Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

Death of the Territories by Tim Hornbaker

After previous books exploring the history of the NWA and wrestling in the New York region, Tim Hornbaker covers the collision between the two. Death of the Territories covers the period between Vincent Kennedy McMahon taking control of the World Wrestling Federation in 1982 and the sale of Jim Crockett Promotions to Ted Turner in 1988.

At times, the book offers fascinating insights, either revealing incidents through Hornbaker’s characteristic research skills, or highlighting seemingly small nuggets of information that prove significant with hindsight. Unfortunately the book doesn’t keep up this momentum and instead loses focus.

While the basics of McMahon breaching traditional territorial boundaries and being first in an inevitable race as cable TV exposed stars nationwide are well known, Death of the Territories certainly covers angles usually left out of the story. For example, accounts often point to the way Georgia’s TBS going nationwide as the original ‘Superstation’ meant its stars had fans beyond its territorial border, but Hornbaker highlights that the New York-based WOR station – which carried McMahon’s flagship show – also went across the country as cable and satellite television grew.

Similarly the story of Georgia Championship Wrestling promoting in Ohio as an early expansion comes with some additional detail and context. There’s a great story about the promotion booking a disputed finish and openly inviting letters of protest simply as a market research exercise to find out where viewers lived. Hornbaker also notes how the surprising level of interest in Columbus, Ohio wasn’t so much that it was an inherently wrestling-friendly city, rather than structural issues meant it had a disproportionately high level of homes with cable television.

Indeed, perhaps the biggest strength of the book is how it stresses that McMahon was by no means the only promoter who tried to compete on a national scale – simply the one who did it most effectively.

In another example of joining the dots, it’s commonly recounted that WWF drew attention in the weeks before WrestleMania with mainstream appearances on shows such as Late Night with David Letterman, SportsWorld and Saturday Night Live. However, Hornbaker notes the likely lack of coincidence that all three shows – along with Mr T in The A-Team – all aired on NBC, the same network that would begin airing Saturday Night’s Main Event just a couple of months later, suggesting particularly strong relations.

The real shame of the book is that these early pieces of insight are later lost as the book descends into extended periods of summing up the in-ring events of the various territories with little context or narrative significance. For several paragraphs at a time, the book simply lists wrestlers who worked in a particular territory and who held the titles, with little relation to the bigger picture of McMahon’s expansion and each territory’s fate.

This feels a lot more of a problem as the book nears its conclusion, with one example being a short section on SuperClash III, arguably the last real attempt of the surviving regional promoters to work together. Readers are told the pay-per-view buyrate was “0.5” but given no indication what this means, how it compared to other shows of the era, or why it proved a financial failure. That’s particularly problematic in 2018 when the very concept of PPV revenue being a significant measure of business is now several years out of date.

Despite its flaws, the book certainly has something for everyone, and is more readable than both of Hornbaker’s previous titles. Fans who know the story of the 80s wars will enjoy many new tidbits, while those exploring the topic for the first time will find this a useful primer. But the best historical books combine fresh facts and insight with a strong and compelling storyline, and after a strong start, this sadly drifts away from both goals in the latter stages.

(This review originally appeared in Fighting Spirit Magazine.)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com.uk)

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I’m Sorry I Love You by Jim Smallman

Imagine a Scott Keith book. Now imagine it was funny. And then imagine it was largely accurate. It wouldn’t be a Scott Keith book any more, but it might be a bit like this.

PROGRESS promoter and stand-up comedian Smallman has put together what is carefully labeled as “a” rather than “the” history of professional wrestling, and in the big picture it does a good job of such a daunting task. It aims to cover all aspects and time periods, and while there’s a natural tendency towards the (comparatively) more recent times, the book is a third of the way through before getting to WrestleMania III.

It’s a general overview of the themes and events of the wrestling business over time, with the WWF expansion, the death of the territories and the Monday Night War era having a particularly coherent narrative. It’s told in a casual style with plenty of commentary and asides, largely as you might expect from a stand-up and wrestling promotion front man who is writing in his natural voice.

