Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

Release Schedule (20 June)

One new entry this week: WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Vol. 3

This anthology collects stories celebrating some of WWE’s most memorable moments.

Go further than what you get to see on WWE Network. WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Volume Three brings you back to some of the most shocking moments of WWE’s past! Be there when Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Randy “Macho Man” Savage lock horns at Wrestlemania III, watch The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin seek WWE supremacy, and go along for the ride with D-Generation X as they head down South…

An all-star team of writers and artists, including Aaron Gillespie (New Challengers), Andy Belanger (Southern Cross), Kendall Goode (Maze Runner: The Death Cure) and Tini Howard (Rick & Morty), take WWE’s greatest hits to comics and invite you to take a peek behind the curtain.


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

17 July: Eggshells: Pro Wrestling In The Tokyo Dome

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)

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

8 September: 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

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

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

19 March: WWE: The Official Cookbook by Allison Robicelli

19 March: WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Vol. 3

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My New Book: Have A Good Week… Till Next Week

I’ve just released a new book, Have A Good Week… Till Next Week

For six years, the stars of Britain’s ITV wrestling told their stories to Fighting Spirit Magazine’s John Lister. Now these in-depth biographies of more than 50 grapplers come together in the ultimate history of the ‘World of Sport’ era. From Adrian Street to William Regal, from Tiny Tom Thumb to Giant Haystacks, these are the true stories of amazing lives in and out of the ring.

The full list of contents in the 400-page books is:

Adrian Street
Albert Wall & Gwyn Davies
Big Daddy
Billy Robinson
Blackjack Mulligan
Blondie Barratt
Brian Dixon
Brian Maxine
British Bulldogs
Catweazle
Chic Cullen
Chris Adams
Colin Joynson
Danny Collins
Dave Taylor
Doc Dean
Drew McDonald
George Kidd
Giant Haystacks
Jackie Pallo
Jackie Turpin
Jim Breaks
John Cox
John Freemantle
John Kenny
John Naylor
Johnny Kidd
Johnny Kincaid
Johnny Saint
Kendo Nagasaki
Kid Chocolate
Klondyke Kate
Kung Fu
Len Ironside
Les Kellett
Mal Kirk
Mal Sanders
Mark Rocco
Marty Jones
Mel Stuart
Mick McManus
Mike Marino
Mitzi Mueller
Orig Williams
Pete Roberts
Ray Robinson
Ricky Knight
Robbie Brookside
Scrubber Daly
Sheamus Dunleavy
Steve Grey
Tom Thumb
Tony St Clair
Tony Walsh
William Regal
Cup Final Day
Holiday Camps
Pre-TV Era
Royal Albert Hall
Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland
The Calgary Connection
Wembley Arena
Joint Promotions

 

You can check out my other books at the dedicated page on this site.

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Release Schedule (13 June)

We now have some details on Creating the Mania: An Inside Look at How Wrestlemania Comes to Life  by Jon Robinson, which is focused on WrestleMania 34 rather than the history of the event:

 

Creating the Mania takes fans backstage with an all-access pass to the behind-the-scenes stories of WrestleMania 34, which is set to take place in April 2018. Follow the yearlong life cycle of WWE’s biggest event, from how the storylines were developed to how the host city was selected, from the logistics and planning behind hosting over 70,000 members of the WWE Universe to the rivalries and matches playing out inside the ring, in a book that chronicles the events leading up to the “Showcase of the Immortals.”

This journey includes exclusive interviews with top Superstars, including Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Kevin Owens, The Miz, and “Phenomenal” A.J. Styles, breaking down their year leading up to ’Mania and the highs and lows that go along with being a WWE Superstar ― pushing their hardest, all with the samegoal in mind . . . to main event WrestleMania.


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

17 July: Eggshells: Pro Wrestling In The Tokyo Dome

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)

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

8 September: 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

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

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

19 March: WWE: The Official Cookbook by Allison Robicelli

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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.

 


Wahoo McDaniel Record Book: 1962-1996 by Greg Mosorjak with Mark James

A record book containing the results of over 5000 matches from the legendary professional wrestler, Wahoo McDaniel. One of the sport’s legitimate tough guys, Wahoo was an unstoppable force in the ring. This record book looks back over his 34 year career.

 


Wrestliana by Toby Litt

Toby Litt’s father wanted him to find about their ancestor: William Litt, a champion Cumberland Wrestler.

William was one of the greatest ever ‘kings of the green’ – a man who reigned undefeated in one of the nineteenth century’s most popular sports, taking home over 200 prize belts. William had other talents, as well. He was almost certainly a smuggler – and definitely published poet and novelist.

But Toby knew that coming to terms with him would be hard. A huge and fascinating man, William was also troubling. He ended his life in poverty and exile. And as well as having to measure himself up against this apparent paragon of masculinity, Toby would have to uncover uncomfortable memories and hard truths.

Would Toby like what he found out about himself along the way? As a novelist, as a son, and as a father in turn? Would he have to get in the wrestling ring? … Would he even want to?

Using the nineteenth century as a guide, Wrestliana asks vital questions about modern-day masculinity, competition, and success. It is a beautiful portrait of two men and their different worlds, full of surprises and sympathy, and a wonderful evocation of a lost place and time.

 


Milestones: How pro wrestling has been shaped into what we know today by Edward T Brickeen Jr.

Pro wrestling has evolved from massive gates at Comiskey Park at the turn of the century to dimly lit halls and gyms to hockey and basketball arenas in primetime. The wrestling world has changed and here are the important events in the modern history that has given us the shows we have today.

 


NXT: The Full Sail Years Volume III: From Dallas To New Orleans by Thomas Hall

What more is there to say about NXT? The promotion, which started off as nothing more than a developmental territory to build up some of WWE’s stars, has taken on a life of its -own. There have been more classic matches, more stars made and more great moments there than anywhere else in recent wrestling memory. In this book, I’ll be breaking down over one hundred more episodes of NXT plus ten live specials and breaking each one down match by match and segment by segment. Included will be analysis and ratings for the shows to see what worked and what didn’t.

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Canvas Countdown by Paul Meehan

Following on from my recent review of The WWE Book of Top 10s, this independently produced alternative is a mixed bag with some worthwhile elements.

It’s a similar format of 100 lists of 10 entries, almost all with a brief explanatory paragraph. As you’d expect, the big difference is the absence of photos: how important that is depends on the reader.

Other differences are that the book covers a much wider range of promotions and that the lists are for the most part in no specific order. This can occasionally be a little jarring when something seems to be obviously in a “wrong” position and in a second volume it might be worthwhile putting the entries in alphabetical order to reinforce the point that the items aren’t ranked.

One of the strong points is the diversity of subjects covered with examples including amusing real middle names of wrestlers, PWI Rookies of the Year that proved a wise choice, and wrestlers whose ring name involved a family relationship.

Perhaps surprisingly, some of the more intriguing lists are the purely objective stats-based ones. I certainly wouldn’t have picked out which wrestler has an 0-16 record at the Royal Rumble or who has the most wrestling pay-per-view appearances, while on a non-wrestling note it’s something of a surprise to see how many more people follow WWE stars on Instagram than Twitter.

It’s not a 100% hit rate: a couple of the lists feel overly smarky while others feel a bit like a clickbait listicle. But overall it’s got enough worthwhile content to justify it as something to read in small chunks, particularly at the Kindle price.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

(Disclaimer: The author provided a review copy.)

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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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