Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

The WWE Attitude Era by Jon Robinson

Finally this under-covered era gets some attention from WWE.

Snark aside, this is pretty much the book version of the countless documentaries and countdowns WWE has produced in recent years, particularly since the launch of the network. It’s not a chronological history but rather a collection of pieces focused on the main players, with a heavy emphasis on photography.

As you might imagine, the book is hardly an objective history. At times the detailing of events such as the Montreal Screwjob verge first into being misleading and then outright false.

The book also has a few sections where things are presented either without context or with errors. For example, there’s a story from Stephanie McMahon that’s simply referenced as the “wedding angle” with no background, accompanied by a picture of her and Triple H at an in-ring ceremony. However, on closer reading the story actually refers to her aborted wedding to Test, who isn’t mentioned in the piece, and the revelation of a drive-thru ceremony with Triple H, which is mentioned without explanation.

(The same thing happens later in the book, making it clear Test’s name has been deliberately excluded. Perhaps more understandably, there’s a wonderfully chosen shot of the Radicalz where Chris Benoit is completely hidden behind Dean Malenko.)

While there’s not much you’ll learn from the book, it does finish with a fun section of previously-untold road stories including the origins of the Rock’s use of “smackdown” and the Big Show making an unfortunate exit from a jet plane. You also get a few pieces of artwork such as original designs for wrestler costumes. A book based around such content (along the lines of the memorabilia collection in the Ultimate Warrior book) would be a more intriguing prospect that what’s on offer here.

It’s somewhat telling that such a book exists and is considered a marketable prospect in 2018: after all, it’s the equivalent of WWF at the peak of the Austin-McMahon feud releasing a photobook celebrating the Billy Graham era. That aside, it’s a light piece that’s fine for what it is, though it’s more of a nostalgic gift for lapsed fans than a genuinely insightful history.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

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Release Schedule (21 February)

Titles in bold are new additions. Titles in italics have changed release date in the past week.

6 March: WWE Superstar Guide, 2nd Edition by DK

8 March: Identity in Professional Wrestling: Essays on Nationality, Race and Gender by Aaron D Horton

13 March: The Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It (It’s Twerked for Us!) by The New Day

29 March: Wrestling in Britain: Sporting Entertainments, Celebrity and Audiences (Routledge Research in Sports History) by Benjamin Litherland

3 April: WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Vol. 1 by Dennis Hopeless, Box Brown et al

8 May: WWE Raw: The First 25 Years by Dean Miller and Jake Black

22 May: Golosseum 1 by Yasushi Baba

12 June: Russell Wrestles The Relatives by Cindy Chambers Johnson and Daniel Duncan

7 August: Creating the Mania: An Inside Look at How Wrestlemania Comes to Life (no author listed)

7 August: King of Strong Style: 1980-2014 by Shinsuke Nakamura (Author),‎ Jocelyne Allen (Translator)

18 September: Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War That Changed Pro Wrestling (no author listed)

2 October: WWE: The World of the Rock by Steven Pantaleo

9 October: The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling: A Hardcore, High-Flying, No-Holds-Barred History of the One True Sport by Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno

23 October: WWE: The Official Cookbook by Allison Robicelli

30 October: WWE: Then, Now, Forever Vol. 2 by Dennis Hopeless

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Release Schedule (14 February)

Three new entries this week:

King of Strong Style: 1980-2014 by Shinsuke Nakamura (Author),‎ Jocelyne Allen (Translator)

The life of the internationally famous professional wrestler Shinsuke Nakamura, from his childhood to the International Wrestling Grand Prix championship, and beyond!

Before he became a star of American professional wrestling, Shinsuke Nakamura was Japan’s “King of Strong Style.” Follow his life and career from the amateur grappling ranks to the Nippon Budokon, thrill to his matches against such legends as Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, his reign as the youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and his success as a mixed martial artist.

WWE: The Official Cookbook by Allison Robicelli

Take your talents from the ring to the kitchen with WWE: The Official Cookbook, a collection of recipes and dishes inspired by your favorite WWE Superstars.

