Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

Tough Guys: The Birth Of An American Sport by Bill Viola Jr & Dr Fred Adams

This history of the original MMA promotion is unfortunately a classic case of ignoring the policy of “show, don’t tell.”

It’s the tale of CV Promotions which, in 1979 and 1980, ran several combat events in Pennsylvania under the Tough Guys banner. They appear to have been the first formalized shows that combined multiple martial arts into a single sport. While the events are described as the forerunner to UFC, their setup — complete with weight divisions, extensive list of banned moves, and a 10-point must scoring system — is a lot closer to UFC as we know it today than the free-for-alls of the mid-1990s.

(From a pro wrestling perspective, this isn’t purely a book with crossover appeal: there are also a few direct references such as on athletic commission regulation or Bruno Sammartino being included among debates over the true toughest guy around.)

The gist of the book is covering the promotion’s struggle with athletic regulators before an eventual ban, and highlighting the lack of attention paid to it when people give an account of MMA’s history that starts with UFC. Unfortunately the balance of the content is very much for the benefit of the writer rather than the reader.

The actual descriptions of the planning of the promotion and the events themselves are engaging but too short. It then feels like almost the final third of the book is solely dedicated to reiterating the point about the media ignoring the company and painting UFC as the originators of mixed martial arts.

While it’s perfectly understandable that the writers — one of whom is the son of a Tough Guys promoter — want to right this historical wrong, but it soon becomes a tedious read. There’s also not enough use of the original source material to which the writers had access, in particular only a segment of the original rules being included and being almost illegible on the Kindle edition.

(Note: This is a re-release of a book originally titled Godfathers of MMA with the new title being to match a Showtime documentary on Tough Guys.)

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Wrestling The Hulk by Linda Hogan

Perhaps the politest way to review this book would be to note that wrestling fans may not be its primary target audience.

It’s only 236 pages of very large type (and even some padding out with recipes) but still feels a long-winded route to effectively say “I met and married Hulk Hogan but he turned out to be a shagger so we got divorced.”)

There’s virtually no wrestling content and what little there is seems somewhat shaky. For example, not only do we learn how Vince McMahon took wrestling out of “small, dingy, dimly lit no-name arenas with fifty to one hundred people in the audience” but Linda claims the first time she went to one of Hogan’s matches he wrestled Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA title in front of barely 300 people.

There’s no acknowledgement of a ghostwriter and if somebody did work on the project, they may have gone too far in making the writing authentic. Because it’s filled with lame puns! And exclamation marks everywhere! It also seems light on editing, with several cases of the book contradicting itself.

All that said, it’s hard to criticise too much as the content certainly matches the book’s premise of being one party’s side of the story. The problem is that while it’s certainly nowhere near as bad as Chyna’s autobiography, it’s a similar scenario by which the writer will have gotten far more benefit from the process than the reader will.

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Release Schedule (16 May)

One new entry, WWE Original Graphic Novel: Undertaker:

An original graphic novel looking at the career of one of the greatest Superstars in WWE history, Undertaker.

The Dead Man. The Phenom. The Legend who dominated Sports Entertainment for over twenty-five years. For the first time, the unrivaled career of Undertaker is chronicled in graphic novel form from WWE and BOOM! Studios.


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

22 May: Golosseum 1 by Yasushi Baba

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

31 July: WWE Vol. 3: Roman Empire by Dennis Hopeless

7 August: Creating the Mania: An Inside Look at How Wrestlemania Comes to Life  by Jon Robinson

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

13 August: Gene Kiniski: Canadian Wrestling Legend by Steven Verrier

23 August: I’m Sorry, I Love You: A History of Professional Wrestling by Jim Smallman

18 September: Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War That Changed Pro Wrestling by Tim Hornbaker

30 September: Pro-Wrestling: A Comprehensive Reference Guide by Lew Freedman

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

2 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

6 November: WWE Original Graphic Novel: Undertaker

18 December: WWE Vol. 4: Women’s Evolution by Dennis Hopeless

19 February 2019: Own Your Life: How to Make Yourself Positively Unstoppable by Diamond Dallas Page

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The WWE Book Of Top 10s

Another “get it for Christmas, read it once” title, the content here is more plausible than you might imagine.

