While widely viewed and remembered, Bill Goldberg’s wrestling career was extremely brief-lived. It might seem as if there’s not much to say and that certainly seems to be the case with this book. Released in 2000, when his WCW stint had barely finished, this doesn’t have a great deal of wrestling content. It’s written in a somewhat haphazard order and only around 90 pages (of large type) deal directly with the chonology of his in-ring car...

Who’s The Daddy is as much a story of Shirley Crabtree the man as it is Big Daddy the wrestler. Much like its subject, the book has clear strengths and weaknesses and its reception will depend largely on what the audience is looking for. It’s the fresh content that is the main advantage of the book. Author Ryan Danes has spoken extensively to Crabtree’s daughter Jane and uncovered some genuinely informative insights into his personal life. ...

This is a cash-in booklet from the 1940s-50s era when Lane was the announcer on the televised Olympic Auditorium shows during the initial “golden age” when many homes could get wrestling in prime time almost every night of the week. It’s a mere 32 pages, most of which is made up of capsule profiles and pictures of wrestlers of the day. There’s also a short section covering seven of the most popular moves of the day and relatively credible...

This is another on my list of undersung wrestling books. It’s big strength is the sheer diversity of Dillon’s career and thus the wide range of topics for which he offers an insider perspective. Though best known as the manager of the Four Horsemen, that only covered a couple of years of his career. He also worked as a WWWF referee; spent more than a decade on the territory circuit including Mid Atlantic, Florida and Amarillo; toured Japan;...

This is definitely one to collect rather than read, but given its age it’s surprisingly attainable (in the US at least.) Showing the prestige and perception of pro wrestling at the time of its 1913 publication, this is part of a series of sports and fitness books published by Richard K Fox of the National Police Gazette which, despite its title, was the original boxing and sports magazine of its day. The book starts with a brief bio of Gotch, t...

Some valid and important points in this book are let down by some fundamental limitations. Muchnick is a professional news writer who has made his name over the years by writing mainstream outlet articles on the darker side of the wrestling business, covering topics often ignored by “real” media on the irrelevant grounds of wrestling being “fake.” There’s absolutely no debating that Muchnick — the nephew of legendary St Louis presiden...

Every wrestling fan should read at least one of Larry Matysik’s books about St Louis wrestling. If you’re only going to read one, this is probably the best bet. As well as books on the 50 greatest wrestlers of all time (with a definite St Louis flavour) and Bruiser Brody, Matysik has written three books specifically on St Louis. At one extreme is From the Golden Era: The St Louis Wrestling Record Book, an e-book which is no longer available t...

Published at the tail of the first national TV wrestling boom, this is an excellent memento of the period and is a genuinely informative read rather than just a collectible historical item. The heart of the book is a series of profiles of around 250 wrestlers, ranging from full-page pieces on the top stars to capsule bios. Naturally it’s entirely in kayfabe, but there’s a fair bit of detail on backgrounds and career histories, most of which a...

Don’t buy this. When it arrives sight unseen from an online auction site you’ll discover it’s not by 60s pro wrestler Art Thomas but rather a high school amateur wrestling coach of the same name. You’ll also discover it’s a children’s book, heavily illustrated with pictures of very young kids in singlets locking up and looking inexplicably happy. You’ll also discover that even in the context of having a wrestling book collection, it...

A reprint of a book now in the public domain, this is a nice novelty but doesn’t really have any collector value. Despite the name given to this release, it’s actually part 7 of 8 of a series originally published as “The Sandow-Lewis Kinetic Stress System of Physical Training.” With earlier volumes covering the basics of bodybuilding and self defense, this is the second of three parts dealing with wrestling itself. That most likely sugges...

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...

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...