You’ll sometimes see a WWE authorised book dismissed as “propaganda.” But this North Korean biography of Rikidozan really is propaganda. The story of Rikidozan is well known: he was the first star when pro wrestling caught on in a big way in Japan, he was among the first major TV stars in the country from any walk of life, he was a genuine cultural icon, and if you see a ranking of famous or historically significant wrestlers and he’s no...

This book has some fascinating stories. Some of them may even be true. Having dealt with, and known people who’ve dealt with, Piper professionally, he was a mixed bag. His insight into ring psychology and protecting oneself within an often cutthroat business was always top notch, but his recollection or telling of facts and dates was, to say the least, something you had to keep on top of. For example, the book includes Piper’s traditional sto...

It seems likely that Joanie Laurer got a lot out of the experience of writing this book. It’s just as likely you’ll get nothing out of the experience of reading this book except for a deep sense of discomfort. Avoid. Buy on Amazon...

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 disap...

As the alternatives to WWE become fewer and weaker, autobiographies by WWE performers are likely going to have less diverse background stories. Angle’s book is one of the rare examples of somebody having a story to tell from before pro wrestling, though it may prove disappointing for those coming to the book for the first time. Of the 300 or so pages, just over half deal with his life before signing with WWE, concentrating on the premature deat...

Very much a scene-setter, this initial instalment of a graphic novel series has promise, though it’s hard to draw too many conclusions about where it’s going. Without wanting to go into too many spoilers, on the face of it the initial issue is about “Rock ‘n’ Roll Rory Landel”, a fast-talking heel from the territorial era who loses his spot when the business switches to a family-oriented style. Passed over for world title status, he d...

The gimmick of this being a photography book by Killer Kowalski is not enough to make it worth seeking out. After a brief background piece on Kowalski’s interest in photography, the book goes straight into 36 pages of portrait of wrestlers, a mixed bag from superstars like Andre the Giant and Bruno Sammartino to lesser-known performers like Moose Monroe and the Pink Assassin. The problem is that the pics are all very samey: posed portrait shots...

A storied career is somewhat let down by a lack of depth in this autobiography that falls short of its potential. Race has an eventful and distinctive history to tell: not just his multiple NWA title runs, but also being trained by the original Zbyszkos (upon whose farm he worked) and even working the carnival circuit where betting scams were as key as drawing crowds. The book has plenty of stories, with an unusual encounter with Vince McMahon ...

If this blog’s opinion is one you respect Get this in print only to collect Read this once and amuse yourself But then it will gather dust on your shelf It’s not autobiography but rather just rhymes About wrestling, life and other pastimes It names Rita Marie, Mel Phillips and other folks But sadly lacks any mention of insider jokes Though if you have a Kindle, there’s little expense And it’s probably worth it at ninety nine cents  ...

This is a great story, told well. It’s a particular treat for those used to official WWE material downplaying a wrestler’s career working elsewhere. Other than Jerry Lawler’s book, this is one of the few WWE-published autobiographies to give the majority of the book over to pre-WWE content. Indeed, while the book runs 269 pages, it’s not until page 169 that Blassie even makes it to New York aged 53. There’s plenty to tell beforehand th...

A Few Kindle Only Titles
Review / March 18, 2019

For the most part this blog sticks to books released in print, partly because the number of e-Book titles is both so large and so variable in quality. Here are three that may be worthy of your attention, with the disclaimer that I am “online friends” with two of the authors (Millard and Davies.) Confessions of a Smart Wrestling Fan by Lorcan Mullan Lorcan Mullan has been a fan of the wild, unpredictable and unique world of professio...

An Important Site Note
News / March 14, 2019

I recently moved this blog to a new web host and it would be an understatement to say it went badly. In short, the site (and backups) was pretty much destroyed and I’ve had to rebuild it from scratch. The good news is that although the actual post archive was irretrievably corrupted, I was able to extract the text of the reviews. With that in mind: Starting next week I’ll resume posting the weekly release schedules for wrest...

The Professional Wrestling Trivia Book by Robert Myers
Review / March 14, 2019

This isn’t an information piece but rather a quiz book. It’s serviceable enough but with little reread value. Published in 1988, it’s made up of nothing more than 500 multiple choice questions, grouped as “Heroes and Villains”, “Tag Teams”, “Legends of The Past” and the not entirely politically correct “Women, Blacks and Midgets.” The questions aren’t inherently dif...

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 natur...

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 certai...

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 magazin...

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 ...