Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

Special Offer On Greg Oliver Books

Until tomorrow (August 31), ECW Press is offering Greg Oliver’s Slam! Wrestling: Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle along with your choice of any one of his other books for CAD$20 plus shipping.

The choice includes:

  • Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror that Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport
  • The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: Heroes and Icons
  • The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels
  • The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams
  • The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Canadians (Check out my review)

Here’s the blurb on the SLAM book:

Founded by Greg Oliver and John Powell, SLAM! Wrestling (http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Wrestling/home.html) changed the way North America’s true favorite pastime was presented on the web. With the backing of Sun Media and Canoe, SLAM! Wrestling brought pure journalism to the muddy waters of the pro wrestling media coverage. Never in the Internet Age had the squared circle been viewed with a keen eye by reporters and analysts who broke down the philosophy of wrestling and feted its legends, while also not being afraid to show the very human side of the locker rooms that are hidden from the plain eye inside the world’s biggest arenas.

SLAM! Wrestling takes readers on a journey through SLAM! Wrestling’s first dozen years and the often all-too real world of professional wrestling. From WWE to the independent leagues that dot North America’s landscape, SLAM! Wrestling gives the unique view of the reporter’s eye as history unfolds, including interviews with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, John Cena, “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson, Trish Stratus and many others.

Plus, for the first time ever, SLAM! Wrestling’s writers take you behind the scenes and share their insights into what made the site stand out as one of the most respected sources for information in all of the Internet wrestling community. From the celebration of WrestleMania XVIII in Toronto, to the tragic death of Owen Hart and many others, SLAM! Wrestling has covered it all and now brings the history of the mat wars straight to your bookshelf.

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Release Schedule (23 August)

One new entry this week, From Parts Unknown: Volume One: The Blunt Object Amendment / The Age of Submission / Loser Leaves Town by George Sirois:

Out of work. Out of insurance. Out of options. All Stephen Barker wants is to provide a better life for his wife and child, and his only answer is to become a star in the last remaining sport in America, the Gladiatorial Combat League. But while Stephen’s intentions are noble, he has no idea that the GCL is becoming more and more corrupt behind the scenes.

The current World Champion, Kyle Flyte, is forced to deal with constant rule changes proposed by the head booker Vornakai, including the use of weapons in the ring. But Vornakai is keeping his latest plan to usurp the championship a secret from everyone. If it works, it will turn an ordinary man into a weapon to tear through the GCL ranks. All he needs is a test subject.


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

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

5 September: Mad Dog: The Maurice Vachon Story by Bertrand Hebert and Pat Laprade

5 September: From Parts Unknown: Volume One: The Blunt Object Amendment / The Age of Submission / Loser Leaves Town by George Sirois

19 September: Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte by Ric Flair & Charlotte

3 October: Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling by Jim Ross

3 October: WWE Absolutely Everything You Need to Know by DK

17 October: Saint Mick: My Journey From Hardcore Legend to Santa’s Jolly Elf by Mick Foley

21 October:  Professional Wrestling in the Pacific Northwest: A History, 1883 to the Present by Stephen Verrier

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

8 November: Wrestling Dreams by Colt Cabana and Erica Weisz

30 January 2018: WWE Vol 2: The Lunatic Fringe

6 March: WWE Superstar Guide, 2nd Edition by DK

3 April: WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Vol. 1 by Dennis Hopeless, Box Brown et al

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More On New Chris Jericho Book

Here’s the latest blurb for No Is a Four-Letter Word: How I Failed Spelling But Succeeded in Life by Chris Jericho which is released next week:

Sharing his secrets to success, No is a Four-Letter Word tells the story of how a small-town Canadian kid followed his seemingly impossible dreams and, against all odds, made them come true.

In Jericho’s trademark style – jam-packed with ridiculous stories and hilarious references – he focuses on twenty-two principles to make it to the top of your field, featuring legends and influencers along the way. Whether it’s discovering how to make any situation work (like when Chris bargained with Vince McMahon for the chance to meet Keith Richards…with an assist from Jimmy Fallon), spending money to make money (like when he doled out tens of thousands of dollars on his trademark light-up jackets because that’s what KISS would do), or learning from his NHL-legend father to always sell himself, Jericho guides readers on his journey up the ladder of success, and shows them how they can apply these principles in their own lives.

If you like the sound of the format, you might also enjoy Chair Shots And Other Obstacles: Winning Life’s Wrestling Matches by Bobby Heenan.

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When You’re Ready Boys – Take Hold! by Len Ironside

While this has some interest, the length and style mean it’s really for collectors only.

Ironside was a Scottish wrestler, so this has some good insight into some of the names and characters who didn’t get the TV exposure. It’s more of a collection of stories and reminiscences than a chronological career history.

Unfortunately it’s only 88 pages so is likely a single-sitting read. It’s also written with kayfabe in full effect, which won’t be to everyone’s taste.

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Demolition Dad by Phil Earle

Well regarded in its own right as a children’s book, this will particularly appeal to wrestling families.

It’s the first in a series of books set in the same street, though the only one dealing with wrestling. It was picked as book of the month by British TV channel CBBC and is listed as being aimed at 9-11 year olds, though I’d suspect it would be suitable for a wider range.

It tells the story of a father who secretly wrestles on a low-level British circuit at weekends accompanied by his son, who then enters him in a competition to find a new wrestler for WOW, a thinly disguised WWE.

