Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

Richmond 9-5171 by Jeff Walton

If you recognise the title, you’ll get a lot from this book. If not, it’s still an interesting read, but in neither case is it worth paying silly money for.

The title is of course the phone number of the box office at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, a number which was not only repeated on air throughout the show but also appeared prominently in the building itself.

Walton worked for the LA territory both as manager Tux Newman and behind the scenes with the LeBell family which promoted the area. The book is a mixture of autobiography and a history of the territory, particularly its main venue.

Rather than a straight chronology it covers a different topic in each chapter such as the female wrestlers, Andre the Giant  and backstage humour. As you’d expect, the highlight covers the Fred Blassie-John Tolos feud that was arguably the high point of the territory, leading to a blowoff at the outdoors LA Coliseum.

While there’s a little on the final years of the territory, it’s not overly analytical and there’s not much about how cable expansion hit the territorial model, nor indeed the more outlandish gimmicks the promotion tried in its dying days.

There are some good insights though, in particular to the involvement of Sam Sheppard (who had served 12 years in jail for murdering his wife before a high-profile acquittal) who turned briefly to wrestling and introduced the mandible claw finisher later used by Mick Foley.

Overall it’s entertaining enough, but lacks enough depth or breadth to be a must-have.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Release Schedule (23 November)

One new entry this week and it’s… different: The Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It (It’s Twerked for Us!) by The New Day

Multi-time W . . . W . . . E! (WWE) TAG! TEAM! CHAMPIONS! The New Day want you to feel the power!! And now you can with The Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It (It’s Twerked for Us!). From the purveyors of positivity themselves, each chapter of this handy guide will help you embrace the New Day way of life. Even if you’re feeling booty―and who (who?! who?! who?! who?! who?!) has never felt booty? ―you’ll be clapping, gyrating, and radiating positivity like the New Day themselves.

Fans will learn:
* The New Day’s official definition of “booty,” and the telltale signs that you or a loved one might be booty
* The proper attire and headwear for the new you
* How to twerk like a man
* What your spirit animal says about you
* How to project positivity

By the time you finish this book, you’ll be a rainbow-gazing, trombone-playing, unicorn-loving soldier of positivity, ready to take on nefarious WWE tag teams with a smile on your face. Pro tip: Eat your Booty O’s every morning for added strength!


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

7 February 2017: Superstars of Wwe (Pro Sports Superstars) by Todd Kortemeier 

28 February: The Official WWE Book of Rules: (And How to Break Them)

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

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

21 March: WWE: WrestleMania: The Poster Collection

1 April: The Best Seat in the House: A Backstage Pass to My Journey As Wwe Announcer by Justin Roberts

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

2 May: WWE Book Of Top 10s by DK

25 July: Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte by Ric Flair & Charlotte

1 August: Wrestling’s New Golden Age: How Independent Promotions Have Revolutionized One of America’s Favorite Sports by Ronald Snyder

10 August: No Is a Four-Letter Word: How I Failed Spelling But Succeeded in Life by Chris Jericho

Currently unavailable: UNREAL: Growing Up In the Crazy, Fun Show Business World of WWE by Stephanie McMahon

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

When Wrestling Was Real (volume 1) by Paul ‘The Butcher’ Vachon

One of the more underrated wrestling books out there, this is sadly difficult to track down.

This isn’t to be confused with Wrestling with the Past: Life In and Out of the Ring, a 2012 single volume autobiography from Vachon which (based on the opening chapter at least) is not as good.

Instead this is the first of a three volume set self-published by Vachon in the early 2000s and sold by mail order and in person at conventions. It mainly covers his early pro years across Canadian territories and then travelling around Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and India.

As much as this covers his in-ring activities, it’s also a genuinely entertaining travel tale as he attempts to scrape together enough cash to take he and his family back home. During this time he does everything from work as a singer in Lahore and hang out with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to spend New Year’s Eve on a perilous drive from Montreal to Calgary and operating full touring shows with just two men and two women to cover the wrestling, refereeing and box office. There’s also the tale of the Great Antonio falling for the infamous Mabel.

If you’re ever lucky enough to see this at an affordable price, be sure to snap it up.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Wrestle Radio USA Grapplers Speak by Ed Symkus and Vinnie Carolan

Somewhat outdated in the Internet age, this is a collection of transcripts of radio interviews with wrestlers between 1993 and 1996.

There’s a combination of big names like Ric Flair and Rick Steamboat and future superstars in the early part of their career such as Triple H in his Jean Paul Levesque days.

