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1. Ringside: A History of Professional
2. The Revenge of Hatpin Mary: Women,
3. The Encyclopedia of Professional
4. Adventures in Larryland!: Life
5. Swimming with Piranhas: Surviving
6. Slaphappy: Pride, Prejudice, and
7. Steel Chair to the Head: The Pleasure
8. Hooker : An Authentic Wrestler's
9. Pro Wrestling Kids' Style: The
10. Wrestling at the Chase: The Inside
11. Biographical Dictionary of Professional
12. Tonight in This Very Ring: A Fan's
13. Tuff Stuff Professional Wrestling
14. Professional Wrestling Intellectual:
15. Black Stars of Professional Wrestling
16. Professional Wrestling Trivia
17. Everybody Down Here Hates Me:
18. Professional Wrestling As Ritual
19. 1996 in Wrestling: 1996 in Professional
20. Professional Wrestling (1912)

1. Ringside: A History of Professional Wrestling in America
by Scott M. Beekman
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2006-06-30)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$21.73
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 027598401X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Despite its status as one of the oldest and most enduringly popular sports in history, wrestling has been pushed to the background of the current American sports scene. Most people today would have a hard time even considering wrestling (with some of its modern theatrics) in the same terms as track and field or boxing. But until the 1920s, wrestling stood as a legitimate professional sport in this country, and a widely practiced amateur one as well. Its past respectability may not have endured, but the advent of cable television in the 1980s offered the sport a renewed opportunity to play a determining role in American popular culture. This opportunity was not wasted, and wrestlers now assume places in politics and film at the highest levels. Ringside, the first work to fully examine the history of professional wrestling in this country, provides an illuminating and colorful account of all of the various athletes, entertainers, businessmen, and national outlooks that have determined wrestling's erratic route through American history.

This chronological work begins with a brief account of wrestling's global history, and then proceeds to investigate the sport's growth as a specifically American institution. Wrestling has continued to survive in the face of technological developments, scandals, public ridicule, and a lack of centralized control, and today this supremely adaptable entertainment form represents, in sum, an international industry capable of attracting enormous television and pay-per-view audiences, along with massive amounts of advertising and merchandizing revenue. Ringside focuses on the business of wrestling as well as on the performers and their in-ring antics, and offers readers a fully nuanced examination of the development of professional wrestling in America.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Written and Informative
Professor Beekman provides an excellent history of American wrestling in Ringside. He proceeds in roughly chronological fashion from prehistory to the present with a heavy emphasis on twentieth century America. The early chapters on the myriad of early wrestling styles such as catch, collar and elbow, and Cornish were particularly helpful for my research. More than a simple history of the matches, Ringside provides thoughtful analysis of the economics, symbolism, and technology of wrestling. The work's prose is easy to read and free of theoretical terms. Ringside is an excellent choice for scholars doing research as well as ordinary guys who just want to know more about wrestling. I only wish the book was longer. With only 146 pages of text the narrative seems a little rushed.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Backstory
Before buying nearly the entire professional wrestling industry, Vince McMahon tried to erase the history of sports entertainment, or so it seemed to the weekly viewer of his numerous shows. In taking the World Wrestling Federation national, breaking with the territorial agreements of old, he sought to have his organization exist in a vacuum. To the viewer of WWF programming, no other federations existed, and any wrestler that did not wrestle for him was just as invisible. When wrestlers did leave the NWA or AWA to join the WWF, they left their past with them.

So what came before the rise of the WWF (now WWE)? Beekman follows the trail back through the heyday of the National Wrestilg Alliance, to the days when run-of-the-mill George Wagner decided to reinvent himself as "Gorgeuos George." He digs even deeper to the stories of the famous stars of the early part of the twentieth century, to find Jim Londos, Ed "Strangler" Lewis and Frank Gotch. He traces the story of William Muldoon, a contemporary and friend of boxing's first hero, John L. Sullivan. He reveals wrestling presidents and finds the activity in Civil War camps.

The author reaches even farther back, to find the roots of the professional side of wrestling, the first moneymakers, and finds them in a place no one might have guessed. He also unveils the evolutionary sequence that brought the sport to its familiar form today, from the elimination of wrestling styles to the development of angles and storylines.

In all fairness to the McMahon and his WWE, now that the wrestling war has been won - for now, if history is any indication of what's to come - their stance has softened considerably, and the history of the sport is now embraced with open arms.

5-0 out of 5 stars An exhaustive history of pro wrestling in America
Scott Beekman was a subscriber to my pro wrestling history newsletter for years and corresponded (and credited me) in his book.Yet, it was I who learned from him.

This book is one the best pro wrestling history books I have ever read.Tremendous in it's coverage of the pioneer era of wrestling (the days before Frank Gotch).Inside you will learn of the various styles and how they progressed and changed.The different masters of the styles and how they eventually developed into what we today know as pro wrestling and MMA.

Yes, the two genres have their roots in the pioneer days of wrestling.Frank Gotch and Farmer Burns had far more in common with Matt Hughes and Randy Couture than with Triple H or the Undertaker.However, in just a few short decades that all changed.The original sport of American pro wrestling evolved (or de-evolved!) from legitimate competition into farcical fantasy.Yet both sides of the tree grew into billion dollar businesses.

Scott's book is a must have for any serious wrestling or MMA historian.

3-0 out of 5 stars Professional Wrestling 101
I knew what I was going to get when I read this book before I even started it.When I saw that the author,Scott Beekman was a college professor (Ohio University)I knew Professor Beekman would be treating professional wrestling in somber tones.After all he has to face his esteemed colleagues in department meetings and annual conferences and he couldn't very well write a book on professional wrestling that was, well you know....fun or funny. (tongue firmly in cheek) I'll give one example of where the book fails to entertain.Managers havehistorically been an important part of professional wrestling and yet are barely mentioned here.Too bad.Any book on professional wrestling could/should have at least a chapter devoted to managers.The book is well-researched no doubt but not once did I laugh or even smile.I did however find myself saying "Hmmm,I never knew that". Entertaining ? Not at all.Informative ? Absolutely.Think of it as a textbook.Don't take it to the beach and don't buy the book,but rather borrow it from alibrary and read it while sitting in a straight-back chair.Somehow that seems appropriate. ... Read more

2. The Revenge of Hatpin Mary: Women, Professional Wrestling And Fan Culture in the 1950s
by Chad Dell
Paperback: 184 Pages (2006-02-24)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$23.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0820472700
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This book may set down the myth of June Cleaver once and for all. Chad Dell deftly details a 1950s revolution in the making: millions of women of all ages flocked to wrestling arenas across the country, drawn to a parade of glistening bodies, purple satin capes and characters such as Gorgeous George and Killer Kowalski while millions more roared their approval as they watched on television. Dell's analysis of television broadcasts, media artifacts, fan club ephemera and interviews with wrestlers and their fans paints a new portrait of women in the 1950s who embraced the power of their passions. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Enthralling history of the spectacle that was Pro Wrestling fandom
My great-grandmother was a HUGE fan of wrestling and I related to so much of this book because of her passion! There are still many folks that follow this entertainment form, but this is an enthralling history of the spectacle that was and is Pro Wrestling.
It's also a great examination and analysis of fandom during a period of growth for women in the US. Heaps of historical insight that are forgotten by many that lived during the 30s, 40s & 50s and may not understood by young people today

Great inside info into how women found common ground in a form of entertainment & used it to form a women's community. Helped women find public voices, including desires!

I would have loved seeing more images and fanzines! It would be a dynamite website! ... Read more

3. The Encyclopedia of Professional Wrestling: 100 Years of History, Headlines & Hitmakers
by Kristian Pope, Ray Whebbe
Paperback: 256 Pages (2003-11)
list price: US$24.99 -- used & new: US$53.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0873496256
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This second edition offers an updated no-holds-barred approach to professional wrestling dating back to the beginning of the sport. An expanded and revised biography section features information including ring names, aliases, career highlights and best matches. Readers will discover the first professional wrestler, Frank Gotch; how the Rock came to be; how comedian Andy Kaufman became the inter-gender champion and how Muhammed Ali took Japanese wrestling by storm. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Rigged "Sport"
This book visits the rise of pro wrestling's popularity in its hundred year history, focusing mostly on 80s and early 90s stars. I know wrestling is rigged, for sure after reading Hulk Hogan's autobiographry where he actually admits to it. Doesn't mention the monday night wars in which WCW beat WWF for 52 consecutive weeks in a row on TV ratings. The outcomes of the matches are predetermined and such and such agrees or refuses to job. Overall, a mediocre book about a kind of guilty pleasure that is pro wrestling. I admit I still watch TNA on Thursday nights.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
For all the wrestling fans out there, this book is awesome!great facts and details.

