Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

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.

 


Gotch vs. Hackenschmidt: The Matches That Made and Destroyed Legitimate American Professional Wrestling by Ken Zimmerman Jr

In 1908, World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion George Hackenschmidt wrestled American Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Frank Gotch for Hackenschmidt’s world title. Three years later they rematched for Gotch’s world title. After building interest in legitimate wrestling with the first match, the rematch brought back all the doubts about pro wrestling’s legitimacy. If the first bout built the sport, the second wrecked it.

 


KB’s Complete 2003 Monday Night Raw Reviews by Thomas Hall

And now, we reach the dark ages. There’s a reason you don’t hear much about Monday Night Raw in 2003 and that’s going to become very clear. It was a very dark time for the company as there was almost nothing positive going on. The question wasn’t when it would get better but rather how much worse could it get. 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.

 


Wrestling School Dropout by Oliver Williams

Wrestling School Dropout is the true story of one man’s hilarious attempt to learn the art of professional wrestling.

When Oliver Williams set out to become a pro wrestler, he never anticipated the level of pain, anxiety, and insanity that would ensue. This book chronicles his journey from aspiring professional wrestler to wrestling school dropout.

 


A Fan’s Perspective: How My Lifelong Dream Turned Into A Nightmare by Oliver Newman

2008 was a historical year in Professional Wrestling. Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels contested one of/if not the best pro wrestling feuds of all-time. I continued writing & reporting on the UK scene, my lifelong dream (attending a Wrestlemania – Wrestlemania 24 live) came true and I met my Childhood Hero – Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. 2008 is the year WWE could have catapulted Paul London to the main event (they didn’t, so I fantasy booked him there). 2008 also had some great matches – I share my thoughts on some of the best, lastly 2008 was a big year in terms of the women’s wrestling evolution we are now living through in 2018 (I explain how we have got here) and as a special bonus I share my thoughts on the beginning of 2009.

 


The 100 Greatest Wrestlers of 2002-2010: Ranking the Best Wrestlers of the Ruthless Aggression Era in TNA and WWF/WWE by Jonathan Johnson

After rising to the heights of a mainstream entertainment giant during the Monday Night War, the WWF/E were suddenly the only wrestling game in town in 2002. While a little upstart company named TNA emerged as a second option to the WWE giant, veterans and rookies alike vied for fan and media attention from 2002 to 2010. Here are the one hundred greatest superstars of the Ruthless Aggression era and the stories that made them sports entertainment immortals!

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The Wrestling Journeyman: Life and Times of an Indy Wrestler

There’s nothing wrong with this book. It’s just… there.

While Wolfe is perhaps best known for his “enhancement” work for WWF, he’s put the miles in, catching the final years of the territory system, working opening matches on WWF house show swings, experiencing the Texan indy scene of the 1990s and 2000s, going on foreign tours and, perhaps inevitably, joining the scores of wrestlers on hand at WCW’s Orlando tapings.

It’s all covered here, so you certainly don’t get shortchanged. The problem is that many of the stories and recollections are on repeated themes: young guys don’t know how to work; smarks killed the business; most promoters are shady; driving in foreign countries is scary.

It’s not to say none of the stories here are entertaining: there’s a great revelation about life on the road with Zeus from No Holds Barred and a subsequent Bobby Heenan zinger. However, with the greatest of respect, this isn’t a book that needed to be so comprehensive.

It’s not a bad read as such, it’s just that you’ll be dedicating a lot of time to fairly routine stuff among the gems. If it’s on on offer on the Kindle it might be worth a look, but the inevitable price implications of a 350-page self-published print book means the paperback is probably worth passing on.

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.


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.


Wrestling Demons by Jason Brick

Varsity wrestler Connor Morgan and his mother moved to Portland, Oregon to get away from his drug-addicted father, but they didn’t move away from trouble. At his new high school, three heavyweight wrestlers chase him through the halls. He runs away, in his underwear, past the girl he likes, into the January cold.

Then something weird happens.

The next thing Connor knows, he is fighting for his life against supernatural evil with the help of new friends as he learns the powers and dangers of his new destiny. The stakes rise as he discovers a powerful enemy bent on destroying more than just his high school. Ultimately, he must embrace his role in an ancient fight if he wants to save the day.

And he still has to get good grades and a date for the prom.


Season’s Beatings: Holiday Wishes from the Golden Age of Wrestling by John Cosper

From the golden age of grapplin’ comes a holiday treat for wrestling fans young and old! Compiled from a 1947 California wrestling program, this amazing collection of Christmas greetings features stars like Gorgeous George, “The Black Panther” Jim Mitchell, Enrique Torres, Jan Blears, Yvon Robert, and Ed “Strangler” Lewis. Season’s Beatings is not a history or a biography. It’s a window into the past, a photographic look at some of the biggest stars of wrestling’s golden age. It’s the perfect gift for those who prefer headlocks and body slams to visions of sugar plums.


