Wrestling Shorts: The Royal Rumble 2000 by Alex Smith-Powell
Review / March 28, 2024

Short but sweet, this may be too brief for some buyers. Lying somewhere between an extremely extended blog post and a very concise book, Amazon estimates a print version of this e-Book only title would be around 30 pages, something that’s important to remember if you’re considering a purchase. Unlike some less reputable titles such AI-generated “biographies”, this is an appropriate length for the subject matter: a detailed look at a single PPV. Rather than simply recapping the moves, this adds some content and background both for individual matches and for the event as a whole, including the perspective of a viewer in the UK where it was the first WWF PPV on broadcast television. It also includes analysis of the matches, concentrating on why particular elements worked rather than simply what happened. (One exception is the Rumble match itself which curiously switches into the present tense and is largely a running commentary.) The book achieves what it sets out to do and certainly doesn’t fall short of its billing. The question is whether that’s enough to justify a purchase, which is a matter where personal opinions mary vary. Read on Amazon. (Affiliate Link) Disclaimer: The author provided a review copy.

Business Is About to Pick Up!: 50 Years of Wrestling in 50 Unforgettable Calls by Jim Ross
Review / March 18, 2024

A third volume of autobiography is always a challenge, but the gimmick here doesn’t really hit. As the likes of Mick Foley and Chris Jericho have shown, later chronological volumes usually prove diminishing returns with too short a period to cover. The alternative is a fresh format, something that works well in some cases (Bobby Heenan) and not so well in others (Jericho again). Here the gimmick is 50 short chapters, each based around an incident in Ross’s career and pegged onto a line of commentary (though in most cases we get multiple occasions.) The big problem is that many of his most important career moments have already been documented in his previous books. What’s left is a combination of chapters making a single point (racial portrayals have progressed in the business), covering less important moments (Jeff Hardy was elevated despite losing to Undertaker) and elements from Ross’s personal life that are sometimes clunkily connected to a match call to fit the format. It’s the last of these categories where the book most often shines, with genuinely touching insights into Ross losing his wife in a tragic car accident, coping with the adjustment to single life, using work as a…