Perhaps the politest way to review this book would be to note that wrestling fans may not be its primary target audience. It’s only 236 pages of very large type (and even some padding out with recipes) but still feels a long-winded route to effectively say “I met and married Hulk Hogan but he turned out to be a shagger so we got divorced.”) There’s virtually no wrestling content and what little there is seems somewhat shak...

Another “get it for Christmas, read it once” title, the content here is more plausible than you might imagine. The format is exactly as you might imagine: 100 or so lists with around 50 words explanation for each entry. There’s a good variety of topic matters, broadly divided into wrestlers, matches and championships, including a few purely objective rankings (shortest title reigns, youngest champions etc.) Aside from a little i...

If you don’t mind the fact you’ll probably never read this twice, it’s an amusing enough diversion. It’s written under the pretext that, like the British constitution, the WWE rulebook is made up of a variety of official and unofficial documents that are never collated in one place. Covering both the in-ring ‘rules’ and the company policies, it’s effectively a cover for a barrage of in-jokes for wrestling...

It’s hard to tell if this book is a success because it’s unclear what it’s trying to do. From a literal perspective, it fits the bill: it has 100 matches presented in a random order rather than ranking, with each getting a two-page spread with a brief background piece, a detailed description of the bout itself, and then a short paragraph on what happened next. Perhaps anticipating the inevitable criticism of the choices, the aut...

This is not a wrestling book. Don’t get me wrong: the blurb and other cover material don’t make any pretense this is a wrestling book, but it’s important to stress this so that would-be readers don’t get misled. This isn’t a book like the Bill Watts autobiography that is about wrestling but has some diversions into religion. Instead it’s the story of Shawn Michaels’ Christianity with a backdrop of pro wre...

Finally this under-covered era gets some attention from WWE. Snark aside, this is pretty much the book version of the countless documentaries and countdowns WWE has produced in recent years, particularly since the launch of the network. It’s not a chronological history but rather a collection of pieces focused on the main players, with a heavy emphasis on photography. As you might imagine, the book is hardly an objective history. At times t...

The saying that perception is reality applies to few industries more than professional wrestling, and none so more than the case of Brian Pillman. He was first a victim of the often baffling blurring between fact and fiction and then harnessed that confusion for his own advantage before his struggles to deal with physical reality ended in tragedy. It’s a tale that is told expertly in Liam O’Rourke’s biography, a work that not only covers a ...

While there’s some useful information in this, it doesn’t really justify the steep cover price. The book combines some factual details for would-be wrestling visitors to Japan with a personal recollection as an introduction, some interviews with people who’ve seen wrestling in Japan, and brief overview histories of the major Japanese promotions. The opening account of being at a show at Korakuen Hall is extremely atmospheric and...

With the Diva’s Revolution in full effect, it’s certainly an appropriate time to look back at the history of female grappling. But while undoubtedly well-written and comprehensive in scope, the format of this book can often be frustrating. The strength is the wide range of the book, giving due attention to various eras of female grappling from the pioneer years to the Fabulous Moolah era, the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling connection days, the Diva p...

While something of a cash-in on the early 90s craze, this 1992 UK release has a little more depth than most such official titles. It’s much the format you’d expect, a 160-large pages, full colour affair with a few dozen profiles of wrestlers and managers, largely featuring their character and storylines in 1991-2 rather than a full recap of their WWF careers. There are also sections on popular moves and the big four pay-per-views, all...

Sisterhood of the Squared Circle: The History and Rise of Womens Wrestling by Pat Laprade & Dan Murphy
Review / December 3, 2019

With the Diva’s Revolution in full effect, it’s certainly an appropriate time to look back at the history of female grappling. But while undoubtedly well-written and comprehensive in scope, the format of this book can often be frustrating. The strength is the wide range of the book, giving due attention to various eras of female grappling from the pioneer years to the Fabulous Moolah era, the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling connection days, ...

