Alternate Reality by Vin Tastic

As an avid fan of professional wrestling, my indulgence in the bizarre athletic-entertainment hybrid extends beyond viewing weekly shows and monthly pay-per-view events. I’ve read quite a few books on the subject, so I’d like to share my thoughts about the volumes of squared-circle literature I’ve digested in the past few years.

TODAY’S ISSUE: My library of wrestling books.

Autobiographies, inside looks, and historical retrospectives are all included among the many pro wrestling books in my personal library. I’ve loved and re-read some of them, and am glad to have all of them on my bookshelf, for one reason or another.

In my autobiography section you’ll find all three Mick Foley tomes, Kurt Angle, the Hardy Boys, Edge, Diamond Dallas Page, Chyna’s abomination, the Nature Boy and best friend AA, Tom “Dynamite Kid” Billington, lunatic Rowdy Roddy Piper, The Rock’s half-kayfabe effort, Bobby Heenan, Eric Bischoff, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the Fabulous Moolah, which was the only one I couldn’t finish. It just wasn’t that interesting.

The inside looks shelf includes all four Scott Keith works of brilliance, which are the most fun, smart, and re-readable books I’ve ever read, the WrestleCrap/Death of WCW combo, which were also very hard to put down, Meltzer’s Tributes I, a respectful look back at wrestlers who’ve passed away, Tim Hornbaker’s amazingly comprehensive National Wrestling Alliance history, Irving Muschnick’s Wrestling Babylon, World Wrestling Insanity, the controversial Sex, Lies and Headlocks,

Resting in the assorted category are the silly Wrestling’s Most Wanted books of lists, WWE Unscripted, The Official Insider’s Story of WrestleMania, and The Ultimate WWE Trivia Book.

The more scandalous efforts, like Sex, Lies and Headlocks and Wrestling Babylon, are enjoyable in the way that Jerry Springer is fun to watch. You’re not sure you take much of it seriously, but man, if any of this is true than the world is nuttier than you thought it was. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of Wrestling Babylon when news of the Benoit family tragedy broke, and I was suddenly no longer interested in stories of back stage shenanigans, road trip debauchery, and substance abuse of every imaginable type. I haven’t picked it back up since.

Of course, one must always wonder just how credible the sources are for books like the aforementioned, and how much of the juicy stuff is more fiction or slander rather than based upon true fact. But from the standpoint of gossip and dirt, they’re engaging and “educational” to say the least.

My favorite autobiographies were Foley’s first and second efforts, Have A Nice Day! and Foley Is Good, DDP’s Positively Page, Tom Billington’s Pure Dynamite, Bobby The Brain Heenan’s Wrestling’s Bad Boy Tells All, and Adam Copeland on Edge, although it’s too bad Edge’s book ends before he nails Lita. That would have made for an interesting chapter or two.

Foley’s third autobiography Hardcore Diaries had none of the charm of his first two books, but included a whole new tone of self-promotion and arrogance which really didn’t seem to fit old Mick, and certainly didn’t endear him to me. Perhaps he should just stick with his fiction novels from here on out.

By far my favorite wrestling books are Scott Keith’s four gems, The Buzz on Professional Wrestling, Tonight In This Very Ring, Wrestling’s One Ring Circus, and Wrestling’s Made Men. If you’re a wrestling fan and appreciate smart, witty, wry observations and humor about the pseudo-sport presented by a knowledgeable aficionado, you simply must get your hand on some of Mr. Keith’s work.

Coming in at a close second are the two wonderfully entertaining and irreverent turns by Wrestlecrap connoisseur R. D. Reynolds. First came WrestleCrap: The Very Worst of Pro Wrestling, which spotlights the lamest gimmicks, angles, and concepts ever presented by any pro wrestling company, by Reynolds and Randy Baer. Second, and just as difficult to put down was Reynolds’ collaboration with Bryan Alvarez of Figure Four Weekly fame on The Death of WCW, a fascinating look back at all the mistakes that led to the demise of the once thriving promotion.

While these six were the best of the best, I enjoyed all the others for their own charms and merits. The next books I’m looking forward to are Chris Jericho’s and Bret Hart’s autobiographies, and The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels by Greg Oliver and Steven Johnson. I’ll also most likely pick up the “Tag Teams” edition of their Hall of Fame series, along with Dr. Death Steve Williams’ life story.

That’s what I’ve been reading, and thank you for reading what I’ve been writing.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.

p.s. – “The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary. Men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” – Joseph Conrad

Before you go, check out our Rasslin’ Roundtable for TNA’s Victory Road, then compare our picks with Aaron’s quick results and look below for our staff scores.

IP Staff Roundtable Results for Victory Road

Ben Morse
TNA Victory Road (15 Jul 07): 6-1
Total: 19-9

Vinny Truncellito
TNA Victory Road (15 Jul 07): 6-1
Total: 122-72

David Brashear
TNA Victory Road (15 Jul 07): 5-2
Total: 50-40

Danny Cox
TNA Victory Road (15 Jul 07): 3-4
Total: 67-62

Andy Wheeler
TNA Victory Road (15 Jul 07): 3-2
Total: 19-10