Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

No Is A Four Letter Word by Chris Jericho

One of the big perils of successful career autobiographies — as seen with Mick Foley — is that subsequent volumes cover a shorter and shorter period and require more padding out of concentration on trivial detail. Chris Jericho has presumably tried to avoid this with his fourth book, which is presented not as a chronological sequel but rather a self-help motivational title.

Such an approach can work, as shown in Bobby Heenan’s follow-up to his original career autobiography. Here, though, it falls flat.

The book follows a consistent pattern in each of its 20 chapters: Jericho introduces a generic platitude (most of which come down to “work hard and believe in yourself), then recounts some incidents from his life that relate to it with varying degrees of relevance.

This usually fails in two separate ways. One is that the connections are usually strained at best. For example, “don’t take no for an answer” is illustrated by an incident when he was late for an airport check-in, resigned himself to waiting for the next flight, then was recognised as a TV star by a staff member who spontaneously offered to bend the rules. The incident neither proves the point, nor has much use for ordinary civilians.

The second problem is that, with the content taken from throughout his career, many are stories that didn’t make his previous extensive books and are inherently less entertaining. In the words of Alan Partridge, “that’s no good. That’s an incident. It’s not an anecdote.” For example, to illustrate the maxim “Have a good time, all the time,” Jericho recounts how this one time he and the New Day went out drinking in Tokyo till late, and then this other time he drank a lot on a plane and was sick on his leg.

The book isn’t completely without merit for wrestling fans. It has a couple of interesting recollections about being taught a psychology lesson by Negro Casas and the unique challenges of pitching an idea to Vince McMahon. There’s also some basic behind-the-curtain details of his most recent runs, including the programs with AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose.

Overall, though, it’s a big disappointment. What was once a fresh, unconventional and unstuffy style of writing now feels tiresome, and the main message of the book seems to be that Jericho has met a lot of celebrities and most of them told him how great he is. As a result, it’s tough to recommend this to anyone but the most dedicated of Jericoholics.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

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Puroresu Tourism: Vacation in Japan to Watch Pro Wrestling by Craig Mann

While there’s some useful information in this, it doesn’t really justify the steep cover price.

The book combines some factual details for would-be wrestling visitors to Japan with a personal recollection as an introduction, some interviews with people who’ve seen wrestling in Japan, and brief overview histories of the major Japanese promotions. The opening account of being at a show at Korakuen Hall is extremely atmospheric and more along these lines would have been interesting to read. Unfortunately the interviews and histories don’t really add much and feel a little like padding.

The meat of the book is listings and details for venues and facilities. The most useful section lists a wide range of wrestling stores plus bars and restaurants that either have a wrestling theme or are owned or staffed by wrestlers, along with a map of the Tokyo Dome area. Another highlight is two sections of useful Japanese phrases, one relating to buying tickets and choosing seats and the other covering train travel. There’s also a section on Osaka that may be useful to those travelling further afield.

Other listings and information sections aren’t as useful. The guide to buying tickets doesn’t give any real specifics that can’t be found with a quick Google search, while sections of getting a passport or using credit cards abroad feel too generic for such a title. I was also disappointed to find that although Korakeun Hall and Ryogoku Sumo Hall are both covered, there’s no detail on other popular Tokyo venues such as Shinjuku Face and Shin-Kiba 1st Ring.

The real problem is that although some of the content here would have made for exceptionally useful website articles or blog posts, it doesn’t really stretch to a full-length book with a $20 print price tag or $10 Kindle version to match.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

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Release Schedule (13 September)

One new entry this week,  Identity in Professional Wrestling: Essays on Nationality, Race and Gender by Aaron D Horton:

Part sport, part performance art, professional wrestling’s appeal crosses national, racial and gender boundaries–in large part by playing to national, racial and gender stereotypes that resonate with audiences. Scholars who study competitive sports tend to dismiss wrestling, with its scripted outcomes, as “fake,” yet fail to recognize a key similarity: both present athletic displays for maximized profit through live events, television viewership and merchandise sales.

This collection of new essays contributes to the growing literature on pro wrestling with a broad exploration of identity in the sport.

Meanwhile the hardcover edition of Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It (It’s Twerked for Us!) by The New Day appears to have been put back to 13 March next year. The Kindle edition remains scheduled for next month.


