Ghostwriting means turning a subject’s recollection into a coherent narrative. Sometimes it’s a seamless process. But sometimes it’s clearly a struggle.
The Cowboy And The Cross isn’t an unclear or rambling book by any means, but it gives the distinct impression of a tussle between Watts wanting to let rip on the subjects of his choice and Williams wanting to produce a narrative that would appeal to the likely audience.
If you don’t want to know Watts’s views — expressed at length — on religion or political correctness, you’ll be disappointed by sections of this book. But at the same time, there’s plenty of insight into his wrestling experiences and philosophies, including his booking skills learned at the hands of Roy Shire and Eddie Graham among others.
While the chronology and verifiable facts appear to be correct, it feels as if Williams chose to let Watts give his account on matters of opinion rather than fact. As a result, it’s a book very much in Watts’s authentic voice, complete with little indication that he ever made poor decisions or was proven wrong.
It’s still an informative read however, and should be particularly valuable for those willing to learn lessons and able to distinguish between those fundamentals of Watts’s approach that remain relevant today and those which became outdated as the wrestling industry changed.