Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

News Round-Up

Several bits of news to catch up on:

Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, who previously wrote a history of MTV, are working on an oral history of WWE. They plan on interviewing 300 people for the book, but the most intriguing news is that Vince McMahon has agreed to be interviewed at length. No word yet on a release date but this doesn’t appear to be a rush job.

The Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia graphic novel series will now continue through Starburns Industries Press, a new publishing wing of the animation studio that produces Rick & Morty. It will be a six-part series. We previously reviewed the initial instalment.

The Kendo Nagasaki autobiography is now available for pre-order with a UK release date of 1 November. It’s listed under Nagasaki’s real name and described as “honest and absorbing”, so still looks to have potential.

Sean Oliver, the man behind the Kayfabe Commentaries interview videos is releasing a book with an unusual angle. Fathers’ Blood is a series of narrative profiles about the children of wrestlers and the strains that the business can put on their relationships. You can read a sample passage online.

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Unladylike: A Grrl’s Guide to Wrestling (Crowdfunding)

An interesting looking title from Heather Bandenburg on Unbound, a Kickstarter-like site for books where would-be readers effectively place pre-orders. If the book doesn’t reach the target, pledgers get a refund (site credit by default but you can ask for cash instead.)

Unladylike is the first book written about feminism and wrestling – it follows one unlikely woman’s journey to becoming an infamous masked wrestler, and honestly retells the life lessons grappling teaches her on the way.

Most wrestling books are about the stars of the industry – this one isn’t. Unladylike offers an honest and comedic insight in to the world of independent wrestling from the perspective of one angry, overweight woman following a dream she didn’t know she had. Unladylike is structured around the last five years of my wrestling journey, using it as a backdrop to explore both the hidden and overblown world of wrestling. It also talks about women’s bodies; cabaret in Underground post-recession London; forming unlikely friendships; generational ennui; pushing boundaries and personal politics. It is written for both an existing and new wrestling audience in a way that hasn’t been attempted before – sitting squarely within the narrative non-fiction genre with influences of both sport writing and feminist thought.

Unbound is a Kickstarter-like site for books where would-be readers effectively place pre-orders. If the book doesn’t reach the target, pledgers get a refund (site credit by default but you can ask for cash instead.)

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My New Book: Have A Good Week… Till Next Week

I’ve just released a new book, Have A Good Week… Till Next Week

For six years, the stars of Britain’s ITV wrestling told their stories to Fighting Spirit Magazine’s John Lister. Now these in-depth biographies of more than 50 grapplers come together in the ultimate history of the ‘World of Sport’ era. From Adrian Street to William Regal, from Tiny Tom Thumb to Giant Haystacks, these are the true stories of amazing lives in and out of the ring.

The full list of contents in the 400-page books is:

Adrian Street
Albert Wall & Gwyn Davies
Big Daddy
Billy Robinson
Blackjack Mulligan
Blondie Barratt
Brian Dixon
Brian Maxine
British Bulldogs
Chic Cullen
Chris Adams
Colin Joynson
Danny Collins
Dave Taylor
Doc Dean
Drew McDonald
George Kidd
Giant Haystacks
Jackie Pallo
Jackie Turpin
Jim Breaks
John Cox
John Freemantle
John Kenny
John Naylor
Johnny Kidd
Johnny Kincaid
Johnny Saint
Kendo Nagasaki
Kid Chocolate
Klondyke Kate
Kung Fu
Len Ironside
Les Kellett
Mal Kirk
Mal Sanders
Mark Rocco
Marty Jones
Mel Stuart
Mick McManus
Mike Marino
Mitzi Mueller
Orig Williams
Pete Roberts
Ray Robinson
Ricky Knight
Robbie Brookside
Scrubber Daly
Sheamus Dunleavy
Steve Grey
Tom Thumb
Tony St Clair
Tony Walsh
William Regal
Cup Final Day
Holiday Camps
Pre-TV Era
Royal Albert Hall
Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland
The Calgary Connection
Wembley Arena
Joint Promotions


You can check out my other books at the dedicated page on this site.

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PROGRESS Promoter Publishing Wrestling History Book

PROGRESS promoter and stand-up comedian Jim Smallman is publishing ‘I’m Sorry, I Love You: A History of Professional Wrestling’ this August. Blurb as follows:

‘We have all felt every emotion today. Remember today, the next time a family member or workmate tells you that wrestling is stupid. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve screamed our lungs out. Professional wrestling is the greatest thing in the entire world.’ – Jim Smallman, 2016

Comedian and PROGRESS Wrestling founder Jim Smallman takes us on a wild ride through the history of pro-wrestling, from its beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century to the pop-culture, pay-per-view juggernaut that it is today.

Join Jim as he looks at the most defining and iconic moments in wrestling’s history and attempts to nail down just why this ludicrous, over the top, compelling quasi-sport means so much to so many people.

Further details from the inside flap:

March 30th, 2008. The Citrus Bowl, Orlando. Wrestlemania XXIV. Ric Flair, the bleached blonde veteran, gets groggily to his feet. His opponent, Shawn ‘The Hearbreak Kid’ Michaels, knows what has to be done. Time stands still. Seventy-five thousand spectators lower their voices as a tearful Michaels locks eyes with his childhood hero, now fictional foe. ‘I’m sorry, I love you,’ he says, before delivering his signature ‘sweet chin music’ superkick, pinning Flair in the ring and ending his career on the grandest possible stage.

