walk away in wide-eyed terror, and the reason he did it wasn't because he was weird or anything, but because he was an outsider in a wrestlers' lockerroom, knew how much they resented him, and knew what they did to people they resented.
Hooker: An Authentic Wrestler's Adventures Inside the Bizarre World of Professional Wrestlingby Lou Thesz, Kit Bauman Not the best written, but contains a lot of interesting information. I received a signed, numbered copy from Lou, as I was working with The Wrestling Channel (and this was published by Wrestling Channel Press). Wade Keller writes: This book receives my highest recommendations. Thesz's book is not only educational, it's entertaining and well-written. Engaging and a must-read. Dave Meltzer writes: A must read for anyone interested in the history of pro-wrestling from a man who was right in the middle. I have read 31 reviews of this book, and without exception--every one gave it the highest marks.
How I Helped Kill Kayfabe: From Internet Geek to Wrestling Insiderby Bob Ryder I enjoyed Bob's Prodigy chats with people in the business in the mid-1990s, and I've spoken to Bob at a few of the Nitro "after parties". This 300-page book is likely to be an interesting read, and will be near the top of my "must-read" list (though not in the top ten).
Hulkamania!by Pocket Books It's not high on my "must read" list, as it is just another in a long line of unauthorized biographies.
I'm Next: The Strange Journey of America's Most Unlikely Superheroby Bill Goldberg, Steve Goldberg It's not high on my "must read" list. Amazon's editorial review states: Bill Goldberg's friends were skeptical when he decided to quit being an NFL defensive lineman and take up pro wrestling. "Billy Goldberg, a wrestler?" said his pal Roger Duchowny. "Jews don't wrestle... except with guilt." But Bill was a last-string lineman with a bad groin injury, and a born performer. So he went to study with the runty Jedi master of wrestlers, Dewayne "Sarge" Bruce, who used to wrestle as "the Leprechaun in the Dungeon of Doom." Sarge got Billy through basic training with flying colors. Duchowny, a director for The Love Boat, suggested that Billy devise a catch phrase, and they came up with "Who's next?" Needless to say, "Goldberg" proved a more imposing stage name than "Billy." And at his 1997 match in Salt Lake, Goldberg whomped the well-known Hugh Morrus (a.k.a. "Humorous") with style, throwing in a back flip for good measure. Goldberg was on his way. Soon he had a look (bald, gloves, a cool, thorn-themed arm tattoo from Georgia's Psycho Tattoo), and a signature entrance, through a shower of sparks. (The key is to be as wet as possible, because sparks do sting.) There have been times when, for all his success, Goldberg has regretted following his instincts. "Using a real cattle prod was my idea. If I was going to lose, it was going to look as realistic as possible, but when I ate the voltage I knew why those big beasts were so cooperative. As the crowd started to chant 'Goldberg. Goldberg. Goldberg,' I lay there wondering what the hell I was doing flopping around the ring like a fish in a Speedo." Still, art is its own reward, and he has no regrets about severing his tendons, getting 196 stitches, and nearly crippling himself by punching through a limousine window instead of using the scripted prop, a sledgehammer. "My girlfriend could break a window with a sledgehammer. Where's the theatrics in that?" Bill Goldberg's grandpa was in the circus. Like grandpa, like grandson. Only in Bill's circus, the clown, the strongman, and the barker are all rolled into one. Goldberg is one of the barking strongman clowns to watch. The inside flap reads: Goldberg is a one-man ass-kicking machine. He's as exciting a superstar as the wrestling world has ever seen and when he was finally beaten, it took three guys and a cattle prod to do it. I'm Next is the high-energy, exciting, and hilarious story of how he went from unemployed football player to undefeated World Champion in just eighteen short months. Goldberg chronicles his rocketlike rise to wrestling stardom from his "upset" win against Hugh Morrus in his first-ever televised match, to winning the U.S. title against Raven, to jackhammering living legend Hulk Hogan for the pin and the world title. Best of all, you'll get to hear Goldberg's real opinions about other wrestlers. You won't believe what he has to say about guys like Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, the Rock, and Scott Hall. I'm Next also covers Goldberg's life from the time when he had a first name. Growing up, Bill Goldberg never wanted to become a wrestler. All he wanted to do was play professional football. And he did . . . until a 330-pound offensive lineman nearly separated his private parts from his torso. He was forced to reinvent himself in a radical way -- especially for a guy whose parents were a Harvard-educated doctor and a classical musician. He became a professional wrestler. But Bill didn't just become Goldberg overnight. He trained at the legendary WCW Power Plant, where stars are made and dreams are shattered. In I'm Next he tells the whole story of his character's creation -- the bald head, the gloves, the tattoo, and the genesis of his famous battle cry, "You're next!" He also talks about the hectic life of a wrestler on the road. You'll see him at major sporting events hanging out with guys like Brett Hull, Shaquille O'Neal, and Bill Elliot. You'll follow him as he takes batting practice with Mark McGwire and drinks from the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils. What emerges is a picture of a complicated man on a strange and unlikely journey. One minute he's delivering a spear that would stop a charging rhino, and the next he's delivering a speech to the United States Congress on behalf of the Humane Society. I'm Next is the inside story of what really goes on behind the curtain in professional wrestling. And you'd better believe that the soap opera story backstage is more bizarre than what you see in the ring. Bill Goldberg is a man of intensity who tells it like it is. And he shows it, too, through dozens of never-before-seen photographs from his personal collection.
I Only Laugh When It Hurtsby Adrian Street Adrian Street was an interesting character, so this could be a good read. My journey of a lifetime continues from book #1 of my autobiography, "My Pink Gas Mask," with book #2, "I Only Laugh When It Hurts." Dazzled by London's bright lights, Race Riots, Gangsters, Wild Women, Rock 'n' Roll at the 2 I's Coffee Bar, and Tough Wrestlers: Jack Spot, The Krays, Polish Peter Rachman, "Mad-Fred" the Ear-Biter, Becky Big Tits, George Kidd, and Bert Assirati. Join me...if you're tough enough!
If They Only Knewby Chyna (Joanie Laurer) I read this over the span of several months. It's an okay read, but how many people really want to know about her life? She jumps back and forth between talking about growing up and "current" things going on in her life, which can be disorienting. She talks about her parents' divorce, her leaving her mother to go live with her father, several operations she had to have as a teenager, her early employment, some failed relationships, her first impressions upon showing up for Killer Kowalski's training "eeeenstitute", her two boob jobs, and her days in the WWF. This book came out just after HHH dumped her and just before she was fired for asking for a huge raise (the same time the business was hitting a down cycle) so it doesn't cover anything after her WWF career.
If You Don't Want The Answer, Don't Ask The Question: Bill Dundee's Life Storyby Bill Dundee While he didn't have "go away heat" like several of the wrestlers who have written books, Bill never really stood out from the crowd. That said, when he's done interviews, his stories from the road are much more interesting than almsot anyone else's. Based on that, I've bumped this way up the list on my "must read" list. This book came out at the end of 2011, and over a year later, every review on Amazon has been 5 stars.
Imagine What I Could Do To Youby Adrian Street Adrian Street churns out another book! Pure T.N.T.: Tenacious. Nasty. Truthful. Guaranteed to spark controversy! But that's the story of my life. My adventure continues and I come face to face with the Wild, Wild Women of British Wrestling!!! Will I survive? Read and find out.
In the Pit with Piper: Roddy Gets Rowdyby Roddy Piper (Toombs) This isn't high on my "must read" list. The product description reads: Here, in his own words, is the story of one of the greatest wrestlers ever-Rowdy Roddy Piper. The bagpipe-playing legend gets down and dirty about the world of professional wrestling-and his own career. He takes readers back to his life as a teenage runaway and his first match, when he stepped into the ring for $25. He recalls his triumph as the youngest World Light Heavyweight Champion, and how he helped make the World Wrestling Federation the phenomenon it is today with little more than a microphone stand and a bow tie. From a man who joined the game long before it emerged as big-time entertainment comes a story that tells it like it is-and that's filled with as much excitement as the jam-packed arenas where he fought his fiercest foes.
It's Good to Be the King...Sometimesby Jerry Lawler I'll eventually get around to buying this. Publisher's Weekly's review said In this surprisingly listless behind-the-scenes memoir, Lawler, a veteran wrestler and a commentator for WWE Raw, delivers the standard run-down of the show business behind the "sport": matches are tightly choreographed, trash-talking interviews are scripted and simmering wrestler feuds are plotted out months in advance by the same folks who concoct the sociopathic characters the wrestlers impersonate in the ring. The premise of the wrestler tell-all genre is that the making of wild spectacle is more interesting than the spectacle itself. That may be true, but in Lawler's telling the rollicking charlatanism of the wrestling world gets bogged down in aimless anecdotes, bad one-liners ("I wanted to ask a fan, "Who did your makeup? Bozo?") and unfunny practical jokes in which he douses people with water or spikes their food with laxative.
It's True! It's True!by Kurt Angle and John Harper It's not high on my "must read" list. Kurt wrote this when he had only been in the WWF for a year or two. He should have waited a few more years when he'd have more interesting stories to tell. That said, most of the people I've talked to found this book interesting.
Journey Into Darkness: The Unauthorized History of Kaneby Michael Chiappetta, Dave Stern This is a fictional telling of the backstory of Glen Jacob's "Kane" character, and is apparently a tie-in for his movie. This has to be pretty close to the bottom of my "must read" list (though I did read most of the first chapter).
King of New Orleans, The: How the Junkyard Dog Became Professional Wrestling's First Black Superheroby Greg Klein JYD was a huge character, so there are probably a lot of great stories that could be told about him. Telling the remarkable tale of a man who is still remembered on the streets of New Orleans and in the hearts of professional-wrestling fans, this book aims to restore the overlooked Junkyard Dog to his proper place in the history books. In 1979, Sylvester Ritter, also known as the Junkyard Dog, managed to break one of the final color barriers in the sport by becoming the first black wrestler named undisputed top star of his promotion, and this biography reveals all the famous feuds and business back stories that made him a wrestling legend. By 1985, New Orleans was one of the hottest cities in the Mid-South for pro wrestling due in large part to the Junkyard Dog; he became a legend in the Big Easy, drawing sellout crowds to the Downtown Municipal Auditorium and huge crowds to the Superdome, a feat unparalleled by any other wrestler. The King of New Orleans delves into wrestling's recent past and recounts how a region known for racial injustice became the home of the sport's first black idol.
King Of The Ring: The Harley Race Storyby Harley Race, Gerry Tritz It's not high on my "must read" list. Amazon's editorial review states: A true legend, Harley Race has enjoyed almost unparalleled success in the world of professional wrestling. Having turned pro in 1959 at the age of 15, his work ethic and innovative style allowed him to become one of the three biggest names in wrestling during the 1970s and early '80s. He won the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) championship on eight occasions and was dubbed World Wrestling Entertainment's first "King of the Ring" in 1986. In the autobiography King of the Ring, Harley Race tells his incredible life story for the first time. In addition to his legendary ring career, Harley Race also became a successful promoter in the Midwest during the mid '80s with a wrestling organization seen on 13 television stations covering five states. Although injuries and a car accident in 1995 effectively ended his wrestling career, he decided to give back to the sport he loved. Race opened the World League Wrestling (WLW) organization in 1999, which serves both as a training camp and as a touring organization for young wrestlers. King of the Ring explores Race's life and career, both in and out of the ring, detailing everything from the grind of traveling 300 days a year to the glory of being a world champion. From the pitfalls and vices associated with professional wrestling to overcoming career-threatening injuries and the death of his first wife, the Harley Race readers will meet in King of the Ring is as candid as he is successful.
Lady Ballsby Stephanie McMahon This might be renamed beforfe it is released.
Last Outlaw, Theby Stan Hansen Stan Hansen was a blind prick who didn't know how to wrestle. He was accidentally stiff due to not being able to see and took liberties in the ring with opponents who were ten times the wrestler he was. In addition to the stories about his time in the U.S., Stan Hansen's account of his wrestling career is a veritable guidebook of professional wrestling in Japan. In "The Last Outlaw," he tackles every subject imaginable as he educates and entertains readers with his stories about the promoters and their promotions, how the Japanese promoters operate their business behind the scenes, touring the country on the wrestling bus, the nightlife in the big cities, and how the sport in Japan differs from that in the U.S. Stan also shares stories of his time in Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and tells countless road tales about fellow wrestlers, like Andre the Giant, Terry Funk, Giant Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta, Bill Watts, Dick Murdoch, Ole Anderson, Harley Race, and Antonio Inoki. He goes into detail about his time in the AWA, how he came to win the AWA title, his confrontation with Verne Gagne prior to walking out, and what he really did with the title belt when he left the territory. Stan tells about wrestling in the WWWF, giving a detailed description of the match in which he broke Bruno Sammartino's neck, the matches that followed, and the subsequent problems he had with Vince McMahon Sr.
