How to Be a Mark Without Leaving a Mark: One Fan’s Journey Through the World of Professional Wrestling by Steven Farrugia

December 30, 2021

Almost every wrestling fan will find something to identify with this book, which is both its greatest strength and weakness.

It’s simply one fan’s account of his time as a fan, from discovering the business to attending live shows to becoming involved in the fringes of the business through the FWA, to rediscovering a love for the British scene as well as attending several WrestleManias.

This isn’t the first book of its type and is somewhat reminiscent of Confessions of a Smart Wrestling Fan and the early sections of Spandex Ballet, both of which I’ve reviewed on this site. Both of these had distinctive features, with the former more of a Fever Pitch-style autobiographical tale and the latter filled with humor.

This tells it more straight and isn’t so explicitly themed, although the description of how Farrugia connected with his father through wrestling is touching without being clunky. The highlights are undoubtedly the sheer charm of Farrugia’s naivety in his early years as a fan, particularly the way he was introduced to action figures long before he saw a “real” match.

The closest thing to a unique selling point here is that for many years Farrugia and his father were more interested in meeting wrestlers outside arenas and at hotels than attending matches, leading to some colourful (but scandal-free) reminiscences. The book also benefits from its recent publication, putting into context the rapid rise of the British wrestling scene in the 2010s, the way some of those memories are tempered by the revelations of Speaking Out, and the unsettling effect of COVID virtually shutting down the industry.

All told, it’s the type of book where it’s difficult to give a simple verdict. Nothing outstays its welcome and I found myself working through it quickly when I’d only planned to dip in.

Because the experiences recounted are far from unique, it’s hard to call it a must-buy. However, I find it hard to imagine anyone who does read it not enjoying the experience and recognizing some of their own journey as a fan in it.

Disclaimer: The author provided a review copy.

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