3-0 out of 5 stars A good bookbut it misses a lot
I was looking for a book that would be a complete history of wrestling, but there doesn't seem to be one out there. This book has lots of good photos, including memorabilia such as ads & publicity photos, but there's a lot missing here. Only the briefest of bios are provided (I wish it included at least year of birth, height, weight), some major wrestlers are omitted entirely, & there's no index. Unlike a "real" encyclopedia, most of the book is not arranged alphabetically (only the "Slamographies" section is alphabetized), so an index would be useful. I'm mostly a fan of 1950s - 1960s wrestlers, so I wanted to find information on the old stars, but this book misses some of the biggest attractions of that era (like Haystacks Calhoun). A worthy addition to your wrestling reference library, but will somebody please write a definitive encyclopedia on this subject?

4-0 out of 5 stars History of Pro Wrestling Would be More Accurate Title
This book is pretty good.It has a lot of really neat picture and tons of good facts and stories.Any wrestling fan should own it.There are several spelling mistakes, however, which make the bok seem like an amateur effort.Overall, still worth reading and owning

5-0 out of 5 stars If you are a wrestling fan this book is for you!!!
The authors of "Professional Wrestling", Kristian Pope and Ray Whebbe have outdone themselves with this one. If you are a wrestling fan, young or old, long time or new, there is something in this book (actually a whole lot of things), to keep you interested for a long time to come. My favorite chapters were the "Ring Beauties" and "Slamographies", the former because there is not a lot of press about the ladies around and over the years they have had a profound influence on the "sport" both in the ring and behind the scenes. The last chapter "Slamographies" tells you every thing you ever wanted to know about every wrestler that has made some sort of impact on the sport. I am going to test my wrestling fan friends with the info presented here and maybe pick up a few bucks in the process. Great Stuff - Thank you Kris & Ray ... Read more

4. Adventures in Larryland!: Life in Professional Wrestling
by Larry Zbyszko
Paperback: 240 Pages (2008-06-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1550228269
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Wrestling’s self-proclaimed “Living Legend” may never wear a championship belt again, but he’s definitely not down for the count, as this memoir shows in its entertaining, often hilarious story of a remarkable ascent to wrestling notoriety. Voted Rookie of the Year in 1974, Larry Zbyszko enjoyed 30 glorious years as a top draw in the wild and wacky world of professional wrestling. Attendance records were shattered when he wrestled the original “Living Legend,” Bruno Sammartino, in 1980 and won by hitting his former mentor with a chair—a rarity at the time. Chronicling Zbysko's transformation from baby-faced hero to one of the most hated wrestlers of his time, this uninhibited narrative reveals an insider's view of some of the most successful and controversial stories and scandals in pro-wrestling history.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars I've read better.
This book makes it seem like Larry Zbyszko needed some money and decided to make some quick cash by writing a book.The book was a good read detailing his start in wrestling and WCW years, but very little time is spent on anything else.He seems to skip over a lot in a book that was pretty short and could have used a few more stories to fill the pages.

3-0 out of 5 stars I've read better.
This book makes it seem like Larry Zbyszko needed some money and decided to make some quick cash by writing a book.The book was a good read detailing his start in wrestling and WCW years, but very little time is spent on anything else.He seems to skip over a lot in a book that was pretty short and could have used a few more stories to fill the pages.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Trip To Larryland Is Reccomended
Larry Zbyszko is one of the most well traveled wrestlers of any generation, having worked for nearly ever major promotion during his glorious career.

Larry sheds just enough light on his suburban upbringing, and speaks with awe and affection about his mentor and hero, Bruno Sammartino. Throughout the book Bruno's influence is obvious on Larry, and he applied it to carve out a legendary career of his own.

Larry shares insights on doing business with both Vince McMahon Sr. and Jr., and the chessgame between the McMahons against himself and Bruno that almost led to the dropping of the Sammartino/Zbyszko angle, to this day IMO the best angle ever done.

Larry glosses over his time in the NWA territories, which is understandable since he didn't spend a great deal of time in either area, but does give insight into why his blackmail angle with Dusty Rhodes and Baby Doll never happened.

Larry's stories of dealing with father-in-law Verne Gagne in the AWA are entertaining, as are his stories of the territory in general, such as the story behind his ninjas, and his wrestler vs. boxer feud with Scott LeDoux.

You'll hear Larry talk about the end of his in-ring career and his commentary career in WCW. He talks about business dealings with Jim Herd, Kip Frye, Bill Watts, and Eric Bischoff, why a program with Ric Flair never materialized, how his comeback feud with Lord Steven Regal came about and produces stellar matches, and caps it off with his stand against the New World Order, while talking about backstage dealings with the members, including Hulk Hogan.

You wish he'd have gone into a little more detail, but his writing of his time in the WWWF alone make it well worth the buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars So entertaining I could not put the book down!!!!!!
This a must read whether you are a fan of wrestling or not! It may be a short book, but the entertainment value more than makes up for the large font everyone seems to be concerned about. You get an insiders view of the way wrestling used to be instead of the new hyped up matches. Larry takes you on his journey into the world of wrestling from his beginnings. He allows you into his inner circle and shares some very colorful and entertaining experiences through the ups and downs of his career. It is well worth the journey and I would highly recommend this book to anyone!
The only reason you would not like this book is if you work for Vince McMahon!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book to read at the beach!
This book was a fast read, with much humor, which provided an excellent review of professional wrestling from the 1970s up through the 1990s when World Championship Wrestling was locked in a television rating war against the World Wrestling Federation (later changed to World Wrestling Entertainment)in an attempt to win over the hearts and souls of the fans.This book should be picked up by serious fans of pro wrestling.There are nuggets of solid information into the workings of pro wrestling which can be picked up from Larry's stories.One of the unique stories presented in the book is the relationship between Larry and his mentor, the great Bruno Sammartino, wrestling's original Living Legend.The story of their dealings with the McMahons, Vince Sr. and Jr. is the stuff of legend.Wrestling fans throughout the world will truly enjoy Adventures in Larryland! ... Read more

5. Swimming with Piranhas: Surviving the Politics of Professional Wrestling
by Howard Brody
Paperback: 430 Pages (2009-11-15)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1550228676
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Exposing wrestling’s inner workings and back-office deal making, this memoir is a hard-hitting firsthand look at the sport from Howard Brody, one of its most controversial promoters. Beginning with how he became involved with professional wrestling and produced his first television program, it then focuses on his time as president of the National Wrestling Alliance and reveals the truth behind the rumors surrounding his departure from the organization. Brody’s relationships with many of wrestling’s most powerful and creative figures—Vince and Linda McMahon, Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman, Tod Gordon, Antonio Inoki, Hiro Matsuda, the Funks, Dusty Rhodes, Jim Cornette, and Hulk Hogan—are discussed in detail, revealing many little-known details about the behind-the-scenes negotiations involved in booking and promoting shows. From dealing with building and talent managers to working with radio and television stations, Brody explains the nuances of booking promotions, discusses the nature of negotiating and selling wrestling to television networks and sponsors, and divulges fascinating details about many aspects of working in the wrestling business.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting perspective on the pro wrestling biz
I've read a lot of books written by/about wrestlers, so I was excited to read something from a promoter's point of view, as that is a part of the business which interests me greatly but isn't frequently written about. This book is an excellent and unique take on the business, but it's not a pretty story. Brody endures tremendous professional and personal ups and downs as he builds promotions, loses promotions...secures financing, loses financing... earns money, loses money... develops friendships, watches friends die... on and on, he perseveres and lives to tell the tale. He pulls no punches with his highly readable and entertaining storytelling style, and I appreciate the fact that the book is written from the perspective of a fan, which Brody remains, even after seeing and participating in all the ugliness behind the curtain. The cast of characters becomes unwieldy towards the end-- he throws a lot of names at you and it's hard to keep up-- but that just gives you a great excuse to read the book a second time! Pick it up, you won't regret it!

5-0 out of 5 stars pro wrestling with no punches pulled
A brutally honest look at pro wrestling outside of the ring.One man's story of what really goes on in the back rooms and his struggle to be seen as a major player in the business, though he never ever stepped in the ring.Many revealing truths aboutsome of the legends in the business, some pretty awful, and others very heartwarming from a man who has dealt with them all.This is a must read if you really want to know more about what really transpires in this crazy business.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
I knew Brody as the president of the NWA but there are so many interesting stories he has had during his time in the wrestling business. Any fan of Hiro Matsuda should pick this book up as he and Brody worked together closely. I find his biographical info on Matsuda (Matsuda trained Hulk Hogan and The Total Package amongst others) real interesting and would be interested in a more in-depth look at this great man.

