Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

Recent Release Round-Up

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.


TrumpMania: Vince McMahon, WWE and the making of America’s 45th President by Lavie Margolin

The bluster and bravado that Trump witnessed at several WrestleManias, whether from a front row seat or inside the ring, surely lent a hand to his memorable electoral debate oratories. TrumpMania is the story, on screen and off, of the mutually beneficial business and personal relationship between Donald Trump, Vince & Linda McMahon and the WWF/WWE. No matter what side of the political aisle you sit on, it would be hard to deny that Vince McMahon had some hand in the election of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

(Disclaimer: I edited this book.)

Rival Angels: Season 3 Volume 1: Book 7: Double Trouble by Alan J Evans

Rival Angels is the #1 Wrestling Webcomic. Four sassy girls attempt to make a career for themselves in a male dominated sport: Professional Wrestling! They soon discover that surviving their battles outside of the ring will be tougher than their battles inside the ring.

Season 3 (Volume 7) sees Sun and Sabrina try to make in-roads in the tag team division, but nothing can prepare them for the Towers or Terror, Too Hott or the tag champions, Black and Blue. Krystin and Brooke try to get the next chapter of their careers in gear, if only they could get out of their own way!

To Be The Man: Evil Ain’t Good: Chapter 1 by Jared Vaughan Davis and Josh Taylor

The 80’s. Reagan’s ‘Murica. Where fantasy and reality are one and the same, and the heroes of the day are the booze-fueled demigods of the squared circle… “Fabulous” Frank Hazard and Greg “The Gargoyle” Grimes are just a couple of “the boys,” traveling up and down the road in search of fame, fortune, and glory. With their violent, blood-and-guts Southern territory under threat of extinction from the cartoonish promotion up North, Hazard and Grimes’s heated rivalry has spilled out of the ropes and into the batshit-insanity of their daily lives. But when the greedy promoter from the New York-based federation of World Wrestling All-Stars literally sells his soul to steal control of the southerners’ coveted championship belt, the two boozy bruisers will have to set aside their boiling hatred to form an unlikely tag team that must fight Evil in and out of the ring.

Wrestle Maniacs

A dozen dark fiction masters bring their twisted vision to the world of professional wrestling. Twelve original stories of crime, horror, humor, and taboo. Ohhh, yeahhh! This ain’t no kayfabe, baby. This is hard-hitting wrestling fiction that grips like a Camel Clutch, and pins the reader to the page for the count of one, two…THREE! Includes a confrontational foreword by ring legend ‘Pulverizing’ Pat McCrunch (as told to Jeff Strand)… An all-new story starring Nick ‘The Widowmaker’ Bullman from James Newman’s wrestling noir, “Ugly as Sin”… And ex-boxer turned strip club bouncer Reggie Levine (“Tijuana Donkey Showdown,” “Damn Dirty Apes”) returns for another action-packed misadventure. Whether you like it or not, learn to love it, because it’s the best thing going, WOOOOO!!

Kayfabe: Stories You’re Not Supposed to Hear from a Pro Wrestling Production Company Owner by Sean Oliver

“Sean’s story, beginning as a renegade, outlaw company and evolving to redefining the shoot video genre, is extremely fascinating. Who knew that the man asking the questions was as fascinating as his subject matter?” -Justin Barrasso, Sports Illustrated

“Kayfabe brings to life a world that once had its own version of ‘omerta’ in a fascinating, well written book that will intrigue long time fans, new fans, and just those who are hoping to take a peek behind the curtain of this unlikely cultural phenomenon.” -Eric Bischoff, WCW President

“I worked in a business full of liars, cheaters, workers, con artists and of course…politicians. I can name maybe 3 people over the years that I 100% trusted, or even believed for that matter. Sean Oliver is one of those men. In reading Kayfabe, you can believe that 100% of this masterpiece is accurate–yes, even the parts about me. The most stand-up guy perhaps ever associated with the business of Pro Wrestling. You want truth–you’ll find it right here.” -Vince Russo, Former WWE/WCW Head Writer

If you thought the world of pro wrestling was wild, imagine what you haven’t seen on TV and in the ring. Add to that the backdrop of building a renegade production company, negotiating with impossible wrestling talent, and hosting groundbreaking, shoot-style programming, and you have the story of Sean Oliver.

