Recent Release Roundup

October 1, 2019

The following recent releases did not get advance listings and thus weren’t in our weekly release schedule.


Wrestling in the Garden, volume 1: 1875-1939: The Battle for New York – Works, Shoots & Double Crosses by Scott Teal & J Michael Kenyon

There has always been something special about attending an event in New York City — sporting events, theater, movies, concerts — and even though wrestling fans in the Northeast loved their local venues, when push came to shove, the one place they’d rather see wrestling than any other was Madison Square Garden.

Contrary to popular belief, pro wrestling wasn’t always a big draw in the Garden, even though NYC was the number one media market in the world.  There were decades when wrestling languished in the Garden and promoters lost money, but they continued to book the building because of the reputation that came with it, and since 1875, most of wrestling’s biggest attractions plied their trade in the building(s) at one time or another.  For many years, the Garden was considered to be the wrestling Mecca, and many great moments in wrestling history took place with those walls, including:

January 19, 1880 — William Muldoon beat Thiebaud Bauer to become the first world/American Greco-Roman heavyweight champion.

May 17, 1963 — Bruno Sammartino beat Buddy Rogers to win the WWWF heavyweight title.

July 24, 1971 — Bruno headlined a card against Blackjack Mulligan and drew the first-ever $100,000 gate in New York.

October 17, 1983 — Jimmy Snuka dove off the top of a cage surrounding the ring and splashed onto a prone Don Muraco.

January 23, 1984 — Professional wrestling became “sports entertainment” when Hulk Hogan defeated the Iron Sheik for the WWF heavyweight title.

December 28, 1984 — David (Dr. D) Shultz slapped reporter John Stossel during a segment of 20/20.

March 31, 1985 — The first WrestleMania drew 19,121 fans, about 3,000 less than what was considered a sellout in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but the event was seen by more than one million viewers on closed-circuit television, a record at the time.

The genesis of this book came about when wrestling historian Fred Hornby shared his scrapbook of MSG newspaper articles with Scott Teal, the owner of Crowbar Press.  Today, 17 years after a listing of the matches was published in magazine form, Scott and J Michael have updated their work and added the history of the battles promoters waged against each other behind the scenes as they fought for control of the pro wrestling business in New York City.  This is the story of pro wrestling’s power brokers as they fought for control of the Garden.  Included, when available, are attendance and gate figures, match stipulations, match run times, wrestlers real names and aliases, and statistics.

This book, containing every wrestling event that took place in the Garden between Nov. 24, 1875, and March 30, 1938, is the definitive record of professional wrestling in Madison Square Garden … The World’s Most Famous Arena!

 


Wrestling in the Garden, volume 2: 1940-2019: The Battle for New York: Works, Shoots & Double-Crosses by Scott Teal & J Michael Kenyon

On March 30, 1938, wrestling went dark in Madison Square Garden, the “the world’s most famous sports arena,” and wouldn’t return until Washington’s birthday, February 22, 1949.  Part of the reason was that matdom’s grandest mogul, Jack Curley, was dead.  But there are many reasons wrestling was given a nearly 11-year hiatus.

Among them were the rise of extraordinarily popular events such as midget auto racing, the Roller Derby, and ice-skating revues.  These flashy, vastly different, mass-market entertainments scarcely existed before 1936, when professional wrestling contributed to its own box-office problems by perhaps revealing just a little bit too much of what was behind the curtain in the wake of the hugely publicized Dick Shikat-Danno O’Mahoney double-cross at the Garden.

In short, the grunt-and-groan business was deep in the doldrums, for a variety of reasons.  Take your pick:

—  Cinephiles were enjoying 15 and 25-cent movie tickets for 1939 blockbusters like “Gone with the Wind” & “The Wizard of Oz.”

—  The box-office magnet, the fabled “Jeemy” Londos, went off to tour the world in 1936 and 1937.

—  Lawsuits, which produced screaming headlines in the big mat centers of the land, continued to proliferate.

—  Paul Bowser’s lawsuit against Dick Shikat in 1936 had exposed pro wrestling’s behind-the-scenes shenanigans.

—  The IRS came after Toots Mondt for $18,000 in back taxes.

It was also the era of a new-fangled invention entertainment medium called “television.”  It took a while to figure out just how it might best be utilized to perk up flagging attendances, but there were people already on the fringes of the wrestling business with such acumen.  Not the least of them was a second-generation ring promoter named Vincent James McMahon.

This is the continuing story of pro wrestling’s power brokers as they fought for control of the Garden.  Included, when available, are attendance and gate figures, match stipulations, match run times, wrestlers real names and aliases, and statistics.

This book, containing every wrestling event that took place in the Garden between February 22, 1949, and September 10, 2019, is the definitive record of professional wrestling in Madison Square Garden … The World’s Most Famous Arena!

 


Black Stars of Professional Wrestling (3rd Edition) by Julian LD Shabazz

The long-awaited story of the contributions of the Black athletes that have participated in one of America’s most popular sporting events. The book features over 200 photographs and biographies of Black professional wrestlers from the 19th century until today. Little known facts and rarely seen pictures tell the story of some of the most gifted but largely overlooked athletes of all time. Readers will learn about legends like Reggie Siki, Woody Strode, Luther Lindsay, Tiger Conway, Thunderbolt Patterson, and Bearcat Wright; the first Black holder of a version of the world heavyweight title. They’ll even read about modern stars like The Rock, Booker T, Sasha Banks, Kofi Kingston, Jay Lethal, and Ricochet. Also covered in the book are Black females, midgets, and celebrity wrestlers from other sports and entertainment.

 


The Official Unwritten Rules of Professional Wrestling by Mick McSportsman

Fake or real matters not, for professional wrestling has a very real and ubiquitous problem on its hand — the violation of what is colloquially known as the unwritten rules, and this book aims to expose this very real problem plaguing professional wrestling.

The one and only rule this book follows is that as soon as a rule is written down, then that rule is immediately disqualified from inclusion in this collection of unwritten rules. Thus, the pages within contain only rules never having been written down whether in the past, the present, or the future.


KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews by Thomas Hall

A comprehensive look back at every episode of WWF Monday Night Raw from 2004. It’s not the best time for WWE’s red brand at the moment. The show has been dominated by HHH for over a year and the only person who seems capable of doing anything about it is Shawn Michaels. That seems to be the only thing that matters on the show and they’re going to need a lot more than that. The problem though? There isn’t much else going on anywhere on Monday nights. In this book, every episode of the show from 2004 is reviewed in full, complete with analysis, ratings and play by play included.

 

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2 Comments

  • Jason Presley October 2, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    I’m confused, Crowbar Press already released the Madison Square Garden book a few years ago as a single volume. Is it being split and expanded across two books?

    • jnlister October 2, 2019 at 4:53 pm

      It’s still one volume in print direct from Crowbar Press. This is new to Kindle, though I’m not 100% sure yet why it’s split into two. It may be that the price to do it as a single volume (and make the same profit) felt too expensive for an e-book.

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