5. Professional Wrestling Intellectual: A compilation of Joe Babinsack columns - If you like wrestling media reviews, and if you're reading this blog we both know you do, than this recent release has over 400 pages of reviews from F4Wonline.com's own Joe Babinsack. The wide array of reviews is pretty staggering as Joe covers the entire gamut of DVDs and books. Amidst all the reviews will be essays with Joe's thoughts on various things in the world of oiled up, hairless men who pretend to hit each other.
With Babinsack's book you'll be able to read reviews on the DVDs and books you should be watching and reading, such as SHIMMER and Ring of Honor, as well as things you probably didn't even know existed, like JR Benson's "Extremely Strange" book. As a person who has also read Benson's book, I can guarantee it will fascinate you, or scare you to death.
Just as Kayfabe Commentaries' Guest Booker DVDs don't only cover booking, Joe's book of reviews contains more than its fair shair of Babinsack's thoughts on wrestling's past, present, and future. You'll get Joe's thoughts on women's wrestling, the role of jobbers, and a solid case made for Bruno Sammartino being the "greatest professional wrestler of all time," among many others.
4. Big Apple Takedown - An oldie, but often overlooked goodie. One of the very few WWE forays into fiction, not counting the Hogan/Chyna/Angle biographies. This book contains the previously untold tale of the United States government using WWE Superstars as top secret undercover agents. And who better to use as an undercover agent than people who are on TV worldwide? Triple H. Batista. John Cena. Chavo Guererro. Well, one of those names doesn't belong.You will not be able to put this book down... no matter how hard you try!
My full review: http://www.thewrestlingfan.com/burgan18.html
3. The Story of the Development of NWA/TNA: A New Concept in Pay Per View Programming - Another classic that is on too few wrestling library shelves. With TNA going through another huge change this upcoming year, it is interesting to look back and see how it all started. This is less a book than Jerry Jarrett's personal diary - warts and all - for the first year of creating TNA. If you ever wanted to know what it really took to create a wrestling company from the ground up, this is the book for you. Jerry covers everything, and I mean everything, including an endless series of meetings with banks and investors.
Wrestling fans will enjoy reading Jerry's thoughts on Vince Russo (thinks Vinny Ru is insane), Ultimate Warrior (same) and others. You'll get Jerry's first hand near-meltdown during the Jay Hassman scandal as well as Jarrett's frank discussion of how bad the early TNA Wednesday PPVs were. Sheet readers will also find the discussion involving ProWrestling.Net's Jason Powell and PWTorch.com's Wade Keller pretty damn interesting as well. A terrific read that is only marred by a horrific, never ending interview that Jarret puts right into the middle of the book. Stops the book dead. Thankfully it picks back up and their is more than enough good to outweigh the small bad in this one.
My full review: http://www.thewrestlingfan.com/burgan22.html
2. Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling - Let's get real, if you don't have this book in your house, you're not a real wrestling fan. I actually read this book in reverse order, as it covers Hart's entire career and I was most interested in reading his thoughts on the circus of WCW. Brutally honest, Hart covers his early career in Stampede, his mid card days in WWE, his main event time in WWE, and then how it all came crashing down in WCW. One of the "little things" that made me love having this book was right at the start, with a terrific two page spread of cartoon wrestlers all drawn by Bret Hart. Growing up, I was always a fan of the Joe Jusko-drawn Royal Rumble posters. This drawing by Bret is like hybrid of those Rumble posters and one of the crazy Simpsons posters that has every character on it. I can not get enough of seeing cartoon versions of pro wrestlers.
Anyway, this book weighs in at 600 pages and I could have read another 600 more. With Bret coming back to the WWE, I smell a sequel...
1. Chris & Nancy - The lastest release from Irv Muchnick, who has already authored one of wrestling's All Time Top Five books with wrestling Babylon, is hands down the most important wrestling book in years. Irv put his journalist background to good use and picks apart every aspect of the Benoit murder/suicide. As a person who is as hardcore as they come, reads no less than three wrestling newsletters a week, and watched all the news coverage of this tragic story, I still found myself going over one new fact after another. This book should make you mad as hell if you're a wrestling fan. Mad at a system that across the board let everyone down. We're now a full year plus past this terrible crime and has anything really changed in the wrestling industry?