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

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

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

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

7 January 2018: Identity in Professional Wrestling: Essays on Nationality, Race and Gender by Aaron D Horton

30 January: 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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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.

 


Drew Gulak: Biography Paperback by Ronald Russell and Alex Medvedev

Biography of Drew Gulak, currently Professional Wrestler at Combat Zone Wrestling, LLC., previously Swimming Instructor at Northeast Raquet & Fitness Center and Swimming Instructor at Northeast Raquet & Fitness Center.

 


Planning The Biggest Party Of The Summer 2017 by Aaron Varble

WWE threw the Biggest Party Of The Summer once again when they returned to Brooklyn for an impressive third year in a row. Relive all of the build up to the big show as well as all the injuries, controversy and political nightmares along the way. From Enzo Amore’s brush with an angry stripper to Baron Corbin’s social media faux pas which might have stifled his push it’s all in this comprehensive book. This book features every Raw and SmackDown from June to August 2017 as well as the entire results for Money In The Bank, Extreme Rules, Great Balls Of Fire, and Battleground. Of course, it also features detailed coverage and analysis from SummerSlam as well as plenty of news stories along the way to keep you up to date with the stories.

 


Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia: Date With Destiny (Volume 1) by Ed Khuenal and Matt Entin

When a disgruntled professional wrestler declares himself “galactic champion of the universe” an alien planet of wrestlers sees it as an act of war! A hilarious THIRTY-TWO PAGE megaextravaganza kicks off this limited comic book series with art by Dan Schkade, colors by Marissa Louise and lettering by A Larger World Studios.


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.


1984-1986 WWF LJN Wrestling Figure Price Guide by Jimmy Lee Kelly

This guide will give you prices for the 1984 Line of WWF figures distributed by LJN. These figures were some of the most popular figures of the 80s and were well loved despite their lack of articulation.


Independent Pro Wrestling Guide: How To Become an Independent Professional Wrestler by Matthew Soulia

If you want to learn how to become an independent professional wrestler, then check out “Independent Pro Wrestling Guide.”

This guide is written by a former indie pro wrestler who will show you step by step to get started in the independent wrestling world.

• Learn how to get your start in as a professional wrestler on the independent circuit.

• Hear tales and get advice from someone who knows what it’s like to wrestle as an independent wrestler

• Find out how to find the perfect wrestling school as well as how to pay for your wrestling education.

• Having trouble getting booked in your first match? This book lets you know what tools you need to get yourself between the ropes!

• From the moves you perform in the ring to the timing of said moves, everything you do in the ring has meaning. This book helps to tell you what that meaning is, and how to improve your in-ring game!

• Contains tips to help you when developing your wrestling persona, as well as useful suggestions for how to become a better talker on the microphone.

• Learn what it takes to survive the long and perilous roads when traveling from show to show, and how to deal with troublesome situations with fellow wrestlers.


Number 1 Red by Ian Mullins

He’s a disgraced wrestler living in an abandoned carnival. She’s a frustrated ex-grappler and wrestling promoter who wants to tear it down. When they clash in the ring more than blood will be spilled. She has a daughter she hardly knows, and a partner she barely respects. He has no-one, and wants to keep it that way. As the northern winter tears up the coast, the secret that unites their warring families will destroy them both, or finally set them free. Together or apart, they face the same question: how do you ‘keep it real’ in a world of fake emotions? Why would you even try?

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Mad Dog by Bertrand Hebert & Pat Laprade

A comprehensive biography of Maurice Vachon, this will appeal to fans of the territorial era.

The book, originally published in French, has been flawlessly translated by George Tombs. It’s well researched and, unlike some bios, the details that are included — particularly about Vachon’s youth — are there to give context and explain Vachon’s character, rather than shoehorned in for the sake of it. The detail is in the stories and accounts where it matters, rather than through excessive inclusion of dates and locations that don’t contribute to the narrative.

It’s also very balanced, presenting Vachon as a rounded character and not being afraid to highlight shortcomings in his family life or his less successful spells in the wrestling business.

It’s perhaps a step below the top-tier historical wrestling biographies such as those of Gorgeous George or Mildred Burke, though that’s more because Vachon’s career was less revolutionary or era-defining than it is the quality of the writing. Even with that said, it’s definitely worth a look if you have any interest in Vachon and his era.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

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