Pro Wrestling Books

Wrestling with words

Pro Wrestling Books - Wrestling with words

Release Schedule (10 October)

One new entry this week, An Encyclopedia of Women’s Wrestling: 100 Profiles of the Strongest in the Sport by LaToya Ferguson:

A comprehensive and fascinating illustrated look at women’s professional wrestling, including 100 profiles of superstars from around the world.

Women’s pro wrestling has existed in the USA since the 1930s, and this colorful encyclopedia references the fashion, fun, and drama of the sport through the years and around the world. Focusing on 100 competitors—from current faves Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair, to Germany’s Jazzy Gabert, Japan’s Io Shirai, and Canada’s LuFisto, to legends like The Fabulous Moolah, Sable, Ivory, and Lita—it includes relevant stats and each one’s compelling story. Written by noted authority LaToya Ferguson, this engaging history is great for anyone interested in powerful women, fantastic costumes, and pro wrestling itself.


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

30 October: WWE: Then, Now, Forever Vol. 2 by Dennis Hopeless

6 November: WWE Original Graphic Novel: Undertaker

9 November: The Elite Team: Young Bucks Stand Tall by Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson

18 December: WWE Vol. 4: Women’s Evolution by Dennis Hopeless

18 December: Gene Kiniski: Canadian Wrestling Legend by Steven Verrier

19 February 2019: Positively Unstoppable: The Art of Owning It by Diamond Dallas Page

5 March: WWE Greatest Rivalries

5 March: Tito the Bonecrusher by Melissa Thomson

19 March: WWE: The Official Cookbook by Allison Robicelli

19 March: WWE: Then. Now. Forever. Vol. 3

7 May: WWE SmackDown 20 Years and Counting by DK

7 May: Self Help: Life Lessons from the Bizarre Wrestling Career of Al Snow by Al Snow and Ross Owen Williams

7 May: An Encyclopedia of Women’s Wrestling: 100 Profiles of the Strongest in the Sport by LaToya Ferguson

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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.

 


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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Tough Guys: The Birth Of An American Sport by Bill Viola Jr & Dr Fred Adams

This history of the original MMA promotion is unfortunately a classic case of ignoring the policy of “show, don’t tell.”

It’s the tale of CV Promotions which, in 1979 and 1980, ran several combat events in Pennsylvania under the Tough Guys banner. They appear to have been the first formalized shows that combined multiple martial arts into a single sport. While the events are described as the forerunner to UFC, their setup — complete with weight divisions, extensive list of banned moves, and a 10-point must scoring system — is a lot closer to UFC as we know it today than the free-for-alls of the mid-1990s.

(From a pro wrestling perspective, this isn’t purely a book with crossover appeal: there are also a few direct references such as on athletic commission regulation or Bruno Sammartino being included among debates over the true toughest guy around.)

The gist of the book is covering the promotion’s struggle with athletic regulators before an eventual ban, and highlighting the lack of attention paid to it when people give an account of MMA’s history that starts with UFC. Unfortunately the balance of the content is very much for the benefit of the writer rather than the reader.

The actual descriptions of the planning of the promotion and the events themselves are engaging but too short. It then feels like almost the final third of the book is solely dedicated to reiterating the point about the media ignoring the company and painting UFC as the originators of mixed martial arts.

While it’s perfectly understandable that the writers — one of whom is the son of a Tough Guys promoter — want to right this historical wrong, but it soon becomes a tedious read. There’s also not enough use of the original source material to which the writers had access, in particular only a segment of the original rules being included and being almost illegible on the Kindle edition.

(Note: This is a re-release of a book originally titled Godfathers of MMA with the new title being to match a Showtime documentary on Tough Guys.)

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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.

The Road To The Show Of Shows 2018 Ultimate Edition: How WWE Pulled Off A Loaded WrestleMania With Even More Of The Controversy, Steroid Allegations, And Rusev Day Celebrations by Aaron Varble

This edition of the book includes everything the regular one does and so much more. Now you can get every single aspect of what it took to pull off one of the greatest WrestleManias of all time including way more details and in-depth chapters focusing on some of the biggest stories during the time such as Ronda Rousey’s journey to WWE, Daniel Bryan’s journey to being medically cleared, Paige’s journey to retirement, the evolution of Rusev Day, what happened to Enzo Amore, and so much more. This edition also includes a special chapter focusing on the steroid documentary that threatened to derail Roman Reigns’ ascension to the top and how he narrowly escaped it just before the Show Of Shows. This edition includes all of the wit and reference material as the first but the Ultimate Edition is definitely the one any real fan needs to have. Bonus Chapters ONLY Included in this Ultimate Edition: • Complete play-by-play for Raw’s Christmas Episode and Raw 25 • The 2nd Destruction Of The Shield • The Jon Bravo Factor • Another Tragedy For Paige • What Happened To Enzo Amore? • The Ever-changing WWE Cruiserweight Division • How Ronda Rousey Met WWE • The Great Daniel Bryan Saga • The Raw After Mania • The SmackDown Live After Mania • And much more

The Ring Walk by Brett Simenson

The Ring Walk is a stunning new coming of age novel about forbidden love, a great heist caper, and Andre the Giant. Set in Philadelphia in late 1979 and early 1980, this book features a number of characters from history as well as one of the most original and compelling young narrators since Holden Caulfield. If you’ve got Wrestlemania mania this weekend, there is no better treat for you or the fans in your life. A rare book that treats the matches of your youth with the joy and passion that they deserve, the Ring Walk is essential for any fans of pro wrestling, both modern and historical. When Flex Italiano and his charming hustler of a father show a little moxie and get involved in a scheme to steal a priceless ancient vase, they get drawn into a world of gangsters, con men, and carnies. Through his father’s job with the state athletic commission, Flex meets some of the his television idols, including the legendary champion Bruno Sammartino and the iconic Andre the Giant. He also explores Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, the Spectrum, and the pain and pinfalls that happen to every teenage boy. Fans of “Red Green Turns Dollar Blue” and “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” the novels of Dennis Lehane will love this new book by Brett Simenson.

WWE: How To Become A WWE Referee by Ahab Goldberg Mesmar

Just Released – A WWE Book for the WWE Universe teaching you How To Become A WWE Referee. So much information and Step by Step Action to tell and teach you how to become a wwe referee. Filled with amazment everywhere, packed with everything you need to know about WWE Referees is this amazing book. Check out its chapters on preview and get ready to get stunned. This Mad Book contains pictures to help you and show you the process of becoming a WWE Ref and Facts you never knew about the daily life of a WWE Referee. We also included our first time ever female referee Jessika Carr and we dig deep behind closed curtains and closed doors as we share with you the inside stories and the inside scoop if your interested in becoming a WWE Referee. We also get to show you what WWE Refs do and what they are in core level, stuff you wouldnt normally know about including the things that WWE Refs are allowed to do including their immense Power in the ring. You thought WWE Superstars have all the power in the ring, well .. think again, because what your about to find out will shock you and your perception of the WWE will change once you know the roles WWE Refs play, because its not only a 1..2..3.. and all is all. Its actually MUCH more than that because they actually control the flow of the Match, The Timing, The Silent information they recieve from the back curtain to their ear piece to quietly tell WWE Superstars on what they need to do next in the ring and so much more. Once you crack open this Book, you will have new eyes and So much respect for WWE Referees that you’ve never had before, Dont Miss out on this – Order Your copy NOW & Find Out !!!

To Be The Man: Evil Ain’t Good: Chapter 2 by Jared Vaughan Davis (Author), Josh Taylor (Illustrator)

The boys are gonna need more than the Five Moves of Doom to get outta this one! With “The Gargoyle” and “Fabulous” Frank surrounded by a horde of zombie rednecks, the boozy bruisers will have to break out their movesets to get out of the graveyard and back on the road. But before they can hit their finishers and count the “1-2-3,” Grimes and Hazard have a bigger opponent to contend with… There’s evil afoot, and it wants championship gold!

Family Bacon Rasslin’ by Scottie Richardson

 

Mike Mooneyham (Professional Wrestling Columnist for The Post and Courier. Co-Author of Sex, Lies, and Headlocks. Member of the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame) “Family, Bacon, Rasslin’ is a nostalgic look at pro wrestling as seen through the eyes of a longtime fan who takes the reader from his childhood to the present day. If you’re wondering just how the bacon fits in to the title, you’ll have to get a copy to find out. This fun read will strike a resonant chord with mat followers who couldn’t wait to tune in to their favorite sixty minutes each week!” Jim Valley (Professional Wrestling Podcast Host, Author, Master of Ceremonies, and Radio Personality) “I found Family, Bacon, Rasslin’ very relatable as I had similar experiences with my fandom especially the magazines. All in all, it’s very good, easy to read, and captures the feeling of being a fan in our era.” The Duke from Duke Loves Rasslin’ (Host of Duke Loves Rasslin Podcast, Twitter @DLovesRasslin, Facebook.com/DukeLovesRasslin, New episodes of the Duke Loves Rasslin podcast can be heard after 11pm EST every Thursday on YouTube, ITunes and most other leading podcast apps) “Family, Bacon, Rasslin’ is a collection of hilarious stories involving a dedicated pro wrestling fan, Scottie, and his cast of interesting characters aka family. The book chronicles various twists and turns that occurred in the lives of Scottie and his family from before he was even born to present day. The work is more than a wrestling book. It’s really a family book with some wrestling stuff thrown in ~ better than a wrestling book!”

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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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The WWE Attitude Era by Jon Robinson

Finally this under-covered era gets some attention from WWE.

Snark aside, this is pretty much the book version of the countless documentaries and countdowns WWE has produced in recent years, particularly since the launch of the network. It’s not a chronological history but rather a collection of pieces focused on the main players, with a heavy emphasis on photography.

As you might imagine, the book is hardly an objective history. At times the detailing of events such as the Montreal Screwjob verge first into being misleading and then outright false.

The book also has a few sections where things are presented either without context or with errors. For example, there’s a story from Stephanie McMahon that’s simply referenced as the “wedding angle” with no background, accompanied by a picture of her and Triple H at an in-ring ceremony. However, on closer reading the story actually refers to her aborted wedding to Test, who isn’t mentioned in the piece, and the revelation of a drive-thru ceremony with Triple H, which is mentioned without explanation.

(The same thing happens later in the book, making it clear Test’s name has been deliberately excluded. Perhaps more understandably, there’s a wonderfully chosen shot of the Radicalz where Chris Benoit is completely hidden behind Dean Malenko.)

While there’s not much you’ll learn from the book, it does finish with a fun section of previously-untold road stories including the origins of the Rock’s use of “smackdown” and the Big Show making an unfortunate exit from a jet plane. You also get a few pieces of artwork such as original designs for wrestler costumes. A book based around such content (along the lines of the memorabilia collection in the Ultimate Warrior book) would be a more intriguing prospect that what’s on offer here.

It’s somewhat telling that such a book exists and is considered a marketable prospect in 2018: after all, it’s the equivalent of WWF at the peak of the Austin-McMahon feud releasing a photobook celebrating the Billy Graham era. That aside, it’s a light piece that’s fine for what it is, though it’s more of a nostalgic gift for lapsed fans than a genuinely insightful history.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

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The Complete WWF Video Guide

With the WWE Network adding 38 Coliseum Home video releases next week, it reminded me to point out a series of books by James Dixon, the man behind the 1PW book and Titan Sinking series, that will now be even more useful.

The Complete WWF Video Guide series has exceptionally detailed reviews of all the video releases. There’s four in total, with the first two covering all the titles that are going up on the network.

Read on Kindle (Amazon.com)

Read on Kindle (Amazon.co.uk)

I wrote of volume 1:

This is one of the very rare self-published books that is significantly better in print than e-book format. That’s not to disparage the Kindle edition (and if cost is a factor it’s likely better value), but it’s a much easier read in print thanks to the great layout, formatting and artwork.

The book itself is very comprehensive and a genuinely useful reference guide, even if choosing between vintage WWF tapes is (thanks to the likes of YouTube) now an issue of time rather than money. There are some very neat touches like a complete ranking of all the tapes and a listing of the highest rated individual matches, plus some fun capsule bios.

The writing style won’t necessarily be to everyone’s taste. From a literary perspective it’s fine — it all reads smoothly and flows well. However, with a review project like this there’s a fine line between being dry and dull, or being too outlandish. The style varies as there’s a panel of authors, but on several occasions it verges too far into a forced personality with too many of the “smart fan” cliches such as excessive swearing, repetitive jokes about bookers being on drugs and the like. I understand these will be refined in volume 2, which will be a welcome improvement. One particular issue is the repeated references to individual wrestlers’ motivation going into a bout (in reality, not storyline) which is clearly little more than speculation.

All that aside, it’s definitely worth a read whether you are coming to this as nostalgia or its your first exposure to some of these classic — and not so classic – video releases.

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