This concoction has a nasty aftertaste of cash-in. It’s doubtful whether it’s possible to produce a good wrestling-themed cookbook, but this certainly isn’t one. It’s nothing more than a bunch of very basic, unappetising recipes which appear to have been randomly assigned to wrestlers with little pretense the superstar in question either cooks or eats the meal. The unlucky buyer will learn how to make Stone Cold’s Cinnamon Ice Cream, Mi...

This is a good example of the type of books that were available before the boom inspired by the success of Have A Nice Day and the growth of self-publishing and eReaders. It’s a 112-page collection of pictures by George Napolitano, arguably tied with Bill Apter for the best-known wrestling photographer of his era. There is a fair bit of accompanying text, though nothing with any real insight and it’s mainly made up of kayfabe capsule profile...

This is a wrestling book like no other. It’s also one of the most undersung titles around. It’s a format few would have expected to see from Heenan: a self-help manual. Rather than the usual wishy-washy new age content you’d normally see in such books, this is effectively a series of serious points for living a successful live used as pegs for genuinely hilarious stories from Heenan’s career. Unlike with his autobiography, there’s no a...

American wrestling as most Brits know it arguably began on 23 January 1984 when Hulk Hogan beat the Iron Sheik at Madison Square Garden to capture the WWF title and kick off the national expansion era. But New York wrestling has a rich heritage, explored in this book which appropriately enough ends on that very day. Capitol Revolution begins its tale just after the first world war when the likes of Jack Curley and Tex Rickard battled to revive wr...

The niche of people crying out for a Chavo Guerrero comic book is presumably quite small, but this should certainly satisfy their needs. The first in a planned series, referred to in publicity as Warriors Creed, this is very much a taster with little storyline development. All we really discover in the 24 page debut instalment is that Guerrero retires through injury but is pursued by mysterious powers seeking to capture a particular ability he h...

Well regarded in its own right as a children’s book, this will particularly appeal to wrestling families. It’s the first in a series of books set in the same street, though the only one dealing with wrestling. It was picked as book of the month by British TV channel CBBC and is listed as being aimed at 9-11 year olds, though I’d suspect it would be suitable for a wider range. It tells the story of a father who secretly wrestles on a low-lev...

Back when wrestling books were few and far between, this was one of the titles that was worth tracking down through bookshop ordering systems. Even today, it’s still a remarkable insight into a particular aspect and era of the business. Freedman is an anthropologist who taught at the University of Western Ontario for 26 years, during which time he wrote Drawing Heat. It’s a study of wrestling in Ontario, partly of the main NWA territory opera...

It’s perhaps unfair to compare this to what might of been, but sadly this isn’t as good as you might imagine. Rhodes’s death in 2015 led to many reflecting on his stardom and career and how it far outweighed the lowpoints when he overpromoted himself in the dying days of the Crockett territory. He lived a hell of a life, but this book doesn’t really capture it. The upside of NWA promoter Howard Brody ghostwriting the book is that the fact...

This book is a real two-for-one deal: a great story, and a fun game as a bonus. The great story comes from Barrett having a true globetrotter career: as well as several US territories including the WWWF, he worked in the UK, continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. He covers his various exploits in the ring along with plenty of colour about experiencing different locales. The book doesn’t outright talk about wrestling...

Between the wrestling book boom sparked a decade ago by Mick Foley and the growth of the e-reader making self-published titles ever more viable, numerous wrestling “novels” have appeared in recent years. Sadly most have been badly written and poorly researched, the worst examples being little more than poorly hidden sexual fantasies about real-life wrestling performers. That run has come to an end with Blood Red Turns Dollar Green, the first ...

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

A big batch of new entries this week starting with The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Storytellers (From the Terrible Turk to Twitter) by Greg Oliver & Steven Johnson: The legendary storytellers worthy of a spot in the pro wrestling hall of fame You can’t escape pro wrestling today, even if you want to. Its stars are ubiquitous in movies, TV shows, product endorsements, swag, and social media to the point that they are as much celebr...

All Or Nothing by James Dixon
Review / March 26, 2019

According to writer James Dixon, All or Nothing was originally conceived as an unofficial sequel to Simon Garfield’s 1995 book The Wrestling, updating readers on developments in the British scene since that time. Tales of the 1PW group proved so compelling that Dixon decided to first make the promotion the basis of an entire chapter and eventually took it on as the subject of a full-length book. In an openly admitted homage to Garfiel...

Adam Copeland On Edge
Review / March 25, 2019

The fact that a book by a then-16-time WWF titleholder was released far too early in his career may say more about modern-day booking than it does the author, but this 2004 autobiography looks woefully incomplete today. At the front end that’s the simple issue that Edge falls the wrongside of the “Jericho divide” regarding modern wrestlers route into the business. While the likes of Jericho and Mick Foley toured the world and had...

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...