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...

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...

Crazy Like A Fox: The Definitive Chronicle of Brian Pillman, 20 Years Later by Liam O’Rourke
Review / December 5, 2019

The saying that perception is reality applies to few industries more than professional wrestling, and none so more than the case of Brian Pillman. He was first a victim of the often baffling blurring between fact and fiction and then harnessed that confusion for his own advantage before his struggles to deal with physical reality ended in tragedy. It’s a tale that is told expertly in Liam O’Rourke’s biography, a work that not only...

Puroresu Tourism: Vacation in Japan to Watch Pro Wrestling by Craig Mann
Review / December 4, 2019

While there’s some useful information in this, it doesn’t really justify the steep cover price. The book combines some factual details for would-be wrestling visitors to Japan with a personal recollection as an introduction, some interviews with people who’ve seen wrestling in Japan, and brief overview histories of the major Japanese promotions. The opening account of being at a show at Korakuen Hall is extremely atmos...

Release Schedule (4 December)
Release Schedule , Uncategorized / December 4, 2019

(Dates are US releases and may vary elsewhere.) 5 December: Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage (Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies) by Eero Laine 24 January 2020: New Jack: Memoir of a Pro Wrestling Extremist by New Jack 28 January: Smackdown Town by Max Nicoll & Matt Smith 6 February: Maximilian and the Curse of the Fallen Angel (Max’s Lucha Libre Adventures) by Xavier Garza 17 February: Professional Wre...

Sisterhood of the Squared Circle: The History and Rise of Womens Wrestling by Pat Laprade & Dan Murphy
Review / December 3, 2019

With the Diva’s Revolution in full effect, it’s certainly an appropriate time to look back at the history of female grappling. But while undoubtedly well-written and comprehensive in scope, the format of this book can often be frustrating. The strength is the wide range of the book, giving due attention to various eras of female grappling from the pioneer years to the Fabulous Moolah era, the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling connection days, ...

WWF Wrestling: The Official Book by Edward R Ricciuti
Review / December 2, 2019

While something of a cash-in on the early 90s craze, this 1992 UK release has a little more depth than most such official titles. It’s much the format you’d expect, a 160-large pages, full colour affair with a few dozen profiles of wrestlers and managers, largely featuring their character and storylines in 1991-2 rather than a full recap of their WWF careers. There are also sections on popular moves and the big four pay-per-...

The Cowboy And The Cross by Bill Watts and Scott Williams
Review / November 29, 2019

Ghostwriting means turning a subject’s recollection into a coherent narrative. Sometimes it’s a seamless process. But sometimes it’s clearly a struggle. The Cowboy And The Cross isn’t an unclear or rambling book by any means, but it gives the distinct impression of a tussle between Watts wanting to let rip on the subjects of his choice and Williams wanting to produce a narrative that would appeal to the likely au...

When Wrestling Was Real (volume 1) by Paul ‘The Butcher’ Vachon
Review / November 28, 2019

One of the more underrated wrestling books out there, this is sadly difficult to track down.  This isn’t to be confused with Wrestling with the Past: Life In and Out of the Ring, a 2012 single volume autobiography from Vachon which (based on the opening chapter at least) is not as good. Instead this is the first of a three volume set self-published by Vachon in the early 2000s and sold by mail order and in person at conventions. ...

Wrestle Radio USA Grapplers Speak by Ed Symkus and Vinnie Carolan
Review / November 27, 2019

Somewhat outdated in the Internet age, this is a collection of transcripts of radio interviews with wrestlers between 1993 and 1996. There’s a combination of big names like Ric Flair and Rick Steamboat and future superstars in the early part of their career such as Triple H in his Jean Paul Levesque days. For the most part the interviewees don’t explicitly break kayfabe, but neither do they insult anyone’s intelligence...

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

(Dates are US releases and may vary elsewhere.) 29 November: GLOW: Vs The Star Primas by Tini Howard 1 December: #WWE: Professional Wrestling in the Digital Age (The Year’s Work) 5 December: Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage (Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies) by Eero Laine 28 January 2020: Smackdown Town by Max Nicoll & Matt Smith 24 January: New Jack: Memoir of a Pro Wrestling Extremist by New Jack 6 ...

Ask Him Again Ref! by Dale Storm
Review / November 26, 2019

More of a conversation than an autobiography, this is still an interesting insight into some of the more under-covered elements of the British wrestling business. Storm was a Scottish wrestler who divided his time between Joint Promotions and the independent circuit, two factors which meant he didn’t have television exposure or national attention. However, he did have a lengthy career working with some top stars and in a way his s...