Smarten Up! Say It Right by Brian Blair

July 31, 2019

Unfortunately this is a book with redundant content in a redundant format.

Published in 2001, this is at heart a listing of around 150 insider wrestling terms with definitions and examples of usage. While that may have been of interest to some readers back when online wrestling content was more limited, it’s a topic covered by countless readily-available webpages today.

In theory the book has some value in that Blair is a wrestler giving trustworthy information about how terms really were used by those in the business rather than smarks. The problem is that many of the terms have become so widely known in their correct form that they’ve even become part of the on-screen product, a topic that’s been discussed in linguistic journals. Others are hardly exclusive to wrestling: terms such as burning a bridge, breaking in or old-timers are easy to understand without any specialist knowledge.

There are a few genuinely lesser-known phrases in here such as a cement mixer (a stiff, unflexible wrestler), a fence builder (a wrestler who refuses to share groupies or ring rats) and to heel a room (have more people sleep in the room than the permitted occupancy to save cash) but they aren’t enough to justify a purchase.

To make things worse, while this might have made for an entertaining e-book, it’s not enough content to justify a printed book. Indeed, there’s some major padding just to get to the 100 pages that are here. This includes a list of websites, a list of training schools, and even an explanation of carny that effectively comes down to the rule “stick iz before each vowel” and is stretched out to 15 pages of redundant examples.

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