Sean has seen industry-wide accolades for the company he co-founded and for which he serves as frontman. But there are also the threats, stories of abuse, and moments of downright hilarity that you haven’t known…until now.

Watch the unpredictable and unconventional story through Sean’s eyes.

Clash of the Champions: The Story of Sting CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION: Now featuring reviews of WWE’s two CoC events and more! by Ted Blanchard

Includes reviews of all of the WCW Clash of the Champions events, as well as WWE’s two Clash of Champions shows!

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Recent Release Roundup

Here are a few released in recent weeks that didn’t get advance listings and thus weren’t in our 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.

Clash of Champions: The Story of Sting (revised edition): Now with a review of WWE’s COC show! by Ted Blanchard

A review of every WCW Clash of the Champions event, now including the WWE Clash of Champions ppv and more photos.

Lumps, Bumps & Body Slams by Michael Markus

“Stomping Jack, in the grip of Mitch and Dave, managed to turn around to face me. “Get out of here, Chris!” I ignored him as usual. With my best imitation of the Stomping Jack Banshee Yell, I jumped off the top rope onto Mitch’s back. Join Christopher Agnew Preston, in his determined-not to say-desperate attempt to find his place in the world. Can he do it by helping his eccentric activist mother and wrestling father fight the corrupt mayor and his goons? This is the 30th anniversary of the publication of this Canadian Scholastic classic, updated and revised by the author.

Kicking Out At Two by Dropkick Depression

Dropkick Depression presents Kicking Out At Two, stories by eight professional wrestlers at different points in their active careers and how they’ve not only come face to face with the dark world of depression and suicide, but their triumph and continued fight against it. These stories have never been told before, are completely unedited and uncensored, and hope to bring a new awareness to depression and also hopes to show that no one, no matter the circumstance, is alone. We are all in this together.

Fritz Von Erich: Master Of The Iron Claw by Ron G Mullinax (Reprint of 2005 title)

Fritz Von Erich: Master of the Iron Claw is the true story about the life and times of Jack Adkisson-pro wrestling legend Fritz Von Erich-and the famous Von Erich wrestling dynasty. “Not since the Kennedys of Massachusetts has an American family publicly suffered personal tragedy after personal tragedy like the Von Erichs of Denton County, Texas.” While the Kennedy family became famous worldwide for their political accomplishments and the tragedies of their sons, the Von Erich family became famous worldwide for their athletic accomplishments and the tragedies in their family. Read how Fritz Von Erich and his five sons impacted the wrestling world with their family’s show World Class Championship Wrestling, which at one time was syndicated in 66 U.S. television markets, Japan, Argentina, and the Middle East. The story, as told to Ron Mullinax by Jack Adkisson himself, follows his wrestling career and family tragedies beginning in the 1950s and continuing until his death in 1997.

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Recent Release Roundup: Ryback Self-Help Book

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.

Wake Up!: It’s Feeding Time: A Professional Athlete’s Advice on How to Succeed in the Game of Life by Ryback Reeves and Pat Buck

Are You Settling for Less than Your Full Potential?
Ryback, also known as “The Big Guy”, may seem like he has it all – success as a professional athlete, health, money, and a physique to envy. But in Wake Up, It’s Feeding Time he reveals that he hasn’t always been so successful; he had to earn it.

The key to his success – and yours too, if you heed his advice – is to “believe in yourself, even when nobody else does”, set smart goals and work toward achieving them.

In this inspirational book, Ryback hands out gem after gem of useful life lessons, and shows you how you too can take charge and live the life of your dreams.

A Surprising and Unique Self Improvement Book
If you thought WWE wrestlers were all brawn and no brains, you’ll be amazed as you turn each page of Wake Up, It’s Feeding Time. Ryback shares with you an incredible number of practical things you can do to improve your life.

