As the alternatives to WWE become fewer and weaker, autobiographies by WWE performers are likely going to have less diverse background stories. Angle’s book is one of the rare examples of somebody having a story to tell from before pro wrestling, though it may prove disappointing for those coming to the book for the first time.
Of the 300 or so pages, just over half deal with his life before signing with WWE, concentrating on the premature death of his father, followed by Angle’s amateur career and the Olympic gold medal he won with, as is widely known, a broken neck. Co-writer John Harper has done a great job of recognising many readers of the book won’t be amateur grappling aficionados and thus avoiding too much technical detail or jargon about the sport. There’s also some good stuff about the tricky transition to “real life” after the Olympics and attempts to cash in with endorsements and media work.
The WWE part of the book runs up to the end of Angle’s first heavyweight title reign in 2002. While there’s not a great deal of insider scoops or scandal (the ECW crucifixion incident is addressed over a couple of pages), there’s some fascinating insight into the mental and physical transitions between amateur competition and professional performing.
In 2002 this was an autobiography with much to recommend it. That’s still partly true today, but the book does now feel incomplete with so much of Angle’s career not covered, nor any insight into his much-reported personal problems and recovery. Still, as long as you know what you are getting, this is still worth a look, particularly as it’s available at knock-down prices.by