This is an insightful book that is thankfully already out of date.
It smoothly brings together two different styles of book: a history of British wrestling’s development after more than a decade off TV and an autobiographical account.
Lambert is a newspaper reporter, former Power Slam writer, and was previously involved in the FWA and his own XWA group as a manager and later promoter. (British fans remain disappointed he never managed Andy Simmons to create the team of Lambert & Butler.)
It’s by no means a comprehensive history as it concentrates very much on the “new school” promotions such as the FWA which combined a new generation of performers in a modernised style and the use of imports from the American indy scene. What makes it work is Lambert’s insider accounts, covering not just the big-time image presented to the public, but also the realities behind the scenes of shoestring budgets and improvisation.
In particular, the book has one of the most rounded and balanced portrayals of the ever-controversial Alex Shane that you’ll read.
The only real downside is that the book ends in 2007 with the storyline death of the FWA. The British scene since then has changed beyond recognition, most notably with the apparent realisation of the title’s “Holy Grail” of a return of British wrestling to television. That is covered in Lambert’s Ropes and Glory, but in the mean time this is an excellent primer as to where the current UK scene came from.