Release Schedule (9 October)
Release Schedule / October 9, 2019

3 October: Job Man: My Life in Professional Wrestling by Chris Multerer & Larry Widen 15 October: For Your Consideration: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson by Tres Dean 15 October: Wrestling Action Figures of the Early 1990s by Kevin Williams 15 October: Soulman: The Rocky Johnson Story [Check out my review] 29 October: Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage (Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies) by Eero Laine 5 November: WWE: Then Now Forever Vol. 4 by Dennis Hopeless and Brent Schoonover 26 November: Mayor Kane: My Life in Wrestling and Liberty by Glenn Jacobs 29 November: GLOW: Vs The Star Primas by Tini Howard 1 December: #WWE: Professional Wrestling in the Digital Age (The Year’s Work) 28 January 2020: Smackdown Town by Max Nicoll & Matt Smith 6 February: Maximilian and the Curse of the Fallen Angel (Max’s Lucha Libre Adventures) by Xavier Garza 17 February: Professional Wrestling: Sport and Spectacle, Second Edition by Sharon Mazer 17 March: WWE Beyond Extreme by Dean Miller 31 March: Under the Black Hat: My Life in the Wwe and Beyond by Jim Ross 3 April: New Jack: Memoir of a Pro Wrestling Extremist by New Jack (This is still listed as a…

Exquisite Mayhem by Mike Kelley, Cameron Jamie & Theo Ehret
Review / October 9, 2019

This will likely be the strangest book we review at Pro Wrestling Books. It’s an absolutely enormous 480-page coffee-table book (listed at 14.6 x 11.7 x 1.6 inches and nine pounds) made up of three types of material. Of most interest to readers here will be the extensive collection of wrestling photographs by Theo Ehtret who spent many years as a photographer in the Los Angeles territory, specifically shooting at the famed Olympic Auditorium. There are posed and action shots of most of the stars from the 1970s including some truly beautiful double-page spreads of the Auditorium and other local venues. However, the book contains just as much from Ehtret’s other photography role, producing shots of apartment wrestling in which women appear to have decided to resolve their differences by fighting in their home wearing little or no clothing. While it’s likely that a high proportion of those interested in pro wrestling will have no objection to looking at such images, the big problem is that the two are interspersed seemingly at random rather than in distinct sections. Pick any random spread and you stand a good chance of seeing a juxtaposition that puts one in mind of the 2000…

Yes!: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania by Daniel Bryan
Review / October 8, 2019

In the era of kayfabe-breaking shoot interviews and autobiographies, honesty as a selling point has become somewhat distorted. It’s often interpreted as somebody “shooting” in the form of spilling scandalous secrets and viciously attacking those who have crossed them. Daniel Bryan’s autobiography comes across as among the most honest WWE books ever published and yet it has none of these mudslinging characteristics. Much of the honesty comes instead the form of self-deprecation, with Bryan readily admitting to his perceived weaknesses, whether they be a lack of athletic talent as a child, never having weighed more than 205 lbs regardless of billing, or believing he failed as a headline attraction during his run with Randy Orton. The flipside of that is that his matter-of-fact approach brings far more credibility when he writes things that cast WWE in a less-than-glowing light, of which there are many. Bryan discussed the relatively low pay (given the associated costs) of working at the bottom of WWE cards, the way he was almost set up to fail in the initial NXT run, and the lack of long-term planning in many aspects of booking. Most notably he puts paid to any theory that his character’s treatment in…

Fall Guys by Marcus Griffin
Review / October 7, 2019

While by no means an infallible Bible, this is by far the most important book written about the fascinating period of wrestling between the wars. It’s an era that saw the culmination of the process of wrestling changing from a fixed event designed to scam gamblers into one where match finishes were designed to build up future bouts for ticket-buying customers. It’s arguably the period when, while the style and pace may differ, professional wrestling as we’d recognise it today really came to the forefront. Published in 1937, Fall Guys is an insider account which claims to tell the real story of the behind-the-scenes chaos of the 20s and 30s as promoters built and broke allegiances and tried to deal with the dilemma of performance and charisma becoming more important then real grappling skills at the box office, but a ‘shooter’ trying to snatch the world title against the script still a genuine concern. These promotional battles on several occasions led to those left out in the cold seeking their revenge through the media or the legal system, both of which revealed secrets about what was really happening behind the scenes. The book is by no means perfect: the sheer complexity of…