Legends of Memphis Wrestlingby Steve Crawford While I've heard great stories about the glory days of Memphis Wrestling, my only exposure was AWA, NWA, WWWF, and various Texas promotions. For decades, Memphis wrestling was an integral part of the Bluff City's popular culture. Performers inspired love and hatred, passion and rage. "Legends of Memphis Wresting" includes bios on unforgettable stars such as Sputnik Monroe, Al and Don Greene, Jimmy Valiant, Tommy Rich, Austin Idol, Bill Dundee, Jerry Lawler, and many others. In the words of Lance Russell, "It's time for another BIG day of championship wrestling." Commenting on the book, Southern wrestling historian David Williamson noted, "There is a lot of historical information in the book, not just about the wrestlers' time in Tennessee. You will be entertained AND learn."
Legends of Pro Wrestling: 150 Years of Headlocks, Body Slams, and Piledriversby Tim Hornbaker While I like wrestling encyclopedias, if I had to pick one, I'd go with Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling, Second Edition Anyway... Legends of Pro Wrestling offers the first comprehensive look at the entire world of wrestling. With detailed biographies and neverbefore- seen statistics of some of the greatest athletes in the sport, you will be able to read about hundreds of wrestlers, dating back to the mid-1800s. As the first of its kind, this centralized reference allows wrestling enthusiasts a range of information at their fingertips and stands alone as the “ultimate wrestling resource.” This book offers readers a link between what happened a century ago to what is currently happening today. A fan of Bruno Sammartino or “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers can enjoy this book as much as someone who follows John Cena or The Undertaker today. This collection is a never-ending source of facts, figures, and other entertaining data. Professional wrestling is a world of accomplishment and legacy. Through injuries, sickness, and family tribulations, many wrestlers have given everything there is to give in the ring and true fans of the sport love every second of it. No matter your age, if you're a fan of professional wrestling, Legends of Pro Wrestling is the book for you to own and cherish. 500 black & white photographs
Life And Legacy Of Frank Gotch, The: King of the Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestlersby Mike Chapman Frank and Karl Gotch were a bit before my time, so I don't have a whole lot of interest in this era of book. In the early 20th century, one man ruled the tough world of professional wrestling -- Frank Gotch. Learning the ferocious craft of catch-as-catch-can wrestling under the tutelage of catch wrestling master Martin "Farmer" Burns and in regular, brutal bouts in the ring, Gotch went on to dominate the sport and become one of the most famous sports figures in the world. The Life and Legacy of Frank Gotch chronicles Gotch's rise to the pinnacle of the wrestling world before his untimely death in 1917. It provides little-known details about his earliest matches, his trip to Alaska to hone his wrestling skills, his training under Farmer Burns, his harshly instructive contests with the fierce Tom Jenkins and his two epic bouts against the "Russian Lion," the great George Hackenschmidt. Author Mike Chapman offers intriguing speculation about how Gotch may have matched up against some of the other top wrestlers of all time, and he has unearthed fascinating accounts from wrestling legends, promoters and sports writers, during and after the Gotch era, who all weigh in on why Gotch was the greatest of them all. Close to 80 photos, many of which are being published for the first time in nearly a century, round out this portrait of one of the most influential figures in the history of professional wrestling.
Limericks from the Heart (and Lungs!)by Lanny Poffo, Rusty Haller Lerner Newspapers (Chicago) writes: Lanny masterfully develops his antismoking limericks while always remaining positive. The result is a positively entertaining and educational book. Description: This book contains a selection of 335 original limericks for children and readers of all ages. The verses share a common antismoking theme and are arranged in order of progressive ages. Also included are a glossary of terms (particularly important for the inquiring minds of our youngest readers), a names-and-places index and several cartoon-style illustrations. The author is former pro-wrestler Lanny Poffo. He's funny . . . he's heavy-hitting . . . he's on a mission. Here's a limerick telling you why: Tobacco is so problematic, Diseases are so automatic. I've seen my friends die And perhaps that is why I'm such a nonsmoking fanatic.
Lion's Tale, A: Around the World in Spandexby Chris Jericho I'm really looking forward to this one, since Chris comes off really well in most interviews I've seen (and in the conversation I had when we were playing billiards).
Lita: A Less Traveled R.O.A.D.--The Reality of Amy Dumasby Michael Krugman & Amy Dumas I haven't read this, but heard it's good once you get past the first chapter of her childhood. Amazon's editorial review states: Lita -- see her just once in the ring and you can never forget it. The breathtaking off-the-top-rope fearlessness that she shows keeps you on the edge of your seat. You simply can't believe she's going to be able to pull off the move, and then Lita takes it to the next level. That's her reality, that's why she is a WWE Superstar. Taking unexpected risks, daring to do what no one has done before, that's the reality of Amy Dumas, the remarkable woman behind Lita. Even as a young girl, Amy was determined to challenge herself and the world around her. She found personal freedom in the hardcore punk rock scene of the nineties. The positive force of the music and culture helped define the reality of Amy Dumas. Her willingness to try anything once set her on the path to World Wrestling Entertainment. Captivated by the high-flying style of the luchadors she saw on television, Amy was hungry to discover more about them. She just had to learn how they did those amazing moves. With only a guidebook for a companion, Amy set out for Mexico City where she was quickly invited into the secret world of lucha libre, Mexico's unique brand of professional wrestling. She returned to the States, resolute in her goal to make it as a professional wrestler. Amy found people who saw her determination and her heart, and agreed to train her. As her skills improved, she began traveling the highways and byways of America, working night after night in independent promotions around the country. Along her journey, Amy met an assortment of colorful characters as well as a number of wrestlers who would prove influential in her career. Among them were two local North Carolina stars who had just signed with WWE -- Matt and Jeff Hardy. Amy formed an instant bond with the dynamic Hardy Boyz, whose spectacular style and high-flying bravado inspired her own bold in-ring style. It wasn't long before Amy -- now christened Lita -- joined Matt and Jeff in WWE, and the three friends became international sensations as Team Extreme. Lita proved a true pioneer in women's wrestling, daring to get in the ring with the boys -- including Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock -- and never backing down. It took a broken neck suffered on the set of a television series to stop her...but only temporarily. Lita: A Less Traveled R.O.A.D -- The Reality of Amy Dumas is the stirring tale of one young woman's amazing journey to the top of the wild, wonderful world of WWE. Bob Kapur's review said The book is an open and honest recounting of Dumas' journey from the bottom of a dumpster all the way up to the top of the wrestling world, and everywhere in between. Bouncing around from city to city, Dumas did whatever she could to survive, from stripping in clubs for rent money to scrounging meals out of trash dumpsters. Dumas is quite frank and unashamed about both of those activities. The second half of the book is devoted to her WWE career thus far.
Lucha Noir - A Lucha Libre Sketchbookby Rafael Navarro, Keith Rainville, Keith J. Rainville This is a collection of ten years of lucha artwork. I'm a fan of Mexican wrestling, but not so much the non-match media.
Mad Dogs, Midgets and Screw Jobs: The Untold Story of How Montreal Shaped the World of Wrestlingby Pat Laprade This came out in late 2012 and got good reviews from Bryan Alverez. I'm not a huge fan of Montreal history, so I'll read 300 other books on wrestling before I get to this one. Demonstrating how the famed Canadian city influenced a hugely celebrated sport, this chronicle digs deep into Montreal's past, depicting how the metropolis helped form pro wrestling from every angle. Journeying from the late 1800s to the present, this book provides the lowdown on all the major wrestlers who emerged from Montreal and the province of Quebec, including Yvon Robert, the Rougeau and Vachon families, Jos Leduc, Gino Brito, and Pierre-Carl Ouellet. Big names born outside the province are also explored, from Andre the Giant and Abdullah the Butcher to Edouard Carpentier. Going beyond pro wrestling, the study shows how Montreal also held what is known as the very first midget match worldwide, covering personalities such as Little Beaver, Sky Low Low, and Tiger “Doink” Jackson in an overall look at this unique scene. Additional topics include the history of women's wrestling in Montreal, the war between the Rougeau's All Star Wrestling and the Vachon's Grand Prix, the complete title history of the heavyweight championship, and some of the unfortunate tragedies that befell the region's competitors. From the renowned McMahon promotions to the indie scene that exists today, this is the Montreal wrestling scene from top to bottom.
Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s (WWE)by Brian Shields This is a 208-page book that only the most die-hard fan would want to own. If you were a fan of Andre the Giant, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Jake "the Snake" Roberts, and Sgt Slaughter--definitely order it.
Many Faces Of Paul Christyby Paul Christy Despite watching wrestling in the Midwest in the 1970s and 1980s, I don't think I've ever heard of this wrestler. He is married to Miss Bunny Love
Memphis Wrestling History Presents: The 1950sby Mark JamesAnother in the Memphis Wrestling History series of books. This record book documents Memphis Wrestling that took place in Memphis during the 1950s. The cards and results included are for the Monday Night weekly matches. Each chapter represents a year and cover 1950 thru 1959 and has a short yearly review and a few pictures of wrestlers featured that year at the beginning of each chapter. Take a look back at the start of the "Golden Years" of Memphis Wrestling.
Memphis Wrestling History Presents 1957-1989 Clippingsby Mark JamesA visual history of all the weekly Monday night cards of Memphis Wrestling. These newspaper clippings feature all the available cards and results from Jan 1957 through Dec 1989. This is the first time all of these have been collected together in one book. This book is over 600 pages and covers the entire glory years of the Memphis Wrestling promotion.
Memphis Wrestling History Presents: The 1960s by Mark James While I've heard great stories about the glory days of Memphis Wrestling, my only exposure was AWA, NWA, WWWF, and various Texas promotions. Another in the Memphis Wrestling History series of books. This record book documents Memphis Wrestling that took place in Mempis during the 1960s. The cards and results included are for the Monday Night weekly matches. Each chapter represents a year and cover 1960 thru 1969 and has a short yearly review at the beginning of each chapter. This book is considered a book end to Memphis Wrestling History's first book that covered all the cards and matched for 1970 thru 1985.
Memphis Wrestling History Presents: 1966 Programsby Mark JamesA look back at Memphis Wrestling 1966 through the weekly programs that were sold at the Monday Night Wrestling cards held at the Ellis Auditorium. This book has nearly every weekly program (and the accompanying newspaper clipping results). A wonderful look back at wrestling from 50 years ago.
Memphis Wrestling History Presents: 1967 Programsby Mark JamesA look back at Memphis Wrestling 1967 through the weekly programs that were sold at the Monday Night Wrestling cards held at the Ellis Auditorium. This book has nearly every weekly program (and the accompanying newspaper clipping results). A wonderful look back at wrestling from nearly 50 years ago.
Memphis Wrestling History Presents: The 1970s by Mark James While I've heard great stories about the glory days of Memphis Wrestling, my only exposure was AWA, NWA, WWWF, and various Texas promotions. Another in the Memphis Wrestling History series of books. This record book documents Memphis Wrestling that took place in Mempis during the 1970s. The cards and results included are for the Monday Night weekly matches. Each chapter represents a year and cover 1970 thru 1979 and has a short yearly review at the beginning of each chapter. Take a look back at the start of the "Glory Years" of Memphis Wrestling.
Memphis Wrestling History Presents: 1977 The War For Memphisby Mark JamesA look back at Memphis Wrestling most important year. In 1977 Memphis wrestling promoter Nick Gulas went to war with his head booker Jerry Jarrett. The winner would have the right to run wrestling in Memphis, TN. This book covers the entire year of 1977 in Memphis. Included are nearly every weekly program as well as never before seen photos from that year. Also included are statements from many of the people who wrestled in in Memphis during 1977. Take a look back at Memphis Wrestling most pivotal year.
