If you despise Bret Hart or you have no attention span, this might be worth a miss. For everyone else, it’s as close to a must-read as it gets. The most mindblowing thing about Hart’s autobiography is that the first draft was reportedly as much as three times longer than the nearly 600 pages here. It’s hard to tell whether that would be the best or worst wrestling book you could ever read. What was published is incredibly in-depth, coverin...

[This review was originally — and coincidentally — published on the day Hogan was fired by WWE after the emergence of recordings of him making racist comments.) Hardys, Hart, Hart, Heenan, Heenan… what’s up next? Well, that’s interesting timing… If this were the type of blog which bigged up the positive every book to try to boost revenues from affiliate links, today would be a very awkward day. Fortunately it’s not and I can...

As cash-in titles go, this is pretty decent if not exactly hard-hitting journalism. While there’s a couple of chapters of capsule profiles and a pre-1984 history (including the claim that the wrestling business collapsed in the 1960s and was still in a terrible state when Vince Jr came to power), it’s largely a kayfabe-respecting account of the main Hogan and WWF storylines from his title win through the first WrestleMania, with that event c...

This is an insightful book that is thankfully already out of date. It smoothly brings together two different styles of book: a history of British wrestling’s development after more than a decade off TV and an autobiographical account. Lambert is a newspaper reporter, former Power Slam writer, and was previously involved in the FWA and his own XWA group as a manager and later promoter. (British fans remain disappointed he never managed Andy Simm...

You’ll sometimes see a WWE authorised book dismissed as “propaganda.” But this North Korean biography of Rikidozan really is propaganda. The story of Rikidozan is well known: he was the first star when pro wrestling caught on in a big way in Japan, he was among the first major TV stars in the country from any walk of life, he was a genuine cultural icon, and if you see a ranking of famous or historically significant wrestlers and he’s no...

This book has some fascinating stories. Some of them may even be true. Having dealt with, and known people who’ve dealt with, Piper professionally, he was a mixed bag. His insight into ring psychology and protecting oneself within an often cutthroat business was always top notch, but his recollection or telling of facts and dates was, to say the least, something you had to keep on top of. For example, the book includes Piper’s traditional sto...

It seems likely that Joanie Laurer got a lot out of the experience of writing this book. It’s just as likely you’ll get nothing out of the experience of reading this book except for a deep sense of discomfort. Avoid. Buy on Amazon...

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 certainly won’t leave anyone disap...

As the alternatives to WWE become fewer and weaker, autobiographies by WWE performers are likely going to have less diverse background stories. Angle’s book is one of the rare examples of somebody having a story to tell from before pro wrestling, though it may prove disappointing for those coming to the book for the first time. Of the 300 or so pages, just over half deal with his life before signing with WWE, concentrating on the premature deat...

Very much a scene-setter, this initial instalment of a graphic novel series has promise, though it’s hard to draw too many conclusions about where it’s going. Without wanting to go into too many spoilers, on the face of it the initial issue is about “Rock ‘n’ Roll Rory Landel”, a fast-talking heel from the territorial era who loses his spot when the business switches to a family-oriented style. Passed over for world title status, he d...

The Story Of The Development Of The NWATNA by Jerry Jarrett
Review / June 7, 2019

While Bryan Alvarez & RD Reynolds continue to joke about writing a TNA version of The Death of WCW — and such a title remains premature — this is the closest thing to an insight into the promotion, albeit a brief period in its history. The book covers 2002, the year Jerry and Jeff Jarrett tried to capitalise on the gap left by the demise of WCW and ECW but without the benefit of national television. They attempted to so do by up...

The Ultimate World Wrestling Entertainment Trivia Book
Review / June 6, 2019

This is a quiz book rather than a collection of facts, and how challenging it is may depend on the eras in which you were a fan. Published in 2002, this has a total of 2,000 questions with a mix of straight question and answers and multiple choice questions. It’s split over 10 sections: WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, Raw, Smackdown, other PPVs, Old School, Titles and Outside the Ring. Some questions will se...

Release Schedule (5 June)
Release Schedule / June 5, 2019

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 Alvarez 1 August: Thumbelina, Wrestling Champ: A Graphic Novel (Far Out Fairy Tales) by Alberto Rayo & Alex Lopez 6 August:  There’s No Such Thing As a Bad Kid: How I Went from Stereotype to Prototype by Thaddeus Bullard (Titus O’Neill) & Paul Guzzo 6 August: Jim Cornette Presents: ...

The Wrestling Scene by Guy LeBow
Review / June 5, 2019

This is one of several TV cash-ins from the “Golden Age” boom and probably the one that’s most worth reading rather than collecting. Written in 1950 by the TV announcer from the DuMont network, this will no doubt sound familiar to those of you who read my recent review of Dick Lane’s Whoa Nellie! While this is similar in concept, it’s considerably more detailed. It’s a full-fledged book, albeit only 98 pages, and has consi...

The Wrestling Journeyman: Life and Times of an Indy Wrestler
Review / June 4, 2019

There’s nothing wrong with this book. It’s just… there. While Wolfe is perhaps best known for his “enhancement” work for WWF, he’s put the miles in, catching the final years of the territory system, working opening matches on WWF house show swings, experiencing the Texan indy scene of the 1990s and 2000s, going on foreign tours and, perhaps inevitably, joining the scores of wrestlers on hand at WCW’s Orlando tapings. It’...

Theater in a Squared Circle by Jeff Archer
Review / June 3, 2019

This is the type of book that would likely only have been made at a specific time (in this case, January 1999.) It’s far enough into boom period that the author was able to find a publisher for a 446 page wrestling book, but still early enough that it can keep a very general approach rather than having to cover a single particular niche. There’s a curious theater-style Acts and Scenes structure to tie in with the title, but in effec...

The WWE Championship by Kevin Sullivan
Review / May 31, 2019

If you’re reading this blog, the chances are that reading this book will be reminiscent of a Sean O’Haire promo. This official WWE release is billed as the story of the men who held the title up till 2010. The acknowledgement section mentions carrying out some fresh interviews, but the majority of the quotes appear to come from the full range of WWE official autobiographies and the feel is very much of a compilation. While the book ...

This Is Wrestling! by George Napolitano
Review / May 30, 2019

If you’ve read my review of Championship Wrestling by Napolitano, you know what to expect here. Sadly this book fails to meet even those limited expectations. It’s the same basic concept — a collection of Napolitano photographs in a coffee-table format book — but looks remarkably like the publishers saw Championship Wrestling and decided to see if they could capitalise with a version that was quicker and cheaper to produce. This...

Thumbs Up by Joe Cornelius
Review / May 29, 2019

This is a hugely entertaining story of a British wrestler’s career and life, but it’s most definitely not for the easily offended. Cornelius was a successful heavyweight in the 1950s and 60s, working across the UK as well as touring continental Europe and Japan. He went on to act in films and on stage, including being a regular entertainer at the London Palladium. The book doesn’t explicitly break kayfabe, but it’s easy enough ...

Release Schedule (29 May)
Release Schedule / May 29, 2019

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 Alvarez 6 August:  There’s No Such Thing As a Bad Kid: How I Went from Stereotype to Prototype by Thaddeus Bullard (Titus O’Neill) & Paul Guzzo 6 August: Jim Cornette Presents: Behind the Curtain – Real Pro Wrestling Stories by Jim Cornette & Brandon Easton 6 August: The Pro Wrest...