Whether it’s the subject matter or simply the writing process, the strengths and weaknesses of the book do seem to fall into three sections. In the earlier chapters, while the historical content is very good, the comic asides are relentless, at some points seeing virtually every paragraph end in a punchline. If you’re not a fan of this style it may seem overbearing and some tighter editing would have helped the stronger gags have more impact.

The sweet spot is the aforementioned middle section where the asides are more selective and are more about adding personality to the narrative. In several cases they enhance the story being told rather than simply being comedy for the sake of it, such as an apt footballing analogy for the match quality of Hogan and Andre.

The format does drop off a little in the last few chapters covering the post-WCW era. The quality of the writing and content isn’t diminished, but it’s not quite as tightly focused, jumping from topic to topic more often. There’s also a lot more of Smallman’s personal perspective on (and even involvement in) the events, which works better in some cases than others.

While the book does have several factual errors, they aren’t glaring (in many cases being a case of taking promotional claims of sellouts or big figures as accurate). There’s enough of them to be noticeable by more dedicated readers but they never affect the big picture narratives.

Judging the book as a whole depends on the audience. For long-term fans who’ve read a lot of wrestling history, there might not be enough new here to make it a must-read. For more casual fans or those who’ve got into wrestling in recent years, it’s an excellent starting point to learn the history of American wrestling, particularly given the lack of serious books out there tackling such a wide topic.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

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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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Quick Thoughts: Eggshells & Death Of The Territories

I have upcoming reviews in Fighting Spirit Magazine for two books, which I’ll add here once the issue is off sale, so here’s some quick thoughts.

Eggshells: Pro Wrestling In The Tokyo Dome by Chris Charlton is well worth a look if you have any interest in Japanese wrestling. It’s got full run downs of every show in the building, including some I was previously unaware of. There’s also plenty of background and context, so in some ways it’s also an overview of New Japan in particular over the past 30 years.

Death of The Territories is the latest Tim Hornbaker title, covering the period between Vince McMahon taking over from his father and Ted Turner buying out Jim Crockett. It gets off to a great start with some interesting details that haven’t been widely discussed and a good job of highlighting context. However, the latter stages concentrate too much on in-ring events that don’t really contribute to the narrative.

 

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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.

 


NITRO: The Incredible Rise and Inevitable Collapse of Ted Turner’s WCW by Guy Evans

In April 1999, Entertainment Weekly asked its readers what many were surely wondering to themselves: how did wrestling get so big? As a consequence of the heated ratings competition between World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), the spectacle had taken over Monday nights on prime-time cable television. But in a departure from the family-friendly programming produced by the last industry boom – the 1980s wave, which made household names of Hulk Hogan, ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper and Andre the Giant – the new era of wrestling combined stunning athleticism with a raunchy sex appeal, engrossing story lines and novel production techniques that reflected a changing society and its shifting values. Once again, wrestling was a ubiquitous phenomenon – only this time, it seemed as though the fad would never end. With both WCW and WWF expanding into other forms of entertainment – movies, video games, music and the like – the potential for growth appeared to be limitless. But with uncertainty surrounding its corporate future, and increasingly uninspired programming eroding its audience, WCW stood on the verge of collapse. Three years into a five-year plan devised by its charismatic leader – a former Blue Ribbon Foods salesman named Eric Bischoff – the company whose unexpected ascension initiated the entire boom was operating on borrowed time. For by the end of the five-year plan, WCW ceased to exist. But NITRO is a story about much more than WCW and the Monday Night Wars. It is a story of an era, a time in which the media and cultural landscape precipitated – and later supported – pro wrestling’s mainstream popularity. It is a story of how a company made in the image of an intuitively brilliant risk-taker betrayed its original promise. It is a story of how a handful of men, each struggling with their own limitations, facilitated a public obsession that changed television forever. And so, with the inside knowledge of a journalist, the perspective of a historian, and the passion of a fan, author Guy Evans provides a fresh look at an unfortunate inevitability – the downfall of World Championship Wrestling. Bolstered by exclusive interviews with over 120 former TBS and WCW employees, NITRO is the definitive picture of the last wrestling boom. Featuring exclusive interviews and comments from: Eric Bischoff, fmr. President of World Championship Wrestling; Harvey Schiller, fmr. President of Turner Sports; Jamie Kellner, fmr. CEO of Turner Broadcasting System; Bill Burke, fmr. President of TBS network; Joe Uva, fmr. President of Turner Entertainment Sales and Marketing; Scot Safon, fmr. SVP of Marketing for TNT network; Kevin Nash, WWE Hall of Famer and 5-time WCW world champion; Diamond Dallas Page, WWE Hall of Famer and 3-time WCW world champion; Vince Russo, fmr. WCW writer; Marcus ‘Buff’ Bagwell, fmr. WCW superstar and 5-time world tag team champion; Kevin Sullivan, fmr. WCW superstar and head booker; Hugh Morrus, fmr. WCW superstar; Neal Pruitt, fmr. WCW Feature Producer and voice of the nWo; David Crockett, fmr. WCW Vice President of Production; Dick Cheatham, fmr. Group Controller for TBS; Alan Sharp, fmr. WCW Director of Public Relations; Mike Weber, fmr. WCW Director of Marketing; Rob Garner, fmr. WCW Vice President of TV Programming and Sales Jerry Jarrett, legendary wrestling promoter and booker… And many, many, many more!