Highlight of the book for me as to be the Herb Abrams stories what a unique man. All the crazy drug stories,swindling and even the theory by some that he's still alive.

These two topics just scratch the surface...great read!

5-0 out of 5 stars "Swimming With Piranhas,"A Good Read And A Cautionary Tale
While non wrestling fans might choose to avoid this book, they will miss out on a heck of a good read if they do. Wrestling fans will get a look "behind the curtain" at a sport, and a business that brings out both the best, and the worst, in its devotees.

Author Brody became fascinated by wrestling as an adolescent, many do, but what sets Brody apart is that he "followed his bliss."He began as a writer for wrestling publications, and went on to become a promoter (and president of the National Wrestling Alliance, NWA). Along the way he was betrayed and hustled by some of the biggest names in the game.

From "friends" who sabotaged his nascent writing career to the strange duo of Dory Funk, Jr. and his wife Martie. Who made impossible demands--including that an unready protege be given a major push. This push was detrimental to to the other workers in the locker room, and to Brody's promotion.When he (Brody) attempted to make peace with Dory and Martie.They told him that "it was business, not personal."

This is just one of many episodes recounted in this book.Also included are sad vignettes involving the late Chris Candido, qnd the still troubled Scott Hall. Anyone considering investing in, or working in professional wrestling, would be wise to take the time to read this book.

The book is not entirely a chronicle of missteps and calumny.The story of Rockin Robin, daughter of Grizzly Smith, and sister of Sam Houston, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who grew up in what can only be imagined as a nightmarish homelife. Robin became a top woman wrestler, and a full blown alcoholic.At a point where death seemed inevitable, she chose to live, come to grips with her horrendous treatment by an unspeakable father, and get her life on course.In short, she became a survivor.

Howard is also a survivor. Though he says that he is through with wrestling, I have no doubt that an older, and wiser, Howard Brody will return to what he calls his "mistress," pro wrestling.I can't wait to see what form that return takes!

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read!
If you have found this book you are probably a avid pro wrestling fan.You probably have purchased dozens of wrestling related books and like myself, are somewhat of a expert on the subject.It is hard for any of us to get excited about another "Tell All" story about the life of a wrestler.There are so many of these books out there that when one FINALLY comes around with a truly different story it really should spark some interest.I found this book at a local book store and figured I would give it a chance since Howard Brody isn't a wrestler at all... He is a former promotor and National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) President.

I couldn't be been more happy with my purchase.Howard has an amazing memory of his life's work.I've often wondered what it would be like working with the wrestlers and this story not only goes into detail vividly, but Howard also puts the reader right in the board room with the biggest promotors of the NWA during that time.You will hear what Bill Behrens, Dennis Coralluzzo and Tony Rumble were like behind closed doors.However, they really are tame compared to the crazy lifestyle of former UWF owner, Herb Abrams.

I guess what really made the book so special was that you could see Howard really tried to do the best job he could even at his personal expense.He was not above pointing the finger directly at himself which adds to his credibility.You will also see what a great man Hiro Matsuda really was.(Matsuda trained Hulk Hogan and Lex Luger among many others.)

I totally enjoyed this book.Howard is a terrific writer and I hope he will write some more wrestling related books.A+++ read!!

Scott Porter ... Read more

6. Slaphappy: Pride, Prejudice, and Professional Wrestling
by Thomas Hackett
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2006-03-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$0.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006019829X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Slaphappy is reporter Thomas Hackett's penetrating look at the world of professional wrestling, for those who love the spectacle and for the sport's skeptics and the uninitiated. Through interviews with wrestlers, promoters, and fans, Hackett explores the full range of issues that swirl around wrestling culture -- fame, masculinity, violence, aggression, performance, and play. Among the lessons of professional wrestling is that deceit is a fundamental fact of American life. And yet, paradoxically, the one thing wrestling isn't is dishonest. Although wrestlers play pretend, wrestling itself doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is -- fantastically absurd, a very American kind of madness. Celebrity-obsessed, pathologically narcissistic, murderously competitive, it both epitomizes and parodies the delusional egoism at the heart of the culture.

More than that, wrestling provides its fans and performers a medium for thinking about "getting over" in America today. This spectacle of excess may be the apotheosis of American imbecility, but it is also defiant, hopeful, liberating, and unifying -- a throwback to the raucous pleasures of early theater. Fans aren't detached connoisseurs, looking satirically down on life, concealing their anxieties in the cold comforts of irony. They are total participants in a carnival of their own making, shouting epithets, throwing chairs, expatiating their worries in a crowd's triumphant foolishness.

It is, Slaphappy concludes, all the stuff of human culture. Where does fantasy end and reality begin? Where does the performance stop and life take over? Writing with affection and discernment, Hackett gets deep into the culture, discovering that the make-believe competition of wrestling is indeed "real" for millions of young men -- real in the sense that something real and important is at stake: their worth as men.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This was a wonderful book. The two-, and three-star reviews seemed to have at least one common complaint: the fact that the author had a negative outlook on wrestling and therefore wrote a biased book. While, admittedly, the author does initially have a "negative" outlook on professional wrestling, it becomes apparent during the course of the book that his disdain doesn't come from wrestling itself, but from the culture that causes teenage boys and grown men alike to turn to such a violent sport for feelings of validation. This begs the question, of course, of whether or not one must adore wrestling in order to write a book about it. Simply because the author has an opinion that isn't gushing with adoration on the subject of professional wrestling doesn't mean he or she is any less qualified to write a sociological book exploring the psychological reasons for which legions of fans flock towrestling for escape from the quotidian routine of everyday life in America. One could just as easily find another way to be entertained, but millions of people choose professional wrestling; this book examines the "why" behind that.

One reviewer stated that while the author spent time in Van Nuys with the people of XPW he (the author) made no reference to the company's ties with pornography: a statement that is blatantly false; the author talks for several paragraphs about his time spent on the site of where a pornographic film was being shot and uses pornography to parallel professional wrestling.

In short, the book was exceptionally well-written and I often found myself in a state of self-reflection when the author opined on American cultures obsession with what is considered the ideal image of "manliness". The book is fantastic and makes an attempt to delve into the minds of the people who devote their free time to professional wrestling (mostly the independent companies), and though others complain that the book makes broad, sweeping generalizations about wrestling fans, the fact is that the author cannot possibly HOPE to interview every, single wrestling fan he meets.

3-0 out of 5 stars Cultural look into pro-wrestling
Journalist Thomas Hackett takes a look into professional wrestling from a non-participant point of view in an attempt to explain why pro-wrestling is so popular in American society. His timeskipping gets a bit annoying but overall it's not a bad book. Rather than dealing with storylines in the big feds, Hackett spends some time hanging out with independent wrestlers that are virtual nobodies except in their area, and seldom even then. Unfortunately, he also pretty much sticks to a point that wrestling is low-class and seems to base many of his writings on backyard or 'extreme' wrestlers that are willing to bleed any chance they get. It's an interesting cultural look into the lower ranks of "pro-wrestling". I put it in quotes because these guys rarely get paid anything and are doing it to try and break into the business. There is a lopsided interview with The Rock but other than that, Hackett sticks to these wrestlers and even some rabid fans who later turn on the 'sport'. He also stops by XPW based in Van Nuys, CA. If you don't know what Van Nuys is known for, find out and you'll see it's another attempt by the author to cut on the business. Another unfortunate viewpoint of Hackett's is that he seems to think wrestling is about [...]-eroticism and has little thought that wrestlers are athletes. I grant that a larger part of the wanna-be's of the bar & barn circuit, and even a few big names, aren't athletes but generally it takes something more than being a low-grade actor to put on a convincing story/show in the wrestling business.

Overall, it is an interesting book when he talks with the fans and wanna-be's he travelled with. The Rock and Hart family chapters did little for the book other than to put a few names into it. The author looks down on pro-wrestling and it shows. There are issues wrong within pro-wrestling but this business is part of our society and doesn't appear to be leaving.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great
If you want an inside look at wrestling and how it operates, this is not the book for you.However, if you want a look at pro wrestling and the intersection between it and pop culture, this book does a decent job.I can see how someone could be attracted to the Indys at a writing subject.They have more hardcore fans, and the press access is a lot easier than with Vince McMahon's WWE.

On the flip side, the fact that he starts off with anti-wrestling bias, the poor timeline and the lit-crit references that would go over the heads of 80% of the population are problematic.He seems so intent on making his language authoritative that you wonder what shortcomings is he trying to make up for.He would have done a better job backing out a lot of the high-falutin' talk and speaking plainly.That said, if you're someone who wants to read about wrestling as critique as a popular culture phenomenon, this book will suffice.

4-0 out of 5 stars Understanding the larger world of wrestling culture
Here's another excellent wrestling history book for any involved in the sport: SLAPHAPPY: PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING provides not just a history of the sport but a lively, involving survey of America's involvement with pro wrestling. There's a healthy dose of anthropology and critical theory which enhances rather than bogging down the report; and there's a reporter's observation edge to the survey which blends a touch of humor into the mix. The recipe is a perfect formula for understanding the larger world of wrestling culture.

2-0 out of 5 stars Lacking
This book had potential, but there were too many flaws to give it a 'Good' rating.

-Thomas Hackett is writing the book as if it is for a glossy mens' mag, like Maxim or Esquire (not surprisingly, he has that background).There is a sense of ironic detachment that is off-putting- he seems to be fascinated, yet repulsed by the culture he is writing about.His preconceived notions of what pro wrestling, and its fans, are really about are evident, and gives the book an "above it all" feel to it.
-His timeline jumps way too much.It's the late 90s, then 2002, then 2000, then 2003, back to the 90s; there is not a clear narrative structure to the book.He writes about ECW in the present tense, which gives the book a dated quality.It's as if this book has sat on a shelf for years, and is only now getting published.
-As a previous reviewer mentioned, he spends much of his time on "extreme" independent wrestlers- an interesting section, but could have added a more balanced look at someone who is in The Show, as well as the growing subset of female (non valet) wrestlers (though there is a candid interview with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson that, though biased, was a good episode in the book).Also, Hackett mentions XPW, yet does not get into any detail on the federal indictments and its ties to pornography.
-Finally, an issue of journalistic integrity arose.Hackett claims in a late chapter that he was recovering from a motorcycle accident at one point in his research, and then in the appendix modifies the claim and says it was a scooter mishap, but it sounded more "macho" to say it was from a chopper-- poor form, and casts other impressions and observations he has made in a dim light.

All that being said, there is an eye-opening profile of Stu Hart's Dungeon in Calgary.Far from being overly obsequious, it gives an unvarnished look at Stu and his family, as well as the numerous problems that afflicted the Hart family (some of them self-induced).I am a big fan of Bret and Owen Hart, but it presented a side that is often not shown-- Vince McMahon (with very good reason) is usually portrayed as the villain, and Stampede Wrestling as the protagonist; the truth lies in between, and can be a shade of grey.2 STARS ... Read more

7. Steel Chair to the Head: The Pleasure and Pain of Professional Wrestling
Paperback: 384 Pages (2005-01-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$13.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0822334380
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The antagonists--oiled, shaved, pierced, and tattooed; the glaring lights; the pounding music; the shouting crowd: professional wrestling is at once spectacle, sport, and business. Steel Chair to the Head provides a multifaceted look at the popular phenomenon of pro wrestling. The contributors combine critical rigor with a deep appreciation of wrestling as a unique cultural form, the latest in a long line of popular performance genres. They examine wrestling as it happens in the ring, is experienced in the stands, is portrayed on television, and is discussed in online chat rooms. In the process, they reveal wrestling as an expression of the contradictions and struggles that shape American culture.

The essayists include scholars in anthropology, psychology, film studies, communication studies, and sociology, one of whom used to wrestle professionally. Classic studies of wrestling by Roland Barthes, Carlos Monsiva¡is, Sharon Mazer, and Henry Jenkins appear alongside original essays. Whether exploring how pro wrestling inflects race, masculinity, and ideas of reality and authenticity; how female fans express their enthusiasm for male wrestlers; or how lucha libre provides insights into Mexican social and political life, Steel Chair to the Head gives due respect to pro wrestling by treating it with the same thorough attention usually reserved for more conventional forms of cultural expression.

Contributors. Roland Barthes, Douglas L. Battema, Susan Clerc, Laurence de Garis, Henry Jenkins III, Henry Jenkins IV, Heather Levi, Sharon Mazer, Carlos Monsiva¡is, Lucia Rahilly, Catherine Salmon, Nicholas Sammond, Phillip Serrat, Philip Sewell ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not for the casual wrestling fan, it's a good book but from a more objective, journalistic perspective.
One thing can be said about this book: it's unique. Not just for the smarts but definitely not for the marks, this book falls into a third category: The curious onlooker who wants to study what wrestling's appeal is, dissect it from ethical, psychological and cultural perspectives, and interpret the results. That's not to say it's bad- it isn't, in fact I find it very interesting. But then again, I know a lot of people who would find it quite boring. It's written by psychology and sociology scholars, after all- but don't dismiss it just yet.

What the book does is examine what wrestling's impact is on the world- the female viewpoint, the way its masculine ideal is marketed, its approval of behavioral tendencies, its sometimes subtle racism, and so on. As stated, it's from more of a journalistic or scientific perspective.

This isn't to say it's not fun. It is, though for one to enjoy it one must step outside of wrestling for a while. The perfect audience for this book is an intelligent wrestling fan who not only has some knowledge of wrestling history but also an appreciation of the business side of things that make it tick- in other words, a fan who enjoys what he's watching but can then turn off the tv, step outside of the role of "fan", and learn more about the gears and joints that keep the industry churning.

I'll give a brief example: The book describes one of the lines of action figures, and how each figure was accompanied by an accessory such as a chair, metal piping, or other object with which to attack an opponent. It's pointed out that huge ex-WCW star Giant is accompanied not by such an object but rather a whole extra figure, small Rey Mysterio Jr. The packaging lists a feature which the book explains: "for fun one can slip Mysterio's tiny neck into the grip of the Giant's enormous right hand and then squeeze the larger figure's legs together to see him sadistically lift, lower, and strangle the hapless Mexican". They give an accompanying photo of said event which I find amusing, but that right there is what this book's all about: It goes on to examine why one would find such a thing amusing, and tries to figure out what led to this particular pairing of action figures in such a context, reaching pretty reasonable conclusions that range from potential racism to the size of wrestlers and how we're programmed to respond to them.

See, that's the kind of book this is- it helps to know some of the stuff they talk about, because then one's own familiarity, understanding, and enjoyment of the things dicsussed are enhanced. So in that way it applies to wrestling fans. At the same time, the book's goal- while not being combative- explores the very nature of the business/fan relationship and how it works, as well as when it does and doesn't. It's very well written and informative, and researched enough to make very few mistakes- these guys are definitely well-read on their subject.

So I guess it all comes down to a matter of how you answer the question "Why do you like wrestling?". If your answer is a perfectly acceptable "it's fun", "It's amusing", "it's entertaining", or something similar, then I'd have to say I agree but you won't want to bother with this book, you don't need to bother exploring all the cultural resonance. Now, if to that question you answer "Hmm, that's weird, why do I like wrestling? What makes me care about these guys, even though I know it's predetermined? Why do my minority and female friends watch? What's the point at the end of the day?", then this book will definitely be of interest to you. When all's said and done, it's essentially a bunch of smart people who got together to explore what wrestling does to (and because of) popular culture. A very interesting read for those who want to take the time to see what they've come up with. ... Read more

8. Hooker : An Authentic Wrestler's Adventures Inside the Bizarre World of Professional Wrestling.
by Lou Thesz
Paperback: 224 Pages (2001-02-06)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$325.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0970651600
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars This Will Educate You
I've read this over twice now.If you can find a copy, I recommend that you hold on to it and read over and over again.Lou Thesz doesn't hold anything back and he's very informative about the business from its embryonic stages to the transition from a legitimate sport to an exhibition to its re-growth during the 80s and 90s.His opinions are fascinating.A must buy and read.Get this!

4-0 out of 5 stars a must-read for professional wrestling fans
Lou Thesz's "Hooker" is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of sports entertainment, er, professional wrestling.It provides a good overview of the career of an indisputably great figure in this strange business.My only reservation is that the book isn't long enough.Anyone who read Thesz's letters to the Wrestling Observer knows the man had a wealth of anecdotes and insights about the wrestling business.It's a pity Thesz hadn't been more free with the anecdotes.It's also a shame Thesz didn't talk about life after wrestling - perhaps he didn't think anyone would be interested in Lou Thesz, the man?Oh, and by the way, am I the only one who found that anecdote about George Tragos to be seriously unsettling?Tragos might have been a great wrestler, but he sounded like a monster to me.Again, a great contribution to the under-recorded history of this business. It's like history itself talking.

5-0 out of 5 stars An traditional, memorative view of wrestling history.
In this book, Thesz gives an honest, open and interesting view of professional wrestling from an old timer's view point. Thesz was a reknowned "hooker", being that he was capable enough in the ring to actually destroy an opponent if need be, and has no qualms with giving the truth behind many figures in history. Ironically, you'd think he hated those deemed "performers," or those who were simply acters instead of accomplished amateurs or hookers, yet he seems to have been open-minded enough to realize that for the big money to occur, things had to change.

Thesz is a very open and honest person and I'd suggest this book to any wrestling fan who truly wants a good insight to the roots of professional wrestling through the 20th century.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wrestling History 101
This book is amazing!On telling the history of professional wrestling its second to none.And the best source for the history of Catch Wrestlers(Hookers), How wrestling went from Carnivals to the big time.And the stages of evolution it went through on the way to the Sports Entertainment its evolved to today.All the greats are talked about in length.Frank Gotch, Ed Lewis, Joe Stecher all the great hookers of yesteryear.This book tells how all the old promoters used to run the Business.Very intersting reading.

This book's weak point is in the actually biography of Lou Thesz.Way to much stuff left out.He would rattle on for page after page about Toots Mondt and other promoters.And then throw in a sentence like "I was married for 30 years to so and so.I wished I never met her."And just leave it at that.So he comes out of this book kind of like a cardboard cut out of the good guy he played in the ring.But dont get me wrong this book is awesome and a must read.5 star supreme, one of the most interesting books Ive ever read.Just dont think that Lou reveals much about his self.Because he dosent.He talks about his 3 sons with just a one liner about he has three sons. Very shallow about his family life.And no pictures.But a great biography of the actual wrestling and behind the scene promotions.And how George Tragos took the son of a Hungarian/German shoe maker and made him one of the most dangerous human beings to ever walk the planet.Must read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Just for Wrestlers
This book comes across very well even if you are not old enough to know of Lou Thesz.You have to come to grips with the fact that most of his matches were fake to one degree or the other, but some were totally real, or even outright fights, and he was a highly skilled wrestler.His sportsmanship comes across loud and clear.I could cheer for this guy however he played it. ... Read more

9. Pro Wrestling Kids' Style: The Most Amazing Untold Story in Professional Wrestling History, Second Edition
by Shawn Crossen
Hardcover: 147 Pages (2005-01)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$9.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1879000121
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In 1984, a new wrestling league was created on a cable television channel in Minnesota."The Kids Pro Wrestling Show" started out as fun and games, but was soon seen in the living rooms of thousands across the country via cable television, and the National Wrestling Federation (NWF) was born.

For five years, the NWF was managed and promoted by a young and talented kid named Shawn Crossen, otherwise known as "Crusher Crossen" in the ring.In 1984, Shawn was just 14 years old, but by 1986, he was promoting live wrestling venues at local armory halls in front of hundreds of paid spectators and nationwide cable audiences.

But going from bed mattresses in a basement to live public cards in a professional wrestling ring did not come easy.The evolution took years to accomplish with many obstacles along the way.From cable tv suspensions to insurance problems, there were always a host of problems to deal with.Yet somehow, Shawn managed to make it all work.And all the while, the NWF had positive community support with several newspaper articles written about it—this long before the existence of the backyard-type youth wrestling leagues now so commonly seen today.

But unlike the backyard style wrestling leagues of today’s time, the NWF was a much different venture.Similar to the major leagues of professional wrestling, the NWF came across very professional looking and organized.This in turn would explain the reasons why the league had such great success.

NWF Wrestling was a popular attraction to kids and adults alike and seemed like it would last forever.So what ever happened to this incredible league?Now, for the first time in nearly 20 years, Shawn "Crusher" Crossen has come forth with this remarkable story that tells the entire sequence of events, from the birth of it’s creation, to the final bell.Whether you’re a fan of wrestling or not, you will find yourself marveled at the abilities of this very talented 14-year-old and the league he created. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars A teenage wrestling promotor
I thoughouly enjoyed this book. It is very excellent material about a teenage boy that not only handled wrestling like a business but also had fun doing it. This is a must read for young wrestling fans. I can think of no better example for our youth to follow

5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse of the inner workings of the 80's wrestling world
Pro Wrestling Kids' Style is the remarkable story of Shawn "Crusher" Crossen, who managed and promoted "The Kids Pro Wrestling Show" which started in 1984 as fun and games but soon spread to thousands of living rooms across the country via cable television and began the National Wrestling Federation, or NWF. For five years, Crossen kept the NWF going with professional poise, and achieved high popularity among kids and adults alike. Yet all good things must come to an end; Pro Wrestling Kids' Style tells of the hard lessons that led to the final NWF bell, and reflects on where the movers and shakers of the NWF are today. A fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse of the inner workings of the 80's wrestling world, which reads briskly and is especially recommended for sports fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must have
This is a phenomenal book that should be required reading for all middle school students. Shawn is an inspiration to us all. If you ever have the opportunity to sit and talk with Shawn, I encourage to keep your ears open and soak up every minute. He is not only a remarkable writer but an amazing human being. We need more people like Shawn Crossen in this world and I hope he has the opportunity to share his unique wisdom and talent with the youth of today. They can only benefit.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pro Wrestling Kids' Style
Follow Shawn "Crusher" Crossen through the journey of his life from a normal teen to a wrestling promoter.Shawn created, started, and promoted the National Wrestling Federation (NWF), a kids wrestling organization, while just a teenager. For five years the NWF was under the control of Shawn Crossen and it was the start of not only the Federation but of what is known today as backyard wrestling except, they actually had venues, they actually had fans, they were on T.V., they were actually wrestling, these teens who stopped at nothing to live their dreams.You not only hear from Crossen in the book, but you see the events through pictures, these young boys living the lives of wrestling superstars. Walking the walk, and talking the talk, Crossen recreates his struggle, his adversities, and his successes in this easy to follow book that all can enjoy. Before this I'd never heard of this league where kids wrestle, but I wish to now see it, and watch the story unfold as I have read it in the book. To see history, to see the performance, to see the life of author Shawn Crossen.Good Job, Shawn, on a great book and a great success.

4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Maturity OfA 14 Year Old!
If there is a lesson to be taught at the heart of Shawn "Crusher" Crossen's first book, Pro Wrestling Kid's Style, it's that you can accomplish practically anything, even if you are only fourteen years old, if you set your mind to it.

Crossen's narrative recounts how in the mid 1980s, at the tender age of fourteen and showing great maturity, he was successful in setting up, managing and promoting a kid's wrestling league, the National Wrestling Federation, whose matches were shown oncable television . The participants were from Minnesota, and the bouts were staged in a similar manner as viewers would be accustomed to when watching professional wrestlers. There were tag team matches, multiples wrestlers in the ring at the same time, and some familiar comical shenanigans exhibited by the pros.
The wrestlers even adopted colorful stage names and characters as Rough Ryan, Bruiser Bradhoft, Luxury Lane, Man Man Nash, Merciless Mike, and many others.

All of the matches were creatively planned and rehearsed in advance, with the exception of those involving championship titles. Eventually, the latter events were likewise pre-determined.
There was in addition a ring announcer, who contributed to the drama we often associate with professional wrestling.
The popularity of these staged matches even came to the attention of the local media, resulting in several newspaper articles and write-ups.

As the author recounts, the success of the league culminated with the staging of block buster events at the local Armory that attracted sizeable audiences.
Quite amazing were the television camera skills, as well as the marketing and advertising skills Crossen and his participants displayed. They even were able to attract sponsors-something that is quite amazing for young teenagers with no business experience, yet displaying a great deal of maturity.

Although the author's writing is in need of editing, the book is nonetheless an enjoyable read and learning experience, as its moral successfully captures many important lessons on life.

Norm Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures

... Read more

10. Wrestling at the Chase: The Inside Story of Sam Muchnick and the Legends of Professional Wrestling
by Larry Matysik
Paperback: 232 Pages (2005-06-06)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$11.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1550226843
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Legendary St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick and the magical television wrestling show broadcast from the opulent Chase Hotel from 1959 to 1983 are captured in this informative, amusing, and sometimes poignant story of one of wrestling's greatest eras. The high-class establishment of the Chase Hotel and the rough-and-tumble world of professional wrestling made strange bedfellows, but they worked together to produce an addicting spectacle under the direction of Muchnick. Ric Flair, "King Kong" Brody, and Andre the Giant are just some of the many characters who are featured in the engrossing, funny, and touching tales. Any fan of pro wrestling will delight in the history, humor, and uniqueness of Sam Muchnick and the Chase.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars Old Time Professional Rasslin'
Wrestling at the Chase is a nice little memoir of old time professional wrestling the way it was supposed to be.Back in the days with tough, realistic matches, and big mean, but realistic looking fighters.Back in the day when there were strong storylines that did not often cross over into the phony or unbelievable.

Back in the day, St. Louis, under promoter Sam Muchnick, was one of the many loci of professional wrestling. It was a regional promotional system that was held together in the National Wrestling Alliance before Vince McMahon came along and ruined the sport.

Here we get the real stories behind legends that wrestled not only in St. Louis, but across the NWA spectrum.The ill fated Von Erich clan, Jack Brisco, Dory Funk, Jr. and his brothers, including the wild Terry Funk, the oddball Bulldog Bob Brown, Rocky Johnson (father of The Rock), Macho Man Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, Bruiser Brody, Harley Race, Ric Flair, Dirty Dick Murdoch, and others.It was a time when professional wrestling seemed real.And sometimes it was.Pity the poor rookie that went into a match and didn't "sell" for the star.Sometimes, they really did get beaten up.

This book harkens back to an era when the sport was fun.Sure, it was really a carnival like atmosphere but it was a real show.

The last part of this book is discusses the monopolization of the sport by Vince McMahon, Jr.The regional promotions made money but they never generated great wealth.Many of the regions catered to one big city but really depended on very small venues in rural areas to survive.This was not in the day of huge TV contracts and in fact often TV didn't pay the promotions at all, the promotions used TV to sell live shows.Being in New York and having a cache of cash and one of the largest media markets in the world, Vince McMahon destroyed what professional wrestling was all about.

The author, Larry Matysik, attempted his own promotion but had limited success and ultimately got out.McMahon had too many resources and some old stars who started a rival promotion were too political and out for themselves to thrive.

So, Matysik harkens back to the day, when Sam Muchnick and St. Louis wrestling was one of the true last bastions of the sport.

For those who like wrestling history, this is certainly an interesting, nostalgic read

3-0 out of 5 stars OK and Decent Read
This is not that entertaining but it is an OK and decent historical account of one of pro wrestlings hot beds of entertainment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brings Back Old Memories
I am from and live in St.Louis and been to the Wrestling at The Chase matches at the Ballroom and seen some of the best matches and today's wrestling can't compare to the Old School Wreslinng. I miss going to the old Kiel Auditorium and seeing Ric Flair, Harley Race,the Briscoe Brothers, Funk Brothers, and of course the Legendary Von Erich'swas always a treat for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Sam Muchnick was my uncle, and I grew up with "Wrestling at the Chase" and the Kiel Auditorium bouts, yet this book taught me so much about my uncle's work and interesting facts about the era and the wrestlers I watched.Well-written, and a real page-turner.Wonderful!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Bruiser Brody and more
Sam Muchnick was without a doubt one of the best promoters ever!I thoroughly enjoyed this book and really loved all the stories.From Dick Murdoch describing Kevin Von Erich's debut and saying he wanted to rip off his head to talking about the various announcers.It is easy to forget that Joe Garagiola used to announce wrestling and even easier to forget that his brother did for several years.I grew up in the northeast which all you got to see over there was WWWF and you could only read about the NWA and Muchnick territory in wrestling magazines.This is a must for anyone who grew up watching wrestling in the 60's and 70's. ... Read more

11. Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling, Second Edition
by Harris M., III Lentz
Paperback: 395 Pages (2003-10)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$49.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786417544
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Though professional wrestlers are usually ignored by sportswriters and entertainment reporters alike, the popularity of these gifted athletes and showbiz pros is undeniable. Few fans are concerned with whether the wrestling is "legitimate."

From Ace Abbott to Buck Zumhofe, this is the second edition of the first-ever ("major contribution’—ARBA; "most informative"—Wrestling Then & Now) comprehensive compilation of biographical information on professional wrestlers past and present, including major promoters and managers. Each entry is listed under the wrestling name most often used, with cross references to real names and other ring names. The ring name is followed by the grappler’s real name, hometown, height and weight, and birth and death dates when available. The biographical data provide the era in which the individual competed, wrestling associations, titles, tag team partners, major bouts and other highlights. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars The most complete listing of pro wrestlers
I was looking for a book that would be a complete in-depth history of wrestling, but there doesn't seem to be one out there. This book has no photos (except for Lou Thesz on the cover), but it contains short bios of more pro wrestlers than any other book. Unfortunately, only the briefest of bios are provided (it basically lists championships won, with very little personal info provided). Height, weight, & birth dates are provided for some, but not most, wrestlers. Lentz has written some great books on film history for McFarland, but this one is a disappointment due to lack of more info in the entries (which is perhaps not possible given the subject matter). At first I thought this book lacked completeness, but after seeing other so-called wrestling "encyclopedias," this one is certainly the most complete. For example, a major star of the early 1960s, Argentina Apollo, gets no mention in any of the other wrestling books, but is included here. It's very dry reading for a wrestling book, & if you buy this one you should get at least a couple of other books with photos to accompany it. I'd like to see more info included in the entries (at least for the major stars) that would distinguish the wrestlers a bit more than the author has done here (for example, how they were innovative, what their style was, gimmicks used, special techniques, etc.). A worthy addition to your wrestling reference library, but will somebody please write a definitive encyclopedia on this subject? A second edition of this book is due in November 2003, but with only 20 or so additional pages, I doubt if it will expand the entries into what I was hoping for.

5-0 out of 5 stars One-of-a-kind reference source
My compliments to Mr. Lentz for the wealth of information he was able to unearth on the sometimes mysterious world of professional wrestling.I've been a fan of wrestling since the 1960s and it was great to finally see areference book that gives information on the "sport entertainers"that have thrilled me and countless others over the years.I flip throughit often to find tidbits about current and past mat stars.A truly greatjob on a difficult subject.

1-0 out of 5 stars Looks good, but not a factual book on many of the stars.
The old saying goes, "Don't judge a book by its cover".This book looks good, but beyond the cover is filled with page after page of incorrect information regarding many of the wrestlers.Mr. Lentz certainlydidn't take the time to research his information. I have been a collectorand researcher of wrestling related items for nearly 40 years, and neverhave I picked up a book with so many errors in it.My advice is, if youwant a book that looks good on your bookself, then this book is for you. But, if you are looking for a book that will provide factual information onwrestlings greatest performers of the past, then pass on this book!Sorry,this is not a reliable source of wrestling information to the seriouscollector or fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding reference
Without a doubt, this is THE book to purchase if you are a pro wrestling fan. Filled to the brim with career highlights for over 500 wrestlers from the early 20th century right down to the days just before the formation of the NWO, Lentz has covered it all. I have found it to be an invaluable reference too, and worth every bit of it's price. TC Kirkham, Webmaster SyxxNet ... Read more

12. Tonight in This Very Ring: A Fan's History of Professional Wrestling
by Scott Keith
Paperback: 224 Pages (2002-11-01)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$30.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0806524375
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (24)

3-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but very critical and a bit of a rip-off.
THE SHORT: Very cynical towards the "sport", this guy clearly cares about wrestling but bashes it here in an unrestrained manner and worse, reprints boatloads of his internet reviews instead of new material. Entertaining and definitely not one-sided, but a bit shallow and very bitter.

THE LONG: To begin with, another very astute reviewer pointed out something important: This isn't the so called "history of professional wrestling", it's a brief refresher of the sport up until the early '00s, at which point the narrative gets much more lengthy and much more brutal. That's the problem.

I share some of the author's views, I really do. I was so sick of Stone Cold and the Mcmahon show that I just quit paying much attention to wrestling in the late 90s. And I certainly got tired of watching guys like Benoit and the Harts get pushed to the sidelines while the same predictable winners like Triple H hogged the spotlight. But unlike author Scott Keith, I have a much more tolerant and open-minded opinion.

In this book, the author- notorious for his bitter and judgmental views on the current state of wrestling- tears the WWF/WWE apart for its offerings of the past four or five years. While Scott Keith has clear knowledge of the sport and wrote comprehensive stuff about it in "The Buzz on Professional Wrestling", here he's just abusive. He flat-out calls wrestlers names I can't reprint, and is quick to condemn them for mistakes or lesser performances as if he was a coach tearing into his own football team. The guy knows what he's talking about, it's just a shame that he couldn't have been more objective and less harsh about it. He recognizes good performances and definitely writes glowing reviews when the matches deserve it- he just has a pretty bitter attitude the rest of the time.

But what bothers me the most is his constant reliance on his own internet reviews. Keith is good enough to give lengthy descriptions of various feuds and fights, but when he goes on to actually describe the matches themselves, he just recycles the (free) reviews from his own online column. Call it laziness or self-indulgence, but it's irritating that the observant narrative is constantly being interrupted with "Here's my review:" followed by exact descriptions of the matches that he wrote online years ago when they were fresh. His comments are loaded with his own invented colloquialisms and move references, and coupled with his disgust of the product this book comes off as much less a book than the fanzine or internet column that it seems to be. And, whether those match descriptions are recycled or not, I certainly didn't buy this book to be reading one every other page. I wanna know about the recent state of wrestling, not spend half the book reading about what happened in every specific match of the last five years.

Like I said before, this guy is intelligent, knowledgable of wrestling's history, and a genuine fan (albeit a jaded one). I can't blame him for a lot of the spite that he harbors, for I too mourned the loss of fantastic wrestler Owen Hart and have grown increasingly dissatisfied of the general product that the WWE is. So it is that I appreciated hearing what this guy had to say in "The Buzz on Professional Wrestling", where his talents were utilized in a more restrained, informative, open-minded and lighthearted fashion. And while this book does definitely point out good spots and recognize legitimate effort, it still spends much more time shouting opinionated barbs and recycling old content that can be gotten free of charge.

If you want a much more comprehensive and open-minded (and fun) discussion of wrestling history, Keith's other book "Buzz On.." is the one to get. This book is more for those who are just as angry and disenchanted with wrestling's worse efforts as he is and wants a kindred spirit upon whom to bounce off their own anger.

5-0 out of 5 stars ****1/2
Sung to the tune of: "The Brady Bunch"

I know a man...his name is Scooter...and I know that he has never touched a hooter...he's a fat, fat man...just like his daddy...he played with his test-i-cles...

Till the one day when Scooter met computer...and he knew, it was much more than a hunch....and he knew he must somehow write a novel...all while eating a carb and fat packed Scooter lunch!



3-0 out of 5 stars Funny but flawed
This book is funny, but there are way too many grammatical and factual errors.

I find it amusing that a lot of the reviewers who didn't like this book seem to be upset about Keith's opinions. Hey, I don't agree with every word he says, but I appreciate the humor with which he writes. Keith's a passionate fan and he has an understanding of the long-term effects of various angles and matches - something the WWE lacks right now. He has an incredible knowledge of the product and a bunch of backstage stories. Even if some aren't true, they're definitely interesting. It's obvious he favors certain wrestlers and hates others, but he's always fair when it comes to the in-ring product.

I do have problems with his writing style. If you've read his stuff online, you're probably familiar with his horrible grammar, but I thought the editors would clean that up for this book. Instead, there are numerous example where he screws up the difference between "who" and "whom," writes "it's" instead of "its," ends sentences with prepositions, writes "myself" and other reflexive pronouns in situations where he shouldn't, writes "whether or not," and throws in weird commas where they're not needed. He writes like he's in grade school - passive voice is everywhere.

He also makes all kinds of errors about wrestling. Example - on page 21, he talks about how Bret Hart defeated Owen (actually Owen beat Bret) at WrestleMania X before going on to win the title. He misspells all kinds of names. There are references to Matt "Bourne," Mike "Rotuno," Debbie "Micelli" and her alter ego "Medusa." Often times, he can't make up his mind, so he'll use multiple spellings in the book. He writes "Badd Ass" Billy Gunn and "Bad Ass" Billy Gunn. Steve "MacMichael's" wife is Debra McMichael. Debbie "Micelli" is both "Medusa" and Madusa. Marlena is both Terri "Runnells" and Terri Runnels. Is it "Bubba" Ray Dudley or "Buh Buh" Ray Dudley? Keith uses both.

These things are minor annoyances. I think the editors didn't do their job, but if you're reading this book, it's probably not a big deal.

Keith has strong opinions about wrestling, and I think that makes his jokes even funnier. If you, like me, and unlike some of the other reviewers, can keep your mind open long enough to laugh along with Keith even when you don't agree with him, you'll get a kick out of this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars DREADFUL
For the first few pages of this book, I was prepared to enjoy a brief recent history with the occasional jab at the sport, much like the far-more-entertaining "WrestleCrap". However, by the time I had finished the first two chapters, I began to see that the writer of this book (I'd rather not call him an "author" if I can avoid it) was not only lacking insight, but was merely spewing his own opinions in lieu of actual facts or knowledge. Don't get me wrong, I know this book is simply a "fan's point of view," but why did it have to be THIS fan? not only does he rip on Mick Foley for "guiding the fall" off the steel cage in his unbelievable 15-foot drop, but he then goes on to cry about Owen Hart's inability to guide his own drop when he fell to his death. Basically, this writer has got to be one of the following three guys: 1. The loudest guy at the party who has one too many Hard Lemonade's and won't shut up about how much better the WWE would be if HE were in charge.. 2. The bloated salt-sucking machine who sits behind his computer all day, drinking his weight in Caffeine-Free Diet Coke and wondering why nobody else in the office wants to go out to Chili's with him at lunch time. Or 3. The most obnoxious member of a group of pimple-faced wrestling fans who all use WWE catch phrases in their everyday lives, who is constantly hounded by his friends to enter the Literary world with phrases like. "Dude, you know EVERYTHING. You should write a book. That'd be killer. If ya smell what the Rock is cooking.." Whatever the case, the book is a testament to the power of editing, as this sweaty buffoon begins to buy into his own supposed brilliance, spitting out stale jokes like corn chip crumbs and calling major stars childish names, clearly out of "I-could-do-this-better-than-him" jealousy. With nobody to tell him he's not funny, he has to assume he is, and the book eventually becomes a bad stand-up routine that leaves us all wondering why this guy didn't surround himself with more honest friends.

I've read a few books on wrestling, and this one was increasingly horrible as it continued. After reading "WrestleCrap" and Sex, Lies and Headlocks", this was more like a mother-requested phone call with a mentally challenged cousin that I was too polite to hang up on. Don't buy this book. Contact me and I'll send you my copy of it. Just please pardon the booger on page 112. I didn't want to ruin a good Kleenex.

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant story
Scott Keith's confession of being a 35 year old virgin is a moving tale. The themes is this novel are very important. The most imporant being the issure of males finding substitutes for close [physcial] contact with the opposite sex is insignicant hobbies. The hobby in focus here is Wrestling. I have a feeling Trekkies or fans of Huey Lewis and the News will be able to sympathise with Keith flight.

The most moving chapter in the novel is his nervous breakdown following Canadian wrestler Chris Benoits injury in 2001. Keith describes how is obsession with wrestling was turned into an obsession for pies. Scott Keith will probably never get mainstream recognition. Most would dismiss him as a geek. But I'm pretty sure Scott has touched the hearts of every 30 year old virgin out there who has dared to pick up his book. ... Read more

13. Tuff Stuff Professional Wrestling Field Guide: Legend and Lore
by Kristian Pope
Paperback: 512 Pages (2005-08-28)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$0.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0896892670
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In "no-holds barred" style, Tuff Stuff Professional Wrestling Field Guide delivers all the characters, feuds and gimmicks of this insanely popular form of entertainment! This historical guide gives collectors, historians and starry-eyed fans unmatched insight into more than 100 years of colorful and quirky monsters of the mat!

Fans of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and The Rock will find detailed histories of their favorites, and more than 400 profile and action photos in this book. From tag teams and family feuds, to historic moments and manager mayhem, this top-of-the-line guide is for any one who knows the first thing about a pile driver!

-Affordable and portable

-Features a mix of 400+ color and black and white photos

-Contains more than 100 years of pro wrestling history ... Read more

14. Professional Wrestling Intellectual: A compilation of Columns by Joseph L. Babinsack, Jr. (Volume 1)
by Joseph L Babinsack Jr
Paperback: 406 Pages (2009-09-04)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1449507468
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Editorial Review

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A compilation of Columns by Joseph L. Babinsack, Jr.I've been writing publically about professional wrestling for 20 years now. Now, most of that first ten years was Usenet posts, and following rec.sports.misc and its evolution into rec.sports.pro-wrestling. But eventually, I started with smaller local publications, and then smaller web sites, and after I finally graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, I went for the big times. ... Read more

15. Black Stars of Professional Wrestling (Second Edition)
by Julian L. D. Shabazz
Paperback: 206 Pages (2010-03-15)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$14.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 189368010X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Originally published in 1999, "Black Stars of Professional Wrestling (Second Edition)" is the long-awaited story of the contributions of the Black athletes that've participated in one of America's most popular sporting events. This second edition is a revised and updated version of the popular classic. The book features nearly 200 photographs and biographies of Black pro wrestlers from the late 19th Century to today. Little known facts and rarely seen pictures tell the story of some of the most gifted but largely overlooked athletes of all time. Readers will learn about legends like Reggie Siki, Woody Strode, Luther Lindsay, Tiger Conway, Thunderbolt Patterson, Bobo Brazil, and Bearcat Wright, the first Black holder of a version of the world title. They'll even read about the stars of today like Booker T, The Rock, Shelton Benjamin, Bobby Lashley, Mark Henry, and R-Truth. Also covered in the book are Black females, midgets, and celebrity wrestlers from other sports throughout various decades. With "Black Stars of Professional Wrestling (Second Edition)", the long forgotten warriors are finally given their place of honor in sports history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

1-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I hoped
I purchased this book as a gift to my husband, we are both life long wrestling fans and I figued he would get enjoyment from this title. Upon recipt this book was not as good as the description would make out. I expected stories of Black Pro wrestlers, backgrounds and what they went through to break into pro wrestling, this book is FAR from that kind of information.
It only offers NAMES and a few lines of basic information about each wrestler. The pictures are very limited and in some cases, there is just a name, and no Information about the wrestler at all. Steer Clear of this one!