Memphis Wrestling History Presents: 1978by Mark JamesA look back at Memphis Wrestling and one of it's[sic] most important years, 1978. Following 1977 Memphis wrestling promoter owner Jerry Jarrett had to follow up the success of his previous year and prove it wasn't a fluke. With Jerry Lawler, Jimmy Valiant, Bill Dundee, Joe Leduc, Sonny King, Nick Bockwinkel, and a stable of others, Memphis Wrestling would go on to prove they were here to stay. This book covers the entire year of 1978 in Memphis wrestling. Included are every weekly program as well as never before seen photos from that year. Take a look back at Memphis Wrestling learn where the stories and legends came from.
Memphis Wrestling History Presents 1982by Mark James While I've heard great stories about the glory days of Memphis Wrestling, my only exposure was AWA, NWA, WWWF, and various Texas promotions. Step back in time to 1982 and relive the matches, personalities and stories from Memphis Wrestling's greatest year. With performers like Jerry Lawler, Bill Dundee, Dutch Mantell, Jackie Fargo's Fabulous Ones, Jimmy Hart, Jim Cornette, Ric Flair, Nick Bockwinkel, Tojo Yamamoto, Kimala, Adrian Street, Lance Russell, Dave Brown and Andy Kaufman, it's no wonder 1982 is looked back on with such reverence. For the first time you can read the story about what made Jerry Jarrett's Memphis promotion the hottest regional wrestling territory in the country in 1982.
Memphis Wrestling History Presents: 1992-93 Programs & Booking Sheetsby Mark JamesMemphis Wrestling History has documented the 1950s, 60s, 70s & 80s. This book features MWH's first trip into the 1990s! With programs from the entire USWA territory from 1992-1993 along with weekly booking sheets for the same time frame. Take a trip back in time to when professional wrestling was still real.
Memphis Wrestling History Vol. II: The Programs 1972 - 1976by Mark JamesAfter being off the shelf for over 6 years, it's been re-released! Same book if you missed it before. Go back in time to look at the Memphis Wrestling territory from 1972-1976. Great behind the scenes info as well as comments and photos from it's stars. Also included are tons of programs from each year.
Memphis Wrestling History: Cards, Matches and Results 1970-1985by Mark JamesA look back at the golden era of Memphis Wrestling thru newspaper clipping and programs. This book covers 1970 through 1985 and has all available cards & results of the weekly wrestling events held in Memphis, TN at the Mid-South Coliseum.
Merchant of Menaceby Adrian Street Book #7: Featuring Don Leo Jonathan, ‘Nature Boy' Buddy Rogers, Sheik Ed Farhat, The Iron Sheik, Austin Idol, Cactus Jack, Honky Tonk Man, Michael Hayes, Kevin Von Erich, Bruiser Brody, Rob Van Dam, The Spoiler, married in Las Vegas and more.
Missy Hyatt, First Lady of Wrestlingby Missy Hyatt< This is near the top of my "must buy" list. Missy doesn't hold back and tells all about everyone she came into contact with in the business. Just about every review I've read make it sounds like a funny and interesting read. The publisher writes: First came Missy. Then came Sable, Sunny, Chyna. Missy Hyatt was professional wrestling's first character--the original sexy "socialite" sidekick whose trademark Gucci purse and tough-girl attitude made her the most loved--and the most hated--woman in wrestling. Now, fifteen years after she first shimmied up to the ring, Missy Hyatt takes fans inside the world of wrestling. In this tell-all memoir, Missy discloses the behind-the-scenes secrets of table-throwing, chair-smashing, hair-pulling, and the technique of "juicing"--how wrestlers make themselves bleed on cue. Find out about her relationships with Jake the Snake, Wonder Years' Jason Hervey, Hot Stuff Eddie, and many many more. The quotes on the back cover read: "Missy Hyatt is going to burn in hell--and rightfully so!" --Paul E. Dangerously (ECW owner, WWF announcer) "Missy Hyatt is the first lady of wrestling. She knows the business inside out--literally. Now she's telling all. Forget you know me, Missy . . . and enjoy the Witness Protection Program!" --Electra (ECW, HBO's The Sopranos) "Missy and I and Brian Pillman were the best tag team ever . . . under a blanket!" --Tom Z-Man (WCW) "Missy always had more bullshit in her than a Christmas turkey. But come Christmas, I'd still rather have her on the table than the turkey." --Terry Funk (WCW) "Missy was a real bitch to me for the longest time! I think it may have been because she wanted me so bad and knew I was way out of her league. Anyway, as Big Stevie Cool would say, READ THE BOOK! READ THE BOOK!" --Stevie Richards (ECW, WWF) "Missy Hyatt is every school boy's dream, and pro wrestling's Jane Mansfield." --Dusty Rhodes "People credit 'Sunny' for revolutionizing the wrestling business for females. But before Sunny, Missy ruled the wrestling world. When I met my husband, Chris Candido, I tore her poster off his bedroom wall! Years later, after I met her, I realized what a wonderful person she was . . . which made it really hard to hate her. She's an inspiration to me and a role model for all of the hundreds of girls who have tried to follow in her footsteps. To tell the truth, her poster should be hanging on their walls!" --Tammy Sytch (aka Sunny--WWF, ECW) "I've got one word for Missy Hyatt . . . Diva!" --Kimona Wanalaya (aka Leia Meow--ECW, WCW) "I think I'm the only guy in wrestling who didn't sleep with Missy Hyatt." --Kevin Nash (WWF, WCW)
Mondo Lucha A Go-Go: The Bizarre and Honorable World of Wild Mexican Wrestlingby Dan Madigan I'm not sure how this one slipped by my radar when it came out in 2007. Publisher's Weekly writes: Though its title might suggest an ironic, kitschy treatment of the hyper-colored world of Mexican wrestling, Lucha Libre, Madigan's work makes it clear from the get-go that his love for the sport is true, mad and deep. Author, screenwriter and wrestling TV producer Madigan (See No Evil) answers frequently asked question, "Okay...What is Lucha Libre?", by taking readers through the basics, describing a sport that mixes "combative art forms...with elements of soap opera and dramatic storytelling, physical comedy, incredible athletics, suspense and intrigue." Though equating past wrestling greats like El Santo and the Blue Demon with celebrated muralists like Diego Rivera and Jose Orozco might seem like a stretch ("their goals just as noble and politically minded....Every kick, leap, and punch was a brush stroke in a masterpiece of storytelling"), full-bleed color photos and gorgeous poster reproductions make it easy to see the art in the sport's wild costumes, over-the-top drama and rich history. As much fun as this book is, the level of detail can overwhelm, as in Madigan's endless parade of Luchadore biographies, too many of which run together for lack of a narrative engine. That said, there's a lot to love here, even for the casually curious, and especially for fans of action photography and poster illustration.
Mouth Of The South, The: The Jimmy Hart Storyby Jimmy Hart This is somewhere in the middle of my "must read" list. Amazon's editorial review states: When Andy Kaufman slapped Jerry "The King" Lawler and swore at him on Late Night with David Letterman, the two men and the legendary manager Jimmy Hart were the only people privy to the planned (and unplanned) elements of the row, as revealed in this autobiography of "The Mouth of the South." Beginning with stories from his days onboard Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars as a singer with the Gentrys, Jimmy Hart offers straight talk about stardom and his entrance into the wrestling arena as a manager. An insider's perspective on pro wrestling's most outrageous personalities and matches fills this celebration of the business and spectacle of such organizations as the World Wrestling Federation, World Championship Wrestling, Wrestle Xpress, and the Xtreme Wrestling Federation. Wrestling fans will relish these rarely told stories of insider upsets, personal victories, and unbelievable moments in the history of pro wrestling.
My Life Outside the Ringby Hulk Hogan, Mark Dagostino Hulk's books tend to have more fiction than fact, so this isn't in the top third of my "to read" list.
My Pink Gas Maskby Adrian Street Adrian Street was an interesting character, so this could be a good read. I am a born Fighter. My earliest memories are the first five years of my life in the war-torn, bomb-ravaged Welsh hills. Brutality was a way of life. Bareknuckle fistfights with mountain gypsies, brawls with tough Welsh Miners on the Colliery Slag Heaps, and boxing in rough fairground booths honed my fighting spirit and paved the way for countless titles as a Professional Wrestler--from the Lightweight Champion of Wales to the Light Heavyweight Champion of the World. Join me for the start of my fast, bumpy ride of a lifetime!
Mysteries of Wrestling: Solvedby Adam Kleinberg I haven't heard much about this book, but it's written by Adam Kleinberg, cohost of the "Get in the Ring" radio show. That alone should make it better than half the books on this list. Amazon's product description: This hysterical and informative look at the sports entertainment industry, written by the hosts of the longest-running professional wrestling radio show in history, reveals the answers to wrestling's deepest, darkest mysteries. Enlisting the help of some of the sport's biggest stars, including Steve Austin, Kamala, Chyna, and Sid Vicious, this wealth of insider information leaves no turnbuckle unsearched and no foreign object left behind. Who was the toughest wrestler outside of the ring? Just how much influence has Hulk Hogan exerted in getting jobs for his buddies? Did the Kliq really run wrestling? The answers to these and other important questions are revealed in this no-holds-barred tell-all.
National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly that Strangled Pro Wrestlingby Tim Hornbaker This is somewhere in the middle of my "must read" list. Description: From its humble beginnings in the Midwest after World War II to its worldwide expansion and eventual dominance of a $25-million-a-year industry, the National Wrestling Alliance's (NWA) rise and fall is detailed in this dramatic tale. While celebrating the great achievements of star wrestlers like Lou Thesz, Ed "Strangler" Lewis, and Buddy Rogers, this history also exposes the inner workings of wrestling, describing in detail the Department of Justice's investigation of the NWA's operating procedures. The comprehensive study of NWA promoters and how their relationships to influential politicians, writers, and each other protected their interests for more than 50 years offers an inside look at wrestling's complicated legacy, revealing the intricate conspiracies of this century-old brand of entertainment.
One Fallby Spencer Baum Product Description: With one kick, Joey Hamilton has sent the world of professional wrestling into chaos. In his first World Title match, on national television, Joey botched a simple maneuver, turning a scripted wrestling match into a nightmarish reality. Now the World Champion is injured and the locker room is in tatters. With the top spot open, veteran wrestlers are jockeying for position, hoping to become the next megastar, and Joey is their target. With a unique look behind the scenes at America's most violent dramatic art, One Fall shows the world of professional wrestling in its rawest form. It is a world of violence, drug abuse, backstabbing, and desperation. But it is also a world of pride, honor, guts, and most of all, passion. The story plays to a wrestling fan's desire for behind-the-scenes knowledge and backstage intrigue. Thematically, my novel explores the most controversial issues in professional wrestling, such as the line between reality and fantasy on wrestling television; the role of women in the American wrestling scene; and drug abuse among professional wrestlers.
Physical Chess: My Life in Catch-as-Catch-Can Wrestlingby Billy Robinson, Jake Shannon This came out in the middle of 2012. Billy was a bit before my time, so I'm not chomping at the bit to read this. In this fascinating autobiography, professional wrestling and mixed martial arts (MMA) guru Billy Robinson recounts his upbringing amid a family of champion fighters, his worldwide travels, and his time as a pro-wrestling television star. The memoir fills a crucial gap in the history of catch-as-catch-can wrestling while simultaneously chronicling the subject's life in his own inimitable voice. Starting with Robinson's upbringing in a working-class family in post–World War II England, the record journeys through his career as a professional wrestler, concluding with his current profession as a highly sought-after MMA coach, training legends such as Kazushi Sakuraba and Josh Barnett. For the first time, this narrative sets the record straight on the author's infamous street fight with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson's grandfather and the accomplishments of some of the world's greatest competitive grapplers. Both eye-opening and inspiring, Robinson's story spans wrestling from before its first appearances on television to its presence in today's social media, demanding a unique place on the bookshelves of pro-wrestling and MMA fans alike.
Positively Page: The Diamond Dallas Page Journeyby DDP This is near the top of my "must buy" list. I read the first chapter and it looks like it's pretty interesting. I like his idea of having other people in the biz write their thoughts on him. Hulk Hogan writes: In over twenty years, I've never seen anyone like DDP. Just talking to him is like a shot of adrenaline... Stone Cold Steve Austin writes: I've never seen a guy who worked as hard and wanted to improve as much as Page.
Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, The: Heroes & Icons (Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame series)by Steven Johnson It's not high on my "must read" list. The good guys of professional wrestling take the spotlight in this comprehensive examination of the memorable characters who inspired fans, providing insight into what makes a great hero. Compiled using firsthand interviews with hundreds of wrestlers, managers, promoters, and historians, these entertaining profiles document wrestling's golden boys from the 1930s to today. It discusses the roles of wrestling superstars that include Hulk Hogan, Dusty Rhodes, and The Rock as well as lesser-known figures, including Tiger Jeet Singh and Whitey Caldwell. With more than 100 action-packed photos, this engaging and informative book invites both devoted fans and newcomers to the sport to appreciate the rich history of these esteemed performers.
Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, The: The Tag Teams by Greg Oliver Editorial Review: Put four pro wrestlers in a ring and the opportunity for athleticism, mischief, and pure entertainment is more than doubled. This comprehensive look at one of the most fascinating aspects of the sport of wrestling is an entertaining journey through the world of tag teams, exploring their essential role in wrestling promotions both large and small. With detailed historical and insider information based on hundreds of extensive interviews with well-known wrestlers, promoters, and managers, even casual fans will be anxious to see where their favorite twosome stacks up on the list of top tag teams of all time.
Professional Wrestling Collectiblesby Pope, Whebbe I've thumbed through Ray Whebbe's copy of this book. It might be useful for someone into collectibles, but I would have no use for it myself.
Professional Wrestling Ratings 1973-1986: A Record Bookby Mark James Sorry. I have no interest in reading some person's subjective review of who was his favorite wrestler each month. I'd be surprised if this sold more than ten copies. A record book looking back at the professional wrestling ratings from its glory days that took place 1973 through 1986. The unofficial monthly top ten ratings included are for the AWA, NWA, WWWF, Tag Teams, Most Popular & Most Hated. Also included in these ratings are the titles that each person in the top ten held each month.
Pure Dynamite: The Price you Pay for Wrestling Stardomby Tom Billington and Alison Coleman This is near the top of my "must buy" list. Billington (along with Tom Zenk, Honky Tonk Man, and Warrior) isn't afraid to burn any bridges and tell it like it is (or at least like he sees it). The excerpts I've read talk about Bret Hart's drug usage as well as some horrible things Billington (and others) did as "pranks". The back cover reads: From Humble beginnings in England, to warm family atmosphere of the Hart Foundation in Calgary, Canada, to heights of success with the WWF, Tom Billington wrestled all the big names, including Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, and Mick "Cactus Jack" Foley. Now, scar tissue and memories are all he has to show for sixteen years in the game. Pure Dynamite is a blow by blow account of Tom Billington's career, who wrestled solo as the Dynamite kid and with Davey Boy Smith as the world-champion tag team, the British Bulldogs. Confined to a wheel chair as a result of damage to his back and legs, years of steroid use have also done serious damage to Billington's heart and personal life. Pure Dynamite is as much a cautionary tale as it is a fairytale. Painfully candid, The Kid's story takes all the gloss off professional wrestling. The price you pay for wrestling stardom? Just as Tom Billington. (this is the 2001 version of the book at 220 pages)
Pure Dynamiteby Tom Billington and Alison Coleman This is near the top of my "must buy" list. Billington (along with Tom Zenk, Honky Tonk Man, and Warrior) isn't afraid to burn any bridges and tell it like it is (or at least like he sees it). The excerpts I've read talk about Bret Hart's drug usage as well as some horrible things Billington (and others) did as "pranks". (this is the 1999 version of the book at 204 pages)
Rags, Paper and Pins: The Merchandising of Memphis Wrestlingby Jim Cornette, Mark JamesJim Cornette and Mark James take a look back at the origins of Professional Wrestling's gimmick tables and merchandising in the Memphis and Tennessee territories of the 1960's and 1970's. These were the days before merchandising was a million dollar a year business.
Rassler From Renfrew, Theby Gary Howard and Susan Code-McDougall I hadn't heard of this book about wrestler/promoter Larry Kasaboski and his territory, Northland Wrestling Enterprises in the farming and factory towns of the Ottawa Valley and the mining and bush towns of Northern Ontario until it was brought to my attention by a fine wrestling fan who was an early internet adopter.
Rey Mysterio: Behind the Maskby Jeremy Roberts This came out in 2009, and is longer than most "fluff pieces" at 368 pages. He's called the human highlight reel of professional wrestling. His high-flying acrobatics have thrilled fans on every continent. He's been crowned champion of the world's greatest wrestling promotions, from Mexico to the U.S. But he's never revealed the inside story of who he is. Until now. Wrestling fans know him as Rey Mysterio, an American luchador of unparalleled talent, the ultimate proof that good things come in small packages. Now for the first time, Rey adds the personal side to the story: How he had to fight to get a tryout in the ring. Who he was before Rey Misterio Jr.--and even before Colibri, usually noted as his first identity. What it was like to wrestle in Mexico--from the bullrings to the riots. How he fought plans for his unmasking in WCW--and why he wishes he hadn't succeeded. The inside story of the 619, the West Coast Pop, and his other signature moves. The impact of Eddie Guerrero on his career in WWE. The personal struggle that cost him ring time in 2008, but ultimately made him a stronger man. His real passion in life as husband and father. In Rey Mysterio: Behind the Mask, Rey talks candidly about his twenty-plus-year career, from the days of sneaking into bars as a fourteen-year-old to his most recent showdowns in WWE. He speaks of the emotional moments in the ring with his uncle Rey Misterio, and the dark days when he went under the knife to repair his damaged knee. Along the way, Mysterio introduces American audiences to the mysteries of lucha libre, the high-flying, anything-goes Mexican wrestling style that he has done so much to popularize in the U.S. He also talks about the debts he owes to wrestlers such as Konnan, known as the Mexican Hulk Hogan, and dishes some behind- the-scenes dirt on the collapse of WCW at the height of the Monday Night Wars. Mysterio talks tenderly--but realistically--of his friend Eddie Guerrero, providing a well-rounded picture of one of the most beloved wrestling figures of recent history. He also details his march toward the Heavyweight Championship, and his mastery of the WWE Triple Crown--a feat that placed him in an elite group for all time. Behind the Mask is the intimate portrait of one of wrestling's all-time greats, a story wrestling fans of all ages won't want to miss.
Ric Flair (Wrestling Greats)by Ross Davies It's not high on my "must read" list, as it is just another in a long line of unauthorized biographies.
Ric Flair: To Be the Manby Ric Flair I plan to read this one soon. Other than wrestling and training the next generation of wrestlers, Lance Storm is known for being a "book nerd". Lance's review of Falir's book said This book is, in my opinion, the best wrestling book there is, was, or ever will be, and is quite probably the most honest. If you do not pick up a copy of this book, I'm not sure you should be allowed to continue calling yourself a wrestling fan. This is more than just the Ric Flair story it is a large portion of our industries [sic] history. What I liked most about this book is that it isn't just told to us by Ric Flair, it includes the words and thoughts of so many others. We hear from Ric's family, co-workers, and friends. When Flair talks about his feud with Steamboat, we get Steamboats thoughts on the subject as well, we hear from so many influential people in this industry and hearing their thoughts on the subject supports Ric's take on what happened and makes this story so much more believable and honest. Hearing how Ric's lifestyle affected his family and hearing it from his own kids gives us a look at some of the very real repercussions of being World Champion in an era when being World Champ meant over 300 days a year on the road.
Richmond 9-5171by Jeff Walton I haven't heard much about this book about the LA wrestling scene at The Olympic at 18th & Grand.
Ring of Hell: The Story of Chris Benoit and the Fall of the Pro Wrestling Industryby Matthew Randazzo This is one of the Chris Benoit books that came out ofter his death. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read any of them, but now that enough time has gone by, I've heard an interview with the author describing some stories from Japan and other info I never heard in the sheets about Benoit that has catapulted this into the "Top Ten" list of books I want to read. Fans of the wrestling business will experience real shock and awe with Matthew Randazzo's new knockdown, drag-out page-turner Ring of Hell. This hard-hitting, no-holds-barred account of the industry takes a shocking look behind the curtain of a secretive subculture where performers die young, promoters get rich and broken families are the norm. --Mike Mooneyham/Charleston Post and Courier
Ringside: A History of Professional Wrestling in Americaby Scott Beekman Maybe I'm getting jaded, but this doesn't look all that great. I prefer the autobiographies (when they aren't lame) and a few of the other books that have interesting contents. I'm sure someone will tell me if this is better than I'm pre-judging it! Despite its status as one of the oldest and most enduringly popular sports in history, wrestling has been pushed to the background of the current American sports scene. Most people today would have a hard time even considering wrestling (with some of its modern theatrics) in the same terms as track and field or boxing. But until the 1920s, wrestling stood as a legitimate professional sport in this country, and a widely practiced amateur one as well. Its past respectability may not have endured, but the advent of cable television in the 1980s offered the sport a renewed opportunity to play a determining role in American popular culture. This opportunity was not wasted, and wrestlers now assume places in politics and film at the highest levels. Ringside, the first work to fully examine the history of professional wrestling in this country, provides an illuminating and colorful account of all of the various athletes, entertainers, businessmen, and national outlooks that have determined wrestling's erratic route through American history. This chronological work begins with a brief account of wrestling's global history, and then proceeds to investigate the sport's growth as a specifically American institution. Wrestling has continued to survive in the face of technological developments, scandals, public ridicule, and a lack of centralized control, and today this supremely adaptable entertainment form represents, in sum, an international industry capable of attracting enormous television and pay-per-view audiences, along with massive amounts of advertising and merchandizing revenue. Ringside focuses on the business of wrestling as well as on the performers and their in-ring antics, and offers readers a fully nuanced examination of the development of professional wrestling in America.
Road Warriors, The: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestlingby Joe "Animal" Laurinaitis I wasn't going to rush out to buy this book, despite both Hawk and Animal growing up in my hometown of the Twin Cities, but Mike Mooneyham (whom I trust) gave it a glowing review, so I'll be reading it sooner than I had anticipated. Delivering an inside account of one of wrestling's most famous fighters, this autobiography offers a rare chance to learn about Joe "Animal" Laurinaitis's life both inside and outside the ring. Revealing riveting stories about his participation in the 1980s and 1990s superstar wrestling team the Road Warriors, it recounts memorable fights with his partner Mike "Hawk" Hegstrand. He describes how he and Mike rose to become a revolutionary tag team--reinventing themselves with spiky accessories and wearing face paint before it was popular--and chronicles famous rivalries, movement between different wrestling associations, and dealing with Mike's longtime struggle with drugs and alcohol. He also invites fans into his personal life and discusses his family and newfound Christian faith. Featuring stories of incredible physical feats and deep-felt companionship, this testimony will help fans relive the glory days of a wrestling legacy.
Rock Says, The: The Most Electrifying Man in Sports-Entertainmentby The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) It's not high on my "must read" list. I read the first chapter and all the reviews I've read about it just make it look so not worth it. I recently bought a copy in paperback at Half Priced Books (it turned out to be free instead of the $1.00 cover price) so I'll eventually read and review this book. The Chicago Tribune review states: The Rock tells his story with humor, honesty, and not a little trash talk. One thing people have complained about with this book is that the ghost writer insists on writing the book as The Rock, including referring to The Rock in the the third person. Also, this book came out very early in The Rock's career, so it doesn't cover the peak of his wrestling stardom or any of his movie career.
Sailor Whiteby Dave Elliott He was mostly before my time, so this book (written with Ed White's co-operation) doesn't really interest me.
Sadist in Sequinsby Adrian Street Adrian Street was an interesting character, so this could be a good read. Book #4 of my autobiography. If sex and violence sells, this book should make a million. From Soho's Gangsters and Porn Peddlers to Prison in Gay Paris, “Mad Fred the Ear Biter,” Welsh Wizards, Hell's Angels, Passolini, Sir Athol Oakley, and Battles against World Champ George Kidd & Hardman Les Kellett, and Mary Quant. Then, best of all, Lovely Linda.
Say Uncle!: Catch-As-Catch Can Wrestling and the Roots of Ultimate Fighting, Pro Wrestling & Modern Grapplingby Jake Shannon This came out in mid-2011 with no fanfare. It is mostly interviews with the oldest of the old wrestlers. I've talked to several people who have read this, and it is very polarizing. People either liked the interviews with old legends or hated the entire thing. Exploring the ancient Western martial art of catch-as-catch-can grappling, this definitive book covers the history, players, and strategies of the sport. Rich in history and full of painfully brutal techniques, catch-as-catch-can, or catch wrestling for short, is the great-grandfather of today's mixed martial arts, professional wrestling, freestyle wrestling, and many reality-based self-defense systems. Say Uncle! includes explanations of the methods of catch-as-catch and is accompanied by clear illustrations that show how to use them most effectively, and the background of this unique sport is traced through America, Japan, England, and Ireland. Full of exclusive interviews with legends such as Karl Gotch, Billy Robinson, and Josh Barnett, this guide brings together all aspects of this little-known sport that is the root of modern MMA and professional wrestling.
