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...

This is that rarest of beasts: an academic book about wrestling from which wrestling fans might actually learn something. With most philosophy essays and books on wrestling there’s a familiar pattern: start by citing Roland Barthes, raise the revolutionary point that pro wrestlers are performers rather than athletes competing to win a match, then discuss how the whole thing is a cipher for morality/ethnography/society/homoeroticism, making ...

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...

Recent Release Roundup
News / October 22, 2020

The following recent releases did not get advance listings and thus weren’t in our weekly release schedule. The Wrestling Observer Yearbook ’97 by Dave Meltzer with Dante Richardson For the first time ever, Dave Meltzer’s famous Wrestling Observer Newsletter is available as both a print and digital book.The first of the series revisits all of the major wrestling and MMA stories from 1997 (all condensed into handy chapters for ...

Release Schedule (21 October)
Release Schedule / October 21, 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...

Release Schedule (14 October)
Release Schedule , Uncategorized / October 14, 2020

Some mixed news for New Day fans: WWE: The New Day: Power of Positivity by Evan Narcisse and Austin Walker has disappeared from the Amazon.com store but is now showing up as a January release in the UK. One new entry this week, Eat Like a Luchador: The Official Cookbook by Monica Ochoa: From the ring to the kitchen, celebrate lucha libre with popular Mexican dishes offering a modern twist from iconic athletes, legends, and superstars in...

Release Schedule (7 October)
Release Schedule / October 7, 2020

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 13 October: We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History by Bill Hanstock 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 26 January 2021: Bump by Matt Wallace 16 February: Ragtag Team (Sla...

Release Schedule (23 September)
Release Schedule / September 30, 2020

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 5 October: A Man of All Talents: The Extraordinary Life of Douglas ‘Duggy’ Clark by Steven Bell 13 October: We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History by Bill Hanstock 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 f...

In Defense Of… Exonerating Professional Wrestling’s Most Hated by JP Prag
Review / September 25, 2020

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 appen...

Release Schedule (23 September)
Release Schedule / September 23, 2020

Two new entries this week: Mat Memories: My Wild Life in Pro Wrestling, Country Music and with the Mets by John Arezzi and Greg Oliver A man with three different names ties together the stars of professional wrestling, country music, and the New York Mets. John Arezzi was a lifelong Mets fan who dreamed of a job in baseball. In 1981, he took a job with the Mets Class A team in North Carolina. But Arezzi had another love: professional wr...