One Ring Circus by Brian Howell

August 16, 2019

If photo books are your cup of tea, this is one of the better wrestling options.

It’s based around a tight theme, specifically the small ECCW promotion in British Columbia. Given the subject, it’s an appropriately low-fi presentation: a black and white photo on the right hand side of each spread, with an accompanying extended caption on the left-hand side. These add useful background detail and context, and can sometimes be wonderfully dry as in:

Cheechuk was exhausted, breathing heavily, and bleeding from the forehead. He stopped for me to take this picture and then took a pull from his can of root beer, walked outside into the pouring rain, and vomited over a railing.

Honky Tonk Man and Christopher Daniels aside, you probably won’t recognise too many of the wrestlers in this book, but the themes will be familiar to anyone who has experienced low-level indy wrestling. Howell makes sure to also cover the other people in and around the shows, from the referee to the regulars in the crowd, a personal famous being an elderly man who sells smoked salmon from a plastic beneath his ringside seat.

This most definitely doesn’t have the luxurious feel that makes a “coffee table book” an object to enjoy and as a result it’s probably something you’ll only flick through once. But if you can pick it up for a few bucks or if you want something more obscure for collector purposes, this may be worth a look.

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