Scooterby Mick Foley Although I've enjoyed Mick's autobiographies, I just don't think I'd enjoy a 320-page baseball-themed book--but that's just me. Publisher's Weekly writes: Former pro wrestler Foley proves his authorial chops with this hard-edged coming-of-age tale (after Tietam Brown) about a turbulent childhood amid the decay of the Bronx in the late '60s and '70s. Scooter Riley's comfortable existence disintegrates in sudden, steep drops, mirroring the fall of the Bronx as it transitions from working-class stability to urban desolation. Scooter's dad, a drunken yet good-hearted Irish-American cop stuck on the Harlem beat, accidentally shoots his eight-year-old son in the leg during a beer-fueled 1969 Mets-Orioles World Series fracas, saddling the boy with a bad limp. Growing up on the streets of the Bronx, Scooter weathers racial violence, dabbles in heroin and eventually turns his rage on his father, crippling him with a baseball bat. Soon, mom runs off, and the tense household, already beset by family secrets, struggles to regain traction. The family-Scooter also has a mentally handicapped younger sister-manages to rally in the late 1970s when they move to Long Island. Scooter, named after Yankee shortstop Phil Rizzuto, ultimately finds a form of salvation in his life's passion: baseball. With adroitly drawn characters, dark humor and a plot that never loses momentum, Foley shapes a story of resilience and courage. Booklist writes: Former wrestler Foley's first novel, Tietam Brown (2003), was an energetic, frustrating mess that nonetheless left some doubt as to whether the hackneyed narration was the protagonist's or the author's problem. With Scooter, the question is answered: it's Foley who's wrestling with language--and often losing. The plot, a first-person coming-of-age story about a physically disfigured kid fighting his dysfunctional father, is remarkably similar, too. This one's set in New York City during the 1960s and '70s, and though Foley tries to make the city a third character, his digressions read like cribbed history notes footnoted with a laundry list of pop-cultural touchstones. The through-line is frayed, the point-of-view is fractured, and the reality often broken: Foley has yet to learn the art of the telling detail (he prefers to summarize everything, sometimes twice). Readers may actually become nostalgic for Tietam Brown, which at least featured a clear conflict and one unforgettable character. But, again, expect demand because of print run and publicity--and because the author once terrorized the ring, not readers.
Secret of the Iron Claw, Theby Ron Mullinax This is the story about Jack "Fritz Von Erich" Adkisson and the famous Von Erich wrestling dynasty. The author states: Read how Fritz Von Erich and his five sons impacted the wrestling world with their family's show World Class Championship Wrestling which at one time was syndicated in 66 U.S. television markets, Japan, Argentina and the Middle East. The story, as told to me by Jack Adkisson himself, follows his wrestling career and family tragedies beginning in the 1950s and continuing until his death in 1997. In late June of 1997, Jack Adkisson was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. To help Jack through his painful last months, I moved into his home on Lake Dallas in Denton County, Texas, and did my best to take care of him until he passed away in September of that year. When I would not accept any compensation for the help I gave him during his illness, he said, "Why don't you write a book about me, from me to all my fans around the world like you, Ron?" and let everyone hear the Von Erich story from me. RSPWer rafiki says this book is pretty good, so I have added it to my "will eventually read" list.
Sex, Lies, and Headlocks : The Real Story of Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federationby Mike Mooneyham This is supposed to be pretty good, but I haven't read it yet. The Onion's review said It would be hard to imagine a heel as complex, charismatic, and just plain reprehensible as Vince McMahon, Headocks' literally larger-than-life (thanks in no small part to copious steroid abuse) antihero. Though a third-generation wrestling man and the son of a wrestling mogul, McMahon himself spent much of his childhood living in near-poverty, and ultimately had to work his way up the WWF ladder like any other grunt. Before taking over, McMahon made his name by promoting such pop-culture freak shows as a match pitting Muhammad Ali against a Japanese wrestler, and Evel Knievel's notorious Snake River Canyon jump. McMahon brought that mixture of shamelessness and showmanship to wrestling, and through a canny and colorful mixture of chutzpah, fearlessness, and possibly illegal business practices, he built the WWF into a global phenomenon with the ethics and ambience of a low-rent traveling carnival. Publisher's Weekly wrote: Reading this excellent behind-the-scenes look at wrestling promoter McMahon, the current ruler of the wild and ruthless world of professional wrestling, is almost as entertaining and shocking as watching the most extreme antics of McMahon's comic-book style creations such as Steve Austin and The Rock. Combining hard investigative journalism with a genuine love for wrestling's weirder tendencies, Assael (senior writer for ESPN and author of Wide Open) and Mooneyham (who writes the wrestling column in the Charleston Post and Courier) have penned one of the closest looks so far at this industry, which moved from the cheap and smoke-filled Midwestern halls of the 1930s to become one of the most successful television enterprises ever by the 1990s. The authors focus on McMahon, who rose from a difficult childhood to take command of the World Wrestling Federation and almost singlehandedly invent the current style of extreme wrestling. The authors also carefully detail how McMahon's take-no-prisoners business style led him into his own bouts with financial, legal, sexual and drug problems, until finally he had become totally seduced by the loud, angry circus he'd created. But beneath the many stories about crooked promoters, armed wives, drug-crazed and sexually profligate wrestlers, the authors also skillfully illuminate pro wrestling's influence on the media, detailing McMahon's feuds with rivals like Ted Turner and World Championship Wrestling's Eric Bischoff, as well as his byzantine dealings with notables from such companies as Viacom and NBC. This is an essential read for both fans and enemies of pro wrestling.
Shake Wrestle 'n' Rollby Exotic Adrian Street Exotic Adrian Street was a very colorful character, so this could be an interesting read. This is a much earlier book than his later autobiographies, and I fear it may be more "in character" than his later works. We are now circling the Pink Planet, fasten your safety belts, you are now entering the colorful world of Exotic Adrian Street - Wrestling's World Middleweight Champion - 5 time European Heavyweight Champion - American Champion - etc. - etc. - etc. Often called the world's most beautiful wrestler, especially by himself. He has appeared in many motion pictures including "A Drink Out fo the Bottle"; "Canterbury Tales"; "Quest For Fire"; and "Grunt" (The Wrestling Movie) which inclues 2 of Adrian's songs: * I'm Only Happy Breakin' Bones * A Mighty Big Girl * I'm in Love with Me "Shake Wrestle 'n' Roll" as well as being the title of this book (the world's only pink wrestling book) is also the title of Adrian's screenplay, his first record album, music video, and rock concert.
Sheik of Baghdad, The: Tales of Celebrity and Terror from Pro Wrestling's General Adnanby Adnan Al-Kaissy, Ross Bernstein Editorial Review: The Sheikh of Baghdad is the true story of one man's journey across two continents to find his place in the world. It is an unbelievable rags-to-riches-to-rags story with wrestling as a metaphor for life itself. Adnan Alkaissy, better known as professional wrestling's General Adnan, can finally-safely-tell his story now that Saddam Hussein, once a childhood companion and later a threat to Alkaissy and his family, is in custody awaiting trial. An odd juxtaposition of two very different worlds, this incomparable life story encompasses both the hilarious tales of what life was like in and out of the squared circle of professional wrestling and stories of heartache and despair from a man whose country is trying to find itself once again. It is also the story of a man's desire to achieve closure on a separate life lived many years ago. Finally, it is a story about a man, now in his midsixties, who wants nothing more than to go home to a free and democratic Iraq so that he can finally introduce his new family to his old one. The Sheikh of Baghdad is the story of an Iraqi American trying to make a difference in this post-9-11 world by telling his story to provide a small ray of hope for peace in the tumultuous Middle East.
Shooters: The Toughest Men in Professional Wrestlingby Jonathan SnowdenFrom William Muldoon to Brock Lesnar, this history covers those who have divided themselves as tough guys on the professional wrestling circuit and legitimate confrontations. From catch wrestling master Billy Robinson to the Japanese professional wrestler who gave birth to the global phenomenon that is modern mixed martial arts (MMA), this investigation travels from the shadowy carnival tent and the dingy training hall to the bright lights of the squared circle and the Las Vegas glitz of the octagon. Billy Riley's legendary Wigan Snake Pit and the rigorous UWF Dojo in Tokyo are explored, revealing the secret history of both professional wrestling and the rising sport of MMA. Squared circle icons Strangler Lewis and Lou Thesz and Olympic heroes Danny Hodge and Kurt Angle are also featured.
Signature Moves (WWE)by Michael McAvennie Do you really want to read a book about signature moves? I didn't think so. There are a lot more interesting books on pro wrestling.
Slaphappy: Pride, Prejudice, and Professional Wrestling by Thomas Hackett It's not high on my "must read" list. The New Yorker's review says Hackett travelled around the various circuits of professional wrestling-that peculiar mixture of Olympic games and the burlesque, in which beefy athletes beat each other up in scripted bouts-determined to take its participants seriously. The result is an enjoyable and astute appraisal of a too easily maligned subculture. Hackett believes that wrestling, with its "blue collar" celebrity, convoluted sexuality, and faked reality, epitomizes something essential about American culture, although his attempts to discuss these theories with the subjects themselves often prove comically inconclusive. At one point, he tells a goodnatured young wrestler named Altar Boy Luke (who has just insisted that "wrestling is real," unlike, say, "Star Trek") that somewhere among the sport's layers of fakery is a bit of truth, "and everybody is trying to figure out what that is." "And the truth is," the wrestler replies, "I'm an athlete and you're an asshole!"
Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling by Jim Ross, Paul O'Brien Paul O'Brien has done a decent job ghostwriting wrestling "auto"biographies, but somehow I get the feeling this will be filled with things I'm not all that interested in (college football, barbeque sauce, his wrestling career before WCW, etc) instead of things like all his failed marriages, backstage dirt from being the head of talent relations in WWE.
So Many Ways to Hurt Youby Adrian Street Adrian Street was an interesting character, so this could be a good read.Book #3 of my autobiography. My dream had come true: "Big Time Wrestling" in Britain's Golden Age. My first contest was Main Event against Mr. TV Jackie Pallo, then wars with Mick McManus, Alan Colbeck, Melvin Riss, Jim Breaks, "Stiff Cliff" Beaumont, Vic Faulkner, Bert Royal, Peter Rann, the dreaded "Blood Boots," "King of the Gypsies" Uriah Burton, and more. Plus I got married and became a father.
So, You Want To Be A Wrestling Promoter?by Ric Drasin, Bruce Collins Bruce Collins has been an armchair wrestling fan since the mid-seventies. He has been an internet wrestling columnist, operated a wrestling fan club, sold wrestling parody t shirts, appeared on local radio and ultimately,operated a wrestling promotion. Bruce resides in the bay area, California, where the competition is fierce.
Squared Circle, The: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestlingby David Shoemaker Shoemaker was always thorough in his wrestling articles. The Squared Circle grows out of David Shoemaker's writing for Deadspin, where he started the column “Dead Wrestler of the Week” (which boasts more than 1 million page views)--a feature on the many wrestling superstars who died too young because of the abuse they subject their bodies to--and his writing for Grantland, where he covers the pro wrestling world, and its place in the pop culture mainstream. Shoemaker's sportswriting has since struck a nerve with generations of wrestling fans who--like him--grew up worshipping a sport often derided as “fake” in the wider culture. To them, these professional wrestling superstars are not just heroes but an emotional outlet and the lens through which they learned to see the world. Starting in the early 1900s and exploring the path of pro wrestling in America through the present day, The Squared Circle is the first book to acknowledge both the sport's broader significance and wrestling fans' keen intellect and sense of irony. Divided into eras, each section offers a snapshot of the wrestling world, profiles some of the period's preeminent wrestlers, and the sport's influence on our broader culture. Through the brawling, bombast, and bloodletting, Shoemaker argues that pro wrestling can teach us about the nature of performance, audience, and, yes, art. Full of unknown history, humor, and self-deprecating reminiscence--but also offering a compelling look at the sport's rightful place in pop culture--The Squared Circle is the book that legions of wrestling fans have been waiting for. In it,
Star Shattered, A: The Rise & Fall & Rise of Wrestling Divaby Tammy "Sunny" Sytch I've read a number of articles listing specific inaccuracies, but I'll probably get around to reading this book. World famous wrestling diva Tammy Lynn “Sunny” Sytch has written a tell-all autobiography that follows her into the ring and on the road, through her romantic relationships, domestic abuse, her battle with cancer, incarceration, getting sober and the release of her adult film with Vivid Entertainment.
Steel Chair To The Head: The Pleasure And Pain Of Professional Wrestlingby Nicholas Sammond Publishers Weekly review: Why do millions of pro wrestling fans spend their Saturday nights watching well-oiled, muscled and costumed men performing in a well-rehearsed stage play in which the winner is decided days earlier? What attracts devotees to this sport? Editor Sammond and a host of academics answer these and many other questions, explaining what they think really goes on inside and outside that ring (for Sammond, professional wrestling resembles burlesque more than sport). The writers, including a professor who wrestled under the name Professor Oral Payne, examine diverse topics: wrestling as masculine melodrama, female wrestling and its fans, the finances of the World Wrestling Federation and more. In a now famous essay, the late cultural critic Roland Barthes contends that the wrestlers are like good and evil gods battling to achieve a form of justice fans can understand. Of course, the writers take the sport much too seriously, exalting it as a cultural phenomenon whose mysteries can be uncovered by using the right academic jargon ("flesh-far from being the seed of meaning from which springs the signifying force of the wrestler, or the match, or wrestling itself-is but a node in a circuit of signification"). Regrettably, such language will limit this collection's audience. 31 b&w photos. Product Description: The antagonists--oiled, shaved, pierced, and tattooed; the glaring lights; the pounding music; the shouting crowd: professional wrestling is at once spectacle, sport, and business. Steel Chair to the Head provides a multifaceted look at the popular phenomenon of pro wrestling. The contributors combine critical rigor with a deep appreciation of wrestling as a unique cultural form, the latest in a long line of popular performance genres. They examine wrestling as it happens in the ring, is experienced in the stands, is portrayed on television, and is discussed in online chat rooms. In the process, they reveal wrestling as an expression of the contradictions and struggles that shape American culture. The essayists include scholars in anthropology, psychology, film studies, communication studies, and sociology, one of whom used to wrestle professionally. Classic studies of wrestling by Roland Barthes, Carlos Monsiva¡is, Sharon Mazer, and Henry Jenkins appear alongside original essays. Whether exploring how pro wrestling inflects race, masculinity, and ideas of reality and authenticity; how female fans express their enthusiasm for male wrestlers; or how lucha libre provides insights into Mexican social and political life, Steel Chair to the Head gives due respect to pro wrestling by treating it with the same thorough attention usually reserved for more conventional forms of cultural expression.
Steve Williams: How Dr. Death Became Dr. Lifeby Steve Williams It's not in the top half of my "must read" list. I watched Dr Death wrestle when I was growing up and wasn't really entertained by his matches (either as a face or a heel). I don't think there's anything he could put in a book about himself that I'd find all that interesting. When I get through the hundreds of other books on this list, I'll certainly read through his book, but there are just so many more interesting people in the sport that I'd rather read about before him.
Sting: The Moment Of Truthby Steve "Sting" Bordon It's not high on my "must read" list. The editorial review reads: Life was one big act for wrestling super star Steve Borden, a.k.a. Sting. On the home front, however, his marriage faltered on the brink of failure while he took the fast track in his wrestling career-and to a radical entertainer lifestyle, including an addiction to prescription drugs. Confessing his problems to his wife was the beginning of a process that brought the prideful, self-sufficient champion to his knees. It was to be the greatest wrestling match of his life, and God was taking him to the mat.
Sting (Wrestling Greats)by Ross Davies It's not high on my "must read" list, as it is just another in a long line of unauthorized biographies.
Stone Cold Truth, Theby Steve Austin, Dennis Brent It's not high on my "must read" list, as Austin wasn't one of my favorite wrestlers. I think Jim Ross wrote much of the historical parts of this book. Amazon's editorial review states: He's wrestled under many names, "Stunning" Steve Austin, The Ringmaster, he even wrestled for a time under his own name, Steve Williams. But to fans he is and will always be Stone Cold Steve Austin. The wrestler with the f-u attitude, the working-class guy who stood up his boss, a multimillionaire, and told him where he could put it. His quick wit and colorful use of language combined with his everyman character captured the hearts of fans worldwide and rewrote the dynamics of professional wrestling forever. Steve grew up in a small town in Texas, one of four boys, who were fondly called by their parents the "Williams gang." Always a fan of wrestling, Steve seized the chance to study wrestling at a school in Dallas. His ability to take the bumps and hard falls required by his new profession, and his never-say-die attitude, connected him with the fans and his fellow wrestlers. His capricious firing by the WCW, World Championship Wrestling, lead to his being hired by World Wrestling Entertainment. However, it was Steve's own ability inside the ring and his quick-witted responses that led to his becoming one of the most popular WWE Superstars of all time. With the creation of the Stone Cold character, Steve's popularity expanded exponentially. It seemed nothing could stop the Texas Rattlesnake, except himself. In 2001 Steve's life seemed to spiral out of control and he walked away from it all. Now, with his triumphant return to the world of professional wrestling, he is finally ready to tell his story, his way. The Stone Cold Truth is an unvarnished take on his life, his loves, and his days as a wrestler told in a way that only he could, and you know it's the truth "'cause Stone Cold says so!"
Storm Frontby Lance StormThis is vol 2. I think I read all of these when they were originally posted to his website, so I'm not sure if I need a second copy. That said, I enjoyed his opinions the first time I read them. Also note, it is only available in the Kindle (e-book) edition.
Storm Warningby Lance StormThis is vol 1. I think I read all of these when they were originally posted to his website, so I'm not sure if I need a second copy. That said, I enjoyed his opinions the first time I read them. Lance was a solid hand and didn't have many bad matches. Some say his opinions aren't worth reading, since he refuses to rank people, matches, etc. Also note, it is only available in the Kindle (e-book) edition.
Stu Hart: Lord of the Ringby Erb It's not high on my "must read" list, but is one I will probably get around to reading and writing up a review. The product description reads: Stu Hart, the patriarch of modern-day wrestling, has battled, innovated, and entertained for more than half a century. This no-holds-barred account offers an insider's look at the first family of wrestling, from Hart's days in the ring to the careers of his sons Bret, now rising to the pinnacle of sports entertainment, and Owen, whose horrific accidental death in the ring led to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit. Some of the most formidable names in wrestling have begun their careers under Hart's tutelage, including Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, and Lance Storm. This biography explores the highs and lows of one of wrestling's most colorful and remarkable figures.
Superfly: The Jimmy Snuka Storyby Jimmy Snuka and Jon Chattman I'm guessing this is the case of "ghost writer talks to Jimmy for an hour and then spits out a book. Unless he goes into the events around the death of his girlfriend, I'm not sure there would be anything in here I'd want to read. Focusing on the superstar who single-handedly influenced the development of sports entertainment, this autobiography highlights the legacy of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) icon Jimmy Snuka. The wrestler's legendary top-rope maneuvers, innovative high-flying style, and unprecedented aerial ability made him the most popular competitor in WWE. This fascinating account relates how a native of the Fiji Islands was at the center of two of wrestling's most talked-about moments: the night Snuka leapt from the top of the 15-foot cage--only to miss his opponent and consequently lose the match--and the night Rowdy Roddy Piper smashed a coconut over Snuka's head during a segment of Piper's Pit in 1984. Exposing the amazing life of this WWE Hall of Fame member in detail, this record presents the ups and downs of a wrestler who grew to be a key figure in the expansion of the company and all professional wrestling.
Superstar Body, The: Real-World Techniques for Achieving Your Goalsby Nick Aldis I'm happy with my body, so I skipped this book.Half instructional, half motivational, this guide describes what it takes to make your body into a vehicle for success. Nick Aldis--better known as Magnus from TNA Impact Wrestling, formerly "Oblivion" from Sky One's Gladiators--takes you through his life and career, focusing on how he's achieved a body that is in great balance in terms of functionality, health, and aesthetics for his needs. As the first ever British professional wrestling champion in a major global promotion, Nick explains how his passion for working out helped him achieve his goals--and how you can do the same. Most fitness books are either about bodybuilding or weight loss. The Superstar Body explains the core principles of both, looking at healthy foods and supplements, nourishing yourself mentally as well as physically--and how to maintain a healthy, athletic, attractive body with real world techniques.
Swimming with Piranhas: Surviving the Politics of Professional Wrestlingby Howard T. Brody Thsi 430 page book came out in 2009 and didn't get as much press as it deserved. Most people who grew up with the NWA liked this book. The only criticisms I've heard are from people who say it dragged on with promoter Brody listing every single transaction from his entire life instead of picking the more interesting ones. Exposing wrestling's inner workings and back-office deal making, this memoir is a hard-hitting firsthand look at the sport from Howard Brody, one of its most controversial promoters. Beginning with how he became involved with professional wrestling and produced his first television program, it then focuses on his time as president of the National Wrestling Alliance and reveals the truth behind the rumors surrounding his departure from the organization. Brody's relationships with many of wrestling's most powerful and creative figures--Vince and Linda McMahon, Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman, Tod Gordon, Antonio Inoki, Hiro Matsuda, the Funks, Dusty Rhodes, Jim Cornette, and Hulk Hogan--are discussed in detail, revealing many little-known details about the behind-the-scenes negotiations involved in booking and promoting shows. From dealing with building and talent managers to working with radio and television stations, Brody explains the nuances of booking promotions, discusses the nature of negotiating and selling wrestling to television networks and sponsors, and divulges fascinating details about many aspects of working in the wrestling business.
Tales From A Dirt Roadby Tales From A Dirt Road While never one of the more interesting characters to lace upa pair of boots (his new Zeb Colter character excepted) Dutch has always been a good storyteller. His website is packed full of stories from the road. I expect nothing less from his books. This is his 2010 book and is a follow-up to The World According to Dutch.
Ted DiBiase: The Million Dollar Manby Ted DiBiase, Tom Caiazzo This 2008 autobiography is probably better than his first book, since it talks more about the wrestling business. But Ted has said many times that he won't talk bad about anyone, so I get the feeling that this book is about as bad as Arn Anderson's.
Tell Me To My Faceby Ted DiBiase, Tom Caiazzo I don't need to read a book on Mosca. It's filled with typos and football talk.
Terry Funkby Terry Funk, Scott E. Williams This came out in 2012. He's been a fixture in professional wrestling for five decades. He helped introduce a hardcore wrestling style that you see in the WWE and Japan today. He's made his mark in Hollywood. He's Terry Funk, and this is his story. In this captivating look at the life of a living legend, Funk opens up about growing up in a wrestling family, working with various entertainment companies (including the ECW, WWE, and WWF), and so much more. 10 color photographs; 16 black & white photographs
Terry Funkby Terry Funk, Scott E. Williams Not sure why there are three ISBNs, as all three of these Terry Funk books appear to be the same tome. This one is from 2012.
Terry Funk: More than Just Hardcoreby Terry Funk, Scott E. Williams This is from 2005. I will read this, but it's not in the top twenty books in my queue. It runs 300 pages. Product Description: This is the life and career of Terry Funk, known around the word as "The Hardcore Legend" of professional wrestling. A former NWA Heavyweight Champion, Funk has been a wrestling star all over the world. Known for being completely unpredictable, Funk has had feuds with wrestling's most famous names like Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Mick Foley.
Texas Rattlesnakeby Scott Edelman It's not high on my "must read" list, as it is just another in a long line of unauthorized biographies.
Three Count, The: My Life in Stripes as a WWE Refereeby Jimmy Korderas I guess if I wanted to read a book by a referee, Jimmy Korderas wouldn't be in my top 10 choices. Highlighting the triumphs and tragedies Jimmy Korderas experienced, this entertaining biography focuses on his 20-year career as a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) referee. For the first time, Korderas talks about the harrowing experience of being in the ring during Owen Hart's accident and about the horrific effects of the Chris Benoit tragedy--the most difficult moments of his life in wrestling. The book also includes untold stories from both inside and outside the ring, highlighting the bonds Korderas formed with WWE superstars such as Eddie Guerrero, Edge, John Cena, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Christian, and Chris Jericho. A fun read from a man who, rather than having an ax to grind, wants to inspire wrestling fans and prove that dreams do come true.