 


Lord Carlton: Aristocrat of the Mat by K.K. Herzbrun and John Cosper

Leo Whippern was a talented young painter, the descendant of Hungarian royalty, and a phenomenal athlete, but as “Sailor” Tug Carlson, his life was headed no where. He was just another fit grappler in black trunks with nothing to make him stand out. Then without any warning, Tug Carlson was gone. In his place came a veteran of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy, a world-traveler, a British nobleman intent on teaching the Americans what a truly outstanding athlete looks like. K.K. Herzbrun, daughter of his lordship, and John Cosper (author of “Dr. D” David Schultz’s best-selling autobiography) tell the story of a forgotten legend of the 1950s, a heel on par with the great Gorgeous George who sold out arenas from coast to coast in the 1950s. Inspired by Lord Lansdowne, the same man whose gimmick inspired Gorgeous George, Whippern transformed himself into the British heel Lord Leslie Carlton. His new heel persona made him a rich man as he created drama in and out of the ring, but his family life after wrestling proved to be even wilder than any wrestling storyline. Lord Leslie Carlton’s tale is a story of triumph and heartbreak. It’s the story of a stellar athlete and a talented artist, an eclectic migrant family, a tragic murder, a vengeful wife, and the daughter who somehow found the God her father never believed in.

 


What the World Was Watching: The World Wrestling Federation in 1995 by Logan Scisco

1995 was the doldrums of the professional wrestling industry. Major promotions such as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) lost money, ratings for programming declined, and suspicions of drug and steroid use clouded the sport. However, 1995 also set the stage for a post-Hulkamania wrestling boom as the Monday Night Wars began and talent switched companies. This book offers a historical glance at the WWF in 1995, reviewing all of its major televised programming, compiling win/loss data for superstars, charting major feuds and angles, ranking matches, and providing a timeline for the year’s major events.

 


Memoirs of a Mad Man by Mad Man Pondo

“He’s just a bleeder,” they said. “He can’t wrestle. All he can do is bleed!” Mad Man Pondo never argued when people called him “just a bleeder.” He knows who he is, and he’s embraced it. He knows that his high tolerance for pain, his fearless nature, and his talent for bleeding are the reason he’s wrestled all around the world, starred in three video games, appeared in a horror film with one of his great heroes, befriended celebrities from the A-list to the D-list, and become a legend to deathmatch wrestling fans everywhere. Now, Mad Man Pondo is telling his story his way. He takes you from his early days as a wrestling fan in Flora, Illinois who accidentally got his butt kicked by Jos LeDuc to his glory days as a headliner for Big Japan. You’ll read about in-ring encounters with Junkyard Dog, Terry Funk, and Kevin Sullivan; real life run-ins with David Blaine and Benny Hinn; and unexpected confrontations outside the ring with crazed fans and the Yakuza. You’ll learn how his small cable access show Skull Talk led him to become a casting agent for Jerry Springer and how a deathmatch legend gets to rub shoulders with the likes of MC Hammer, Jonny Fairplay, Mick Foley, Eli Roth, and Robert Englund. Pondo shares stories about his most legendary deathmatch encounters and the inspirational story behind his all-women’s promotion, Girl Fight. And you’ll read his unforgettable speech from the Juggalo March on Washington D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial where Forrest Gump once cried out, “Jenny!!!” With a foreword by Vanilla Ice (yes, THE Vanilla Ice!), dozens of must-see photos, and countless stories from friends, fans, and fellow grapplers, Memoirs of a Mad Man is an all-out extreme autobiography as graphic and over the top as a Four Corners of Pain Deathmatch.

