I Was A Teenage Professional Wrestler by Ted Lewin

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 is well illustrated with a combination of family and wrestling photographs and Lewin’s own artwork depicting the dressing room scenes.

It’s a relatively brief book and doesn’t contain too many relevations, so it’s not worth paying over the odds to track down, but if you spot it at a reasonable price it’s definitely worth a look.

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