Release Schedule (29 April)
Release Schedule , Uncategorized / April 29, 2020

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 29 June: S is for Suplex by Ryan L Schrodt and Nicholas Camia 13 July: Philosophy Smackdown by Douglas Edwards (Pro Wrestling Books review.) 1 September: Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution by Keith Elliot Greenberg 29 September: WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment New Edition 29 September: The Young Bucks: Killing the Business from Backyards to the Big Leagues 13 October: We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History by Bill Hanstock 15 November: Professional Wrestling: Politics and Populism (Enactments) edited by Sharon Mazer, Heather Levi, Eero Laine and Nell Haynes 8 December: WWE: The New Day: Power of Positivity by Evan Narcisse and Austin Walker 16 February 2021: Ragtag Team (Slamdown Town Book 2) by Maxwell Nicoll & Matthew Smith

Release Schedule (22 April)
Release Schedule / April 22, 2020

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 29 June: S is for Suplex by Ryan L Schrodt and Nicholas Camia 13 July: Philosophy Smackdown by Douglas Edwards (Pro Wrestling Books review.) 1 September: Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution by Keith Elliot Greenberg 29 September: WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment New Edition 29 September: The Young Bucks: Killing the Business from Backyards to the Big Leagues 13 October: We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History by Bill Hanstock 15 November: Professional Wrestling: Politics and Populism (Enactments) edited by Sharon Mazer, Heather Levi, Eero Laine and Nell Haynes 8 December: WWE: The New Day: Power of Positivity by Evan Narcisse and Austin Walker 16 February 2021: Ragtag Team (Slamdown Town Book 2) by Maxwell Nicoll & Matthew Smith

I Was A Teenage Professional Wrestler by Ted Lewin
Review / April 17, 2020

One of those titles long-term collectors will recognise, this turns out to be a pleasant surprise. Originally published in 1974, this was a familiar sight when searching book catalogues in the pre-Have A Nice Day era, but wasn’t always easy to track down. Lewin is the brother of the better known wrestlers Mark and Donn. While he had the odd match later on, the bulk of his career came in the mid-sixties on the WWWF circuit. He wrestled mainly to fund his education and went on to become a successful illustrator. This gives him something of an outsider perspective on the crazy world of pro wrestling, which he shares here. Given the publication date, it’s surprisingly lax on kayfabe. Lewin doesn’t explicitly say wrestling match finishes were worked but neither does he say he legitimately competing to win. Beyond this point he’s completely open, discussing how wrestlers tried to control the crowd, perform moves in a visually pleasing way, and shave time when working a draw before a dead crowd. The book also plenty of memories of some of the more outlandish stars of the era such as Danny MacShain, Buddy Rogers, Killer Kowalski and Haystacks Calhoun. Appropriately the book…

Release Schedule (15 April)
Release Schedule / April 15, 2020

One new entry this week,Ragtag Team (Slamdown Town Book 2) by Maxwell Nicoll & Matthew Smith: The hilarious, action-packed second installment in the Slamdown Town series Ollie and Tamiko saved Slamdown Town and wrestling is popular again! New fans and, more important, new wrestlers have flocked to the arena. The rise in popularity draws two infamous wrestlers back to the arena: The Krackle Kiddos, Linton Krackle’s son and daughter, are Slamdown Town tag-team champions. They’re big, they’re bold, and they’re beautiful. No one—not even The Referee and The Bolt—can stop them. Until Tamiko is transformed into Game Over—the combo-savvy wrestler with a flair for turning her opponents into a pile of pixels—that is. She and Big Chew team up to give the Krackle Kiddos a run for their money. Being tag-team partners with your best friend is awesome . . . but will their friendship survive long enough to take down the competition? Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 29 June: S is for Suplex by Ryan L Schrodt and Nicholas Camia 13 July: Philosophy Smackdown by Douglas Edwards 1 September: Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution by Keith Elliot Greenberg 29 September: WWE…