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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.

 


Wahoo McDaniel Record Book: 1962-1996 by Greg Mosorjak with Mark James

A record book containing the results of over 5000 matches from the legendary professional wrestler, Wahoo McDaniel. One of the sport’s legitimate tough guys, Wahoo was an unstoppable force in the ring. This record book looks back over his 34 year career.

 


Wrestliana by Toby Litt

Toby Litt’s father wanted him to find about their ancestor: William Litt, a champion Cumberland Wrestler.

William was one of the greatest ever ‘kings of the green’ – a man who reigned undefeated in one of the nineteenth century’s most popular sports, taking home over 200 prize belts. William had other talents, as well. He was almost certainly a smuggler – and definitely published poet and novelist.

But Toby knew that coming to terms with him would be hard. A huge and fascinating man, William was also troubling. He ended his life in poverty and exile. And as well as having to measure himself up against this apparent paragon of masculinity, Toby would have to uncover uncomfortable memories and hard truths.

Would Toby like what he found out about himself along the way? As a novelist, as a son, and as a father in turn? Would he have to get in the wrestling ring? … Would he even want to?

Using the nineteenth century as a guide, Wrestliana asks vital questions about modern-day masculinity, competition, and success. It is a beautiful portrait of two men and their different worlds, full of surprises and sympathy, and a wonderful evocation of a lost place and time.

 


Milestones: How pro wrestling has been shaped into what we know today by Edward T Brickeen Jr.

Pro wrestling has evolved from massive gates at Comiskey Park at the turn of the century to dimly lit halls and gyms to hockey and basketball arenas in primetime. The wrestling world has changed and here are the important events in the modern history that has given us the shows we have today.

 


NXT: The Full Sail Years Volume III: From Dallas To New Orleans by Thomas Hall

What more is there to say about NXT? The promotion, which started off as nothing more than a developmental territory to build up some of WWE’s stars, has taken on a life of its -own. There have been more classic matches, more stars made and more great moments there than anywhere else in recent wrestling memory. In this book, I’ll be breaking down over one hundred more episodes of NXT plus ten live specials and breaking each one down match by match and segment by segment. Included will be analysis and ratings for the shows to see what worked and what didn’t.

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Canvas Countdown by Paul Meehan

Following on from my recent review of The WWE Book of Top 10s, this independently produced alternative is a mixed bag with some worthwhile elements.

It’s a similar format of 100 lists of 10 entries, almost all with a brief explanatory paragraph. As you’d expect, the big difference is the absence of photos: how important that is depends on the reader.

Other differences are that the book covers a much wider range of promotions and that the lists are for the most part in no specific order. This can occasionally be a little jarring when something seems to be obviously in a “wrong” position and in a second volume it might be worthwhile putting the entries in alphabetical order to reinforce the point that the items aren’t ranked.

One of the strong points is the diversity of subjects covered with examples including amusing real middle names of wrestlers, PWI Rookies of the Year that proved a wise choice, and wrestlers whose ring name involved a family relationship.

Perhaps surprisingly, some of the more intriguing lists are the purely objective stats-based ones. I certainly wouldn’t have picked out which wrestler has an 0-16 record at the Royal Rumble or who has the most wrestling pay-per-view appearances, while on a non-wrestling note it’s something of a surprise to see how many more people follow WWE stars on Instagram than Twitter.