The format is exactly as you might imagine: 100 or so lists with around 50 words explanation for each entry. There’s a good variety of topic matters, broadly divided into wrestlers, matches and championships, including a few purely objective rankings (shortest title reigns, youngest champions etc.)

Aside from a little inconsistency over whether non-WWE content is included, the rankings themselves are generally credible enough that while you might not agree with them, they aren’t ridiculous. It’s certainly not a modern-day whitewash: for example, in a ranking of title belts (or rather “championship titles” in WWE-speak), the current WWE belt is ranked behind both ‘Big Gold’ and the Winged Eagle WWF title.

Indeed, the lists are reasonable enough that the few exceptions for modern storylines are particularly jarring, a notable example being Roman Reigns included in the top 10 crossover stars from other sports based on playing one season in Canadian football. There’s also a few stretched definitions such as the Hardys and Steiners being listed as among the top wrestling “families”.

There’s also a couple of questionable entries such as Raven being listed as a long-time ECW fan favourite and an apparent confusion of the ECW and WCW TV title concepts. Again, it’s more a credit to the book as a whole that these really stand out.

The only real downside apart from the lack of re-readability is that because the rankings are so reasonable, there’s not much in the way of surprises. In many cases you’ll be able to guess the top three to five, even if you don’t get the precise order.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

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Release Schedule: 2 May

We’ve got our first listing for 2019,Own Your Life: How to Make Yourself Positively Unstoppable by Diamond Dallas Page:

World-renowned wrestling champion turned fitness guru Diamond Dallas Page wants to transform your life.

He believes that the primary reason so many of us are stuck, whether in unhappy relationships, dead-end jobs, or with self-destructive habits, is because we choose not to truly take ownership of our lives. In this straightforward and insightful book, DDP has created a 13-week fitness and nutrition program that will strip away your litany of excuses and motivate you to get honest, take action, and take ownership―and show you taking control of your pain lets you take control of your life.

Combining workout principles and yoga with elements of rehabilitation, and filled with powerful stories of transformation, Own Your Life shows you how to overcome any obstacle to create a magnificent, healthy life.


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

15 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

31 July: WWE Vol. 3: Roman Empire by Dennis Hopeless

7 August: Creating the Mania: An Inside Look at How Wrestlemania Comes to Life  by Jon Robinson

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

13 August: Gene Kiniski: Canadian Wrestling Legend by Steven Verrier

18 September: Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War That Changed Pro Wrestling by Tim Hornbaker

30 September: Pro-Wrestling: A Comprehensive Reference Guide by Lew Freedman

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

18 December: WWE Vol. 4: Women’s Evolution by Dennis Hopeless

19 February 2019: Own Your Life: How to Make Yourself Positively Unstoppable by Diamond Dallas Page

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PROGRESS Promoter Publishing Wrestling History Book

PROGRESS promoter and stand-up comedian Jim Smallman is publishing ‘I’m Sorry, I Love You: A History of Professional Wrestling’ this August. Blurb as follows:

‘We have all felt every emotion today. Remember today, the next time a family member or workmate tells you that wrestling is stupid. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve screamed our lungs out. Professional wrestling is the greatest thing in the entire world.’ – Jim Smallman, 2016

Comedian and PROGRESS Wrestling founder Jim Smallman takes us on a wild ride through the history of pro-wrestling, from its beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century to the pop-culture, pay-per-view juggernaut that it is today.

Join Jim as he looks at the most defining and iconic moments in wrestling’s history and attempts to nail down just why this ludicrous, over the top, compelling quasi-sport means so much to so many people.

Further details from the inside flap:

March 30th, 2008. The Citrus Bowl, Orlando. Wrestlemania XXIV. Ric Flair, the bleached blonde veteran, gets groggily to his feet. His opponent, Shawn ‘The Hearbreak Kid’ Michaels, knows what has to be done. Time stands still. Seventy-five thousand spectators lower their voices as a tearful Michaels locks eyes with his childhood hero, now fictional foe. ‘I’m sorry, I love you,’ he says, before delivering his signature ‘sweet chin music’ superkick, pinning Flair in the ring and ending his career on the grandest possible stage.

