Jump to content
DVDVR Message Board
OSJ

YOUR ALL-NEW WRESTLING BOOK THREAD

Recommended Posts

Hi folks, since I'm partly responsible for the thread getting closed, I feel it only right that I go to the trouble of starting a new one wherein we can discuss wrestling books. But first, (and Phil or DEAN may choose to over-ride me on this), but as a professional in the book biz, I write, edit, and publish books for a living and (have since 1986 with it being my sole source of income since about 2003), I am perhaps uniquely sensitive to copyright issues but here's the nuts and bolts:

Sites providing pirated copyrighted content are as verbatim as those providing illegal downloads of games, movies, etc. Posting links to such or promising to deliver via e-mail will not endear you to me and I can be a really vicious bastard when I want to. No, I'm not a big fan of the way copyright works, particularly not in the cases of abandoned material, here's a real life deal I'm facing today... Many years ago a teenage girl in London wrote a very cool vampire book, (early 1960s, mods and rockers as vampires). I would love to reprint the book as beat-up paperbacks go for upwards of $250 and a nice hardcover can set you back a grand. And of course, the author doesn't see a penny of that. Problem is, a few years ago the author decided she didn't like Thatcher's UK or the modern world in general and went into some sort of hippie commune/retreat she refuses contact with anyone and just wants to be left alone. Yeah, my opinion is that she's batshit crazy, there are probably a 1000 or more hardcore fans that would buy a nice new edition which I could easily facilitate (I have the book and I'm senior editor for a pretty prestigious press that specializes in this kind of thing); but ya know what? It ain't mine to publish. Barring a signed document from the copyright owner it stays unpublished, that's tough, but that's just the way it is, it's not my property or my decision.

Yes, there are some gray areas like the Gary Hart book where the copyright holders have publicly said that they really don't care what happens, they have no interest in seeing the book reprinted. These cases are so few and far between as to not be worth discussion, simply stated if the book came out after 1925 there is a damn good chance that it is under copyright and unless you have permission don't disseminate the text. If you don't have the stones to go up to Meng and try and take his wallet, don't swipe stuff what ain't yours.

BTW: I will be happy to help anyone research a copyright if they aren't sure about the procedure.

Now, on an entirely commercial note, how many of you have bought this, StranglerLewis315.jpg

 

and if not, why not? Steve Yohe is (with J. Michael Kenyon) far and away the best historian the graps game has ever seen and likely ever will see and this book is really state of the art as to what a history book should be. Yeah, I wrote the intro, but all credit goes to Steve and book designer / artist Gavin O'Keefe for making this something that should class up many a coffee table. I do have a couple of the hardcovers I can sell at a discount, $80 postpaid in the US, $100 overseas. The retail is $100 but when you see all the photographs you know where the money is going.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Occurs to me that one thing we all ought to do since just about everyone who ever laced up a pair of boots has a book or three out there is to use this forum as a sort of Consumer Reports for those of us who aren't going to spend several thousand a year keeping up with everything, so what are some of the best investments and what are some of the worst? Sadly, some of the most interesting people have the worst books, where conversely, guys that you might not expect to have great books (J.J. Dillon as an example) are among the best you can get. I'll start with three for the dumpster:

Ric Flair's first book. I know quite a bit about this from the inside as the original author was to be a friend of mine. He dutifully went to talk with Flair, planning on copious notes and fact-checking. Instead of answering questions or talking about his career, what Flair wanted to do was drive around with the windows down drinking and yelling "Whooo". After three days of that shit, Tom gave up and went home to NJ. I can only imagine the patience needed to get what little of value we did in that first book. I know I wouldn't put up with that, especially not for ghost-writer money.

Mark Lewin's book. Damn what a shame. Lewin is one of my favorite old-school guys, wrestled successfully in every territory in the world and was a straight-up lunatic who would often drop acid before a show. Is there anyone who could have written a more interesting book? Probably not. However what we got seems like the ramblings of an old man after an afternoon of heavy drinking (which, in all fairness it might be). Stay far, far away. Just a waste of money.