It’s not a 100% hit rate: a couple of the lists feel overly smarky while others feel a bit like a clickbait listicle. But overall it’s got enough worthwhile content to justify it as something to read in small chunks, particularly at the Kindle price.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

(Disclaimer: The author provided a review copy.)

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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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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.

 


Don’t Call Me Fake: The Real Story of “Dr. D” David Schultz

Ask anyone who watched wrestling in the early 80s who the most dangerous man in wrestling was and they will tell you it was Dr. D. Trained by Herb Welch, the Tennessee native terrorized fans in Tennessee, Memphis, Florida, Calgary, Japan and Minnesota before being recruited into the WWF at the request of Hulk Hogan. Dr. D was a singles and tag team champion for multiple promotions, and he faced some of the most dangerous men in the business: Antonio Inoki, Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody, and Johnny Rodz. Yet he is remembered to this day for taking down a very different opponent: ABC reporter John Stossel, who dared to utter the words, “I think this is fake.” While the Stossel incident precipitated the end of his wrestling career, but it’s hardly the end of the story. Dr. D  turned babyface in real life, finding an even greater calling as a professional bounty hunter. Working out of Connecticut, Dr. D traveled the world and brought back hundreds of “skips” who had fled from justice. Dr. D tracked fugitives from New York to California to Puerto Rico and even Egypt with a 100% capture rate. If he couldn’t coax you into coming back of your own free will, he still possessed the skills taught by Herb Welch that could turn even the biggest thug into a crybaby. Call him a wrestler. Call him a bounty hunter. Just don’t call him fake! Dr. D David Schultz is the real deal, a hero in the wrestling locker room who became an even greater hero in his post wrestling career, clearing the streets of dangerous men and women with his Southern charm and a shooter’s grip.

 


Canvas Countdown: The world of wrestling in 100 lists by Paul Meehan

Canvas Countdown contains 100 lists which explore the diverse world of professional wrestling. From facts and key statistics about the major events to personal reflections on the wrestlers, events, feuds and stories that have shaped a century of grappling history, Canvas Countdown spans the wrestling world. The lists highlight the glamour and glitz of the major American promotions as well as featuring events and stars from Japan, the UK and the independent circuit. Canvas Countdown also reflects the author’s journey of discovery over the past three decades, tracing the rise of the sport in Japan, the Monday Night Wars of the 1990’s and of course the infamous ‘Attitude Era’. With personal reflections, plenty of statistics and a look at some of the key figures that have shaped the industry, Canvas Countdown offers something for every wrestling fan.

 


The Great Cheyenne by Alma Chaidez and‎ Jason Eaglespeaker

An indigenous female pioneer. One woman’s journey deep into the alpha male world of professional wrestling.

 


The 100 Greatest Wrestlers of 1993-2001: Ranking the Best Wrestlers of the Attitude and Monday Night War Era in ECW, WWF/WWE and WCW by Jonathan Johnson

The nineties were a time of great social change. A youth counter-culture was emerging in the world and professional wrestling embraced reality more than ever before to make Monday nights the most watched cable television nights of the week. Millions of fans were entertained by three amazing promotions, ECW, WCW, and the WWF/WWE. Enjoy reliving the Monday Night War and the Attitude era through the hundred greatest stars that made professional wrestling great!


KB’s History of the WWE Championship by Thomas Hall

It’s the grandest prize in wrestling and one of the most historic championships in the history of the spot. Over the last forty years, nearly every top star in wrestling has held it in all of its many forms. There have been many great matches and moments over the years and that’s certainly worth looking back at again. In this book, we take a look at the history of the WWE Championship over the last fifty years, including every title change and several important defenses along the way. With over 280 matches reviewed and no title change left out, this is as comprehensive a look as you’ll be able to find about the important parts of the title’s history.

 


The American Wrestling Association: The ESPN Years: 1988-1990 episode reviews by Ted Blanchard

The American Wrestling Association broke ground in the 1980’s by appearing on the then-fledgling ESPN network. Watch the progression (and some would say fall) of the AWA through reviews of episodes resurrected on ESPN Classic.

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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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