That moment is now part of wrestling folklore. To comedian and PROGRESS wrestling founder, Jim Smallman, Michaels’ words embody something else. For too long, fans like Jim have had to be apologetic about their love of professional wrestling. But all that’s about to change. Prepare for a wild ride through the history of pro-wrestling, from its beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century to the pop-culture, pay-per-view juggernaut that it is today. Part history, part love letter to a much-misunderstood form of entertainment, join Jim as he brings you tales of early pioneers like ‘Farmer’ Burns and Frank Gotch, bizarre gimmicks, phenomenal finishing moves, Mexican and Japanese innovators, the McMahon dynasty, Big Daddy, André the Giant, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, The Undertaker and The Rock, as he attempts to nail down just why this ludicrous, over the top, compelling quasi-sport means so much to so many.

It’s available for pre-order now in hardback and Kindle forms, with an August release date.

Pre-order on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

 

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Recent Release Roundup

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.

The Road To The Show Of Shows 2018 Ultimate Edition: How WWE Pulled Off A Loaded WrestleMania With Even More Of The Controversy, Steroid Allegations, And Rusev Day Celebrations by Aaron Varble

This edition of the book includes everything the regular one does and so much more. Now you can get every single aspect of what it took to pull off one of the greatest WrestleManias of all time including way more details and in-depth chapters focusing on some of the biggest stories during the time such as Ronda Rousey’s journey to WWE, Daniel Bryan’s journey to being medically cleared, Paige’s journey to retirement, the evolution of Rusev Day, what happened to Enzo Amore, and so much more. This edition also includes a special chapter focusing on the steroid documentary that threatened to derail Roman Reigns’ ascension to the top and how he narrowly escaped it just before the Show Of Shows. This edition includes all of the wit and reference material as the first but the Ultimate Edition is definitely the one any real fan needs to have. Bonus Chapters ONLY Included in this Ultimate Edition: • Complete play-by-play for Raw’s Christmas Episode and Raw 25 • The 2nd Destruction Of The Shield • The Jon Bravo Factor • Another Tragedy For Paige • What Happened To Enzo Amore? • The Ever-changing WWE Cruiserweight Division • How Ronda Rousey Met WWE • The Great Daniel Bryan Saga • The Raw After Mania • The SmackDown Live After Mania • And much more

The Ring Walk by Brett Simenson

The Ring Walk is a stunning new coming of age novel about forbidden love, a great heist caper, and Andre the Giant. Set in Philadelphia in late 1979 and early 1980, this book features a number of characters from history as well as one of the most original and compelling young narrators since Holden Caulfield. If you’ve got Wrestlemania mania this weekend, there is no better treat for you or the fans in your life. A rare book that treats the matches of your youth with the joy and passion that they deserve, the Ring Walk is essential for any fans of pro wrestling, both modern and historical. When Flex Italiano and his charming hustler of a father show a little moxie and get involved in a scheme to steal a priceless ancient vase, they get drawn into a world of gangsters, con men, and carnies. Through his father’s job with the state athletic commission, Flex meets some of the his television idols, including the legendary champion Bruno Sammartino and the iconic Andre the Giant. He also explores Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, the Spectrum, and the pain and pinfalls that happen to every teenage boy. Fans of “Red Green Turns Dollar Blue” and “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” the novels of Dennis Lehane will love this new book by Brett Simenson.

WWE: How To Become A WWE Referee by Ahab Goldberg Mesmar

Just Released – A WWE Book for the WWE Universe teaching you How To Become A WWE Referee. So much information and Step by Step Action to tell and teach you how to become a wwe referee. Filled with amazment everywhere, packed with everything you need to know about WWE Referees is this amazing book. Check out its chapters on preview and get ready to get stunned. This Mad Book contains pictures to help you and show you the process of becoming a WWE Ref and Facts you never knew about the daily life of a WWE Referee. We also included our first time ever female referee Jessika Carr and we dig deep behind closed curtains and closed doors as we share with you the inside stories and the inside scoop if your interested in becoming a WWE Referee. We also get to show you what WWE Refs do and what they are in core level, stuff you wouldnt normally know about including the things that WWE Refs are allowed to do including their immense Power in the ring. You thought WWE Superstars have all the power in the ring, well .. think again, because what your about to find out will shock you and your perception of the WWE will change once you know the roles WWE Refs play, because its not only a 1..2..3.. and all is all. Its actually MUCH more than that because they actually control the flow of the Match, The Timing, The Silent information they recieve from the back curtain to their ear piece to quietly tell WWE Superstars on what they need to do next in the ring and so much more. Once you crack open this Book, you will have new eyes and So much respect for WWE Referees that you’ve never had before, Dont Miss out on this – Order Your copy NOW & Find Out !!!