Arn Anderson's book. Is kayfabe dead? Arn doesn't think so, it's still real to him by God! My favorite NA wrestler of all-time, and I couldn't believe that this was what he would come up with. A real shoot auto-biography by him would be a must buy for me, but this is just a sad waste of money.

I'll post some positive reviews a bit later, (hint: the names Billington, Dillon, and Hart will be involved). 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking as a professional writer, yeah, copyrights are a serious thing.  I'm not gonna look down on anyone that was sharing materials in the previous thread, but I hope no one here bears a grudge against OSJ for speaking out.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well this new thread gives me a second chance to promote this. 

Back in the year of our lord two thousand and ten, I was hit by inspiration. I decided I could be a writer if I wanted to be. Not a professional one or even a good one. But at the very least I could be a writer and scratch that particular itch.

So I had an idea for a story about a professional wrestler. I was always fascinated by the kayfabe life of lower card pro wrestler. Your guys like Crash Holly or Mikey Whipwreck or lower like Omar Atlas and Mario Mancini. Guys who go in and get their brains beat in but would show up the next night. I imagine with a heart full of hope. 
Spike Dudley having full confidence, tonight will be the night he will get the better of Taz or Mike Awesome. 

Then I was watching a lot of WWF Attitude era TV.  Imagining that for some guys, the European title is the best they can hope for.  Then thinking of the times guys like Steve Austin would ambush lower card guys for no reason and the guy can never get revenge. 

So I started off on an ambitious (for me anyway) project called "Chairshot: A Love Story". I began writing and I posted it daily on my blog. I even posted excerpts here. I got the itch to write more and did "Savage Sports Stories". Following that with "Day Of The Omeniac" and did more wrestling stories I never published. 

I do think the fictional blog idea is viable, but I think it would require more resources than I have. 

The project mutated along the way, giving me the chance to write different types of stories. But a series of real life events killed any tiny momentum I had built up in my mind. 

Well last year when I was at a very very low point. I was contacted by a friend with publishing experience. He knew I needed something to hold on to. Something to get me thru such a dark time. He suggested I published an e book. So I went thru the Chairshot canon and turned it into one book called "Chairshot: A Savage Sports Story."  I had to do a series of heavy rewrites and editing. Honestly I am still unhappy with the first section of the book. But I could not fix it without damaging the parts I am happy with. 

What I can say is I think I did a pretty unique take on the underdog story and in general, 

https://www.amazon.com/Chairshot-Savage-Sports-Victor-Rodgers-ebook/dp/B01LYCH74A/ref=nav_signin?ie=UTF8&qid=1475201299&sr=8-1&
14310354_1465310496828850_11597641608318

Please if you can, take a chance and buy it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll throw up a few one or two sentence reviews for the ones I've read if it'll help anyone decide:

Stan Hansen: Really good, but rarely goes into details. Bulk of the book goes like this: Quick story about so-and-so that lasts a couple sentences followed by "he was a delight to work with". Dunno if it's bad memory or he just doesn't wanna bury anyone but he really just glosses over most stuff.

Kamala: Pretty similar to Hansen's, although he'll throw shade on a couple of people. Sad to hear how dicked around he was as far as money, and to hear about the condition he's in now but still an entertaining read. 

The Grappler: Fantastic. He's got a good memory, goes into pretty decent detail on stuff and there are some good stories in it too. Well worth the price.

Bob Holly: Meh. Some OK stuff once he gets to the attitude era but he puts himself over way too much. Thinks he wasn't given a fair chance in his world title program with Brock. As if the crowd's total indifference had nothing to do with it. 

Terry Funk: See Stan Hansen. Must be a texas thing .

JJ Dillon: Better than I thought it would be, but spends a lot of time on his pre-Horsemen days so if you only knew him as the manager of the group it's a lot of stuff you won't remember. 

Has anyone read Dan Severn's book? Does he mainly focus on MMA or does he get into his pro wrestling too?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terry Funk definitely didn't want to bury anybody.  There were a few times during the writing of the book when he would tell Scott to take something out because he thought it was too mean in hindsight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think if anyone somehow pirates Joe Babinsack's book or any of Scott Keith's, that should be free from all reprisal. Then OSJ will send me all his work for free after I send him some photos of kittens.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Ryan said:

 

I think if anyone somehow pirates Joe Babinsack's book or any of Scott Keith's, that should be free from all reprisal. T

 

Make them read it, let the punishment fit the crime. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will admit I have pirated books in the past, but um, they're all Star Trek books...not excusing it, just stating it. I don't have $200 or whatever to spend on every Starfleet Corp of Engineers EBook that ever came out. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SKeith is Canadian, that means a book by him needs to be in either English or French, he will need to master one of them before I would bother with his scribblings.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/11/2017 at 6:54 PM, BrianS81177 said:

Bob Holly: Meh. Some OK stuff once he gets to the attitude era but he puts himself over way too much. Thinks he wasn't given a fair chance in his world title program with Brock. As if the crowd's total indifference had nothing to do with it. 

 

I actually felt the opposite - I thought Holly was pretty realistic about his spot on the card and accepted the lot he had.  From his perspective, yeah, they SHOULD have done more with the feud with Brock - the dude was nearly put out and they blew it out in one month.  I'm not saying the result should've been different but they could've added more meat to that sandwich.

I also thought we were all well past taking anything Scott Keith wrote seriously.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Ryan said:

I think if anyone somehow pirates Joe Babinsack's book or any of Scott Keith's, that should be free from all reprisal. Then OSJ will send me all his work for free after I send him some photos of kittens.

In all due seriousness, I'll send anyone a sample story or two to anyone that goes to the trouble of e-mailing jpelan13@gmail.com or PM'ing me requesting same. After all, I do have a book out there that I want y'all to buy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone sent me a free copy of John's book, flouting copyright left and right :P

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll bet the bastard even forged my signature...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're welcome.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I admit I still look at Keith's blog. But I'm amused he published books, as he is the pefect example of someone I don't mind reading for free on the internet, but would never pay money for a book(I wouldn't read a free version either). . . . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some or all of them were literally just reprinting shit he wrote online.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/13/2017 at 2:45 PM, Michael Sweetser said:

I actually felt the opposite - I thought Holly was pretty realistic about his spot on the card and accepted the lot he had.  From his perspective, yeah, they SHOULD have done more with the feud with Brock - the dude was nearly put out and they blew it out in one month.  I'm not saying the result should've been different but they could've added more meat to that sandwich.

I also thought we were all well past taking anything Scott Keith wrote seriously.

Same here. I thought Holly's book was pretty great. He did put himself over as a tough guy way too much (I call bs on his stories about walking up to Hall and Nash and threatening to knock them out and them not doing anything) but I thought he was pretty aware of his spot on the card and where he should be. For instance, he didn't think he should've beaten Brock but thought it was bullshit that their Royal Rumble match got cut down to 5 minutes while HBK and HHH got to go out there and have another 35 minute wankfest just to go to a screwjob finish.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mentioned this in the other thread and there was another poster who agreed with me (name escapes me now) but don't bother with Pat Patterson's book. Very disappointing. Basically just talks about how awesome his partner Louie was and how he never really got much flack for being gay. A couple of amusing stories but no real insights into working with Vince (it was great! no problems!), homophobia in wrestling, etc. Barely mentions JJ Dillon. If Patterson was Vince's right hand then JJ was the left for about 7 years and Patterson doesn't go into any detail about him. Just a letdown overall.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, I'm halfway through the Patterson book and I have no idea what you guys are talking about. I haven't gotten to the WWF behind the scenes stuff much, but frankly, that's the thing I'm interested about the least. The stories from his childhood were great and really set the stage. The language problems he had starting out and him fumbling around trying to make sense of the business. Him going from territory to territory, how he fit into places, some sense of the inner workings of different territories, a few road stories here and there. A good sense of Shire as a person. Most of all, I thought Pat had a real voice that came through. I could stop reading the book now and I wouldn't feel like my time was wasted at all. If you're just reading for behind the scenes WWF dirt, I can see how it might frustrate you, but I've really enjoyed it. I only wish he had gotten into a bit more detail with the AWA stuff, but it really wasn't much of a run I guess.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't really looking for dirt. I wanted more insight into his booking strategies and his thoughts on Vince, JJ, etc. I thought it got really tedious reading about how great Louie was and how everyone loved him.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, cwoy2j said:

I mentioned this in the other thread and there was another poster who agreed with me (name escapes me now) but don't bother with Pat Patterson's book. Very disappointing. Basically just talks about how awesome his partner Louie was and how he never really got much flack for being gay. A couple of amusing stories but no real insights into working with Vince (it was great! no problems!), homophobia in wrestling, etc. Barely mentions JJ Dillon. If Patterson was Vince's right hand then JJ was the left for about 7 years and Patterson doesn't go into any detail about him. Just a letdown overall.

I am with you 100% on this. If there was anyone in wrestling who could have written a fantastic book about a great in-ring career and even more importantly, an incredible place in the development of WWE as we know it today, to say nothing of being a trail-blazer of massive proportions in being one of the first pretty-much openly gay pro wrestlers, Pat Patterson is the man. So what do we get, something nearly as lightweight as Arn Anderson's book. I'm very glad to have skimmed this one so I didn't wind up wasting money on it, but talk about a letdown... Seems like a lot of the wrestling bios that I really look forward to turn out to be the very worst pieces of fluff. Well, that isn't entirely fair to Patterson... What is there is competent, working with Vince 101, and at the end of the day neither really bad, but certainly not good. I'm just pissed because it's just such a lazy job of it. 

Patterson's book could have and should have been almost a companion volume to J.J. Dillon's, one that covers all aspects of the business and is replete with behind the scenes stories from several decades in the biz. this was none of that... ;-) Let's see, my most anticipated wrestling bios:

1. Arn Anderson (my favorite NA wrestler, his book sucked)

2. Mark Lewin (a legend around the world, his book was a horrible waste of money)

3. Pat Patterson (see above)

4. J.J. Dillon (Now we're getting somewhere, far as I'm concerned this is the gold standard for auto-biographies)

5. Johnny Saint (To my knowledge as yet unwritten, should be a massive tome of over 1000 pages. Of course it won't be, but we can hope...)

6. Jushin Liger (If there is one, it's written Japanese, which I can't read, but a Liger bio could be at the same level of interest as Dillon's). I'd be particularly interested in reading about his booking of the juniors division, (which unlike most wrestlers when given the book, he did very evenhandedly, kept the division interesting and helped bring young guys along.) In short, he was pretty much everything as booker that Dusty Rhodes wasn't and good on him for that, his time as booker of the NJPW juniors is as fine a period of wrestling as anyone could want. Hopefully, there will someday be an English-language bio of Liger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, cwoy2j said:

I wasn't really looking for dirt. I wanted more insight into his booking strategies and his thoughts on Vince, JJ, etc. I thought it got really tedious reading about how great Louie was and how everyone loved him.

^ This. I ain't saying it's a bad book, just that it could've been so much more. There's a really fascinating autobiography to be had from Pat Patterson and that's not quite what we got. I didn't even mind the constant pushing of Louie, but what I really wanted was more of his insights into booking and star-making, which he did as well as anyone ever has.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's disappointing to hear that Arn's book sucked. I'd heard it was pretty much written in kayfabe but was hoping to hear that maybe there were at least some good parts. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's ok that you guys didn't get the book that you wanted and you're criticizing it for that. I think Pat wrote a book about his life and what was important in his life and not about the booking of wrestling. I get he could have done both. But I can't fault him or the book for deciding that his relationship with his dad was more important than how to time finishes.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...