From nutrition and fitness tips, to financial advice and how to stay focused, he covers it all. He gives you some of his favorite motivational quotes that inspire him to do his best, work hard, and overcome his challenges. He even shares valuable insights for how to forgive, how to love, and how to be your best in every way.

There’s something for everybody in this book. Teens to grandmas will find motivation and inspiration in the words Ryback shares.

 Monday Night Wars: A Fans Side of the Story by GG Conte

Is wrestling fake? This is the age old question for professional wrestling. Most people think they have the answer, even those who have never watched it. While the matches may be predetermined, what happens behind the curtain and bright lights is just as real as any other business on earth. In the mid-90’s, professional wrestling would have it’s first real fight, but not in the ring; it would be on the business side of the equation. In 1995, a war was declared between the two biggest companies in the business, the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. Both companies flagship shows, Monday Night Raw and Monday Night Nitro, would go head-to-head in a bitter ratings war. In a fight that spanned six years, both companies would go to incredible highs and disastrous lows to try and outdo each other. To this day, only one side of the story has ever been told, and that’s been the WWE’s. But what was the war like for the fans? What was it like for the ones that sat in the arenas or watched it on their television screens.? Maybe it’s time for a fans side of the tale; my side of the tale.

Green: A Pro Wrestling Novella by Charles LeoGrande

Green: A Pro Wrestling Novella A draft-age young American leaves 1971 New York for Canada, crossing the border and journeying west with a seasoned veteran of the pro wrestling circuit, headed to Calgary for the spring stampede. Along the way he learns the ropes, in-and-out of the ring, coming of age and into his own, through lessons both bloody and bittersweet in this tale of wrestling action and adventure.

There’s also been a flurry of paperback releases by two authors:

Thomas Hall has a series of TV and pay-per-view review compilations.

Stuart Carapolla has a series of  books covering subjects such as the Undertaker’s streak, Undertaker storylines, the New Generation years of WWF and the most offensive WWE storylines.


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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.

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Recent Release Roundup

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

The Most Offensive Storylines in WWE History by Stuart Carapola

WWE has always been willing to take risks and push the envelope to entertain its fans, and sometimes, things work out great and we end up with legendary superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Degeneration X. Other times, things don’t go so well and WWE comes away looking incompetent at best and downright tasteless at worst. The Most Offensive Storylines In WWE History looks at the absolute worst of the worst, the storylines that not only misfired on all cylinders, but made us embarrassed to be wrestling fans. Relive Big Show’s anguish as the Big Boss Man stole his dead father’s casket, the night Dawn Marie killed Torrie Wilson’s father with her overactive sex drive, Muhammad Hassan’s transformation from All-American kid to hardened Arab terrorist, and of course, Vince McMahon’s feud with God! Bonus features in this book include: -The Ten Biggest Can’t Miss Superstars (Who All Missed) -Gimmicks, Gimmicks, And More Gimmicks! -The Raw/Nitro Simulcast: The Last Night Of The Monday Night Wars

2001: The Year Professional Wrestling Died by Stuart Carapola

When 2001 began, there were three national wrestling companies, a weekly Monday night ratings battle, and a huge, ravenous fanbase of diehard wrestling fans. By the time the year was over, there was just one national wrestling company, fan interest had waned significantly, and the ratings began a steady decline that continues to this day. What happened? How could a business that had enjoyed unprecedented success as a pop culture phenomenon in the late 90s and early 2000s have fallen so far in the span of twelve months? How did WCW and ECW, once highly regarded pro wrestling empires, become punchlines on WWE documentaries? And how did WWE, the company that did everything right during the Monday Night Wars, wind up doing everything wrong the instant they were over? 2001: The Year Professional Wrestling Died looks at how the entire wrestling industry collapsed overnight. It chronicles the deaths of both WCW and ECW, the poorly-run InVasion angle that followed, the criminal misuse of WCW and ECW’s wrestlers and legacies, and the ways in which the fallout from this catastrophic time still affect WWE and the wrestling business today.