To Be The Man: Evil Ain’t Good: Chapter 2 by Jared Vaughan Davis (Author), Josh Taylor (Illustrator)

The boys are gonna need more than the Five Moves of Doom to get outta this one! With “The Gargoyle” and “Fabulous” Frank surrounded by a horde of zombie rednecks, the boozy bruisers will have to break out their movesets to get out of the graveyard and back on the road. But before they can hit their finishers and count the “1-2-3,” Grimes and Hazard have a bigger opponent to contend with… There’s evil afoot, and it wants championship gold!

Family Bacon Rasslin’ by Scottie Richardson

 

Mike Mooneyham (Professional Wrestling Columnist for The Post and Courier. Co-Author of Sex, Lies, and Headlocks. Member of the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame) “Family, Bacon, Rasslin’ is a nostalgic look at pro wrestling as seen through the eyes of a longtime fan who takes the reader from his childhood to the present day. If you’re wondering just how the bacon fits in to the title, you’ll have to get a copy to find out. This fun read will strike a resonant chord with mat followers who couldn’t wait to tune in to their favorite sixty minutes each week!” Jim Valley (Professional Wrestling Podcast Host, Author, Master of Ceremonies, and Radio Personality) “I found Family, Bacon, Rasslin’ very relatable as I had similar experiences with my fandom especially the magazines. All in all, it’s very good, easy to read, and captures the feeling of being a fan in our era.” The Duke from Duke Loves Rasslin’ (Host of Duke Loves Rasslin Podcast, Twitter @DLovesRasslin, Facebook.com/DukeLovesRasslin, New episodes of the Duke Loves Rasslin podcast can be heard after 11pm EST every Thursday on YouTube, ITunes and most other leading podcast apps) “Family, Bacon, Rasslin’ is a collection of hilarious stories involving a dedicated pro wrestling fan, Scottie, and his cast of interesting characters aka family. The book chronicles various twists and turns that occurred in the lives of Scottie and his family from before he was even born to present day. The work is more than a wrestling book. It’s really a family book with some wrestling stuff thrown in ~ better than a wrestling book!”

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Release Schedule (25 April)

One new entry this week: Gene Kiniski: Canadian Wrestling Legend by Steven Verrier

Few stones are left unturned in this account of the life of a champion professional wrestler old-time fans and wrestling historians remember well for his accomplishments in the ring, his run-em-over approach to wrestling, his growly demeanor, and a razor-sharp wit he could unleash at will. Numerous people who knew Gene Kiniski firsthand – including boyhood friends and acquaintances in the Canadian prairie, fellow wrestlers and promoters who worked with him or against him, and people who became Kiniski’s friends after he left the ring – recount touching stories and memories of an athlete and entertainer who was known internationally to a generation of wrestling fans and to Canadians everywhere as Canada’s Greatest Athlete. In these pages, those who knew Kiniski best remember a giant of a man who impacted people around him even more than he impacted wrestling audiences in major centers in the United States, Canada, and Japan over the course of an outstanding career spanning well over three decades.


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

15 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

31 July: WWE Vol. 3: Roman Empire by Dennis Hopeless

7 August: Creating the Mania: An Inside Look at How Wrestlemania Comes to Life  by Jon Robinson

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

13 August: Gene Kiniski: Canadian Wrestling Legend by Steven Verrier

18 September: Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War That Changed Pro Wrestling by Tim Hornbaker

30 September: Pro-Wrestling: A Comprehensive Reference Guide by Lew Freedman

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

18 December: WWE Vol. 4: Women’s Evolution by Dennis Hopeless

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