Within the context of being an authorised WWE autobiography, this is a very pleasant surprise.
Released in 2002, shortly after Lawler’s return to the company after an eight-month absence, this puts much more emphasis on his Memphis days than might be expected. Indeed, it’s 250 pages in before the story reaches his WWF debut, although the chronology does jump around now and again to allow for more thematically-focused chapters.
Given Lawler was very much an old-school wrestler, it’s refreshing to read a very open take on his career, including his time in an outlaw territory and his big break by impressing Lance Russell with his artwork. The book has the feel of Lawler telling stories, sharing wisdom and insight along the way without actively trying to teach lessons. In particular there’s plenty of talk about what did and didn’t work in booking and, unlike many veterans, there’s no pretence that “every show was a sellout.”
It’s very much an autobiography rather than a definitive history, however. If you’re looking for extensive detail on backstage gossip such as somebody in the WWF locker room defecating in Lawler’s crown, or the amazing story of conman Larry Burton, you’ll be disappointed to see barely a passing mention, while, perhaps understandably, there’s nothing about his legal problems in 1993.
Those are minor criticisms however, and this is very much worth picking up whether you’re a long-time territorial era fan or just somebody who wants to know more about Lawler’s rich pre-puppies past. Despite being issued more than a decade earlier, there’s considerably more detail on offer here than in the WWE DVD documentary of the same name.