Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

Release Schedule: 27 July

Three new entries this week:

Looking Up at the Lights: My Path from a Nobody to a Wrestling Heel by Pete Gas

How did an untrained, overweight former college football player end up in the middle of a ring, wrestling during the highest-rated segment during the WWE’s acclaimed Attitude Era?

That’s the story behind Looking Up at the Lights. As a childhood friend of Shane McMahon, Pete Gas was given the opportunity most only pray for. Beginning with appearances to interfere in McMahon’s matches, his role blossomed into becoming a full-fledge wrestler and leading the Mean Street Posse to WrestleMania, becoming one of the most fascinating success stories of the era.

From his humble upbringing and friendship with Shane (and the McMahon family as a whole), Gas shares how a 9-to-5 average Joe got the chance of a lifetime and made the most out of it.

But getting your foot in the door is one thing; staying is a completely different animal. With all eyes on him, knowing his lack of training and meal ticket being the boss’s son, Gas knew he had to win over all those doubters: from the fans and announcers to the wrestlers themselves.

Knowing he had to prove himself, Gas took beatings, chair shots, and additional training to not only show that he could wrestle, but that he belonged with such superstars as The Rock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and The Undertaker.

Featuring a foreword by JBL, who famously nailed Gas in the head with a steel chair, and an afterword by Edge, readers will get an inside look into not only the training and sacrifice these athletes go through, but the behind-the-scenes workings of a day in the WWE.


NXT: The Future Is Now by Jon Robinson (official WWE release)
NXT: The Future Is Now follows the rise of WWE’s popular NXT brand from its conception to the brink of taking over WWE with its own rabid following. For decades, sports-entertainment had no centralized system for recruiting and training talent. Recognizing this need, Paul Levesque — better known as 14-time World Champion Triple H — convinced Vince McMahon that WWE must reinvent itself. This book delivers the revealing story of Levesque’s vision and the revolutionary impact it has already had on the WWE landscape, cultivating such world-renowned stars as Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens, Charlotte, Finn Bálor, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, and so many more.

Learn about WWE’s groundbreaking approach to talent development and take a look inside the state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center as exciting performers hone their wrestling skills, characters, personalities, and so much more under Triple H’s watchful eye. With new, insightful interviews from Triple H, NXT trainers, Superstars, and other personalities, discover how WWE’s future is now!


Sisterhood of the Squared Circle: The History and Rise of Womens Wrestling by Pat Laprade & Dan Murphy

Sisterhood of the Squared Circle presents the fascinating history of women’s wrestling, from the carnival circuit of the late 1800s to today’s hugely popular matches. With more than 100 wrestler profiles, find out how the backstage politics, real-life grudges, and incredible personalities shaped the business. The careers of many well-known trailblazers, including Mildred Burke, the Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Penny Banner, Wendi Richter, Trish Stratus, Chyna, and Lita, are celebrated alongside today’s stars, like Charlotte, Natalya, and Paige.

With rare photographs, and an exploration of women’s wrestling worldwide — including chapters on Japan, Mexico, England, and Australia — Sisterhood of the Squared Circle is a priceless contribution to the history of professional wrestling.

 


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

1 August: The Final Showdown (Wrestling Trolls) by Jim Eldridge

9 August: Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE by Pat Patterson

31 August: Lucha (Spanish Edition) by Paola Gonzalez

4 October: Rowdy: The Roddy Piper Story

4 October: As yet untitled Stephanie McMahon autobiography

18 October: Rudas: Niño’s Horrendous Hermanitas! by Yuyi Morales

25 October: WWE Encyclopedia Of Sports Entertainment, 3rd Edition by Steve Pantaleo 

17 January 2017: The Official WWE Book of Rules: (And How to Break Them)

7 February: Superstars of Wwe (Pro Sports Superstars) by Todd Kortemeier 

7 March: WWE: WrestleMania: The Poster Collection

7 March: Looking Up at the Lights: My Path from a Nobody to a Wrestling Heel by Pete Gas

4 April: Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules by AJ Mendez Brooks

11 April: NXT: The Future Is Now by Jon Robinson (official WWE release)

11 April: Sisterhood of the Squared Circle: The History and Rise of Womens Wrestling by Pat Laprade & Dan Murphy

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Wrestlecrap: The Very Worst Of Pro Wrestling by RD Reynolds and Randy Baer

An attempt to give added value in this book falls short, meaning its most appreciative audience may be limited.

The book stems from a hugely popular site of the same name that regularly posts short articles about some of the more ridiculous gimmicks and storylines in wrestling history, from the Shockmaster to Katy Vick and from the Ultimate Warrior’s mirror magic to Evad Navillus’s rabbit.