Foley Is Good by Mick Foley
Review / October 4, 2019

By comparison to 99 percent of wrestling books, this is excellent. The problem is that Foley’s second volume inherently invites comparison to Have A Nice Day, something that perhaps unfairly highlights its shortcomings. Foley is Good, while in the same style and tone (still largely warm and optimistic with little in the way of cynicism or bitterness) differs from its predecessor in a couple of ways. Firstly, despite being a similarly epic length, it covers a far shorter period, specifically the 20 months between his winning the WWF title for the first time and retiring for the second time in six weeks at WrestleMania 2000. As a result the hit-to-miss ratio is lower, with several less engaging stories making the cut, and often excessive detail on less significant events. Secondly, the book has more of a specific focus beyond a straight chronology. Subtitled “the real world is faker than wrestling”, it includes numerous anecdotes about incidents outside of the traditional wrestling arena, something that naturally increased once Foley became a legitimate superstar. Examples include his appearance in a new feature about backyard wrestling, his work with a ghostwriter when starting his first book, and his testimony in a trial resulting from…

Finally Meeting Princess Maud by Seamus Dunleavy with Shirley Thompson
Review / October 3, 2019

Although Dunleavy had a lengthy run as a pro wrestler including several years as a TV regular, this is primarily not a wrestling book. Only a few chapters of this autobiography are dedicated to his time in the ring, though there’s some interesting stuff in particular on his training at the infamous Snake Pit and on the boxing booths. The book as a whole is ghostwritten in what comes across as a very authentic conversational voice, complete with all manner of diversions and tangents. At times it can be confusing though, with Dunleavy suddenly directly addressing ghostwriter Thompson or even referring to the structure of the book itself, while later sections include comments from his family members where it’s not always easy to keep track of who’s talking. It’s hard to recommend this just for the wrestling content, so it’s more suited to people with a likely interest either in Dunleavy’s tale of a rural Irish childhood and emigrating to work in the UK, or as a local history piece on Birmingham from the 60s to today. Buy on Amazon

New Book Covers Canadian Heavyweight Title
News / October 2, 2019

Dick Bourne, author of several books on major wrestling championships, has a new title due out this fall: The Canadian Heavyweight Title – The Complete History 1978-1984 In 1978 as the Toronto territory was taking off with the young stars of Mid-Atlantic wrestling, promoter Frank Tunney introduced a local championship. That title, the first true local title in many years, was called the Canadian Heavyweight Title to be defended by the top star in Maple Leaf Wrestling. The title drew from the earlier days of wrestling when the top Canadian wrestler would defend his laurels across the country and occasionally -the world.  From 1978 to 1984 the Canadian title would be defended in Toronto and the circuit towns– and around North America on occasion. During those years locally known as ‘the Mid-Atlantic era’, the area was one of the most exciting and important territories in the wrestling world.  Frank was a long-time member of the NWA and was close to many of the major promoters including Vince McMahon Sr. (WWWF/WWF), Verne Gagne (AWA) and Jim Crockett Jr. (JCP) Those relationships would ensure a steady diet of World champions and champions of different territories defending their titles in Toronto. Our Canadian…

Release Schedule (2 September)
Release Schedule / October 2, 2019

3 October: Job Man: My Life in Professional Wrestling by Chris Multerer & Larry Widen 15 October: For Your Consideration: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson by Tres Dean 15 October: Wrestling Action Figures of the Early 1990s by Kevin Williams 15 October: Soulman: The Rocky Johnson Story [Check out my review] 29 October: Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage (Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies) by Eero Laine 5 November: WWE: Then Now Forever Vol. 4 by Dennis Hopeless and Brent Schoonover 26 November: Mayor Kane: My Life in Wrestling and Liberty by Glenn Jacobs 29 November: GLOW: Vs The Star Primas by Tini Howard 1 December: #WWE: Professional Wrestling in the Digital Age (The Year’s Work) 8 December: New Jack: Memoir of a Pro Wrestling Extremistby New Jack 28 January 2020: Smackdown Town by Max Nicoll & Matt Smith 6 February: Maximilian and the Curse of the Fallen Angel (Max’s Lucha Libre Adventures) by Xavier Garza 17 February: Professional Wrestling: Sport and Spectacle, Second Edition by Sharon Mazer 17 March: WWE Beyond Extreme by Dean Miller 31 March: Under the Black Hat: My Life in the Wwe and Beyond by Jim Ross 28 April: The Eighth Wonder of the…

Recent Release Roundup
News / 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…