This account of Chris Benoit’s life and time in wrestling has been described as a true crime story. It reads like the case for the prosecution. (Before going further, I must say that had I been reading this book for “pleasure” rather than a review, I would have quit when I reached the point where the author refers to a group of sex workers as “subhuman ogresses”.) There is nothing wrong with a book on Benoit being ex...

While Ken Shamrock’s life has already been covered via Inside The Lion’s Den, that book was hampered not just by only covering his early MMA career, but also by being a far from complete and rounded account of his life. To say Snowden’s work is a different prospect would be a spectacular understatement. The biggest strength of this book is that it is utterly comprehensive. Not only does it cover every fight of his career, but vi...

Dates are for US release and may vary in other countries. 29 June: S is for Suplex by Ryan L Schrodt and Nicholas Camia 13 July: Philosophy Smackdown by Douglas Edwards (Pro Wrestling Books review.) 1 September: Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution by Keith Elliot Greenberg 29 September: WWE Encyclopedia of Sports Entertainment New Edition 13 October: We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History by Bill Hanstock 15 ...

One of those titles long-term collectors will recognise, this turns out to be a pleasant surprise. Originally published in 1974, this was a familiar sight when searching book catalogues in the pre-Have A Nice Day era, but wasn’t always easy to track down. Lewin is the brother of the better known wrestlers Mark and Donn. While he had the odd match later on, the bulk of his career came in the mid-sixties on the WWWF circuit. He wrestled mainl...

This is that rarest of beasts: an academic book about wrestling from which wrestling fans might actually learn something. With most philosophy essays and books on wrestling there’s a familiar pattern: start by citing Roland Barthes, raise the revolutionary point that pro wrestlers are performers rather than athletes competing to win a match, then discuss how the whole thing is a cipher for morality/ethnography/society/homoeroticism, making ...

Profiling the subject of the tallest of tall tales, this extensive biography strives for truth without sacrificing readability. Between graphic novels, a WWE published bio and two documentaries, the story of Andre’s life has been covered multiple times but never in such depth. Running nearly 400 pages it covers the familiar stories but also lesser-covered parts of his career including his time in Europe and Mexico and his importance to the ...

This is very much a book of two halves with a big decline midway through. The first half covers both the Stampede promotion and Hart’s own career and is a definite thumbs up. While Hart is almost always portraying himself in a positive light, there’s some good insights into the establishment and operations of the territory and the unusual world of dealing with pro wrestlers and their egos. It all goes off a cliff when the book gets to...

This is quite the example of the boy who cried wolf. Released seven years after his initial autobiography, the first half of this book covers largely similar ground. There doesn’t seem much point in this unless Hogan’s going to take a different approach, for example speaking more honestly and openly than was possible under the WWE Books banner. This book is copyright Eric Bischoff, LLC. I’d initially planned to cover everything ...

Certainly a unique concept for a book, this — perhaps unintentionally — provides a more rounded biography of Hart than some more conventional approaches. King of Pranks was inspired by a offhand comment by Sean Waltman who suggested that somebody should put together a collection of Hart’s infamous pranks. James Romero took on that challenge, poring through books, interviews and newsletters to collect more than 150 anecdotes of H...

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...

Release Schedule (1 May)
Release Schedule / May 1, 2019

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 Encyclopedia of Women’s Wrestling: 100 Profiles of the Strongest in the Sport by LaToya Ferguson 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 ...

Wrestling: A Pictorial History by David Hofstede
Review / May 1, 2019

This is a strange book as, it’s unclear what it’s meant to be, and whatever the case it it falls short. It’s nothing but captioned pictures and, despite the name, there’s no attempt at chronology or covering major events. Instead the pictures are separated into a couple of dozen loose themes, though the categorization is extremely disputable, with lowlights including Danny Hodge placed across the page from Viscera in the “Jour...

Wrestling’s 101 Strangest Matches by Oliver Hurley
Review / April 30, 2019

This is along the lines of similar books on unusual incidents in sports like football, cricket or golf, but being the outlandish world of pro wrestling there’s a lot more barbed wire and hypnotism. The book is divided into loose sections covering the likes of doublecrosses, unusual locations, crazy stipulations and unpredictable events. Many, from the Funk-Lawler empty arena match to New Jack and Eric Kulas will be familiar to long-ti...

Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia Gets Six-Issue Deal
News / April 30, 2019

Last year I reviewed the initial instalment of a planned graphic novel series Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia. (I’ve copied the recovered text from that review below.) The publishers have now announced the series has been picked up by Starburns Industries Press. There’ll be six monthly issues in digital format, which will then be gathered together as a paperback. Here’s the blurb: INVASION FROM PLANET WRESTLETOPIA Sc...

Wrestling’s Ring Side Seat by Johnny Kincaid
Review / April 29, 2019

This is the self-published story of the former European heavyweight champion best known for his ‘Caribbean Sunshine Boys’ team with Dave ‘Butcher’ Bond. The most striking initial impression is that the book, apparently by design if the foreword is anything to go by, has not been professionally edited. The punctuation is patchy at best, and many of the sentences run on far beyond their natural length. While this is initially dist...

Bobby The Brain by Bobby Heenan
Review / April 26, 2019

While you might expect this to be a fantastic book given the author, it’s not only merely decent, but it isn’t Heenan’s best book. Written with former PWI staffer Steve Anderson, the book is pretty slim at 192 pages of very large type. It’s a slightly unconventional format as the first 100 pages or so are a chronological recollection organised into logical chapters, while the rest is based around themes such as the territories, ...

Brisco by Jack Brisco & William Murdock
Review / April 25, 2019

While not everyone will find the entirety of this ghostwritten autobiography interesting, it’s a must for people with an interest in the territorial era. It’s a worthwhile story from a wrestler who was once at the very top of the business and then walked away right as the WWF was beginning its national expansion, making him one of the few wrestlers to quit while still healthy and able to perform at a strong level. The manner of his ...

Brody by Larry Matysik & Barbara Goodish
Review / April 24, 2019

The story of Bruiser Brody would always be a fascinating one, but it’s the format that makes this book a particular success. It’s a blend of biography and autobiography, with chapters alternating between close friend Larry Matysik recalling Brody’s in-ring career and widow Barbara Goodish talking about his personal life. The approach works particularly well given the contrast between the crazed brawler and the intelligent family m...

Release Schedule (24 April)
Release Schedule / April 24, 2019

One new entry this week, Job Man: My Life in Professional Wrestling by Chris Multerer & Larry Widen: Milwaukee-native Chris Multerer wrestled for more than a decade, starting in 1978, on professional circuits around the United States. As a “job man,” Multerer made the superstars of wrestling, such as Mad Dog Vachon and Hulk Hogan, shine. In cities around the country, thousands of screaming fans cheered when their favorite wrestlers ...

Nitro by Guy Evans
Review / April 23, 2019

This is a remarkable and unique book despite not being the comprehensive WCW history you might imagine on first glance. The key selling point (beyond the sheer length at 500+ pages) is the intensive research through interviews and in turn access to documentation. While some key on-camera figures such as Eric Bischoff, Kevin Nash, Vince Russo and Kevin Sullivan are among the subjects, the fresh angle here is interviews with people workin...