That moment is now part of wrestling folklore. To comedian and PROGRESS wrestling founder, Jim Smallman, Michaels’ words embody something else. For too long, fans like Jim have had to be apologetic about their love of professional wrestling. But all that’s about to change. Prepare for a wild ride through the history of pro-wrestling, from its beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century to the pop-culture, pay-per-view juggernaut that it is today. Part history, part love letter to a much-misunderstood form of entertainment, join Jim as he brings you tales of early pioneers like ‘Farmer’ Burns and Frank Gotch, bizarre gimmicks, phenomenal finishing moves, Mexican and Japanese innovators, the McMahon dynasty, Big Daddy, André the Giant, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, The Undertaker and The Rock, as he attempts to nail down just why this ludicrous, over the top, compelling quasi-sport means so much to so many.

It’s available for pre-order now in hardback and Kindle forms, with an August release date.

Pre-order on Kindle (


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Jim Cornette Comic Book On The Way

A 60-page graphic novel covering some of Jim Cornette’s favourite stories is the latest wrestling project on Kickstarter:

Jim Cornette Presents: Behind the Curtain – Real Pro Wrestling Stories is a historical look at some of the most impactful behind-the-scenes moments in pro wrestling history, presented through the eyes of legendary wrestling personality Jim Cornette. A true-story style anthology, these ‘insider’ tales will show the lengths that wrestlers went to uphold ‘kayfabe’ (the old carny term for the presentation of legitimate conflict) as well as the noteworthy cultural, racial & economic impact these events and characters had on society. This is the graphic novel that old school wrestling fans have been waiting their entire lives for: a no holds barred graphic representation of the moments that wrestling insiders couldn’t talk about for years.

The book — which has already met its funding target — will be written and illustrated by Brandon Easton and Denis Medri, the team behind Andre The Giant: Closer to Heaven.

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Kendo Nagasaki Book In The Works

British wrestler Kendo Nagasaki, aka Peter Thornley, has a book planned for release this year. It’s certainly intriguing given his life-long secrecy, though it remains to be seen just how revealing the book really is. The reference to material from Gorgeous George (Gillette), Nagasaki’s original manager, is particularly intriguing given Gillette died in 1990.

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Tokyo Dome Book Free Sample

Chris Charlton has published a sample chapter of his upcoming crowdfunded book Eggshells: Pro Wrestling In The Tokyo Dome. The chapter covers the February 1990 New Japan show that included appearances from All Japan and AWA wrestlers.

The funding has now reached a high enough level that the book will be published in both paperback and hardback versions, and that there’ll be an accompanying podcast series (with episodes released early for backers.) The next funding target is for an audiobook version read by Dan Lovranski.

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Tokyo Dome Book On The Way

Chris Charlton, the author of Lion’s Pride: The Turbulent History of New Japan Pro Wrestling, will soon be publishing EGGSHELLS: Pro Wrestling In The Tokyo Dome. It will be available initially through the Indiegogo crowdfunding site and we’ll have a link when it’s ready. In the meantime, here’s the blurb:

In 1988, the Tokyo Dome was constructed in Suidobashi in the heart of Tokyo. Initially built for concerts and baseball, pro wrestling events, not viewed as a stadium attraction, were seen as a huge risk. Yet the course of professional wrestling in Japan changed forever in the spring of 1989, and a new institution was born.

Eggshells takes a series of 64 in depth looks at each event run inside the Tokyo Dome. Told through Chris Charlton(Lion’s Pride: The Turbulent History of New Japan Pro Wrestling)’s historical perspective, as well as contemporary sources never before seen in English, and anecdotes from those involved in these iconic events, this is the definitive look at one of wrestling’s most famous venues. Framed by their biggest shows, Eggshells examines the history of the ten promotions that ventured into the Big Egg:

  • New Japan Pro Wrestling
  • Universal Wrestling Federation
  • All Japan Pro Wrestling
  • Super World Sports
  • Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi
  • All Japan Women’s
  • JD’Star
  • Wrestle-1
  • Pro Wrestling NOAH
  • Dramatic Dream Team

Eggshells also includes unique insights from wrestlers, announcers and the press who were at events in person, including:

  • Kota Ibushi (Ibushi Pro Wrestling Research)
  • Kenny Omega (NJPW)
  • Jim Ross (AXS TV)
  • Kenta Kobashi (Fortune KK)
  • Rocky Romero (NJPW)
  • Soichi Shibata (Veteran TV announcer and journalist)
  • Jordan Breen (Sherdog)
  • John Pollock (Post Wrestling)
  • Steve Corino (Formerly Zero-One, NJPW)
  • Tomoyuki Matsumoto (Spike Chunsoft)
  • Jinsei Shinzaki (Michinoku Pro)

From the hardcore wrestling historian to the newcomer to Japanese wrestling, Eggshells is an essential guide to a touchstone of the medium.

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