Through The Shattered Glassby Jeanie Clarke, Bradley Craig Lady Blossom was married to Steve Austin. It began as the classic rags to riches story of a girl who escaped a life of misery to attain accidental fame and fortune in the United States. But what happened to the girl when the American dream became a living nightmare? Jeanie Clarke, who shot to wrestling stardom as Lady Blossom, reveals all in this frank account of her individual rise, fall and retribution, and struggles to sustain a family with a husband who was driven to become the greatest wrestling star the world had ever known. For years, she suffered in silence to survive personal tragedy, the pressures of fame, and drug addiction: a self-destructive lifestyle that spiralled out of control. This uncompromising autobiography exposes the dark nature of the substance abuse culture which gripped the entertainment industry, examining the consequences to a broken family that it created. It is a detailed account of her highs and lows during a lifetime in the wrestling business, and the ultimate cost it had on those around her. This is a story of personal survival that remained
Tietam Brownby Mick Foley This is the first work of fiction (not including the children's books) from the mind of Mick Foley. I haven't read it yet, but have heard it is very dark, and not really suitable for sensitive readers.
Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobsby James Dixon, Justin Henry This is in the middle of my "to read" list. James Dixon pairs up with Justin Henry in compiling the third book of the Titan series: Titan Screwed Titan Screwed provides a look at the Wwf from January 1997 through WrestleMania Xiv, covering every major element of the Wwf's evolution into the Attitude Era. Stories detailed include the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels losing his smile, the heel turn of Bret Hart, Wwf vs. Ecw with Jerry Lawler pulling the strings, the death of Brian Pillman, Austin vs. Tyson, the seedy story elements that overtook Wwf programming, the birth of the nefarious Mr. McMahon, and of course, Montreal: the build-up, the secret plotting, the match, the moment, and the aftermath in all of its incredible details. Exclusive author-conducted interviews for Titan Screwed include Ken Shamrock, Rob Van Dam, Jim Cornette, "The Patriot" Del Wilkes, Dr. Tom Prichard, Danny Doring, former Ecw owner Tod Gordon, and more.
Titan Shatteredby James Dixon This is in the middle of my "to read" list. The highly anticipated sequel to best-selling Titan Sinking After enduring a turbulent year in 1995, Vince McMahon was looking to rebuild his sinking empire in 1996. He had high hopes for a new World Wrestling Federation flag bearer, Shawn Michaels - the man he was looking to as the leader of the Wwf's 'New Generation'. With Michaels supported by a strong cast of established characters, some old faces, and an influx of new blood, McMahon fully expected the Wwf to dominate rivals Wcw in the burgeoning Monday Night War. It did not work out that way. Titan Shattered tells the behind-the-scenes story of the Wwf's tribulations in 1996. It was a year where paranoia threatened to destroy the Wwf, where decades-old industry traditions were broken, and where Vince McMahon fully abandoned his wrestling principles in pursuit of the almighty dollar.
Tributes: Remembering Some of the World's Greatest Wrestlersby Dave Meltzer This is near the top of my "must buy" list. It is a collection of Dave's nice long biographies that he has written as obituaries in his Wrestling Observer Newsletter the week each famous wrestler has died. While Dave can tend to go on for pages writing a single sentence, he shines when it comes to writing these pieces. About the Author: Dave Meltzer has been described as the 'world champion of sportswriters'. For nearly 20 years he has published The Wrestling Observer, a weekly newsletter covering the entire world of professional wrestling... not just the Unites States but Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan... anywhere else wrestling news is being made. Each week, the Wrestling Observer is packed full with comprehensive news about the personalities, events and especially the behind-the-scenes action. Is a must-read news voice in the wrestling industry by fans and professionals alike.
Tributes II: Remembering More of the Worlds Greatest Wrestlersby Dave Meltzer This is near the top of my "must buy" list. It is the second volume of Dave's nice long biographies that he has written as obituaries in his Wrestling Observer Newsletter the week each famous wrestler has died. While Dave can tend to go on for pages writing a single sentence, he shines when it comes to writing these pieces. Amazon writes: This detailed chronicle looks at the lives, times, and deaths of the biggest names that the sport of professional wrestling has produced. Picking up where Tributes: Remembering Some of the World's Greatest Professional Wrestlers left off, author Dave Meltzer focuses on sports entertainment's most recent and high-profile losses, including Road Warrior Hawk, Curt Henning, Elizabeth, Stu Hart, Tim Woods, Davey Boy Smith, Gorilla Monsoon, Terry Gordy, Wahoo McDaniel, Johnny Valentine, The Sheik, Freddie Blassie, and Lou Thesz. Tributes II: Remembering More of the World's Greatest Wrestler also offers expanded versions of some of the most popular profiles from Tributes, including Owen Hart, and Andre the Giant. Offering candid and detailed accounts of bona fide wrestling legends and a foreword by Bret Hart, Tributes II takes its place among the most important books ever written on the world of pro wrestling.
Tuesday Night At The Gardens: Pro Wrestling In Louisvilleby Jim Cornette, Mark JamesTuesday Night At The Gardens: Pro Wrestling In Louisville is the latest release from Jim Cornette and Mark James. This book took two years to create and features the history of Louisville wrestling from the debut of Strangler Louis to the rise of Jerry "the King" Lawler. With more than 500 illustrations, photos, programs and newspaper articles, most not seen in over four decades. The most complete analysis of the "golden age" of Louisville Gardens wrestling from 1970-1975 ever printed, with all the line-ups and hundreds of match results, plus TV show and arena reports taken directly from Jim Cornette's original eyewitness notes. Additional biographies of stars like the Fabulous Fargos, Tojo Yamamoto and Jerry Jarrett. Further information includes the complete hundred year history of the Louisville Garden Arena. The most descriptive inside look at promoters Nick Gulas & Roy Welch and their Nashville-based booking office, and the "Memphis Wrestliing" territory expanded by Jerry Jarrett, ever in print! Backgrounds on major rivalries, booking details and business statistics from all over the Tennessee wrestling circuits. This is the only book of its kind ever written by a major wrestling personality on the sport from a fan and a performer's perspective. If you want wrestling history, this book both teaches and makes it!
Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Stepsby Chris Jericho His first book was said to be very good, so I don't expect this to be much worse (although I much preferred his matches pre-WWE, which is what was covered in the first book). An entertaining follow-up to their popular book A Lion's Tale, international wresting superstar Jericho and co-writer Fornatale continue their chronicle of Jericho's wild ride through the wacky world of professional wrestling. This book picks up where the earlier book ended--with Jericho in 1999 joining Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Enterprise, the most important venue in wresting--and ends with Jericho's return to the ring in 2007 after a two-year retirement. Jericho hilariously details these key years as WWE's resident bad guy. His feuds with WWE's colorful (and colorfully profane) cast, including the likes of X-Pac, Ken Shamrock, Chyna, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, and Christian, are solidly recounted, although most of this will be old news to hardcore WWE fans. But the most interesting stories involve his battles on- and off-stage with such better-known stars as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Goldberg--whom Jericho once had run over by a limousine during an episode of WWE's Raw series. It is here that Jericho shines and proves once again that, next to Mick Foley, he is an insightful and funny observer of pro wrestling's absurd universe.
Unscriptedby Ken Leiker and Mark Vancil I thumbed through a friend's copy of this coffee table book, and was impressed enough with it that I bought my own copy. I highly recommend it. It has some really nice pictures, as well as some frank comments from some of the WWE superstars. I have not found anyone that's read this book and not enjoyed it. Amazon's editorial review states: The fans in their seats are barely able to contain themselves. The buzz of the crowd rises higher and higher until that first Superstar walks onto the stage and into the ring. It doesn't matter where you are in the arena-ringside or high above the floor you know that it's going to be an exciting night. There are signs everywhere, the people in their seats chant for their favorite wrestler. You get caught up in the wave of excitement filling the place. Maybe tonight a title changes hands. This is the WWE anything can happen. You begin to wonder just what is it like to be a WWE Superstar. What do you have to do everyday to make it? What is it like to spend your life with countless numbers of people cheering or even booing you? You look into the ring and wonder. What if you could go behind the stage? What if you could travel with one of the wrestlers? What would it be like to visit a Superstar in their home? Unscripted is an unvarnished, all access look inside the lives of World Wrestling Entertainment's Superstars. From life on the road traveling more than two hundred days a year, to performing in front of hundreds of thousands, the WWE's Superstar's share their incredible story in their own words offering readers an unprecedented glimpse behind the scenes. The Undertaker tells you why he didn't become a professional basketball player. Goldberg tells you why he joined the WWE. The Rock reveals how his own father tried to sabotage his career. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon speak openly and frankly about their relationship. Chris Jericho describes how he keeps it all in perspective. Sean Michaels talks about his revitalized career and how important his family and his faith are. Kurt Angle explains how you can wrestle with a broken neck. Unscripted lifts the curtain on the backstage areas of the shows, the homes and the everyday lives and ordinary events of these extraordinary people. It is a lavishly illustrated tribute to the men and women who climb over the rope day-after-day for the roar of the crowd.
Violence is Goldenby Adrian Street He wasn't one of my favorites, but his matches and interviews were okay for the time.
Walking a Golden Mileby William Regal and Neil Chandler Amazon doesn't seem to have this title stocked yet. Regal's early life should be fascinating reading, so I would be very surprised if this wasn't well worth the cost.
WCW vs. NWO world tour: the official strategy guideby Brian Boyle It's not high on my "must read" list. Ingram states: Brian Boyle shows how to succeed in the ring of World Championship Wrestling and New World Order play. A multitude of authentic wrestling moves makes this one of the most realistic pro wrestling games available. Over 60 wrestlers can be found in this game, each with his own unique moves and trademarks.
When Wrestling Was Rasslin'by Wrestling Promoter Peter Birkholz I didn't grow up in Houston, but I liked a lot of the wrestling that I saw that came out of Texas. Welcome ladies and gentlemen for another exciting night of Houston Wrestling! Promoter Peter Birkholz tells all the stories from inside the ring and behind the scenes based on his decades of experience with the Houston Wrestling Promotion. The world-famous Promotion produced plenty of wild and exciting action for thousands of fans every Friday night.
World According To Dutch, Theby Dutch Mantell While never one of the more interesting characters to lace upa pair of boots (his new Zeb Colter character excepted) Dutch has always been a good storyteller. His website is packed full of stories from the road. I expect nothing less from his books. This is his 2009 book and is followed up by Tales from a Dirt Road.
World of Lucha Libre, The: Secrets, Revelations, and Mexican National Identityby Heather Levi I'm a fan of Mexican wrestling, so I'll most likely read this before most of the books on this list, but it won't be in my "top 15". Nicholas Sammond writes: Heather Levi's book reveals her deep understanding of the many ways that Mexicans enact their identities as women and men, as cosmopolitan consumers, and as citizens. Beautifully written and well grounded in history, The World of Lucha Libre will matter to anyone who cares about Mexico, spectator sports, or performance in Latin America."--Anne Rubenstein, author of Bad Language, Naked Ladies, and Other Threats to the Nation: A Political History of Comic Books in Mexico "The World of Lucha Libre will doubtless become the reference in English for a cultural phenomenon with a mass following in Mexico and the United States. Heather Levi provides an insider's knowledge of the popular practice of lucha libre. For those who know wrestling in passing, The World of Lucha Libre will be revelatory. For those specialists in the multiple fields it engages, the book is welcome indeed."--Randy Martin, author of Critical Moves: Dance Studies in Theory and Politics "In The World of Lucha Libre, Heather Levi offers up a backstage pass to the scene of muscles, sweat, passion, and politics that is lucha libre. It's a world in which performing a public secret reveals that what is deadly serious is also a sham and that what is frivolous speaks of the grit and business of living. Levi illuminates lucha libre's fractal relationship to Mexican politics and its playful and serious regulation of gender and mestizaje as a dramatic staging of embodied contradiction that brings the messy world of lived experience into brute contact with its cultural ideals. The World of Lucha Libre is important not just for wrestling fans but for any student of popular performance and social practice.
