This is another on my list of undersung wrestling books. It’s big strength is the sheer diversity of Dillon’s career and thus the wide range of topics for which he offers an insider perspective.
Though best known as the manager of the Four Horsemen, that only covered a couple of years of his career. He also worked as a WWWF referee; spent more than a decade on the territory circuit including Mid Atlantic, Florida and Amarillo; toured Japan; spent time as a booker; was one of Vince McMahon’s right-hand men for several years; and worked in WCW during the Monday Night Wars era.
All of this is well covered in the 350 page book which, as is typical with those ghost-written by Scott Teal through his Crowbar Press publishing, manages to tell a coherent, flowing story while still staying true to the voice of the subject.
Whatever your particular interest in wrestling, you’ll find something of interest here, whether it’s the process of breaking in and being gradually smartened up, or the lavish lifestyle that came from the Horsemen living their gimmick.
For me, who became a fan through late 80s and early 90s WWF, the section on the creative process during this period is the most interesting. Far from today’s practice of a couple of dozen professional TV writers sitting in a room frantically rewriting promos on the day of the show, the booking system at that point largely consisted of Dillon and Pat Patterson sitting with Vince McMahon in his house, coming up with ideas for the next WrestleMania and working their way back from there.
Dillon also details how he and Patterson would put together house show lineups, with McMahon only asking to approve the main events. There’s also a great insight into the logistics of organising house show loops to minimise flight costs for the company (and with increased sanity for wrestlers a welcome, if optional, bonus.)
It’s hard to imagine many readers who won’t learn something about the wrestling business from reading this book, and event he few who fall into that category will surely appreciate it as entertaining nostalgia.
While it’s a bit of a stretch to say the out-of-print hardcopy is worth the $300 or so it’s now on offer for, it’s a must for Kindle readers. (EDIT: It’s also available in print directly from the publishers at: http://www.crowbarpress.com/cbp-books/02-jj.html)
Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)
Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)