All Or Nothing by James Dixon
Review / March 26, 2019

According to writer James Dixon, All or Nothing was originally conceived as an unofficial sequel to Simon Garfield’s 1995 book The Wrestling, updating readers on developments in the British scene since that time. Tales of the 1PW group proved so compelling that Dixon decided to first make the promotion the basis of an entire chapter and eventually took it on as the subject of a full-length book. In an openly admitted homage to Garfield’s book, All or Nothing is made up entirely of first hand accounts by those involved in the promotion, with Dixon himself writing only to fill in context. It’s skilfully assembled, with the various interview sections carefully cut together to keep a constant flow while highlighting the contrasting claims of the main players without explicitly labelling anyone as truthful or dishonest. The resulting story is an epic tale that becomes a clear pattern when the reader completes the book. In short: wrestling merchandise store owner Stephen Gauntley attracts regular large crowds to the 2,000-seat Doncaster Dome with heavy use of imported US talent only to eventually claim near-bankruptcy as the cash runs out; a string of successors, comebacks, alliances and conflicts winds up with two further promotional…