Like a stereotypical indy match, this has its impressive moments but occasionally loses focus while cramming too much in.
The challenge of writing such a book is that it “independent wrestling” is a topic with almost unlimited scope. In turn that means having to find the right blend of a straight chronological history and a more themed approach with a focused story.
For these reasons the first third or so of the book often feels a little scattergun, skipping from topic to topic and relaying a string of information about each but without really telling a story or making a clear point. In particular, several sections will have multiple short quotes from different wrestlers and personalities that don’t really add up to an overall insight.
This changes once the book returns to a clear focus point of the first All In show and concentrates on how various developments from the PWG “workrate” era to the rebirth of the UK scene to the way New Japan used international stars to increase its worldwide appeal combined to create the circumstances that led to a 10,000+ seat arena selling out in minutes.
As you’d expect from an author with Greenberg’s experience, it’s clearly written in a straightforward manner. The sections where he writes from first hand experience are among the strongest, helping capture the atmosphere of key independent events.
Sadly it’s a reminder of just how quickly things can change. The postscript recaps the immediate aftermatch of AEW’s formation and the start of the “Wednesday Night Wars” with a final line about the pandemic, but the later stages of the book really highlight just how much is still missing from the indy scene with large crowds and fan travel both still on the back burner.