Can you smell what the WWE Universe is cooking? WWE: The Official Cookbookgives fans a guide to creating a variety of fun dishes and drinks inspired by the WWE Universe of both the past and present. In addition to the showcase of unique WWE-inspired recipes, this book will include a collection of food pairings along with everything needed to a build your own creative Superstar dishes. Indulge yourself with Roman Reigns’ spiked Superman Fruit Punch, The Rock’s Brahma Bull Ribs, Macho Man’s Savage Cheese and Nachos, and even take a trip to Brock Lesnar’s Soup-Plex city.

Featuring over 75 recipes and striking, full-color photographs, WWE: The Official Cookbook will feature separate categories for food and drink — from appetizers to desserts — creating the ultimate recipe collection for fans of the WWE

WWE: Then, Now, Forever Vol. 2 by Dennis Hopeless

This anthology contains a wealth of new content, celebrating the versatility and diversity of WWE throughout its various eras.

Go further than what you get to see on TV and WWE Network. WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Volume Two is the next stage in the smash anthology series taking fans through the greatest moments of Sports Entertainment history! From moments of pure power in Survivor Series to ridiculous Royal Rumble brawls, the biggest and best moments are brought together here! Showcasing fan-favorite superstars like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Macho Man Randy Savage, Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, The Shield, and more!

Featuring an all-star roster of writers and artists including Dennis Hopeless, Box Brown, Ryan Ferrier, Kendall Goode, Lucas Werneck, Rodrigo Lorenzo, Daniel Bayliss, and a story co-written by WWE Superstar AJ Styles, this anthology celebrates the rich history of WWE.


Titles in bold are new additions. Titles in italics have changed release date in the past week.

6 March: WWE Superstar Guide, 2nd Edition by DK

8 March: Identity in Professional Wrestling: Essays on Nationality, Race and Gender by Aaron D Horton

13 March: The Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It (It’s Twerked for Us!) by The New Day

29 March: Wrestling in Britain: Sporting Entertainments, Celebrity and Audiences (Routledge Research in Sports History) by Benjamin Litherland

3 April: WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Vol. 1 by Dennis Hopeless, Box Brown et al

8 May: WWE Raw: The First 25 Years by Dean Miller and Jake Black

22 May: Golosseum 1 by Yasushi Baba

12 June: Russell Wrestles The Relatives by Cindy Chambers Johnson and Daniel Duncan

7 August: Creating the Mania: An Inside Look at How Wrestlemania Comes to Life (no author listed)

7 August: King of Strong Style: 1980-2014 by Shinsuke Nakamura (Author),‎ Jocelyne Allen (Translator)

18 September: Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War That Changed Pro Wrestling (no author listed)

2 October: WWE: The World of the Rock by Steven Pantaleo

9 October: The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling: A Hardcore, High-Flying, No-Holds-Barred History of the One True Sport by Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno

23 October: WWE: The Official Cookbook by Allison Robicelli

30 October: WWE: Then, Now, Forever Vol. 2 by Dennis Hopeless

 

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Tokyo Dome Book On The Way

Chris Charlton, the author of Lion’s Pride: The Turbulent History of New Japan Pro Wrestling, will soon be publishing EGGSHELLS: Pro Wrestling In The Tokyo Dome. It will be available initially through the Indiegogo crowdfunding site and we’ll have a link when it’s ready. In the meantime, here’s the blurb:

In 1988, the Tokyo Dome was constructed in Suidobashi in the heart of Tokyo. Initially built for concerts and baseball, pro wrestling events, not viewed as a stadium attraction, were seen as a huge risk. Yet the course of professional wrestling in Japan changed forever in the spring of 1989, and a new institution was born.

Eggshells takes a series of 64 in depth looks at each event run inside the Tokyo Dome. Told through Chris Charlton(Lion’s Pride: The Turbulent History of New Japan Pro Wrestling)’s historical perspective, as well as contemporary sources never before seen in English, and anecdotes from those involved in these iconic events, this is the definitive look at one of wrestling’s most famous venues. Framed by their biggest shows, Eggshells examines the history of the ten promotions that ventured into the Big Egg:

  • New Japan Pro Wrestling
  • Universal Wrestling Federation
  • All Japan Pro Wrestling
  • Super World Sports
  • Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi
  • All Japan Women’s
  • JD’Star
  • Wrestle-1
  • Pro Wrestling NOAH
  • Dramatic Dream Team

Eggshells also includes unique insights from wrestlers, announcers and the press who were at events in person, including:

  • Kota Ibushi (Ibushi Pro Wrestling Research)
  • Kenny Omega (NJPW)
  • Jim Ross (AXS TV)
  • Kenta Kobashi (Fortune KK)
  • Rocky Romero (NJPW)
  • Soichi Shibata (Veteran TV announcer and journalist)
  • Jordan Breen (Sherdog)
  • John Pollock (Post Wrestling)
  • Steve Corino (Formerly Zero-One, NJPW)
  • Tomoyuki Matsumoto (Spike Chunsoft)
  • Jinsei Shinzaki (Michinoku Pro)

From the hardcore wrestling historian to the newcomer to Japanese wrestling, Eggshells is an essential guide to a touchstone of the medium.

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The Complete WWF Video Guide

With the WWE Network adding 38 Coliseum Home video releases next week, it reminded me to point out a series of books by James Dixon, the man behind the 1PW book and Titan Sinking series, that will now be even more useful.

The Complete WWF Video Guide series has exceptionally detailed reviews of all the video releases. There’s four in total, with the first two covering all the titles that are going up on the network.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

I wrote of volume 1:

This is one of the very rare self-published books that is significantly better in print than e-book format. That’s not to disparage the Kindle edition (and if cost is a factor it’s likely better value), but it’s a much easier read in print thanks to the great layout, formatting and artwork.

The book itself is very comprehensive and a genuinely useful reference guide, even if choosing between vintage WWF tapes is (thanks to the likes of YouTube) now an issue of time rather than money. There are some very neat touches like a complete ranking of all the tapes and a listing of the highest rated individual matches, plus some fun capsule bios.

The writing style won’t necessarily be to everyone’s taste. From a literary perspective it’s fine — it all reads smoothly and flows well. However, with a review project like this there’s a fine line between being dry and dull, or being too outlandish. The style varies as there’s a panel of authors, but on several occasions it verges too far into a forced personality with too many of the “smart fan” cliches such as excessive swearing, repetitive jokes about bookers being on drugs and the like. I understand these will be refined in volume 2, which will be a welcome improvement. One particular issue is the repeated references to individual wrestlers’ motivation going into a bout (in reality, not storyline) which is clearly little more than speculation.

All that aside, it’s definitely worth a read whether you are coming to this as nostalgia or its your first exposure to some of these classic — and not so classic – video releases.

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Release Schedule (31 January)

One new blurb this week:

The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling: A Hardcore, High-Flying, No-Holds-Barred History of the One True Sport by Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno:

From the host of the critically acclaimed pro wrestling podcast Straight Shoot, this graphic novel-style history of wrestling features the key grapplers, matches, and promotions that shaped this beloved sport and form of entertainment.


Titles in bold are new additions. Titles in italics have changed release date in the past week.

30 January: WWE Vol 2: The Lunatic Fringe

6 March: WWE Superstar Guide, 2nd Edition by DK

8 March: Identity in Professional Wrestling: Essays on Nationality, Race and Gender by Aaron D Horton

13 March: The Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It (It’s Twerked for Us!) by The New Day

29 March: Wrestling in Britain: Sporting Entertainments, Celebrity and Audiences (Routledge Research in Sports History) by Benjamin Litherland

3 April: WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Vol. 1 by Dennis Hopeless, Box Brown et al

8 May: WWE Raw: The First 25 Years by Dean Miller and Jake Black

22 May: Golosseum 1 by Yasushi Baba

12 June: Russell Wrestles The Relatives by Cindy Chambers Johnson and Daniel Duncan

7 August: Creating the Mania: An Inside Look at How Wrestlemania Comes to Life (no author listed)

18 September: Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War That Changed Pro Wrestling (no author listed)

2 October: WWE: The World of the Rock by Steven Pantaleo

9 October: The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling: A Hardcore, High-Flying, No-Holds-Barred History of the One True Sport by Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno

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Recent Release Round-Up

Here are a few titles released in recent weeks that didn’t get advance listings and thus weren’t in the weekly release schedule. Note that I’ve decided not to include wrestling-related titles that are primarily erotica, of which you will find plenty in the self-published field.