At 200+ pages the story has a fair bit of depth for a young child’s book and goes into some sophisticated themes about body image, identity and self-worth. It’s also quite on the money when it comes to the wrestling element, celebrating its bombastic nature. While on the face of it it treats wrestling as a legitimate contest, I found it still made sense if you chose to imagine that in this world wrestling is a work but the father kept that secret from the son.

Special mention must go to the excellent illustrations by Sara Ogilvie, which are reminiscent of Quentin Blake while still retaining their own identity, and which are notably accurate to the precise detail of the text.

It’s definitely one to buy as a present for younger relatives, making sure to take a sneaky read yourself before handing it over.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

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Recent Release Roundup

Here are a few titles released in recent weeks that didn’t get advance listings and thus weren’t in the weekly release schedule. Note that I’ve decided not to include wrestling-related titles that are primarily erotica, of which you will find plenty in the self-published field.


A Fan’s Perspective: 2016 – What A Year To Be A Fan Of WWE by Oliver Newman

2016 was a truly great year to be a fan of World Wrestling Entertainment. Join me as I take you on a journey through every PPV (RAW & SD Live), NXT Takeover and WWE Network Special. Read my alternative Wrestlemania 32 booking, plus my thoughts and insights on all of 2016’s major matches, segments, story-lines and major news stories throughout this historical and ground-breaking time.


KB’s Complete Monday Nitro Reviews Volume V by Thomas Hall

A comprehensive look back at every episode of WCW Monday Nitro and Thunder from January – June 1999. WCW is in trouble and there’s not much of a better way to put it. They’re being defeated by Monday Night Raw in the Monday Night Wars, but as any wrestling historian can tell you, that doesn’t mean there’s no hope. Monday Night Raw was crushed for the better part of two years so maybe WCW can come back as well. In this book, every episode of both shows in the first half of 1999 is reviewed in full, complete with analysis, ratings and complete content


Shoot by Zachary Keith Jesse Smith

Josh is a failed independent wrestler who has taken his other love, beer, as his constant companion. One day he is given a chance to get back in the ring, and he is determined to make this opportunity into what he had always dreamed his career would be. The championship belt is like the holy grail to some wrestlers, and Josh is really hoping he is worthy of that prize.


Over: A Short Story Collection About Wrestling by Zachary Keith Jesse Smith

A short story collection about the lives, relationships, dreams, and failures of the people in the WBC (World’s Best Competition) wrestling promotion. “The story keeps going. It’s never over.” This collection features characters from the novel Shoot, continuing their stories, as well as giving the reader a glimpse into their lives before they were professional wrestlers.


KB’s Complete 2002 Monday Night Raw Reviews by Thomas Hall

To say 2002 was an up and down (ok mostly down) year for Monday Night Raw is a huge understatement. The show underwent a variety of changes, many of which would affect the way the company operated for years to come. That certainly sounds like something that deserves to be looked at again all these years later. In this book, I’ll be breaking down each episode of the year and looking at each one match by match and segment by segment. Included will be analysis and ratings for the shows to see what worked and what didn’t.


A Wrestler’s Lament: And one hundred other poems by Joe D’Orazio

A poem is a window into somebody’s mind. The pages within this book allow you to peek through that window and into the creative side of a much-loved mind of the old wrestling scene. The average wrestler has a tough image. By taking the time to read this book, that image of Joe D’Orazio will dissolve and leave behind a residue of his humbleness. Poetry found its way into Joe’s life when he met his wife, Tina. With her support and inspiration and his energy and dedication he became a published poet and author. As Joe firmly believes “The world would be a better place if we all spoke poetry to each other”. So we invite you to peel back the cover and experience his love, sweetness and cracking sense of humour.


Three-Way Dance by Michael Chin, Frankie Metro & Brian Rosenberger

The following collection of professional wrestling themed literature is no disqualifications, no count-outs, and no holds barred … Our first writer, hailing from Utica, New York, with his chapbook of prose poetry (and lyric essay) “The Leo Burke Finish,” is the student, the scholar, the technician, Mike Chin. Our second entrant, with his story “Todo lo Malo,” comes to you via the open road, by way of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is the enigmatic Frankie Metro. And our third and final writer, hailing from Parts Unknown, and armed with his chapbook “The Rulebreaker’s Alphabet,” is the spiritual lovechild of Bruiser Brody, aka Brian Rosenberger. Three men enter the squared circle, and the winner, dear reader, is you. Gimmick Press proudly presents … Three-Way Dance!


And as usual Stuart Carapola has published another 873 or so books.

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Finally Meeting Princess Maud by Seamus Dunleavy with Shirley Thompson

Although Dunleavy had a lengthy run as a pro wrestler including several years as a TV regular, this is primarily not a wrestling book.

Only a few chapters of this autobiography are dedicated to his time in the ring, though there’s some interesting stuff in particular on his training at the infamous Snake Pit and on the boxing booths.

The book as a whole is ghostwritten in what comes across as a very authentic conversational voice, complete with all manner of diversions and tangents. At times it can be confusing though, with Dunleavy suddenly directly addressing ghostwriter Thompson or even referring to the structure of the book itself, while later sections include comments from his family members where it’s not always easy to keep track of who’s talking.

It’s hard to recommend this just for the wrestling content, so it’s more suited to people with a likely interest either in Dunleavy’s tale of a rural Irish childhood and emigrating to work in the UK, or as a local history piece on Birmingham from the 60s to today.

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