Philosophy Smackdown by Douglas Edwards
Review / April 13, 2020

This is that rarest of beasts: an academic book about wrestling from which wrestling fans might actually learn something. With most philosophy essays and books on wrestling there’s a familiar pattern: start by citing Roland Barthes, raise the revolutionary point that pro wrestlers are performers rather than athletes competing to win a match, then discuss how the whole thing is a cipher for morality/ethnography/society/homoeroticism, making sure at no point to acknowledge that pro wrestlers and promoters are attempting to turn a profit. Fortunately Philosophy Smackdown takes a different approach, even leaving Barthes until page 121. Where most such books attempt to use philosophy to analyze and explain pro wrestling, this title — whether intentionally or not — uses wrestling to explain philosophy. If like me you are unfamiliar with concepts such as Plato’s Cave or Aristotle’s Virtues, you’ll get a clear explanation in relatable terms through the medium of pro wrestling, learning more about both wrestling and philosophy. For example, you might assume that face and heel wrestlers displayed binary good and evil characteristics until fans began turning against the traditional white meat babyface. Instead you’ll learn here that virtues and vices instead work on a spectrum with the hero…

The Eighth Wonder of the World: The True Story of André the Giant by Bertrand Hébert and Pat Laprade
Review / April 9, 2020

Profiling the subject of the tallest of tall tales, this extensive biography strives for truth without sacrificing readability. Between graphic novels, a WWE published bio and two documentaries, the story of Andre’s life has been covered multiple times but never in such depth. Running nearly 400 pages it covers the familiar stories but also lesser-covered parts of his career including his time in Europe and Mexico and his importance to the Montreal territory. The book is written with a dose of healthy scepticism and aims to find the true story behind commonly debated “facts” such as Andre’s true height, his childhood, his copious drinking sessions and even his date of birth. What makes this particularly effective is that the authors present the conflicting evidence and explain the working, making clear where uncertainty remains. One inherent drawback is that pursuing the true story of Andre’s life means this doesn’t provide the neat narrative of some previous accounts. That’s just reality however, and you certainly get a rounded account of Andre as both a professional and a person, without a one-dimensional character portrayal. The book does a good job of explaining why Andre — who was far from the tallest pro wrestler…

Release Schedule (8 April)
Release Schedule / April 8, 2020

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 14 April: The Eighth Wonder of the World: The True Story of André the Giant by Bertrand Hebert & Pat Laprade 29 June: S is for Suplex by Ryan L Schrodt and Nicholas Camia 13 July: Philosophy Smackdown by Douglas Edwards 1 September: Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution by Keith Elliot Greenberg 29 September: WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment New Edition 29 September: The Young Bucks: Killing the Business from Backyards to the Big Leagues 13 October: We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History by Bill Hanstock 15 November: Professional Wrestling: Politics and Populism (Enactments) edited by Sharon Mazer, Heather Levi, Eero Laine and Nell Haynes 8 December: WWE: The New Day: Power of Positivity by Evan Narcisse and Austin Walker

Free Books During COVID-19 Pandemic
News / April 6, 2020

The Internet Archive has added a large selection of books for free loan during the COVID-19 Pandemic. You’ll need to sign up for a free account and the books are then virtually “checked out” while you read them. The copyright issues are a little questionable, with the site’s logic being that this replaces physical libraries that are temporarily shut. It doesn’t appear to be paying any royalties so if you read a book this way and enjoy it, you should try to buy a copy (print or eBook) if possible so the author gets compensated. You’ll find just under 600 wrestling-related titles, though most are on amateur wrestling and many of the pro wrestling titles are from the budget end of the market. (The collection is generally 20th century titles without an eBook edition.) A few of note that I’ve reviewed on here include:   A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex by Chris Jericho Are We There Yet by Robert Caprio At Issue: Professional Wrestling Can You Take The Heat? The WWF Is Cooking: By Jim Ross Countdown to Lockdown by Mick Foley Demolition Dad by Phil Earle Drawing Heat by Jim Freedman Foley Is Good by Mick…

Release Schedule (1 April)
Release Schedule , Uncategorized / April 1, 2020

14 April: The Eighth Wonder of the World: The True Story of André the Giant by Bertrand Hebert & Pat Laprade 19 May: WWE Kicking Down Doors: Female Superstars Are Ruling the Ring and Changing the Game! 29 June: S is for Suplex by Ryan L Schrodt and Nicholas Camia 13 July: Philosophy Smackdown by Douglas Edwards 1 September: Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution by Keith Elliot Greenberg 29 September: WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment New Edition 29 September: The Young Bucks: Killing the Business from Backyards to the Big Leagues 13 October: We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History by Bill Hanstock 15 November: Professional Wrestling: Politics and Populism (Enactments) edited by Sharon Mazer, Heather Levi, Eero Laine and Nell Haynes 8 December: WWE: The New Day: Power of Positivity by Evan Narcisse and Austin Walker