It would have been easy to simply pick out a couple of hundred of the standout entries, slap them together with a gimmick (perhaps a Top Trumps style ranking of their various demerits) and make the type of comedic book that you get as a Christmas present and dip in and out of.

While in some ways its admirable the authors tried not to use this approach, possibly for fear of seeming like a cash-in, their efforts don’t really work. Instead they use the original source material to put together a narrative that’s divided into largely chronological-ordered chapters such as one on the WCW mini-movie era.

In trying to be both coherent and complete, the account loses some of the charm of the original website. It means there’s a lot of content that, while necessary to tell the big picture story, feels out of place, such as Monday Night ratings patterns, the booking of the 2001 WWF Invasion angle, or the backstory behind the World Bodybuilding Federation. It leaves the book in no man’s land of being neither wall-to-wall humor nor a truly comprehensive history (for which Reynolds’ later Death of WCW was a better example.) There’s also far too much editorialising in the book where it would have been better to let the inanity of the gimmicks speak for themselves.

The book certainly has its entertaining moments and brings back memories of some forgotten elements of wackier gimmicks such as the fact the Dungeon of Doom had its very own leprechaun, but the attempt to give the book substance has unfortunately led to a volume that’s unlikely to inspire a second reading.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Headquarters by Mike Quackenbush

HeadQuartersSomewhat reminiscent of a low-level indy version of Have A Nice Day, this is a book with as much interest in its non-wrestling content as the in-ring tales.

It’s important to note the book was released in 2001, a year before CHIKARA’s launch, so it’s about Quackenbush’s youth and early in-ring career rather than his training and promoting days, though on the basis of this there’s potential for a worthwhile second volume.

Large parts of this book deal with Quackenbush’s attempts to navigate an American adolescence and find a creative outlet, with tales of experiences as diverse as playing in high school bands, attempting to get a journalistic scoop from the Iraqi embassy, and an illusion-shattering visit to a sperm donation clinic.

There is plenty of wrestling content though, covering an intriguing period when “independent wrestling” changed from the realm of former WWF stars in no-bumps matches and local DJs winning battle royales to cards full of younger and more athletic wrestlers with a modern fusion of international styles. Fans of a certain age will enjoy the nostalgia of names such as Reckless Youth, Julio Dinero and star of TNM7 “Beef Stew” Lou Marconi.

To spoil the ending of this book would be a disservice to readers, but suffice to say it is highly memorable and an insight into the way storyline triumphs can be less important than more personal moments in the business.

While long out of print, the book is still available through the Chikara website.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Release Schedule (13 July)

New addition this week is Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules by AJ Mendez Brooks, better known to WWE fans as AJ Lee, scheduled for 4 April 2017.


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

12 July: Champion of the World by Chad Dundas

24 July: Performance and Pro Wrestling by Broderick Chow & Laine Eero

1 August: The Final Showdown (Wrestling Trolls) by Jim Eldridge

9 August: Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE by Pat Patterson

31 August: Lucha (Spanish Edition) by Paola Gonzalez

4 October: Rowdy: The Roddy Piper Story

4 October: As yet untitled Stephanie McMahon autobiography

18 October: Rudas: Niño’s Horrendous Hermanitas! by Yuyi Morales

24 October: WWE Encyclopedia Of Sports Entertainment, 3rd Edition by Steve Pantaleo 

17 January 2017: The Official WWE Book of Rules: (And How to Break Them)

7 February: Superstars of Wwe (Pro Sports Superstars) by Todd Kortemeier 

7 March: WWE: WrestleMania: The Poster Collection

4 April: Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules by AJ Mendez Brooks

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

King of the Ring by Harley Race

A storied career is somewhat let down by a lack of depth in this autobiography that falls short of its potential.

Race has an eventful and distinctive history to tell: not just his multiple NWA title runs, but also being trained by the original Zbyszkos (upon whose farm he worked) and even working the carnival circuit where betting scams were as key as drawing crowds.

The book has plenty of stories, with an unusual encounter with Vince McMahon a highlight, but it’s certainly not a comprehensive career history. The chronology jumps around a little with some chapters being more thematic. There’s also relatively little insight into Race’s thinking and why he made particular decisions.

Despite the book being relatively brief, there’s still some sections that feel like padding: for example, when talking about his time managing Lex Luger, the book includes several paragraphs on Luger’s subsequent WWF run.

The overall effect is somewhat like reading a transcript of a poorly conducted shoot interview rather than a fully-fleshed life story. It’s still worth your time reading if you can get a good price, but it’s the subject rather than the content which carries the book.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather