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 ...

Raw: The First 25 Years by Dean Miller & Jake Black
Review / December 18, 2019

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. ...

Release Schedule (18 December)
Release Schedule / December 18, 2019

(Dates are US releases and may vary elsewhere.) 28 January 2020 : Smackdown Town by Max Nicoll & Matt Smith 4 February: New Jack: Memoir of a Pro Wrestling Extremist by New Jack 6 February: Maximilian and the Curse of the Fallen Angel (Max’s Lucha Libre Adventures) by Xavier Garza 17 February: Professional Wrestling: Sport and Spectacle, Second Edition by Sharon Mazer 17 March: WWE Beyond Extreme by Dean Miller 31 March: Under the Bla...

Canvas Countdown by Paul Meehan
Review / December 17, 2019

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...

Tough Guys: The Birth Of An American Sport by Bill Viola Jr & Dr Fred Adams
Review / December 16, 2019

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, th...

Wrestling The Hulk by Linda Hogan
Review / December 13, 2019

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 som...

The WWE Book Of Top 10s by Dean Miller
Review / December 12, 2019

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 ...

WWE Official Book Of Rules (And How To Break Them)
Review , Uncategorized / December 11, 2019

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...

Release Schedule (11 December)
Release Schedule / December 11, 2019

(Dates are US releases and may vary elsewhere.) 28 January 2020 : Smackdown Town by Max Nicoll & Matt Smith 4 February: New Jack: Memoir of a Pro Wrestling Extremist by New Jack 6 February: Maximilian and the Curse of the Fallen Angel (Max’s Lucha Libre Adventures) by Xavier Garza 17 February: Professional Wrestling: Sport and Spectacle, Second Edition by Sharon Mazer 17 March: WWE Beyond Extreme by Dean Miller 31 March: Under the Bla...

WWE Greatest 100 Matches by Dean Miller
Review / December 10, 2019

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 choice...

Wrestling for My Life: The Legend, the Reality, and the Faith of a WWE Superstar by Shawn Michaels
Review , Uncategorized / December 9, 2019

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 ...