I would say this book was worth the wait, but frankly nobody ever expected to see it in the first place. Nagasaki/Thornley had arguably protected his character more than any other wrestler in the English-speaking world with the possible exception of The Undertaker. He’s finally broken that silence and gone beyond the character, reasoning it was best to tell his story properly in a book designed as a fundraiser for a charity in the memory of...

This isn’t quite as billed, but it’s all the better from it. Both the title and blurb imply the focus here is on life lessons and philosphy, supported by events from Snow’s career. It’s a format that worked well with Bobby Heenan’s second books, Chairshots and Other Obstacles, but realistically this is a straight autobiography. It has the occasional “life lesson” but it’s usually just an unnecessary...

A bombastic, high-energy story, this novel’s writing doesn’t quite rise up to the level of its plot. As with several pieces of wrestling fiction, most notably the Blood Red, Dollar Green series, this is based on the often shady underworld of the territorial era of wrestling. While it’s set in 1979 Memphis, it’s more of an archetype than a direct homage to its real-life equivalent promotion. For example, one common theme is...

Writing a good wrestling book isn’t just about having a knowledgeable and skilled writer picking an engaging topic. That topic has to be of the right size and scope to neatly fit the format of a book, something that’s certainly the case for Chris Charlton’s latest project. In a previous review of James Dixon’s All or Nothing, we noted that 1PW was one of the few promotions for which it would be possible (and interesting) to write a blow-b...

It’s unfair to review a book having only read the free Kindle sample. But then it’s also unfair to produce something this bad and charge $94 for it. You’ll often see academic books with ludicrous prices such as this, mainly because nobody is buying them with their own cash. You’ll often see wrestling books with as many factual errors, though admittedly usually in eBook-only titles that cost a dollar or two. But you’l...

After previous books exploring the history of the NWA and wrestling in the New York region, Tim Hornbaker covers the collision between the two. Death of the Territories covers the period between Vincent Kennedy McMahon taking control of the World Wrestling Federation in 1982 and the sale of Jim Crockett Promotions to Ted Turner in 1988.  At times, the book offers fascinating insights, either revealing incidents through Hornbaker’s characterist...

Imagine a Scott Keith book. Now imagine it was funny. And then imagine it was largely accurate. It wouldn’t be a Scott Keith book any more, but it might be a bit like this. PROGRESS promoter and stand-up comedian Smallman has put together what is carefully labeled as “a” rather than “the” history of professional wrestling, and in the big picture it does a good job of such a daunting task. It aims to cover all aspects...

Between WrestleMania, Raw and Smackdown, WWE has plenty of experience in anniversary/history books and this is much in line with recent instalments. It’s a simple format of six pages for each year of Raw (expanding to eight pages from 2006) with a paragraph of two about each of the most notable events of the year, along with the occasional mention what happened on a pay-per-view where it significantly affected the Raw storylines. There̵...

Following on from my recent review of The WWE Book of Top 10s, this independently produced alternative is a mixed bag with some worthwhile elements. It’s a similar format of 100 lists of 10 entries, almost all with a brief explanatory paragraph. As you’d expect, the big difference is the absence of photos: how important that is depends on the reader. Other differences are that the book covers a much wider range of promotions and that ...

This history of the original MMA promotion is unfortunately a classic case of ignoring the policy of “show, don’t tell.” It’s the tale of CV Promotions which, in 1979 and 1980, ran several combat events in Pennsylvania under the Tough Guys banner. They appear to have been the first formalized shows that combined multiple martial arts into a single sport. While the events are described as the forerunner to UFC, their setup ...

Soulman by Rocky Johnson & Scott Teal
Review / June 27, 2019

Another engaging title, this is a story only one man could tell. Johnson’s career, while successful, was not particularly out of the ordinary when it comes to making a way around the territories circuit. What makes his experience and perspective unique is two specific characteristics. Firstly, he has an interesting take on his status as a black wrestler, often booked to almost fill a quota in a territory. As well as being acceptin...