 


TrumpMania: Vince McMahon, WWE and the making of America’s 45th President by Lavie Margolin

The bluster and bravado that Trump witnessed at several WrestleManias, whether from a front row seat or inside the ring, surely lent a hand to his memorable electoral debate oratories. TrumpMania is the story, on screen and off, of the mutually beneficial business and personal relationship between Donald Trump, Vince & Linda McMahon and the WWF/WWE. No matter what side of the political aisle you sit on, it would be hard to deny that Vince McMahon had some hand in the election of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

(Disclaimer: I edited this book.)


Rival Angels: Season 3 Volume 1: Book 7: Double Trouble by Alan J Evans

Rival Angels is the #1 Wrestling Webcomic. Four sassy girls attempt to make a career for themselves in a male dominated sport: Professional Wrestling! They soon discover that surviving their battles outside of the ring will be tougher than their battles inside the ring.

Season 3 (Volume 7) sees Sun and Sabrina try to make in-roads in the tag team division, but nothing can prepare them for the Towers or Terror, Too Hott or the tag champions, Black and Blue. Krystin and Brooke try to get the next chapter of their careers in gear, if only they could get out of their own way!


To Be The Man: Evil Ain’t Good: Chapter 1 by Jared Vaughan Davis and Josh Taylor

The 80’s. Reagan’s ‘Murica. Where fantasy and reality are one and the same, and the heroes of the day are the booze-fueled demigods of the squared circle… “Fabulous” Frank Hazard and Greg “The Gargoyle” Grimes are just a couple of “the boys,” traveling up and down the road in search of fame, fortune, and glory. With their violent, blood-and-guts Southern territory under threat of extinction from the cartoonish promotion up North, Hazard and Grimes’s heated rivalry has spilled out of the ropes and into the batshit-insanity of their daily lives. But when the greedy promoter from the New York-based federation of World Wrestling All-Stars literally sells his soul to steal control of the southerners’ coveted championship belt, the two boozy bruisers will have to set aside their boiling hatred to form an unlikely tag team that must fight Evil in and out of the ring.


Wrestle Maniacs

A dozen dark fiction masters bring their twisted vision to the world of professional wrestling. Twelve original stories of crime, horror, humor, and taboo. Ohhh, yeahhh! This ain’t no kayfabe, baby. This is hard-hitting wrestling fiction that grips like a Camel Clutch, and pins the reader to the page for the count of one, two…THREE! Includes a confrontational foreword by ring legend ‘Pulverizing’ Pat McCrunch (as told to Jeff Strand)… An all-new story starring Nick ‘The Widowmaker’ Bullman from James Newman’s wrestling noir, “Ugly as Sin”… And ex-boxer turned strip club bouncer Reggie Levine (“Tijuana Donkey Showdown,” “Damn Dirty Apes”) returns for another action-packed misadventure. Whether you like it or not, learn to love it, because it’s the best thing going, WOOOOO!!


Kayfabe: Stories You’re Not Supposed to Hear from a Pro Wrestling Production Company Owner by Sean Oliver

“Sean’s story, beginning as a renegade, outlaw company and evolving to redefining the shoot video genre, is extremely fascinating. Who knew that the man asking the questions was as fascinating as his subject matter?” -Justin Barrasso, Sports Illustrated

“Kayfabe brings to life a world that once had its own version of ‘omerta’ in a fascinating, well written book that will intrigue long time fans, new fans, and just those who are hoping to take a peek behind the curtain of this unlikely cultural phenomenon.” -Eric Bischoff, WCW President

“I worked in a business full of liars, cheaters, workers, con artists and of course…politicians. I can name maybe 3 people over the years that I 100% trusted, or even believed for that matter. Sean Oliver is one of those men. In reading Kayfabe, you can believe that 100% of this masterpiece is accurate–yes, even the parts about me. The most stand-up guy perhaps ever associated with the business of Pro Wrestling. You want truth–you’ll find it right here.” -Vince Russo, Former WWE/WCW Head Writer

If you thought the world of pro wrestling was wild, imagine what you haven’t seen on TV and in the ring. Add to that the backdrop of building a renegade production company, negotiating with impossible wrestling talent, and hosting groundbreaking, shoot-style programming, and you have the story of Sean Oliver.