Hillbilly Jim: The Incredible Story of a Wrestling Superstar by Gary P West

In the 1980s, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) was at its peak as a driving force in the multimillion dollar sports entertainment business. Stars of the WWF became household names, even with folks who didn t follow wrestling…names like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Randy “The Macho Man” Savage were as well-known as anyone from Hollywood.

One of those stars was Jim Morris, aka Hillbilly Jim, from Bowling Green, Kentucky. Billed as a country mountain hick from Mudlick, Hillbilly Jim burst upon the WWF scene in 1984. With a toothy smile, baby face and big blue eyes sitting on top of his 6-foot-7-inch 300 lb. frame, complete with a scraggly beard, bib overalls and slouch hat to match, Jim s outgoing personality and natural showmanship were a big hit with the fans.

Growing up poor in central Kentucky, Jim had more in common with Motown than mountain men, but his street-wise savvy and an intense work ethic kept him out of trouble in his youth, and later helped him succeed as a star high school basketball player and, following high school, a champion weightlifter.

Hillbilly Jim The Incredible Story of a Wrestling Superstar is the true story of Hillbilly Jim Morris, from his humble beginnings in Bowling Green, KY to his glory days as one of the most loveable characters in the WWF, and on to his current gig as the host of Hillbilly Jim s Moonshine Matinee on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Boogie Jam 4Ever: A Jimmy Valiant Comic Book by Brien Wayne Powell

An anthology comic book featuring stories by Brien Wayne Powell, illustrated by various artists, inspired by Hall of Fame Wrestling Legend Handsome Jimmy Valiant, the Boogie Woogie Man & his great pal Magnet Man. Guest starring other members of the BWC Family w/a special appearance by Bill Apter! Special bonus text story by Douglas Powell! 24 pages of humor, action, thrills & lots of fun!

Cauliflower Heart: Wrestling With Life by Diana Hart

In the blink of an eye, the idyllic world that Claudine Bellamy knew, brutally turns upside down. While her family struggles with tragedy and permanent loss, their professional wrestling business is publicly exposed. Acutely vulnerable, is Claudine resilient enough to resist being exploited by corrupt vultures of the celebrity world and protect her precious family?

I Kicked Out On Two: The Education of a Wrestler by Bobby Blaze Smedley

Bobby Blaze Smedley is a natural–born storyteller and his voice comes through loud and clear in this book. Some of the stories are funny, some inspirational, some educational or even philosophical. Every one of them is totally entertaining. *Insightful, Educatonal, & Honest *Candid, Blunt, & Outrageous Except.© Reprinted by Permission. All Rights Reserved.: The response to Blaze’s first book has been well received. Known throughout the world for his days in professional wrestling as a former Smoky Mountain Heavyweight Champion as well as worldwide television exposure on World Championship Wrestling and the more recent WWE Network, Blaze seems hotter than ever. Now he’s back with even more fascinating stories told through his unique story-telling style that makes for a fun, heart-felt read for everyone. You don’t have to be a fan of professional wrestling to enjoy his stories.

The Wrestler: The Pursuit of a Dream by Bill Vincent

The Wrestler—Nicolaus Martin has always loved wrestling. Everyone called him Nicky. As a child, he and his brothers would wrestle around as they watched the WWF, WCW and NWA. No matter how poor their lives were wrestling would make it all better, even if it was for an hour. Nicky and his family were very poor. Every winter there was at least a month with no electricity at their home. The Wrestler—Nicky was bullied starting at the age of thirteen. The more he got picked on the tougher he got. Nicky and his buddies had such an imagination. They made up their own wrestling in a little town in Illinois. They made their championship belts out of cardboard and aluminum foil. By age seventeen, his toughness got him noticed by a small wrestling organization. Before he knew it, he was wrestling in Japan for $50 a night. Now this was not entertainment. This stuff was real. The Wrestler—Nicky broke his nose several times and was on the injured list more than not. He got to the place, that he would not let on that he was in pain.

