Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

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.


Pro-Wrestling: Trainingsguide by Gerhard Hradil

Hardly a fighting sport split the mind as well as professional wrestling. Again and again it is claimed that everything is just show and no one get hurt. With over 50 different techniques, this book gives an insight into the technical foundations of this beautiful, but also very hard show-sport. Historical data, impressions, and other content are intended to clean up some of the prejudices that affect pro wrestling. YES – Pro wrestling is real martial art YES – Pro wrestling is show YES – Pro wrestling hurts


Dixieland by Matthew Cullifer

Set in the dying days of the cutthroat professional wrestling territory system that once dominated the “rasslin’”landscape, Gene and his two adult sons, Doug and Robbie, own and operate Dixieland Championship Wrestling at the local farm center, where every Friday night folks come from all around and eagerly drop their paychecks on rasslin’, popcorn, and cold beer. Dixieland takes us behind the curtain, focusing less on the in-ring action and more on the machinations and politics that are unseen by fans like 11 year old, Garrett Dawson. The changing economics of wrestling brought by cable television has led the Turners to seek a television deal with a local network, but soon they run afoul of a psychotic, rival wrestling promoter determined to crush his competition. Now, not only is Dixieland in jeopardy, so are their lives. Dixieland is a big-hearted southern gothic thriller. It’s also the story of fathers and sons and the stark differences between surviving and living.


Dead Jed 3: Return of the Jed by Scott Craven

After a rough first year at middle school, Jed could use a relaxing vacation. But the 12-year-old zombie finds nothing of the sort when he and his best friend Luke joins Jed’s dad for a trip to Mexico. Border agents stop the tourists when Jed’s undead dog Tread trips the chupacabra alert. A mysterious man comes to Jed’s rescue, but his motivations are suspect. Why such interest in a 12-year-old kid and his dog? Jed thinks the man knows more about the undead life than he lets on, but the zombie’s concerns vanish when he’s caught up in another adventure, this one involving a traveling team of wrestlers. Just as Jed get accustomed to being torn limb from limb (literally) by his opponents, the zombie faces a life-changing decision that can change his very being. He is forced to contemplate living la vida muerta.

 

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Release Schedule (11 November)

One new entry this week, Russell Wrestles The Relatives by Cindy Chambers Johnson and Daniel Duncan:

Everyone loves family reunions. Well everyone except Russell, whose family of big, brawny, and boisterous wrestlers has him on the run in this vibrant celebration of what it means to be a family.

When the Relatives Came meets Wrestlemania in debut author Cindy Chambers Johnson’s rollicking picture book about a family reunion with a most colorful cast of characters—from Lorry and Tory (the Twin Tornadoes) to Cousin Cora “The Cleaner” to Uncle “el monstruo” Marcoy.

Family reunions mean lots of hugging, handshaking, and hair tousling. And Russell’s relatives? Well, they are more…enthusiastic than most. BIGGER than most. BRAWNIER than most. They’re wrestlers! Skinny and scrawny Russell will have to meet, greet, and defeat this clan with some spectacular moves of his own!


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

17 October: Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling by Jim Ross

17 October: Saint Mick: My Journey From Hardcore Legend to Santa’s Jolly Elf by Mick Foley

8 November: Wrestling Dreams by Colt Cabana and Erica Weisz

8 December:  Professional Wrestling in the Pacific Northwest: A History, 1883 to the Present by Stephen Verrier

7 January 2018: 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

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

12 June 2018: Russell Wrestles The Relatives by Cindy Chambers Johnson and Daniel Duncan

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Brian Pillman Biography Coming Soon

Liam Rourke has unveiled an upcoming book titled “Crazy Like A Fox – The Definitive Chronicle of Brian Pillman 20 Years Later”, due out at the end of the month.

An alpha male with a beta body, looking to thrive in worlds where beta males with alpha bodies are the primary requirement.

He was a complex paradox, a walking contradiction. He lived more in 35 years than most do in a lifetime, the product of an arduous infanthood. His overachievement is awe-inspiring. Tales of his conflicts and conquests became the stuff of legend. His borderline genius and tragic demise made him an icon shrouded in mystique.

He was Brian Pillman, and two decades later the most comprehensive look at one of professional wrestling’s most fascinating stories has been compiled. Discover unheard details of his upbringing, the incredible story behind chasing an NFL roster spot and his introduction to pro wrestling in the crazy Stampede circuit. Revel at his trials and tribulations in WCW and the WWF, walking the fine line between the cusp of superstardom and political turmoil. Reflect in the most detailed, inside breakdown of his Loose Cannon gambit ever produced, the scam that turned him into the talk of the business, before fatally drowning in personal tragedy and addiction.

With exclusive interviews with some of Brian’s closest friends and family, Crazy Like A Fox is a must-read for Pillman fans, and a breathtaking look at the bizarre world of wrestling to boot…

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No Is A Four Letter Word by Chris Jericho

One of the big perils of successful career autobiographies — as seen with Mick Foley — is that subsequent volumes cover a shorter and shorter period and require more padding out of concentration on trivial detail. Chris Jericho has presumably tried to avoid this with his fourth book, which is presented not as a chronological sequel but rather a self-help motivational title.

Such an approach can work, as shown in Bobby Heenan’s follow-up to his original career autobiography. Here, though, it falls flat.

The book follows a consistent pattern in each of its 20 chapters: Jericho introduces a generic platitude (most of which come down to “work hard and believe in yourself), then recounts some incidents from his life that relate to it with varying degrees of relevance.

This usually fails in two separate ways. One is that the connections are usually strained at best. For example, “don’t take no for an answer” is illustrated by an incident when he was late for an airport check-in, resigned himself to waiting for the next flight, then was recognised as a TV star by a staff member who spontaneously offered to bend the rules. The incident neither proves the point, nor has much use for ordinary civilians.

The second problem is that, with the content taken from throughout his career, many are stories that didn’t make his previous extensive books and are inherently less entertaining. In the words of Alan Partridge, “that’s no good. That’s an incident. It’s not an anecdote.” For example, to illustrate the maxim “Have a good time, all the time,” Jericho recounts how this one time he and the New Day went out drinking in Tokyo till late, and then this other time he drank a lot on a plane and was sick on his leg.

The book isn’t completely without merit for wrestling fans. It has a couple of interesting recollections about being taught a psychology lesson by Negro Casas and the unique challenges of pitching an idea to Vince McMahon. There’s also some basic behind-the-curtain details of his most recent runs, including the programs with AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose.

Overall, though, it’s a big disappointment. What was once a fresh, unconventional and unstuffy style of writing now feels tiresome, and the main message of the book seems to be that Jericho has met a lot of celebrities and most of them told him how great he is. As a result, it’s tough to recommend this to anyone but the most dedicated of Jericoholics.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

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Puroresu Tourism: Vacation in Japan to Watch Pro Wrestling by Craig Mann

While there’s some useful information in this, it doesn’t really justify the steep cover price.

The book combines some factual details for would-be wrestling visitors to Japan with a personal recollection as an introduction, some interviews with people who’ve seen wrestling in Japan, and brief overview histories of the major Japanese promotions. The opening account of being at a show at Korakuen Hall is extremely atmospheric and more along these lines would have been interesting to read. Unfortunately the interviews and histories don’t really add much and feel a little like padding.

The meat of the book is listings and details for venues and facilities. The most useful section lists a wide range of wrestling stores plus bars and restaurants that either have a wrestling theme or are owned or staffed by wrestlers, along with a map of the Tokyo Dome area. Another highlight is two sections of useful Japanese phrases, one relating to buying tickets and choosing seats and the other covering train travel. There’s also a section on Osaka that may be useful to those travelling further afield.

Other listings and information sections aren’t as useful. The guide to buying tickets doesn’t give any real specifics that can’t be found with a quick Google search, while sections of getting a passport or using credit cards abroad feel too generic for such a title. I was also disappointed to find that although Korakeun Hall and Ryogoku Sumo Hall are both covered, there’s no detail on other popular Tokyo venues such as Shinjuku Face and Shin-Kiba 1st Ring.

The real problem is that although some of the content here would have made for exceptionally useful website articles or blog posts, it doesn’t really stretch to a full-length book with a $20 print price tag or $10 Kindle version to match.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

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Release Schedule (13 September)

One new entry this week,  Identity in Professional Wrestling: Essays on Nationality, Race and Gender by Aaron D Horton:

Part sport, part performance art, professional wrestling’s appeal crosses national, racial and gender boundaries–in large part by playing to national, racial and gender stereotypes that resonate with audiences. Scholars who study competitive sports tend to dismiss wrestling, with its scripted outcomes, as “fake,” yet fail to recognize a key similarity: both present athletic displays for maximized profit through live events, television viewership and merchandise sales.

This collection of new essays contributes to the growing literature on pro wrestling with a broad exploration of identity in the sport.

Meanwhile the hardcover edition of Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It (It’s Twerked for Us!) by The New Day appears to have been put back to 13 March next year. The Kindle edition remains scheduled for next month.


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

19 September: Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte by Ric Flair & Charlotte

3 October: Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling by Jim Ross

3 October: WWE Absolutely Everything You Need to Know by DK

17 October: Saint Mick: My Journey From Hardcore Legend to Santa’s Jolly Elf by Mick Foley

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

8 November: Wrestling Dreams by Colt Cabana and Erica Weisz

10 November:  Professional Wrestling in the Pacific Northwest: A History, 1883 to the Present by Stephen Verrier

7 January 2018: 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

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

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