Something of an undersung title, this should interest historians and newer fans alike.
It’s a series of profiles of (W)WWF stars between the creation of the promotion’s main title in 1963 and the start of the Hulkamania era. While much of each profile may be familiar to more avid fans, each comes with a series of trivia facts that will be new to almost everyone.
It’s well-researched, drawing on a combination of previous wrestling books from inside and outside the country (including a lot of quotes from the hugely underrated Fred Blassie autobiography) and interviews with figures from the time including Vince McMahon, Sgt Slaughter and Tony Garea.
For the most part it appears largely accurate with only a couple of apparent errors such as Mr Fuji being The Undertaker’s original manager and Ken Patera being in the WrestleMania IV tournament. Neither does it have many glaring omissions, though writing a lengthy section of Billy Graham’s health problems without mentioning steroids is awkward to say the least.
There’s also a slight inconsistency as to how wrestling is portrayed. It openly acknowledges performers taking on gimmicks such as Canadian Oreal Perras posing as Russian Ivan Koloff, but at points it’s a bit vaguer about match outcomes, with wrestlers being granted a “championship opportunity” rather than being promised a title run. It’s possible this is a respect issue with the wording depending on the wrestler’s attitude during an interview for the book.
Those gripes aside, it’s definitely worth checking out, particularly on the used market.