Spandex Ballet by Lee Kyle

Imagine if you’d always dreamed of being a professional wrestler. The bright lights, the screaming crowds, the money and the stardom. Now, imagine if you’d always dreamed of being a professional wrestler but you weren’t really very good at it. For nine years this was Lee Kyle’s reality. Find out how he wasted his twenties pretending to fight with various oddballs and enjoying some of it. “Lee Kyle sounds like he might have been the worst wrestler ever” – Journal Culture Magazine

I’m a Mark: Dreams and Destiny of a Wrestling Fan by Fred Esposito

If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re a wrestling fan. If you’re a wrestling fan, then at least once, you’ve dreamed of being a part of the show in the famed squared circle. Ever since the age of nine, all I ever wanted was to work for the WWE. Despite having horrible social anxiety, I went for my dream and failed. I ended up broke and broken. While I never did end up as the next Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Hulk Hogan , or Randy Orton, I do have stories about meeting them. I’m not as well known as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin , but I did sleep on the same couch that he did. (So I was told) To be a WWE superstar you have to have “it”. While I didn’t have “it“, I do have a ton of stories about meeting wrestlers while losing everything I had, just to go for my dream. Some wrestlers were nice and some not so much. Some got mad at me and some….were just plain weird. I have stories of meeting:

  • Hulk Hogan

  • The Dudley Boys

  • Randy Orton

  • Nancy Benoit

  • Greg “The Hammer” Valentine

  • Brian Knobbs

  • “Iron” Mike Sharpe

  • The Honky Tonk Man

  • “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

  • John Laurinaitis

  • and many more…

        I may have never made it to the WWE, but I had a


      ride trying to get there.

Complete Science of Wrestling by George Hackenschmidt

 “But then, equally of course, every man who takes up wrestling seriously will only do so because he is fond of it, because he prefers wrestling to most, if not all, other sports and pastimes. Every wrestler who ever trod the mat is a potential champion. He may not have been endowed with the wrestling instinct, but he will be able to cultivate a high degree of wrestling science, even quickness, if not absolute lightning rapidity of movement, which, if combined with the necessary strength and stamina, may enable him to compete with all but the greatest champions on equal terms. Skill, that is to say, the science of wrestling, can only be cultivated by practice, and the man who takes up wrestling seriously must get as much practice as he can with the most skilful wrestlers. The better his opponents are, the faster will be his progress in knowledge of the art, as also in the power of its application. He can learn a good deal also in another way, and that is by closely watching serious bouts between skilled wrestlers, and by carefully practising such moves as attract his notice.” – George Hackenschmidt This is an original version, restored and re-formatted edition of Hackenschmidt’s 1909 classic

Abusive Relationship: My Attempt to Escape from Professional Wrestling by Aaron Madden

What if your childhood dream had a tendency to become an abusive nightmare? Unbeknownst to you, all those years of hard work, dedication and desire that were sacrificed to reach that dream were ultimately leading you toward an unforeseen world of physical, mental and emotional abuse. At first the abuse didn’t exist. As you began to live out your dream, you fell deeper in love with it as all the wonderful experiences you had always imagined became reality. But then one day you discovered that there had always been a price to pay. Throughout years of this pursuit, the festering nightmare began to surface. And as you attempted to escape this nightmare, you quickly realized that you were trapped. This is what happened to Aaron Madden, better known to wrestling fans as “Luscious” Rocky Reynolds. For nearly two years, Aaron journaled after every wrestling show, his abusive relationship with his childhood dream of professional wrestling. Spending nearly two decades as a professional wrestler, Aaron wrestled in numerous territories throughout the country, held dozens of championships, stepped into the ring with multiple legends, performed on national television and proudly captured and defended the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title a remarkable four times. But as Aaron got older and became a loving husband and father, he began to find himself struggling to prioritize his love for his family with his love for professional wrestling. Wincing in pain to get out of bed in the morning, pulling out of the driveway and regretfully watching his daughters grow up in the rear view mirror, selfishly spending his anniversary at wrestling shows while his wife sat at home alone and constantly concerned that he was limiting the quality of his life with every match he wrestled, eventually brought Aaron to the realization that he had to get away from professional wrestling. But like a beaten woman who repeatedly returns to her abuser, Aaron discovered that he was trapped in his Abusive Relationship with professional wrestling.