WWF Wrestling: The Official Book by Edward R Ricciuti
Review / December 2, 2019

While something of a cash-in on the early 90s craze, this 1992 UK release has a little more depth than most such official titles. It’s much the format you’d expect, a 160-large pages, full colour affair with a few dozen profiles of wrestlers and managers, largely featuring their character and storylines in 1991-2 rather than a full recap of their WWF careers. There are also sections on popular moves and the big four pay-per-...

The Cowboy And The Cross by Bill Watts and Scott Williams
Review / November 29, 2019

Ghostwriting means turning a subject’s recollection into a coherent narrative. Sometimes it’s a seamless process. But sometimes it’s clearly a struggle. The Cowboy And The Cross isn’t an unclear or rambling book by any means, but it gives the distinct impression of a tussle between Watts wanting to let rip on the subjects of his choice and Williams wanting to produce a narrative that would appeal to the likely au...

When Wrestling Was Real (volume 1) by Paul ‘The Butcher’ Vachon
Review / November 28, 2019

One of the more underrated wrestling books out there, this is sadly difficult to track down.  This isn’t to be confused with Wrestling with the Past: Life In and Out of the Ring, a 2012 single volume autobiography from Vachon which (based on the opening chapter at least) is not as good. Instead this is the first of a three volume set self-published by Vachon in the early 2000s and sold by mail order and in person at conventions. ...

Wrestle Radio USA Grapplers Speak by Ed Symkus and Vinnie Carolan
Review / November 27, 2019

Somewhat outdated in the Internet age, this is a collection of transcripts of radio interviews with wrestlers between 1993 and 1996. There’s a combination of big names like Ric Flair and Rick Steamboat and future superstars in the early part of their career such as Triple H in his Jean Paul Levesque days. For the most part the interviewees don’t explicitly break kayfabe, but neither do they insult anyone’s intelligence...

Release Schedule (27 November)
Release Schedule / November 27, 2019

(Dates are US releases and may vary elsewhere.) 29 November: GLOW: Vs The Star Primas by Tini Howard 1 December: #WWE: Professional Wrestling in the Digital Age (The Year’s Work) 5 December: Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage (Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies) by Eero Laine 28 January 2020: Smackdown Town by Max Nicoll & Matt Smith 24 January: New Jack: Memoir of a Pro Wrestling Extremist by New Jack 6 ...

Ask Him Again Ref! by Dale Storm
Review / November 26, 2019

More of a conversation than an autobiography, this is still an interesting insight into some of the more under-covered elements of the British wrestling business. Storm was a Scottish wrestler who divided his time between Joint Promotions and the independent circuit, two factors which meant he didn’t have television exposure or national attention. However, he did have a lengthy career working with some top stars and in a way his s...

Shake, Wrestle ‘n’ Roll by Adrian Street
Review / November 25, 2019

As a collectable item this is as quirky as ever. As a novel, it’s now a victim of the fact that truth is stranger than fiction. We’ve previously covered <a href=”http://www.prowrestlingbooks.com/the-adrian-street-collection-by-adrian-street/“>Street’s comprehensive series of autobiographies</a> which are full of some genuinely amazing tales of life in and out of the ring. This forerunner was pub...

Countdown to Lockdown by Mick Foley
Review , Uncategorized / November 22, 2019

This is a decent 100-page book. Unfortunately it’s 300 pages long. This is Foley’s fourth volume of memoirs and as with Chris Jericho’s No Is A Four Letter Word there’s an obvious limitation with covering an ever decreasing time period with each instalment. Foley’s third book tackled this by going in-depth on a specific short period, namely the build-up to his appearance at One Night Stand in 2006. Jericho&...

Inside the Lion’s Den by Ken Shamrock and Richard Hanner
Review / November 21, 2019

Inside The Lion’s Den, released in 1998, is written in two sections. The first 123 pages are a look at Ken Shamrock’s life and no-holds barred career, while the remaining 78 sides give instruction in the Lion’s Den fighting techniques. To the pro wrestling audience, it is the former section that will prove more interesting. In September 1993, Richard Hanner, a Stockton, California newspaper reporter, was sent to cover local submis...