Downtown Bruno, aka Harvey Whippleman, was a gruff, angry, vociferous little so and so. And his book is not much different.
While a manager (and occasional referee) rather than grappler, Lauer had an interesting career path that lends itself to an autobiography with wide appeal, covering the smallest independents, the territorial era and the WWE in both peaks and troughs.
Large parts of the story here are about the rough and ready nature of the territory scene with hustle and BS as important as performance in making sure you always had somewhere to work. Territories as diverse as Hawaii, Memphis and the Continental area are all covered here, along with Lauer’s journey from total mark to teacher.
It’s an understatement to say Lauer is direct and to the point here (ghostwriter Scott Teal has done an excellent job of capturing his unique voice.) Those he feels deserve praise get it, while those he did not take to get their criticism with unrelenting force, often to a shocking degree, though always with Lauer’s personal justification for his views. The peak of this comes in a couple of incidents where he shows no interest in the maxim of not speaking ill of the dead.
In a few cases the plain speaking may be too much for some tastes with a self-confessed disdain for political correctness and the occasional tangential rant that has little to do with wrestling.
Still, there are some extremely entertaining and informative stories here, from the psychology of protecting a character as you build it up to the most unfortunate gimmick name to call out in a tension-filled airport, making it a strong recommendation.