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Steel Chair To The Head edited by Nicholas Sammond

There’s a lot of talk about the wrestling bubble and it’s always interesting to get the perspectives of people who don’t follow professional wrestling as a fan, but this collection of academic essays is often a case of missing the point.

As you’d expect if you’ve ever seen the references section of a college paper on wrestling, this starts with philosopher Roland Barthes’s 1957 essay “The World of Wrestling.” Respected as Barthes may be in his field, this doesn’t offer much depth or insight: even in the 1950s, it shouldn’t have come across as a stroke of genius to note that wrestling is a performance of good and evil and a morality tale rather than a pure sport. The problem is that there’s little if any acknowledgement that pro bouts are put on primarily to draw ticket-paying customers rather than as a moral and artistic cause in their own right.

Many of the essays are along similar lines, focusing on wrestling being a masculine melodrama, political allegory or even a sado-masochistic narrative, with many of the points somewhat undermined by reading levels of symbolism that were surely not intended by the performers involved.

Some parts are more intriguing though, including a look at the importance of the mask in Mexican culture, an exploration of Latino characters’ portrayal in the US, and studies of the changing fan base of the 1990s that became more aware of the dual reality of on-screen and backstage conflicts.

As a whole, it’s certainly worth a read, though possibly one to dip into rather than be overwhelmed with the academic and philosophical perspective in a single sitting.

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My Favorite Match by Jon Robinson

myfavmatchA brisk read, this has its moments but won’t call for repeat readings.

Robinson has previously worked on a compilation of WWE road stories and this is of a similar style and format. As the name suggests, its made up of 20 chapters where a WWE star recalls their favorite match and explains why. All but two (Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero at Hallowe’en Havoc ’97 and Alberto Del Rio’s pro debut in Japan) are WWE bouts, most at major pay-per-views.

It’s very much a mixed bag. Highlights include Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler talking with surprising candour about wrestling politics and Ricky Steamboat revisiting his WrestleMania III classic with Randy Savage which, for many years, he though of as nothing particularly special.

Several entries are less informative and merely detail the on-screen events, in particular Sgt Slaughter barely mentioning his chosen bout (the Alley Fight with Pat Patterson) and instead recapping his entire career, to the point that it feels as if this was excerpted from an interview for a different project.

While the book is smoothly written, Robinson falls short of giving every wrestler their individual voice, meaning it feels a little corporate at times with similar phrasing and cadence throughout.

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Recent Release Roundup

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

Kamala Speaks (eBook Editor’s Edition): Official Autobiography of WWE wrestler James KAMALA Harris by James Harris & Kenny Casanova

This is the KINDLE eBook “Editor’s Edition” with extra chapters and extra pictures not available in the print version of “Kamala Speaks.” It is the life story of a WWE pro-wrestler who overcame very real obstacles like murder, racism and losing both legs to diabetes. Kamala “The Ugandan Giant” was a tribal, monster-like character that wrestling fans feared everywhere in the 80s & 90s. Never speaking once during his 30 year career, we finally hear what it was like for James Harris to wrestle headline matches in every major promotion, against Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, The Undertaker, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, The Ultimate Warrior and more. After traveling the world, he now ironically looks out his back kitchen window each day from a wheel chair, immobilized as a victim of diabetes. “Kamala Speaks” is a story of inspiration; a wrestling-memoir loaded with touching anecdotes, humor and insight. It is not an angry/bitter tale told from someone harping on missed opportunity, but rather one of survival and hope for all.

Ears Open, Mouth Shut: A Training Guide to Professional Wrestling by William King III

A Professional Wrestling Training Guide. Everything you need to know to get started on your journey to become a Professional Wrestler. A collection of tips, stories, and other helpful information learned first hand from over 10 years in the business.