The Grapple Manual by Kendo Nagasaki
Uncategorized / June 26, 2019

This is a real Tokimitsu Ishizawa of a book. It’s a small, 80 page affair with capsule profiles, the distinguishing feature being that among the usual Undertaker, Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart, there’s also a collection of British performers such as Mick McManus, Catweazle and Adrian Street. The profiles aren’t badly written, but won’t contain any new detail to readers of this blog. While most of the information such as dates appears...

Recent Release Roundup
News / June 26, 2019

The following recent releases did not get advance listings and thus weren’t in our weekly release schedule. KB’s History of In Your House by Thomas Hall In the 1990s, the WWF was in a war with WCW to rule the professional wrestling world. WCW began increasing the number of pay per views they produced and the WWF was forced to follow suit. However, they decided to create shorter and lower cost pay per views, giving their fans a brea...

Release Schedule (26 June)
Release Schedule / June 26, 2019

One new title this week, Under the Black Hat: My Life in the Wwe and Beyond by Jim Ross: From legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross comes a candid, colorful memoir about the inner workings of the WWE and the personal crises he weathered at the height of his career.   15 July: Cody Heart of the Mountain (The Elite Team) by Cody Runnels & Sam Weisz 16 July: 100 Things WWE Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Bryan Alvarez 1 Augu...

The Hardcore Truth: The Bob Holly Story by Bob Holly & Ross Williams
Review / June 25, 2019

Many wrestling autobiographies feature the subject being “outspoken” for the sake of it, in a similar way to how “shoot interviews” seem to be judged on how many people the interviewee verbally attacks. The Hardcore Truth is most definitely an outspoken book, but Holly clearly has a different motivation: he simply says it how he sees it, with no regard for how it will be perceived or the consequences for his career. Whether or ...

The Hardy Boyz by Matt and Jeff Hardy
Review / June 24, 2019

While the subjects don’t exactly have a broad career to match the likes of a Billy Graham or Jerry Lawler, all the more so when this was published in 2003, there’s more substance to this than you might expect. Ghostwritten by Michael Krugman, the book alternates between the voices of Matt and Jeff and Krugman does a good job of distinguishing the two while still making it clear and coherent. He makes sure to highlight occasions on w...

The Midnight Express 25th Anniversary Scrapbook by Jim Cornette with Tim Ash
Review / June 21, 2019

Unless you have zero interest in wrestling of the territorial and national expansion era, this is an absolute must. It’s a perfect format, midway between a record book and an autobiography. The main feature is a complete listing of every match from both the Bobby Eaton/Dennis Condrey and Eaton/Stan Lane version of the team, covering Mid-South, World Class and Jim Crockett Promotions. As well as dates, venues and results, the live gate...

The Magnificent Scufflers by Charles Wilson
Review / June 20, 2019

This is strictly one for the collector or for the more avid historian. It’s a history of the early years of what would eventually become pro (rather than Olympic style) wrestling in the US, with most of the book covering the period from the civil war to late 19th century. The main focus is on collar and elbow wrestling, so named because of the mandatory start of each bout in such a grip. Only the brief penultimate chapter covers what ...

The Mouth of the South by Jimmy Hart
Review / June 19, 2019

If you’d expect a book by Jimmy Hart to be bright and breezy with lots of entertainment but not much depth, your prejudice is spot on. While there are a few ‘insider’ tidbits, such as Hart explaining how he deliberately avoided doing any traditional wrestling moves smoothly when working wrestler vs manager bouts in Memphis, feeling to do so would be implausible, it’s more of a general career recap. To give an idea of the attenti...

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Release Schedule / June 19, 2019

15 July: Cody Heart of the Mountain (The Elite Team) by Cody Runnels & Sam Weisz 16 July: 100 Things WWE Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Bryan Alvarez 1 August: Thumbelina, Wrestling Champ: A Graphic Novel (Far Out Fairy Tales) by Alberto Rayo & Alex Lopez 6 August: Jim Cornette Presents: Behind the Curtain – Real Pro Wrestling Stories by Jim Cornette & Brandon Easton 6 August: The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Storytellers...