Sean has seen industry-wide accolades for the company he co-founded and for which he serves as frontman. But there are also the threats, stories of abuse, and moments of downright hilarity that you haven’t known…until now.

Watch the unpredictable and unconventional story through Sean’s eyes.


Clash of the Champions: The Story of Sting CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION: Now featuring reviews of WWE’s two CoC events and more! by Ted Blanchard

Includes reviews of all of the WCW Clash of the Champions events, as well as WWE’s two Clash of Champions shows!

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Release Schedule (17 January)

Two new entries this week:

Wrestling in Britain: Sporting Entertainments, Celebrity and Audiences (Routledge Research in Sports History) by Benjamin Litherland

At the intersection of sport, entertainment and performance, wrestling occupies a unique position in British popular culture. This is the first book to offer a detailed historical and cultural analysis of British professional wrestling, exploring the shifting popularity of the sport as well as its wider social significance.

Arguing that the history of professional wrestling can help us understand key themes in sport, culture and performance that span the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it addresses topics such as: attitudes towards violence, representations of masculinity, the media and celebrity culture, consumerism and globalisation. By drawing on a variety of intellectual traditions and disciplines, the book explores the role of power in the construction of popular cultural forms, the ways in which history structures the present, and the manner in which audiences construct identity and meaning through sport.

Wrestling in Britain: Sporting Entertainments, Celebrity and Audiences is fascinating reading for all students and researchers with an interest in media and cultural studies, histories and sociologies of sport, or performance studies.

(Note that you might want to hang fire on ordering this as it’s currently listed at a very academic price of $140.)

The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling: A Hardcore, High-Flying, No-Holds-Barred History of the One True Sport by Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno

From the host of the critically acclaimed pro wrestling podcast Straight Shoot, this graphic novel-style history of wrestling features the key grapplers, matches, and promotions that shaped this beloved sport and form of entertainment.

As a pop culture phenomenon, professional wrestling–with its heroic babyfaces and villainous heels performing suplexes and powerbombs in pursuit of championship gold–has conquered audiences in the United States and around the world. Now, writer/podcaster Aubrey Sitterson and illustrator Chris Moreno form a graphic novel tag team to present wrestling’s complete illustrated history. Featuring legendary wrestlers like Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, and The Rock, and modern-day favorites like John Cena, Kenny Omega, and Sasha Banks, the book covers wrestling’s progress from the carnival days of the Gold Dust Trio to the dominance of the WWF/WWE to today’s diverse independent wrestling scene, and it spotlights wrestling’s reach into Mexico/Puerto Rico (lucha libre), the U.K. (all-in), and Japan (puroresu).

 


Titles in bold are new additions. Titles in italics have changed release date in the past week.

29 January: Identity in Professional Wrestling: Essays on Nationality, Race and Gender by Aaron D Horton

30 January: WWE Vol 2: The Lunatic Fringe

6 March: WWE Superstar Guide, 2nd Edition by DK

13 March: The Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It (It’s Twerked for Us!) by The New Day

29 March: Wrestling in Britain: Sporting Entertainments, Celebrity and Audiences (Routledge Research in Sports History) by Benjamin Litherland

3 April: WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Vol. 1 by Dennis Hopeless, Box Brown et al

8 May: WWE Raw: The First 25 Years by Dean Miller and Jake Black

22 May: Golosseum 1 by Yasushi Baba

12 June: Russell Wrestles The Relatives by Cindy Chambers Johnson and Daniel Duncan

9 October: The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling: A Hardcore, High-Flying, No-Holds-Barred History of the One True Sport by Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno

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