For the most part the interviewees don’t explicitly break kayfabe, but neither do they insult anyone’s intelligence and it’s easy to read between the lines where necessary, while there’s plenty of behind the scenes talk.

The main drawback is that many of the interviews are relatively brief and there are plenty of one-line replies that don’t get followed up on. These are very much time-restricted radio segments rather than the type of in-depth talk that’s more commonplace in today’s shoot interview era.

It’s an interesting enough read and the anthology format keeps things moving, but the novelty of wrestlers being interviewed outside of a storyline setting is long gone, so this isn’t something to go out of your way to track down today.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Release Schedule (16 November)

One new addition, this week: Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte by Ric Flair & Charlotte

WOOOOOO! Are you ready for this, WWE Universe?

For the first time ever, WWE’s illustrious father-daughter duo “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Charlotte come together to tell their legendary story.

Ric Flair is a 16-time World Champion and two-time WWE Hall of Fame Inductee. His four-decades long career is recognized as one of the greatest of all time, but with success comes a price. Despite his effortless brilliance in front of the cameras, his life away from the cameras includes personal struggles, controversy and family tragedy. Through his bond with Charlotte, he’s becoming the father he needs to be while rediscovering the legend he has always been.

Charlotte grew up in the shadow of her famous father, “the dirtiest player in the game,” but now she is poised to take the Flair name to new heights. As the inaugural WWE Women’s Champion, Charlotte has had an impressive career, and she’s just getting started. With the (dare we say it) flair of the “Nature Boy” running through her blood, Charlotte is destined for greatness. Find out how she embraced her heritage and battled her own challenges through her rise to the top of WWE.

For these two Champions, sports entertainment is simply SECOND NATURE.


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

7 February 2017: Superstars of Wwe (Pro Sports Superstars) by Todd Kortemeier 

28 February: The Official WWE Book of Rules: (And How to Break Them)

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

21 March: WWE: WrestleMania: The Poster Collection

April: The Best Seat in the House: A Backstage Pass to My Journey As Wwe Announcer by Justin Roberts

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

2 May: WWE Book Of Top 10s by DK

25 July: Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte by Ric Flair & Charlotte

1 August: Wrestling’s New Golden Age: How Independent Promotions Have Revolutionized One of America’s Favorite Sports by Ronald Snyder

10 August: No Is a Four-Letter Word: How I Failed Spelling But Succeeded in Life by Chris Jericho

Currently unavailable: UNREAL: Growing Up In the Crazy, Fun Show Business World of WWE by Stephanie McMahon

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Recent Release Roundup

Here are a couple of books released in recent weeks that didn’t get advance listings and thus weren’t in our weekly release schedule.


 

Bell to Bell: 1990: Televised Results of Wrestling’s Flagship Shows (Volume 6) by Dave Turner

In Volume 6 of the Bell To Bell series we explore the matches that ushered in the most zany and colorful period of wrestling. Bell To Bell: 1990 Televised Results of Wrestling’s Flagship Shows provides the results from the main TV shows aired by the top two wrestling organizations in 1990.


The Theatre of Blood by Chris Grasso

The 1st Ever North American Deathmatch Wrestling Book Is A Two Year Pictorial On The High Risk Styles Of Hard Core and Deathmatch Wrestling.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Ask Him Again Ref! by Dale Storm

More of a conversation than an autobiography, this is still an interesting insight into some of the more under-covered elements of the British wrestling business.

Storm was a Scottish wrestler who divided his time between Joint Promotions and the independent circuit, two factors which meant he didn’t have television exposure or national attention. However, he did have a lengthy career working with some top stars and in a way his status lends to the appeal of the book.

It appears to have been adapted from an initial draft as a stage or screenplay and is presented in the form of a fictionalised conversation with a journalist set in 1984. It’s a device that’s sometimes a little strained: the Storm of 1984 has some remarkable foresight at times, while the conversation seems exceptionally long.

That said, it does allow Storm to cover many elements of his career and experiences in wrestling without having to group it by theme or chronologically, and it certainly conveys what it must be like to listen to him holding court.

Some parts of the story are specific to the Scottish scene, particularly the independents in more remote venues. However, there’s also some fascinating insight into the wrestling business, in particular the dangers of wrestlers having the ability to generate heat without the instincts and skills to bring a crowd back down when necessary.

It’s a lengthy read and not one that will leave you feeling short-changed, though could have used a little tighter editing as some stories and memories are repeated.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather