The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pro Wrestling by Lou Albano & Bert Sugar

July 1, 2019

Oh boy. This is the result of the publishers of a series along the lines of the “…for Dummies” brand deciding to cash in on the Monday Night Wars era boom by doing a wrestling title and finding the always media-friendly Sugar and Albano to lend their names. If you’ve seen any of their appearances in mainstream media reports of the era, you’ll know their role is to play a gimmick that excites TV producers rather than to lend any real insight.

Fortunately it appears the bulk of the book was written by a professional, Roger Woodson. He’s done similar titles on everything from photography to “reaching your goals”, so has the skills needed to quickly explain an unfamiliar topic in simple terms.

The problem is that while he does a decent job of that, the book’s in the unfortunate position that anyone with enough interest to read a book on pro wrestling will likely know more than the author. It’s not a topic where you can give useful “how to” tips, so it’s more of a potted history, an overview of the late 20th century scene, and one hell of a lot of padding.

There is some good background on the development of the business, though it appears to be largely lifted from 1970s title Whatever Happened To Gorgeous George. But the bulk of the book is made up of space-filling lists such as a list of female wrestlers, a list of finishing holds, or a list of websites (complete with 1990s-style elaborate URLs.)

Unless you’re a dedicated fan, there’s a good chance you’ll find a couple of nuggets of information you didn’t know, but you’ll also have to wade through a lot of stuff that’s not of any interest. Ultimately, while it’s relatively well-written, there’s no real need for wrestling to be in such a series and it’s the type of book you’d most likely receive from a relative you was shopping at late notice and remembered you like wrestling. That said, you can pick it up for a penny, so it may interest completists.

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