Wrestlecrap And Figure Four Weekly Present...: The Death Of WCWby R.D. Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez Haven't read, but I've always enjoyed WrestleCrap's website as well as Bryan's newsletter and his articles in Penthouse. Amazon's editorial review states: This detailed tell-all of the demise of the former top pro wrestling company World Championship Wrestling explores the colorful personalities and flawed business decisions behind how WCW went from being the highest-rated show on cable television in 1997 to a laughable series that lost 95 percent of its paying audience by 2001. Behind-the-scenes exclusive interviews, rare photographs, and probing questions illustrate with humor and candor how greed, egotism, and bad business shattered the thriving enterprise. Wrestling fans will devour the true story of this fallen empire, which in its heyday spawned superstars such as Sting, Bill Goldberg, and the New World Order.
WrestleCrap: The Very Worst of Pro Wrestlingby R.D. Reynolds and Randy Baer Haven't read, but love the web site. Most people I talked to weren't that impressed with this book, unfortunately. Amazon's editorial review states: Outrageous costumes, cartoonish characters, and scripted storylines are featured in this retrospective look at the no-holds-barred stunts pro wrestling promoters have used to attract viewers. Covering such entertainment catastrophes as an evil one-eyed midget, George Ringo the Wrestling Beatle, and Goobledy Gooker, the wrestler who emerged in the arena from an egg, this merciless evaluation of such organizations as World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation will leave wrestling fans and critics alike in stitches. The choices of promoters and producers are reviewed in an effort to understand the motivations and imaginations behind the often incomprehensible and laughable stunts that have baffled even die-hard fans.
Wrestlers are Like Seagullsby J.J. Dillon This could be interesting, as he worked for Vince Sr, NWA, Vince Jr, and WCW. I haven't talked with anyone who has read this though.
Wrestlingby Frank Gotch This came out in 2008. It is apprently just a reprint of a 122 page pamphlet that was put out 100 years ealier. Frank Gotch is universally regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. His relentless training regimen and ferocious style in the ring that enabled him to dominate all comers have been well documented, but this Paladin Press Combat Classic reprint offers a fascinating portrait of another important aspect of his success – his unparalleled skill at the art of catch-as-catch-can wrestling. Published soon after Gotch's epic 1908 world championship defeat of George "the Russian Lion" Hackenschmidt, this booklet showcases Gotch performing his signature wrestling moves in some 30 clear, instructional photographs, along with tips on how to make them work against an opponent. It also contains his thoughts on the science of wrestling, advice on training and photos of Hackenschimdt, Farmer Burns, George Bothner, Dan McLeod, Fred Beell, Leo Pardello and other greats of the day.
Wrestling (Sandow-Lewis Library)by Ed "Strangler" Lewis This came out in 2008, but is a reprint from 82 years earlier. Hall of Fame wrestler Ed "Strangler" Lewis and his legendary manager and promoter, Billy Sandow, were founding fathers of professional wrestling. The two men helped transform wrestling from local matches to traveling circus tours, with celebrity wrestlers, full cards and packed arenas filled with screaming fans. Feared inside the ring for his crippling submission holds, Lewis was respected outside the ring for his extensive knowledge of wrestling. In 1926 he and Sandow compiled their vast knowledge of physical conditioning, fighting and wrestling into an eight-volume collection, called the Sandow-Lewis Library. These books became instant classics and were instrumental in teaching the science of wrestling and physical fitness to generations of wrestling aficionados. Long out of print, copies of these individual volumes are hard to find and command such steep prices when they do surface that it is virtually impossible for wrestling or fighting enthusiasts today to own the entire collection. Now they can through this exclusive reprint collection from Paladin Press. Wrestling contains Volumes VI-VIII of the original series.
Wrestling's Made Menby Scott Keith This 224-page book is not high on my "must read" list. Blake Norton says: Grappling guru Keith's latest is a colorful and fast-paced review of modern WWE events, doused in his trademark no-holds-barred opinions.
Wrestling at the Chase: The Inside Story of Sam Muchnick and the Legends of Professional Wrestlingby Larry Matysik It's not high on my "must read" list. 300 pages. Product Description: Legendary St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick and the magical television wrestling show broadcast from the opulent Chase Hotel from 1959 to 1983 are captured in this informative, amusing, and sometimes poignant story of one of wrestling's greatest eras. The high-class establishment of the Chase Hotel and the rough-and-tumble world of professional wrestling made strange bedfellows, but they worked together to produce an addicting spectacle under the direction of Muchnick. Ric Flair, "King Kong" Brody, and Andre the Giant are just some of the many characters who are featured in the engrossing, funny, and touching tales. Any fan of pro wrestling will delight in the history, humor, and uniqueness of Sam Muchnick and the Chase.
Wrestling Babylon: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandalby Irvin Muchnick I read this book in 2007. There's nothing that would really make me recommend it to anyone. Irv seems to be trying to use big words to write "over the head" of 95% of wrestling fans (I think "hagiography" was one of the only ones that stumped me). I'm not even sure how qualified Muchnick is to talk about wrestling, as he freely admits he doesn't have cable TV. I didn't see any glaring errors prior to page 39. An inept proofreader should have caught things like listing the same person multiple times in his "death list", though. I also have a hard time agreeing with his inclusion of referee Brian Hildebrand's cancer death as a "wrestling-lifestyle-related death". The book is short, and contains many photographs, so it can be easily read in a short afternoon. Most of the book is merely a collections of earlier published works of the author. NPR contributor Frank Deford writes: Irv Muchnick knows wrestling like Anna Wintour knows fashion, and his intriguing collection of ring tales is written with passion and savage humor. The Week magazine's John Heindenry writes: Wrestling Babylon is the literary link between fans (including closet intellectuals) and intellectuals (including closet fans). San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler writes: The wrestling version of Alice in Wonderland: You fall into the hole and you discover a world you never dreamed of. But Muchnick didn't dream this stuff up, he dug it up.
Wrestling Record Book: Detroit 1964-1980by Mark JamesA look back at the amazing Detroit wrestling promotion. The Big Time Wrestling territory was owned by the Sheik from 1964 until it closed for good in 1980. This book documents the cards and results from one of professional wrestling's great promotions.
Wrestling Record Book: Florida 1977-1985by Mark JamesTake a step back in time and look at the world of professional wrestling that took place in the state of Florida. The Florida territory was one of wrestling's greatest promotions. This book has all the known cards and results for Eddie Graham's Championship Wrestling of Florida. Along with the cards and results, this book includes dozens of photos from the mat wars.
Wrestling Record Book: Houston Programs 1982-1983by Mark JamesA book of Houston wrestling programs from 1982-1983. Houston was an amazing territory and these programs show just how many of that days biggest wrestling stars came through there. Paul Boesch was one of pro wrestling's greatest promoters and his Houston promotion was always one of the territories that wrestlers wanted to go to. With an introduction by James Beard, and a Foreword by Dr. Tom Prichard, this book is a great snapshot of days gone by.
Wrestling Record Book: Jim Crockett Promotions 1980-1988by Mark JamesTake a trip back in time to see all the wrestling events during the final days of Jim Crockett Promotion's Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. This book covers all the the matches that took place in all the cities that made up the Mid-Atlantic promotion. From Charlotte to Atlanta and everywhere in between.
Wrestling Record Book: Nashville Programs 1951-1952by Mark JamesA look back at the programs that were sold at Nashville Wrestling events in 1951-1952. These programs are full of amazing wrestling history. These programs were also used to give the fans information because there was no local wrestling show on television yet. Take a look back at the Nashville Wrestling scene from six decades ago.
Wrestling Record Book: Jim Crockett Promotions 1951-1959by Mark JamesTake a trip back in time to see some of the amazing cards and results from the 1950s and Jim Crockett Promotion's Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. This book covers all the matches that took place in all the cities that made up the Mid-Atlantic promotion from 1951 - 1959.
Wrestling with the Devil: The True Story of a World Champion Professional Wrestler - His Reign, Ruin, and Redemptionby Lex Luger Unless he spends most of the book talking about how he killed Elizabeth, I don't see thsi being all that interesting. His wrestling career wasn't all that intersting, and his born-again life post-Liz death isn't all that interesting. The only thing I'd care to read is the time between those two. Lex Luger, wrestling megasensation and three-time world heavyweight champion, ruled the ring for years as “The Total Package.” Whether he was making a dramatic entrance from a helicopter, defeating champ Hulk Hogan, or sculpting a near-perfect physique, Lex was on top of his game. Yet backstage, he was wrestling with addictions to sex, drugs, and alcohol--things he clung to even when his mistress died suddenly of a drug overdose and Lex went to jail. There, Lex faced the truth: he was losing the fight for his life. And still awaiting him was his most brutal opponent yet, when the wrestling champ found himself helplessly paralyzed from the neck down. In Wrestling with the Devil, Lex Luger reveals never-before-told stories from his career, his struggle with personal demons, and how, through unexpected faith, grace, and redemption, he overcame all odds to fight the only battle that really matters.
Wrestling with the Past: Life In and Out of the Ringby Paul Vachon, Dee VachonI grew up in AWA Territory, but I don't think there would be that much of interest in a Vachon book to be honest. I'll get around to reading it, but it'll be a while. The Butcher's career in professional wrestling, as both a wrestler and promoter, took him across the US and Canada, and around the world. Along the way, he encountered a Crusher, a Bruiser, a Killer, giants, midgets, beautiful women, and crazed fans around the globe. His wrestling menagerie included an Animal, a Mad Dog, a monkey, a Gorilla, alligators, and bears. Paul Vachon's autobiography describes his humble beginnings, a career as an amateur wrestler, success in the ring as a member of a World Championship Tag Team with his brother Maurice, and enshrinement in the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame for his career both as a wrestler and a promoter. Paul describes how he brought Andre the Giant to Canada to wrestle, how he and Mad Dog won and lost the Tag Team championship, the tragic deaths of both his sister Vivian and his daughter Luna, and his strong opinions of both the Vince McMahons, Sr. and Jr. Illustrated with 64 pictures of a golden age of professional wrestling, Butcher's great storytelling creates pictures of its own. “Wrestling with the Past is a wonderful story. Paul “The Butcher” Vachon, one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, has spent his life entertaining and amusing millions of people with his amazing athletic ability, winning theatricality, and kind accessibility to all his fans the world over. He and his brother “Mad Dog,” are North American treasures. With honesty, humor, and insight, Paul has written a funny and heartfelt memoir of a time, a place, and a profession whose like will not be seen again. Wrestling with the Past is a fine memoir of a courageous, thoughtful, and entirely self-made man. I loved it.”- Howard Frank Mosher Best-selling author Howard Frank Mosher has won the New England Book Award, and received the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Wrestling with the Truth by Bruno Lauer, Scott Teal This is a short read from someone who wasn't all that interesting in the wrestling world, but apparently has a lot of interesting stories.
WWEby Tony Lee Roleplaying game in the world of World Wrestling Entertainment. WWE: KNOW YOUR ROLE RPG is an OGL-based roleplaying game that thrusts you into the body-slamming, pile-driving, high-octane world of sports entertainment. You can take on the role of your favorite WWE Superstar or create your own.
WWE Legends (WWE)by Brian Solomon This 272-page book is the latest to be churned out by WWE. It covers oldies like Bob Backlund, Superstar Billy Graham, Bruno Sammartino, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, Chief Jay Strongbow, Andre the Giant, Killer Kowalski, Ernie Ladd, the Fabulous Moolah, Ivan Putski, Pedro Morales, and Peter Maivia. But if you really want a lexicon of wrestlers, I'd highly recommend the Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling instead.
WWE Smackdown! vs RAWby Bryan Stratton Game winning strategies for every match type from Bra & Panties to Hell in a Cell.
WWE Smackdown! Here Comes the Painby Stephen Stratton Official bios, stats, and moves lists for all 65 WWETM Superstars. Tips for Season Mode, with hidden items exposed. Detailed overviews for Create Mode. Every WWETM Legend covered. Strategies for all match types.
WWE Wrestlemania 21 by Debra McBride Create the ultimate WWE Superstar. Complete breakdown of all Superstar moves. How to humiliate your opponents and make them feel the pain.
WWF WrestleMania : The Official Insider's Storyby Basil DeVito Jr & Layden I bought this mainly for the DVD which is included in the book, but there are some nice photographs and a few stories or WrestleManias past. When I finish reading through the whole thing (I've only thumbed through it thus far) I'll write up a longer review.
If you know of any wrestling-related books that I don't have listed, please let me know so I can add it.