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

A comprehensive look back at every episode of WCW Monday Nitro and Thunder from July – December 1999. To say WCW is in a bad place is the understatement of the year. They haven’t won a night in the Monday Night Wars in almost nine months and things are getting worse every single week. While the first few months are going to be more of the same, there’s a major change around Halloween that is going to shake things up forever. In this book, every episode of both shows in the second half of 1999 is reviewed in full, complete with analysis, ratings and complete content included.


The Ballad of Shelby McCallahan: The Raging Redhead of the Redneck Riviera by Jacob H Baxter

This book is about a young girl growing up in Panama City, Florida, chasing her dream to become a professional wrestler.


Crazy Like A Fox: The Definitive Chronicle of Brian Pillman 20 Years Later by Liam O’Rourke

An alpha male with a beta body, looking to thrive in worlds where beta males with alpha bodies are the primary requirement. He was a complex paradox, a walking contradiction. He lived more in 35 years than most do in a lifetime, the product of an arduous infanthood. His overachievement is awe-inspiring. Tales of his conflicts and conquests became the stuff of legend. His borderline genius and tragic demise made him an icon shrouded in mystique. He was Brian Pillman, and two decades later the most comprehensive look at one of professional wrestling’s most fascinating stories has been compiled. Discover unheard details of his upbringing, the incredible story behind chasing an NFL roster spot and his introduction to pro wrestling in the crazy Stampede circuit. Revel at his trials and tribulations in WCW and the WWF, walking the fine line between the cusp of superstardom and political turmoil. Reflect in the most detailed, inside breakdown of his Loose Cannon gambit ever produced, the scam that turned him into the talk of the business, before fatally drowning in personal tragedy and addiction. With exclusive interviews with some of Brian’s closest friends and family, Crazy Like A Fox is a must-read for Pillman fans, and a breathtaking look at the bizarre world of wrestling to boot…


The 100 Greatest Wrestlers of 1985-1992: Ranking the Best Wrestlers of the Hulkamania Era in WWF / WWE and WCW by Jonathan Johnson

Who can forget their first exposure to the crazy circus that was wrestling in the mid-80s? From Giants to Snakes to Nature Boys to Million Dollar Men, professional wrestling had something for everyone in the height of its greatest era. Relive now the hundred greatest men who made professional wrestling must watch television in the Hulkamania era!


Memphis Wrestling History Presents: Tennessee Athletic Commission: Memphis Filings 1977-1980 by Mark James

After every Monday night at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Wrestling promoter Jerry Jarrett had to file paperwork with the Tennessee Athletic Commission in Nashville. Several items had to be accurately entered on the form. From every wrestler and referee on the card to the number of tickets sold and even the total revenue taken in from those ticket sales, it was all there. This book contains all those Jarrett filings and looks at those numbers from 1977 through 1980. These hard facts add even more info into the rich history of Memphis Wrestling.


7 Keys to Becoming a Better Performer: A Book For Fellow Pro-Wrestlers by Mike Quackenbush

Pro-wrestling is performance art, and trying to occlude that fact for decades has, in many ways, prevented the evolution of the art form. Little has been written about the challenges modern pro-wrestlers face, and the ways in which they engage with audiences. “7 Keys to Becoming a Better Performer – A Book for Fellow Pro-Wrestlers” offers a fresh, frank examination of the skill set every professional wrestler needs to hone, regardless of where they ply their trade.


Oh, and Stuart Carapola has put out another 11 books this month…

 

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

With the Diva’s Revolution in full effect, it’s certainly an appropriate time to look back at the history of female grappling. But while undoubtedly well-written and comprehensive in scope, the format of this book can often be frustrating.

The strength is the wide range of the book, giving due attention to various eras of female grappling from the pioneer years to the Fabulous Moolah era, the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling connection days, the Diva period and the modern day, along with separate looks at Japan, the rest of the world and the independent scene.

As with Laprade’s Mad Dogs, Midgets and Screwjobs, which covered wrestling’s rich heritage in Montreal, the writing flows well, with quotes taken from a wide range of sources; it’s clear the writers have not skimped on effort or research.

The main problem is that rather than a broad chronological or thematic history, it’s presented as a series of profiles of female wrestlers, verging on encyclopaedic format. This brings several disadvantages. One is that the wider story of women’s wrestling’s evolution is somewhat erratically told. In particular, there’ll often be a teasing reference to an incident or event (such as the first women’s match in New York) that’s then left hanging until later in the book when another wrestler is profiled.

The laudable aim of covering as many names as possible also has drawbacks. For those women such as Mildred Burke or Moolah with rich stories to tell, the profiles inevitably only scratch the surface. In other cases even a few paragraphs feels like a stretch with the emphasis on dates and title reigns giving the impression there’s no particularly compelling human interest story to tell. British readers may be particularly disappointed when what’s trailed earlier as a dedicated section turns out to be a matter of a few paragraphs listing names and then a solitary profile of Sweet Saraya.

