Wrestling With The Truth by Bruno Lauer
Review / March 14, 2019

Downtown Bruno, aka Harvey Whippleman, was a gruff, angry, vociferous little so and so. And his book is not much different. While a manager (and occasional referee) rather than grappler, Lauer had an interesting career path that lends itself to an autobiography with wide appeal, covering the smallest independents, the territorial era and the WWE in both peaks and troughs. Large parts of the story here are about the rough and ready nature of the territory scene with hustle and BS as important as performance in making sure you always had somewhere to work. Territories as diverse as Hawaii, Memphis and the Continental area are all covered here, along with Lauer’s journey from total mark to teacher. It’s an understatement to say Lauer is direct and to the point here (ghostwriter Scott Teal has done an excellent job of capturing his unique voice.) Those he feels deserve praise get it, while those he did not take to get their criticism with unrelenting force, often to a shocking degree, though always with Lauer’s personal justification for his views. The peak of this comes in a couple of incidents where he shows no interest in the maxim of not speaking ill of…

Inside Out By Ole Anderson
Review / March 14, 2019

Not everyone who reads this book is going to like or agree with what it says, but you certainly can’t accuse it of being inauthentic. A Crowbar Press publication, this is arguably the best example of Scott Teal’s prowess as a ghostwriter. He’s put together a book that’s engaging, focused and flows in a logical order, but still comes across as the genuine voice of Anderson. It’s 382 pages in print and certainly won’t leave anyone disappointed by a lack of depth. As far as accuracy goes, while there are always limitations in perspective and memory, this is reminiscent of Bob Holly’s book in that reading it you get the impression this is Anderson’s honest belief and opinion and — for better or worse — he’s not varnished over anything for the sake of winning friends or boosting his own image. Thanks to Anderson’s career this also serves as an excellent insightful guide into both the territorial era as a whole, and the relatively unusual position of “homesteading” in a particular territory (specifically Mid-Atlantic and later Georgia) for an extended period, both as a wrestler and booker, rather than travelling around the country. Perhaps the only disappointment for some fans…

Pure Dynamite by Tom Billington
Review / March 13, 2019

1999 is something of a year zero in wrestling books thanks to the stunning success of Mick Foley’s Have A Nice Day proving to the publishing industry that wrestling fans could indeed read. But it also marked the publication of the autobiography of the Dynamite Kid, a book that remains among the small selection of genuine must-reads. Originally published in a limited print run by the company behind the UK’s Power Slam magazine (which had published a rare interview with Billington), the book was later reprinted and made more widely available under the Wrestling Observer banner, a promotional tie-in rather than any editorial involvement. The book stands out for its sheer uncompromising honesty, with Billington not sparing anyone’s feelings. Just as with Bob Holly’s book years later, whether you agree with what Billington says or not, you are in no doubt he genuinely believes it. It has to be said that Billington comes across as, to use his insult of choice, a bit of a prick. He makes no secret of his failures as a husband and father, nor his reputation for pulling cruel pranks or being eager to get into fights. It’s his wrestling career that’s most of interest of course,…

Blood Red Turns Dollar Green Volume 2 by Paul O’Brien
Review , Uncategorized / March 13, 2019

Paul O’Brien’s debut novel, published last year, received high praise: in the pages of FSM we described it as “the first truly professional novel about professional wrestling.” Volume two answers the question of what happened next and does so in a stylish manner. Without spoiling too much of the plot, the new book deals with the immediate fallout of a battle between rival promoters that spilled over from control of the wrestling world championship to a blood feud. After charting the rise of Danno Garland — loosely based on Vince McMahon Sr — to the top of the cutthroat wrestling business, we discover what happens after a shocking event that makes his victory a hollow one. Whereas volume 1 covered a four-year period, Blood Red Turns Dollar Green only advances the storyline by a further seven days. However, large parts of the book involve flashbacks to the timeline of the first volume, revealing previously undocumented events. The technique allows O’Brien to slowly add new context to events with which the reader is already familiar, putting a new spin on things and forcing the reader to rethink how to view particular characters and the choices they make. It’s a format that…