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting
I enjoyed this book very much.I was never aware of wrestlers like Bearcat Wright who fought for desegregation in wrestling.I also enjoyed reading the profiles of Junkyard Dog,Jacqueline(my favorite),Ernie Ladd,& RonSimmons.The only drawback of this book is that Mr.Shabazz should have donemore research on the wrestlers that were mentioned just by name.Overall,ifyou're a real wrestling fan who wants to be educated on the Black wrestler& their accomplishments,pick up this book!

1-0 out of 5 stars booooorring
I couldn't keep my eyes open.Buy this book if you have trouble sleeping at night.

1-0 out of 5 stars "Racism" in a different package
This is probably the worst wrestling book I have ever read. The information is great on many of the wrestlers I have followed. So what the wrestlers are black?This is another example of someone using therace card to cash in. Black people such as myself should shy away frommaking these liberals rich.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally! The history of Blacks in pro wrestling is told!
Julian Shabazz's book, "Black Stars of Professional Wrestling" is long, long overdue.It is a very interesting and fascinating book about these great athletes' contributions.To read the stories about such greatcompetitors as Thunderbolt Patterson, Bearcat Wright, Rocky Johnson and theJunkyard Dog is a tremendous thrill.

If you are a true wrestling fan, youwill learn things you didn't know.This is truly a marvelous book! ... Read more

16. Professional Wrestling Trivia Book
by Robert Myers
Paperback: 144 Pages (1999-04-02)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$6.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0828320454
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This second-updated edition (originally publised in 1998)is a rather complete book on professional wrestling trivia matters, up to 1999, with many questions on several categories with answers given separately, and includes material on Governor "the body" Ventura, and "Hollywood" Hogan, to name a few. The book is illustrated with rare photographs of women, black and midget wrestlers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars Where's the middle ground?
I originally picked up this book at the library along with a large stack of other books on professional wrestling in order to help me write a research paper.My biggest complaint was that most sections were so obscure that even the biggest wrestling fans would have trouble answering the questions.Other sections, however, were so ridiculously easy that my dad, who is a casual fan at best, was able to answer every one of them.It could have used another level of difficulty between the super easy and the super hard.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pro wrestling may be fake, but this book isn't!
How much does Haystacks Calhoun weigh? Who defeated Buddy Rogers to win his first WWF Title? What caused Superstar Billy Graham to retire for good? Don't know - Then it time to read this book and find the answers.

Every sport, every subject in fact has some sort of trivia book and each isdesign to stump you. This book does that but at the same time itentertains, just like the Professional Wrestling entertains.

This book iswritten for a specific genre of people, as are most books we read. WhileProfessional Wrestling maybe considered fake, there is no doubt as to thereality of the people include in this book.

I have been a fan ofProfessional Wrestling for over 25 years, and yes it is fake, it's stillvery entertaining. The price tag won't put your wallet in a fullnelson and this book makes a great gift.

5-0 out of 5 stars greatest book i ever read
period comma ali ali babb

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent source of info
I thought this book was great. It had trivia that was easy, and some trivia that was rather difficult. It is worth the price paid. I recommend this to any wrestling fan if they wish to increase their knowledge of thesport

5-0 out of 5 stars I want to know if you have an address to send money to.
I have not read it.But I am shere it is a great book ... Read more

17. Everybody Down Here Hates Me: The Traumas and Dramas Inside the Incredible World of Professional Wrestling
by Pat Barrett
 Hardcover: 265 Pages (1991-09)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$15.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0962659304
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18. Professional Wrestling As Ritual Drama in American Popular Culture (Mellen Studies in Sociology)
by Michael R. Ball
 Hardcover: 200 Pages (1990-09)
list price: US$99.95 -- used & new: US$99.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0889461120
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This text analyzes the phenomenon of American professional wrestling in light of the critical dramaturgy of Erving Goffman, Victor Turner and Mary Jo Deegan. It seeks to offer a scholarly explanation and sociological insight into professional wrestling in America. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

2-0 out of 5 stars Unintentionally funny

I have been a pro-wrestling fan since 1987 and I recently wrote a thesis about it for my University. Obviously I bought this book in order to have some "scientific" background to back up my work. Unfortunately, while Mr Ball used a scientific approach, his book is completely outdated and some of the clichés mentionned are quite laughable to say the very least. I'm not questionning the author's work ethic but it is quite obvious that he does not grasp the wrestling business nor its fans, who are totally taken for granted in this book. If you are a wrestling fan with a decent knowledge of the sport, you won't be fooled and you can order this book just to realise how easily scientific approaches can be misleading. If, on the other hand, you are totally new to the world of wrestling and if you want to read a "scientific" approach teaching you the "bases" of wrestling I would recommend you Sharon Mazer's book, which does a FAR better job of describing this unique business. DO NOT buy this book if you intend to use it as a tool to cover today's pro-wrestling (in a academic paper for instance). Because quite frankly, it only describes a long-gone reality that has nothing to do with today's "Sports Entertainment". Must be taken with a lot of hindsight and with a big grain of salt. Also contains several mistakes. Can be interesting if you want to see how much times changed. Not a bad book per se, but unfortunately the author does not have a clue on this business. That's too bad because it's clear he wanted to use a good methodology.

Hope it helped. ... Read more

19. 1996 in Wrestling: 1996 in Professional Wrestling, 1996 in Sport Wrestling, Bash at the Beach, Starrcade, Wrestling at the 1996 Summer Olympics
Paperback: 62 Pages (2010-09-15)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1158113889
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Chapters: 1996 in Professional Wrestling, 1996 in Sport Wrestling, Bash at the Beach, Starrcade, Wrestling at the 1996 Summer Olympics, Survivor Series, Wrestlemania Xii, Royal Rumble, Mass Transit Incident, Summerslam, Triplemania Iv-C, Triplemania Iv-B, Triplemania Iv-A, 1996 Fila Wrestling World Championships. Source: Wikipedia. Pages: 61. Not illustrated. Free updates online. Purchase includes a free trial membership in the publisher's book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Excerpt: Bash at the Beach (1996) was the third annual Bash at the Beach professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by World Championship Wrestling (WCW). It took place on July 7, 1996 from the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. This event is best remembered for the formation of the New World Order, which contributed greatly to the success of WCW until 1998. The main event was a tag team match between The Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) and their mystery partner (Hulk Hogan), and Randy Savage, Sting and Lex Luger. Matches on the undercard included Ric Flair against Konnan for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship, and Dean Malenko against Disco Inferno for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. The predominant storyline heading into the event was centered on The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash). It began on the May 27 episode of WCW Monday Nitro when Hall made his first appearance on WCW television, unnamed and unannounced, and declared his intention to invade WCW, making a challenge to face three of WCW's wrestlers. On the June 10 edition of Nitro, Nash appeared and joined Hall. Both were then referred to as The Outsiders. At The Great American Bash, Eric Bischoff (as Executive Vice-President of WCW) announced that WCW is accepting the challenge to a 3-on-3 tag team match at Bash at the Beach. Hall and Nash then came out and demanded the identities of the three men. Bischoff refus...More: http://booksllc.net/?id=16649121 ... Read more

20. Professional Wrestling (1912)
by Ed Wallace Smith
Hardcover: 104 Pages (2010-05-22)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$23.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1162257776
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This scarce antiquarian book is a selection from Kessinger Publishing's Legacy Reprint Series. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment to protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature. Kessinger Publishing is the place to find hundreds of thousands of rare and hard-to-find books with something of interest for everyone! ... Read more

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