More positive points include a handful of special sections breaking up the profiles to detail a specific event or setup, be it GLOW, the controversial Wendi Richter-Lady Spider bout, or the 1994 AJW Tokyo Dome show. There’s also some welcome even-handedness with both sides of controversial issue’s such as Moolah’s control of her stable given a fair hearing.

Overall it’s not quite a comprehensive history of women’s wrestling to rival the Montreal book, but certainly serves as an appetiser for fans of contemporary wrestling to learn more about the women wrestlers of the past before moving on to a more focused volume such as Jeff Leen’s ‘Queen of the Ring’ which details the Mildred Burke era.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

[This review originally appeared in Fighting Spirit Magazine.]

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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.


Professional Wrestling by Ed W Smith

Back in 1900, when wrestling was not nearly as popular in the Middle West as it is at the present time, and when wrestlers were looked upon with a great deal of suspicion by the average man, the wrestler being qualified along with the crafty secondstory man and porch climber, Martin Burns, then one of the best heavyweights in the country, began to circulate stories about a wonderful young fellow he had discovered out in Iowa and for whom he predicted the most brilliant future. His name was Gotch, and he said he intended to make a champion of the world out of him if it took him the rest of his life.


The Unmasked Tenor: The Life and Times of a Singing Wrestler by Sam Tenenbaum and TJ Beitelman

Equal parts showman and artist, hustler and faithful son, trained tenor and fast-talking raconteur, Sam Tenenbaum is—to paraphrase Whitman—large, he contains multitudes. In this inspirational and quintessentially American “song of himself,” we see Sam pick himself up by the bootstraps of an awkward childhood in mid-20th Century Birmingham, Alabama, and forge an unlikely path through the roughriding, anything-goes early days of professional wrestling in the American South—all while nurturing his faith and pursuing, on the sly, his  rst true love: operatic singing. In the end, we learn what Sam learned early on: how to live large, fear nothing, and never give up on your dreams.


The Impending Sausage Sandwich of Doom by Kirk St Moritz

Elliott Rose is having a bad day. After being fired from his job as the clandestine stooge on hit TV show Ghostbusters UK, Elliott returns home to find his girlfriend missing. To make matters worse, Hapkido Valentine, the legendary 1980s wrestler, has returned from the dead and taken up residency in Elliott’s flat. Despite a voracious appetite for sausage sandwiches, Hapkido is convinced he has finally become the mystical Japanese warrior he once portrayed in the ring. Together they must undertake a dangerous journey to find out why the Universe created this most unlikely of partnerships. All that stands in their way is a medallion wearing TV psychic, a train-spotting assassin and the murderous intentions of the local over 75’s women’s group. If Elliott thought the day started badly, things are about to get a whole lot worse.


AWA Record Book: The 1970s Part 2 197579 by Mark James & George Schire

A record book that covers the entire AWA wrestling territory from 1975 through 1979. This book features the cards and results for hundreds of wrestling cards that took place throughout the mid-west wrestling promotion during the second half of the 1970s. This is the third book in the AWA series.Besides cards and results, this book features programs and photos.


The Road To The Show Of Shows 2017: How WWE Put Together The Biggest WrestleMania Of All Time by Aaron Varble

WrestleMania 33 was the most watched WrestleMania of all time. WWE really outdid themselves with the $5 million set, the stacked card, and the seven hours of showtime. Let’s take a look back at the events leading up to the Show Of Shows in 2017 and relive all of the amazing action along the way. Relive all of the injury drama, the anticipation, and the Hardy news that kept us on the edge of our seats. This book provides full play-by-play of the entire WrestleMania 33 card, 2017 Royal Rumble match, and 2017 Elimination Chamber match . Read never-before-read analysis from Still Real To Us writer Aaron Varble providing a retrospective look at how each big match on the card was set up. This is a can’t miss for any pro wrestling fan.


OCW Vol 1 (Finale): The Lethal Lotto by TL Brown

LETHAL LOTTO IS TONIGHT!! -Genuin defends against Sully Sphinx -Lita Walters finally gets to fight Key -Top contenders will be named in two devastating Lethal Lotto matches.


Four Horsemen: A Timeline History by Dick Bourne

 From the author of “Big Gold” and “Ten Pounds of Gold” comes a look back at the greatest faction in the history of professional wrestling: the Four Horsemen.

“Four Horsemen” is a complete month-by-month, year-by-year, linear timeline of the Horsemen, covering every version of the group and every member of each version over their thirteen years of existence.

From the glory days of Jim Crockett Promotions to the early WCW period to the Monday Nitro era, it’s all here in one concise timeline.

