This book makes the best of a concept with arguably limited potential, which is pretty much the opposite of what happened in the match it covers. It’s automatically an impressive feat to get a full book out of a match where famously almost nothing happened. Even with a literal blow-by-blow account (Gross bravely becoming sure the only person in history to watch the match multiple times), the core of the book is inherently limited in drama. Unfo...

Pro wrestling in Douglas Clark’s era was an often muddled blend of reality and fictionalised drama, as indeed is this book. Clark certainly had a life worthy of chronicling. He was among the pioneers of rugby league, winning numerous championships with Huddersfield and England, and is among just 25 members of the sports Hall of Fame. While a rugby professional, he was also a perennial top contender in Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, a leg...

Sometimes you don’t enjoy a book because it’s plain bad. Sometimes you don’t enjoy it because it just isn’t for you. This feels like more of the latter. “In Defense Of…” is an anthology of columns from the 411Mania site in the mid 2000s with a simple concept: to take the conventional wisdom of the “Internet Wrestling Community” and argue against it, in the form of a courtroom defense argument. Prag is open in the appendix of thi...

Like a stereotypical indy match, this has its impressive moments but occasionally loses focus while cramming too much in. The challenge of writing such a book is that it “independent wrestling” is a topic with almost unlimited scope. In turn that means having to find the right blend of a straight chronological history and a more themed approach with a focused story. For these reasons the first third or so of the book often feels a lit...

While it’s a hugely exaggerated fictionalisation of the real British wrestling world, this novella is unexpectedly timely. At first glance this seems purely in the world of outlandish fiction, with the central storyline being a Muslim wrestler beaten to death as he attempts to detonate a suicide vest in the ring. However, while the plot may be far-fetched, the setting is very true to life. The descriptions of a small-time independent wrestl...

An in-character account by “The Animal” would have been a short read, but this attempt to capture his true voice disappoints. The book is presented as a first-person account in the words of Jim Myers (the man who portrayed Steele in the ring), but several style choices mean that even if this is how Myers speaks, it doesn’t feel natural. One problem is the repeated inclusion of extraneous facts that nobody would include in normal...

This account of Chris Benoit’s life and time in wrestling has been described as a true crime story. It reads like the case for the prosecution. (Before going further, I must say that had I been reading this book for “pleasure” rather than a review, I would have quit when I reached the point where the author refers to a group of sex workers as “subhuman ogresses”.) There is nothing wrong with a book on Benoit being ex...

While Ken Shamrock’s life has already been covered via Inside The Lion’s Den, that book was hampered not just by only covering his early MMA career, but also by being a far from complete and rounded account of his life. To say Snowden’s work is a different prospect would be a spectacular understatement. The biggest strength of this book is that it is utterly comprehensive. Not only does it cover every fight of his career, but vi...

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 29 June: S is for Suplex by Ryan L Schrodt and Nicholas Camia 13 July: Philosophy Smackdown by Douglas Edwards (Pro Wrestling Books review.) 1 September: Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution by Keith Elliot Greenberg 29 September: WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment New Edition 13 October: We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History by Bill Hanstock 15 ...

One of those titles long-term collectors will recognise, this turns out to be a pleasant surprise. Originally published in 1974, this was a familiar sight when searching book catalogues in the pre-Have A Nice Day era, but wasn’t always easy to track down. Lewin is the brother of the better known wrestlers Mark and Donn. While he had the odd match later on, the bulk of his career came in the mid-sixties on the WWWF circuit. He wrestled mainl...

Recent Release Roundup
News / November 27, 2020

The following recent releases did not get advance listings and thus weren’t in our weekly release schedule. The Last Chapter by Butts Giraud Butts Giraud has been living “stories” for years through his many escapades involving family, friends, professional athletes and business partners. He has written this book to share his stories with you. The stories are drawn from his travels starting in 1964 at a small British Columbia Firs...

