Giving another angle on some familiar events, this autobiography manages to deal with issues of personal crisis and faith without being overly preachy. Clarke is perhaps best known to wrestling viewers for her love-quadrangle storyline in Dallas with Chris Adams, Steve Austin and Toni Adams, and her brief run as Lady Blossom in WCW. While the wrestling parts of the book are substantial enough to satisfy most readers, including plenty of insigh...

A brisk read, this has its moments but won’t call for repeat readings. Robinson has previously worked on a compilation of WWE road stories and this is of a similar style and format. As the name suggests, its made up of 20 chapters where a WWE star recalls their favorite match and explains why. All but two (Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero at Hallowe’en Havoc ’97 and Alberto Del Rio’s pro debut in Japan) are WWE bouts, most a...

Long, perhaps overly detailed, and full of twists and turns with an upbeat ending. But enough about how Dallas Page plans his matches: let’s talk about his book. At 442 pages and not even reaching the end of his WCW career, this book certainly doesn’t miss anything out. If you find Page’s style of confidence to be abrasive, this is going to be a struggle. For most readers however, it will be a treat. Part of the bulk is down to ...

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 a...

Within the context of being an authorised WWE autobiography, this is a very pleasant surprise. Released in 2002, shortly after Lawler’s return to the company after an eight-month absence, this puts much more emphasis on his Memphis days than might be expected. Indeed, it’s 250 pages in before the story reaches his WWF debut, although the chronology does jump around now and again to allow for more thematically-focused chapters. Given L...

While wildly entertaining, this comes with a recommendation that carries a disclaimer. While LeBell may be best known to modern fans as the cornerman of Ronda Rousey, if you’re an avid viewer of any US drama of the 1970s or 1980s, you’ve probably seen him before and never realised. A former pro wrestler and stuntman, he was a regular in Hollywood and as a result virtually every show which did a wrestling themed episode would film at t...

A couple of intriguing chapters doesn’t make up for some truly atrocious filler here. This always had a tough spot to fill, following on from the huge success of Mick Foley’s Have A Nice Day, which was designed to test the waters for WWE autobiographies. Even without that as a comparison point, this is a half-assed effort however. The pre-wrestling element is arguably the more interesting part of the book, doing a good job of illust...

This 1974 book is one of the better titles by an “outsider”, albeit one with legitimate credentials. Author Joe Jares was a Sports Illustrated Associate Editor who, in the 1960s, wrote two articles on wrestling, one on how his father performed as “The Thing” and the other on the decline of Gorgeous George. Jares later decided to expand the subject into a book, with the articles making up the first two chapters. He then exp...

Something of an undersung title, this should interest historians and newer fans alike. It’s a series of profiles of (W)WWF stars between the creation of the promotion’s main title in 1963 and the start of the Hulkamania era. While much of each profile may be familiar to more avid fans, each comes with a series of trivia facts that will be new to almost everyone. It’s well-researched, drawing on a combination of previous wrestlin...

Millard peels back the curtain on the peddlers of tall tales and fantastical bunk, in those subcultures where the nature of truth is subjective. From pro wrestling’s funhouse mirror world of kayfabe, there’s the method-acted insanity of Brian Pillman, and the mad lies of Hulk Hogan. Martial arts gives us super-spy movie stars, deadly men like Count Dante, who can explode your heart from fifty paces, and the strange, forgotten story of...

Accepted by Pat Patterson
Review / March 22, 2019

This may not be the book you were expecting, but is still well worth your time. Ghostwritten by Bertrand Hebert (who co-authored the excellent Montreal history Mad Dogs, Midgets & Screwjobs), the book’s focus is very much on Patterson’s life as a gay man and a love story of he and his late partner Louie. It’s fascinating to read not only of the obstacles the pair faced (Patterson notes the parallel of the secrecy of his sexu...

A Star Shattered: The Rise & Fall & Rise Of Wrestling Diva by Tammy “Sunny” Sytch
Review / March 21, 2019

You know what. It could have been worse. If you’ve watched any of Sytch’s “shoot” interviews, it appears there’s little new here, but it’s an easy read if not always the most entertaining. There’s a good amount about her time in the wrestling business and her experiences learning about working the crowd. The two big problems are that it’s hard to tell how true the content is (if nothing else, it very much comes across a...

Release Schedule (20 March)
Release Schedule / March 20, 2019

25 March: Convergent Wrestling: Participatory Culture, Transmedia Storytelling, and Intertextuality in the Squared Circle (The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture) by CarrieLynn D. Reinhard (Editor), Christopher J. Olson 7 May: Self Help: Life Lessons from the Bizarre Wrestling Career of Al Snow by Al Snow & Ross Owen Williams 7 May: WWE SmackDown 20 Years and Counting by Dean Miller & Jake Black 7 May: An Encyclopedi...

A Pictorial History of Wrestling by Graeme Kent
Review / March 20, 2019

Surprisingly widely available for a 1968 title, this is a great combination of text and photos of wrestling on both sides of the Atlantic. Written entirely from the perspective of wrestling being a sport (albeit one with showmanship in spades), the first 130 or so of the 300+ pages here deal with the development of amateur wrestling in its various styles around the world. The rest covers the professional business from the pre-Gotch days...

A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex by Chris Jericho
Review / March 19, 2019

Between the subject matter and the style, there’ll be few books like this in the future, which is something of a shame. Jericho was arguably the last wrestler to make it big in WWE having spent a serious amount of time working for both full-time US territories and international promotions. After leaving the Canadian independents, he spent time in CMLL, WAR, the German tournament scene, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, ECW and WCW, giving hi...

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...