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 ...

Profiling the subject of the tallest of tall tales, this extensive biography strives for truth without sacrificing readability. Between graphic novels, a WWE published bio and two documentaries, the story of Andre’s life has been covered multiple times but never in such depth. Running nearly 400 pages it covers the familiar stories but also lesser-covered parts of his career including his time in Europe and Mexico and his importance to the ...

This is very much a book of two halves with a big decline midway through. The first half covers both the Stampede promotion and Hart’s own career and is a definite thumbs up. While Hart is almost always portraying himself in a positive light, there’s some good insights into the establishment and operations of the territory and the unusual world of dealing with pro wrestlers and their egos. It all goes off a cliff when the book gets to...

Too Sweet: Inside The Indie Wrestling Revolution
Review / September 18, 2020

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 f...

Release Schedule (16 September)
Release Schedule / September 16, 2020

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 29 September: WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment New Edition (The print version of this book is now showing as unavailable and the blurb refers to it as an e-guide.) 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: Prof...

Release Schedule (9 September)
Release Schedule / September 9, 2020

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 29 September: WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment New Edition (The print version of this book is now showing as unavailable and the blurb refers to it as an e-guide.) 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: Prof...

Release Schedule (2 September)
Release Schedule / September 2, 2020

Fans of Big E, Xavier and Kofi will need to fight off the negative vibes as WWE: The New Day: Power of Positivity by Evan Narcisse and Austin Walker has been delayed until next June. Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 29 September: WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment New Edition (The print version of this book is now showing as unavailable and the blurb refers to it as an e-guide.) 5 October: A Man of All Tal...

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

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 1 September: Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution by Keith Elliot Greenberg 3 September: WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment New Edition (The print version of this book is now showing as unavailable and the blurb refers to it as an e-guide.) 13 October: We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History by Bill Hanstock 15 November: Professional Wres...

Initial Views Roundup
News / August 25, 2020

While it’s only fair to review a book after reading it in full, first impressions are also important. With that in mind, here are some initial thoughts on many recent releases. They are based on the free sample on Kindle, which usually includes somewhere up to the first 10% of the total book. Kicking Down Doors… by LJ Tracosasis an authorized WWE book covering the history of female wrestling. Written in full kayfabe mode, it looks l...

Recent Release Roundup
News / August 20, 2020

The following recent releases did not get advance listings and thus weren’t in our weekly release schedule. The Wrestling Insomniac by Michael J Labbe The Wrestling Insomniac blog started on March 1, 2015, this book is a collection of some of the most popular posts with updates noted as events have changed over the years. Stories include the NWA’s 1998 Invasion of the WWE, Failure of “The New” Tag Teams, the Smackdo...

Release Schedule (19 August)
Release Schedule / August 19, 2020

One new entry this week, Bump by Matt Wallace: A moving and triumphant middle grade contemporary debut from award-winning author Matt Wallace about a heroic young girl—who dreams of becoming a pro wrestler—learning to find courage and fight for what she loves. Perfect for fans of Kelly Yang, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds’ Track series! MJ knows what it means to hurt. Bruises from gymnastics heal, but big hurts—like her dad...

Release Schedule (12 August)
Release Schedule / August 12, 2020

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 1 September: Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution by Keith Elliot Greenberg 18 September: Donald Trump and the Kayfabe Presidency: Professional Wrestling Rhetoric in the White House (Rhetoric, Politics and Society) by Shannon Bow O’Brien 29 September: WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment New Edition 13 October: We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized...

Release Schedule (5 August)
Release Schedule / August 5, 2020

One new entry, A Diva Was a Female Version of a Wrestler: An Abbreviated Herstory of World Wrestling Entertainment by Scarlett Harris: Lifelong wrestling fan and critic Scarlett Harris uses big ideas, such as #MeToo, the commodification of feminism, and how we tell women’s stories to chart the rise and fall and rise of women’s wrestling.   Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 1 September: Too Sweet: Ins...