Release Schedule (26 November)
Release Schedule / November 26, 2020

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 6 January 2021: Ringman by Dave Dwinell 7 January: WWE: The New Day: Power of Positivity by Evan Narcisse and Austin Walker 26 January: Bump by Matt Wallace 16 February: Ragtag Team (Slamdown Town Book 2) by Maxwell Nicoll & Matthew Smith 2 March: A Diva Was a Female Version of a Wrestler: An Abbreviated Herstory of World Wrestling Entertainment by Scarlett Harris 8 April: Mat Me...

Ali vs. Inoki: The Forgotten Fight That Inspired Mixed Martial Arts and Launched Sports Entertainment by Josh Gross
Review / November 20, 2020

This book makes the best of a concept with arguably limited potential, which is pretty much the opposite of what happened in the match it covers. It’s automatically an impressive feat to get a full book out of a match where famously almost nothing happened. Even with a literal blow-by-blow account (Gross bravely becoming sure the only person in history to watch the match multiple times), the core of the book is inherently limited in d...

Release Schedule (18 November)
Release Schedule / November 18, 2020

One new entry this week, Ringman by Dave Dwinell: For thirty-two years Dave Dwinell led a unique double life, mild mannered accountant by day, and professional wrestling referee evenings and weekends. The book “Ringman” transports the reader back in time to the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s when the sport was far from the polished product you witness on tv today. Dave provides fans with a front row seat not ...

Buddy Rogers Bio Coming Soon
News / November 16, 2020

Crowbar Press is soon to publish Master Of The Ring, a biography of Buddy Rogers by Tim Hornbaker. (We’ve previously reviewed his books National Wrestling Alliance, Capitol Revolution and Death of the Territories.) It will initially be available in print direct from Crowbar Press with a Kindle version scheduled for December....

Release Schedule (11 November)
Release Schedule / November 11, 2020

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 15 November: Professional Wrestling: Politics and Populism (Enactments) edited by Sharon Mazer, Heather Levi, Eero Laine and Nell Haynes 17 November: The Young Bucks: Killing the Business from Backyards to the Big Leagues 7 January 2021: WWE: The New Day: Power of Positivity by Evan Narcisse and Austin Walker 26 January: Bump by Matt Wallace 16 February: Ragtag Team (Slamdown Tow...

Unofficial Rock Biography On The Way
News / November 3, 2020

James Romero, whose book on Owen Hart I previously reviewed, will soon be publishing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: The People’s Champion – From WWE to Hollywood c. Here’s the blurb: FINALLY… from the author of the highly regarded Owen Hart: King of Pranks comes the wrestling biography every WWE fan and the millions… and millions of Rock fanatics around the world have been waiting for! Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson...

Release Schedule (28 October)
Release Schedule / October 28, 2020

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 15 November: Professional Wrestling: Politics and Populism (Enactments) edited by Sharon Mazer, Heather Levi, Eero Laine and Nell Haynes 17 November: The Young Bucks: Killing the Business from Backyards to the Big Leagues 7 January 2021: WWE: The New Day: Power of Positivity by Evan Narcisse and Austin Walker 26 January: Bump by Matt Wallace 16 February: Ragtag Team (Slamdown Tow...

Buggsy McGraw-inspired Book In Development
News / October 27, 2020

Ian Douglass, who worked with Buggsy McGraw on his autobiography, is using Kickstarter to publish The Incredible Brute, a new book inspired by McGraw’s career: This literary project is intended to create an appreciation for the early stages of the professional wrestling career of Michael Davis. Years before he entertained thousands of fans as Buggsy McGraw, Davis made his debut under a mask in Detroit as The Big O.  From there, D...

The Man of All Talents: The Extraordinary Life of Douglas ‘Duggy’ Clark by Steven Bell
Review / October 23, 2020

Pro wrestling in Douglas Clark’s era was an often muddled blend of reality and fictionalised drama, as indeed is this book. Clark certainly had a life worthy of chronicling. He was among the pioneers of rugby league, winning numerous championships with Huddersfield and England, and is among just 25 members of the sports Hall of Fame. While a rugby professional, he was also a perennial top contender in Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestl...