Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

Release Schedule (19 April)

One new entry, the graphic novel WWE Vol. 3: Roman Empire by Dennis Hopeless:

WWE: Roman Empire takes you behind the curtain for a closer look at one of Sports Entertainment’s biggest Superstars, Roman Reigns, as he tries to hold onto the WWE Championship while his former allies Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose gun for his crown.

Roman Reigns: the Big Dog. The juggernaut descendent of wrestling royalty has made it to the top of the mountain in WWE – just as everyone predicted he would. But it’s lonely at the top, and with the top two contenders for the WWE Championship being his former Shield brothers Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, keeping the title will be a lot harder than winning it.

Writer Dennis Hopeless (Jean Grey, Spider-Woman) and artist Serg Acuña take readers on a ride full of broken alliances and big action.


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)

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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WWE Official Book Of Rules (And How To Break Them)

If you don’t mind the fact you’ll probably never read this twice, it’s an amusing enough diversion.

It’s written under the pretext that, like the British constitution, the WWE rulebook is made up of a variety of official and unofficial documents that are never collated in one place. Covering both the in-ring ‘rules’ and the company policies, it’s effectively a cover for a barrage of in-jokes for wrestling fans including references to incidents and characters of the past.

The problem is that the execution rarely strikes the right balance. In some cases the gag is overplayed, such as a supposed memo from Vince McMahon to WWF referees dated 9 November 1997 pointing out that the chairman’s instructions are final. Left at that it would be mildly amusing, but instead we get a series of handwritten additions to the memo that spell out the reference and joke in full detail, killing any humour.

At the other end, some pages are breathakingly lazy. The final page is literally a print of a tax return defaced with the words “PAY YOUR TAXES! IRWIN R SCHYSTER”.

The book does have some genuinely neat insider references. There’s the first ‘canon’ acknowledgement of the rule that tag teams are allowed only one save in a match, something that wrestlers and referees have been told to follow for real, but yet is bizarrely never mentioned by announcers. There’s also a section of pages apparently torn out, leaving just enough legible to hint at a series of offences that would earn Vince McMahon’s ire.

While that’s a nice production trick, the book itself is produced to give the effect of a bunch of papers tied together. Artistic effect aside, it doesn’t fill you with confidence that it would stand up to multiple read-throughs, though as mentioned, that’s unlikely to be an issue.

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Kendo Nagasaki Book In The Works

British wrestler Kendo Nagasaki, aka Peter Thornley, has a book planned for release this year. It’s certainly intriguing given his life-long secrecy, though it remains to be seen just how revealing the book really is. The reference to material from Gorgeous George (Gillette), Nagasaki’s original manager, is particularly intriguing given Gillette died in 1990.

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Release Schedule (28 March)

A couple of author and blurb updates this week. Creating the Mania: An Inside Look at How Wrestlemania Comes to Life is a WWE publication by Jon Robinson, author of My Favorite Match and The WWE Attitude Era:

Creating the Mania takes fans backstage with an all-access pass to the behind-the-scenes stories of WrestleMania 34. 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 seventy thousand 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” AJ 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 same goal in mind … to main-event WrestleMania.


Meanwhile Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War That Changed Pro Wrestling is by Tim Hornbaker, author of Capitol Revolution and National Wrestling Alliance:

For decades, distinct professional wrestling territories thrived across North America. Each regionally-based promotion operated individually and offered a brand of localized wrestling that greatly appealed to area fans. Promoters routinely coordinated with associates in surrounding regions, and the cooperation displayed by members of the National Wrestling Alliance made it easy for wrestlers to traverse the landscape with the utmost freedom.

Dozens of territories flourished between the 1950s and late ’70s. But by the early 1980s, the growth of cable television had put new outside pressures on promoters. An enterprising third-generation entrepreneur who believed cable was his opportunity to take his promotion national soon capitalized on the situation.

A host of novel ideas and the will to take chances gave Vincent Kennedy McMahon an incredible advantage. McMahon waged war on the territories and raided the NWA and AWA of their top talent. By creating WrestleMania, jumping into the pay-per-view field, and expanding across North America, McMahon changed professional wrestling forever.

Providing never-before-revealed information, Death of the Territories is a must-read for fans yearning to understand how McMahon outlasted his rivals and established the industry’s first national promotion. At the same time, it offers a comprehensive look at the promoters who opposed McMahon, focusing on their noteworthy power plays and embarrassing mistakes.


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

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

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

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)

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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Release Schedule (21 March)

Though I’ve not added them to the list, a range of childrens WWE books is due out in August, both individually and as the Superstars of Wrestling Set.


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

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) (Currently unavailable)

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) (Currently unavailable)

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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Release Schedule (14 March)

One new entry this week, Pro-Wrestling: A Comprehensive Reference Guide by Lew Freedman

This book provides readers with an abundance of information and historical perspective as well as entertaining and memorable anecdotes about professional wrestling. Readers will also learn unusual snippets of trivia that will enhance their comprehension of the sport.

Take care with this however as it’s currently listed at a somewhat suspicious $94.


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

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)

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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Tokyo Dome Book Free Sample

Chris Charlton has published a sample chapter of his upcoming crowdfunded book Eggshells: Pro Wrestling In The Tokyo Dome. The chapter covers the February 1990 New Japan show that included appearances from All Japan and AWA wrestlers.

The funding has now reached a high enough level that the book will be published in both paperback and hardback versions, and that there’ll be an accompanying podcast series (with episodes released early for backers.) The next funding target is for an audiobook version read by Dan Lovranski.

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