Working Stiff: The Anthology of Professional Wrestling Literature & Art by Josh Elsen

Working Stiff is a literary battle royal of pro-wrestling themed poetry, fiction, essays, comics, and illustrations. Written and created by a stable of over 50 different writers and artists, and with a special guest foreword by Box Brown, the New York Times bestselling creator of Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, Working Stiff is the world’s greatest anthology of pro-wrestling literature and art … and that’s the bottom line.

Losing to Life Via Pinfall or Submission by Cory Bender

Living self-doubt, sadness and depression? Well so am I! In this poem collection I will guide you through my crazy and sad brain. In hope that it inspires you, touches your heart, disturbs your soul, and makes you think for yourself. You may think because of the title that every poem is about wrestling. That is not the case. I do incorporate many references, but I am not writing this for just wrestling fans. This may be the worst description of a book ever. ENJOY!

Bell to Bell: 1988: Televised Results from Wrestling’s Flagship Shows (Volume 4) by Dave Turner

In Volume 4 of the Bell To Bell continues the exploration of the matches that brought to life the Wrestling Boom of the 80’s. Bell To Bell: 1988 Televised Results from Wrestling’s Flagship Shows provides the results from the main TV shows aired by the top two wrestling organizations in 1988 as they both begin to enter a new dawning of professional wrestling.


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At Issue: Professional Wrestling

atissuePart of a series that covers everything from Anti-Semitism to UFOs, this is designed to be a research tool and study guide for social studies students.

It’s an anthology, which brings the benefit that you get a slightly wider range of viewpoints than usual in such books (including entertainment and sports writers alongside professors) but the drawback that some pieces are extremely short and have little substance.

Most of the topics here that aren’t part of the usual academic coverage of pro wrestling are both brief and blindingly obvious to any wrestling fan: in short, promoters have power over whether wrestlers are featured, wrestling at the turn of the century had some violent and sexual content, and backyard wrestling isn’t safe.

The more traditional topics don’t bring much to the table either. One essay is based around the idea of pro wrestling being an anti-sport and a terrible moral example for kids because rulebreakers prevail: while it’s true that wrestling is based on a very child-unfriendly premise (disputes should be settled by violence), heroic babyfaces overcoming the odds with skill and effort rather than shortcuts is still, in theory, the basis of the business.

Another essay tries to make the case that wrestling is a form of political protest against political correctness and authority; if you are impressed by phrases such as “narrative phantasmagoria” this is the one for you.

Overall this falls into an uninspiring middle ground. There’s not enough insightfulness and specialist knowledge to make it relevant or interesting to a wrestling devotee. On the other hand, there’s nowhere near enough depth, analysis or evidence for somebody who chooses to approach wrestling from a philosophical or academic standpoint.

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Are We There Yet by Robert Caprio

arewethereyetThis is an official WWE book made up of a collection of road stories from wrestlers on the crew in the mid-2000s. It’s a fun read, albeit with everything showing the wrestlers in a good light.

The stories are all a page or two at most, so it’s perfect for bathroom reading or dipping into. To give an idea of the subject material, a random selection throws up Ivory and Jacqueline staying in the motel from hell; Rico helping subdue a violent passenger on a flight who claimed to be a member of Special Force;  Chris Jericho’s adventures on his first visit to the German tournaments (a shortened version of the account in his first autobiography); the Big Show having to destroy a Japanese bathroom so he could sit on the toilet; and several Divas going on a road trip in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

There’s a lot of entertainment in the book and it covers a variety of subjects. It’s not entirely WWE-centric as several wrestlers recall stories from working the territories or overseas. It’s also surprising how much the book kills any image you might have of WWE ‘Superstars’ living a glamorous life.

As you’d expect, it’s a family-friendly selection: if you’re looking for tales of encounters with ring rats, drunk driving or pill-popping this isn’t the place. But as long as you approach it with the right mindset, it’s worth your time reading.

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