Every break-up and every reformation. All the championships. All the triumphs. All the betrayals. Month-by-month, year-by-year. It’s the ultimate reference guide to wrestling’s most infamous group, with clear timeline confirmations of keys dates and events.

Ric Flair, Ole and Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger, Barry Windham, James J. Dillon, Sting, Brian Pillman, Steve McMichael, Dean Malenko and all the rest. Every wrestler, every manager, and every woman that walked the aisle with them.

Over 40 photographs, some rare, a few never published before.

They were pro wrestling’s greatest stable and the very foundation upon which every other great faction that followed was built.

They were the Four Horsemen!

 


Nature Boy: The Career of Buddy Landel by Lance Archie

“You know I’ve got dozens of friends and the fun never ends as long as I’m buying. When the money ran out, that’s when the people left me. God forgave me. My family forgave me. And everybody in Knoxville knows that Buddy Landel is a home cooking, hometown boy. I love Knoxville, Tennessee and I’m proud of it.” – Buddy Landel Buddy Landel was considered one of the biggest ‘what ifs’ in the world of professional wrestling before he died tragically after a car accident in 2015. In the mid-1980s, Landel seemed to be on the fast track to fame in becoming the heir apparent to “Nature Boy” Ric Flair’s top dog status in the NWA promotion. But Landel couldn’t steer clear of the fast life and would ultimately fade into obscurity for several years until a career resurrection in Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Finally defeating his demons, he would turn his life around and become one of the feel good stories of wrestling before dying tragically after a car accident.

[Warning: This is only 36 pages long.]


Wildfire: The Career of Tommy Rich by Michael Cooney

Wrestling went through a Golden Era in the 1980s due to the advent of cable television. Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, and Ric Flair would become household names during this time. But the first wrestler to benefit from the change in the market would be none other than “Wildfire” Tommy Rich. Sporting shoulder-length bleached blonde hair and a good old boy personality, Tommy Rich would set attendance records in the Tennessee and Georgia areas before his star fizzled out almost as fast as he rose to the top.

[Warning: This is only 34 pages long.]


Tale of a Mad Dog: Wrestling Legend Buzz Sawyer by James Chaplin

Buzz Sawyer was considered one of the most athletically gifted wrestlers to campaign in the 1980s. Opinions vary on the man as most of the wrestlers who worked with him did not have a flattering assessment of his personality or character. All would concede, however, that he was a genuine bad ass in an era of tough guys. What was undeniable was his charisma and ability to entertain in one of wrestling’s Golden eras.

[Warning: This is only 38 pages long.]

 

 

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First Looks (2 May)

Here’s another batch of initial impressions of some recent releases based on the free samples on the Kindle. Obvious disclaimer that these are not necessarily fair reflections of the book as a whole, so please do share your views if you’ve read the whole thing.

Squared Circle Blues by Matt Posner is one of several novels set in the territory eras. There’s certainly plenty of authentic-sounding insider jargon (and politically incorrect dialogue) along with all the stock character gimmicks you’d expect to get. It may well be a slow burner however as the free sample appears to be more about explaining the business to non-fans than any major plot developments, though the effect of a struggling territory’s top star jumping ship to what’s clearly the WWWF appears to be the catalyst.

Hardway: A Novella by Hector Acosta seems to be more of a teen fiction drama based around backyarding rather than the fully pro business. The sample suggests the wrestling element might be more of a backdrop than the primary focus of the book, but it’s an easy read.

Taking Bumps: How I Made 49 Bucks In Pro Wrestling by Alexander Goodlive is a non-fiction memoir about what can only be described as very low-level indy wrestling. It’s very much about the business rather than Goodlive as an individual and there’s some intriguingly detailed accounts of what goes through his mind during a match.

Wake Up! It’s Feeding Time by Ryback Reeves is a selfhelp book that looks like its aimed at people who wouldn’t normally buy such a book. The sample covers nutritional advice (with fitness, motivation, money management and personal responsibility covered later on.) For the most part it seems to be simple, almost common sense points made in a clear way, but there’s also what feels like padding with several pages made up of lists of side effects associated with artificial sweeteners that are simply copied and pasted (with attribution) from medical and health websites. The sample does prove intriguing as it cuts off when a list of the supplements Ryback takes every day has already reached 10 items.

Teeny: Pro Wrestling’s Grand Dame by Brennon Martin is a biography of hia grandmother Christine Jarrett. While that’s no doubt a fascinating story of an undersung figure in the business, it’s a little disappointing to find it told in a “non-fiction novel” format with extensive detail and dialogue that the writer confirms in the foreword is imagined and recreated based on stories that have been passed down. The problem is that the dialogue so clearly being created in this way makes it difficult to trust any of the stories, making it hard to know what mindset to apply when reading.

 

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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 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.

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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

    wild

      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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