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The 50 Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All Time: The Definitive Shoot [Paperback]

Larry Matysik

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Book Description

Feb. 1 2013

No-holds-barred, honest, and objective, this is a definitive look at the greatest pro wrestlers who ever stepped through the ropes. Blending the old and the new and delving into what made these 50 remarkable performers the best in their sport, this guide illustrates their contributions to the massively popular spectacle of the wrestling world. The antidote to the marketing-motivated claims made by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is provided here, sweeping aside the corporate profit motive of listing standouts who can sell DVDs and dolls and instead shooting from the hip, revealing who sincerely belongs among the cream of the crop. The complexity of choosing—and ranking—the 50 finest ever from a strong group of talented candidates also spins a secondary tale about the evolution of pro wrestling and how this unique sport operates. Revealing these stars’ compelling stories in detail, this collection adds up to an entertaining and enlightening description of a monumental business through the history of its legends.

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The 50 Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All Time: The Definitive Shoot + Mad Dogs, Midgets and Screw Jobs: The Untold Story of How Montreal Shaped the World of Wrestling
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 466 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press (Feb. 1 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770411046
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770411043
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 762 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #295,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Matysik's book offers something for the current WWE fan and for folks who enjoyed watching Wrestling at the Chase or bouts at Kiel Auditorium and the Arena. He mentions numerous familiar names and some you may have even forgotten." —St. Louis-Post Dispatch (February 23, 2013)

"One of the things that distinguishes Matysik's book from similar volumes is that he presents very convincing arguments for the inclusion — or the exclusion — of certain performers. He presents those arguments respectfully, along with a sense of fun and intelligence." —Charleston Post-Courier (March 31, 2013)

About the Author

Larry Matysik is a wrestling promoter and the author of Brody, Drawing Heat the Hard Way, and Wrestling at the Chase. He has worked with Sam Muchnick, cofounder and former president of the National Wrestling Alliance, and Vince McMahon, chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment. He lives in Belleville, Illinois.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Good One! Feb. 10 2013
By Douglas E. Dahm - Published on
With his usual engaging style, expert Larry Matysik brings a different angle and the inside scoop on professional wrestling, the wrestlers, and all involved in the business. The first part of the book sets up a well reasoned and compelling framework for his selection of the fifty best grapplers of all time. Then he profiles all his choices--wrestler fifty to number one--with inside information far beyond what even a hardcore fan could ever access. In fact, it's easy to now and then to forget the whole "who's best" theme while reading the fascinating individual stories. (The inside human side of each wrestler grabs you as much as the ring action.) It's an interesting read and, when it comes down to it, whether fans agree or disagree with the list, the book will hook even the casual fan and become a permanent part of the devotee's library. Another good one from L. M.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best wrestling Lists books out there March 10 2013
By martez detroit - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Larry M brings a great historical perspective and a great resource for true rasslin' fans. I agree with all of the 4 and 5 star reviews that are showing as of this day. Lou is #1 and Randy Orton is #50. The only thing i will mark down is the lack of stats, like title reigns for example. But he made up for it with tons of info. Very well written.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect read on the can. June 29 2013
By PB - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Matysik has done it again, crafting a riveting read on our fair sport of professional wrestling. For how many books can you say that the introduction is as interesting as the actual meat of the book? Well, you can count this one. The first 100+ pages of the book detailing Matysik's method for assembling the Top 100 is worth the price alone, but then, lo...he delivers a definitive Top 50 of All-Time! Each chapter is perfectly suited to begin and finish on the can. Over the course of 50 visits, not only is the reader re-familiarized with the perennial greats, but he / she is also educated with inside knowledge of the business and eras / wrestlers that might have pre-dated him / her.

What a great book! Fascinating and fun to read. While I might argue with some of the rankings, my squabbles are few. My only real disagreement is with the inclusion of Randy Orton at #50. I wonder if there might have been a little bit of hometown cooking influencing his inclusion. Give me Mick Foley or even Sting over Orton, but that's half the fun of the book - critiquing his list against yours.

For wrestling fans young and old, this is highly recommended. Keep the books coming, Mr. Matysik!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Larry! July 1 2013
By Justin Shroads - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great objective analysis of pro wrestling greats. Far better and less biased than the WWE 50. I can only hope Larry writes more books about pro wrestling.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Difinitive Work to Date on Wrestlings Greatest Stars! Feb. 9 2013
By GEORGE SCHIRE - Published on
Author Larry Matysik did the impossilbe! He put together a list of wrestling legends that spotlights the elite of the pro wrestling business over the decades. Not an easy task! Sure some can speculate that this was "Larry's opinion", but when you read the case Larry makes for each of the 50 grapplers to be placed where they are in the pecking order, you know that he made every possilbe attempt to be subjective...not easy to accomplish when one was as close to the business as Larry was.

Agree or disagree with the final list of 50, Larry's book will stimulate discussions for years to come. Larry was able to remove his own personal feelings about the wrestlers, and look at their body of work in the ring and contribution to the sport, to justify (at least in his all lists like this would be) why the 50 wrestlers on the list are "the greatest of the greatest".

This book is insightful and well thought out. There is no attempt on Larry's part to present "his" opinions as gospel to the reader, but rather showing the pros and cons as to why a wrestler is #26 or #8 on the list. There have been hundreds of wrestling books published over the last decade, but Larry's book is in the top five of them all.

If you are an old fan of the kayfabe era, or a newcomer to the entertainment era, Larry's book is an education on how it all unfolded. You won't be able to put it down, and you'll refer to it again and again. That is the difinition of a GREAT BOOK!

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