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Wrestling [Paperback]

Simon Garfield
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Dec 25 2007
They used to be huge: huge in girth, huge on television. The Wrestling was once the biggest almost-sport in the country, as stars such as Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Mick McManus and Kendo Nagasaki entertained a grateful public on Saturday afternoons.

But these days the survivors of a national institution hobble about with only anecdotes and hip replacements to show for their years of fame. This is the classic story of their rise and fall, told with love and melancholy by those who were there.


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Product Description

About the Author

Simon Garfield was born in 1960. He is the author of Expensive Habits: The Dark Side of the Industry (1986), The End of Innocence: Britain in the Time of AIDS (1994), which was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize, The Wrestling (1996), The Nation's Favourite: The True Adventures of Radio 1(1998), the best-selling Mauve (2000), described by the Daily Telegraph as 'a remarkable book about science which also happens to be a miniature work of art', and the acclaimed The Last Journey of William Huskisson.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for the Wrestling Historian July 19 2004
Format:Paperback
Written in 1996, "The Wrestling" is a history of the heyday of Pro Wrestling in Great Britain, told entirely through the mouths of those who lived it. For those WWE fans who read the recent Hardy Boys autobiography, this is the same structure, but with a much larger cast of characters.
The legends who narrate the history include Mick McManus, Exotic Adrian Street, Max & Brian Crabtree, Jackie Pallo, Pat Roach, Klondike Kate, Mitzi Mueller, Mal Sanders, Giant Haystacks, Big Daddy Crabtree, Kent Walton and scores more. Fond memories for England's wrestling fans, albeit melancholy to see how many interviewed in this book have passed away since its printing.
Included is the 1980s new-era crossroads when WWF put a new face on the business, and many imitators followed suit. It is interesting to read the old-school grapplers comments on the change the biz went through. Included are players of the 1990s like Shawn Michaels and Davey Boy Smith.
Not as deep a search into the mechanics and soul of the biz as many authors have done since, but a high quality read. Essential for anybody who wants to become a thorough historian of the pro wrestling business.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for the Wrestling Historian July 19 2004
By K. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Written in 1996, "The Wrestling" is a history of the heyday of Pro Wrestling in Great Britain, told entirely through the mouths of those who lived it. For those WWE fans who read the recent Hardy Boys autobiography, this is the same structure, but with a much larger cast of characters.
The legends who narrate the history include Mick McManus, Exotic Adrian Street, Max & Brian Crabtree, Jackie Pallo, Pat Roach, Klondike Kate, Mitzi Mueller, Mal Sanders, Giant Haystacks, Big Daddy Crabtree, Kent Walton and scores more. Fond memories for England's wrestling fans, albeit melancholy to see how many interviewed in this book have passed away since its printing.
Included is the 1980s new-era crossroads when WWF put a new face on the business, and many imitators followed suit. It is interesting to read the old-school grapplers comments on the change the biz went through. Included are players of the 1990s like Shawn Michaels and Davey Boy Smith.
Not as deep a search into the mechanics and soul of the biz as many authors have done since, but a high quality read. Essential for anybody who wants to become a thorough historian of the pro wrestling business.
4.0 out of 5 stars UK look at the wrestling business Dec 8 2004
By Andrew Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I picked this up in Ireland in 2000. Of all the wrestling books out there, good or bad, this is a good read and gives a unique look at the British wrestling scene from the 60s and 70s.

Vince McMahon and the WWF steamrolled through the UK like it did the American territories. Still this book captures the rich history of stars like Big Daddy, Kendo Nagasaki, Giant Haystacks (Loch Ness of WCW) and others. Also detailed are grapplers like Dave Finley and Steve Regal who made it big over here.

My favorite part is the exploits of Giant Haystacks. His account of being a debt collector is pretty funny.

Garfield paints a great pictures and heavily uses direct quotes to give the wrestlers perspective. Anybody who loves wrestling should pick this book. Let the Lita and Edge books gain dust on the sales bin.
3.0 out of 5 stars Simon Garfield - The Wrestling April 12 2013
By Jimmy Wheeler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Wrestling: The Hilarious True Story of Britain's Last Great Superheroes.

By Simon Garfield.

Published by Faber and Faber.

Released November 1, 2007 (Originally published in 1996).

256 Pages, paperback.

Simon Garfield is a British author of non-fiction books such as; Expensive Habits: The Dark Side of the Industry, The End of Innocence: Britain in the time of AIDS, and Just my Type. Garfield is also a well versed journalist appearing in such newspapers as The Independent on Sunday, The Observer, and the Sun, a long with editing Time Out magazine. Simon would be named the Mind Journalist of the Year in 2005. As a small boy he would be fascinated by the All-In professional wrestling featured on the television, when meeting Mick McManus, one of the top stars, years later it would compel Simon Garfield to compose a book on the story of The Wrestling.

The Hilarious True Story of Britain's Last Great Superheroes isn't so much humorous as it is a unique look into the world of professional wrestling. The book is made up almost entirely of interview excerpts collated by Mr. Garfield. Whilst the chapters are put together in an order that is some what chronological the contents of the chapters is often hard to decipher the exact period of time is being spoken of, especially if you did not grow up watching the World of Sport TV show or seeing the live events that took place. After an introductory section to introduce some of the main characters of the era and to explain how the book came about, we naturally are treated to brief, selective history of British wrestling. A whole host of stars are featured including The Giant Haystacks, Big Daddy, Adrian Street, Jackie Pallo, Max Crabtree, and Kent Walton. The is also an on-going story that takes places involving Simon trying to make contact with one of the most talked about and notorious names in the locker room, yet known to a whole generation of people as a comedic wrestler, Les Kellett. The interviews themselves consist of comments on other wrestlers, promotions, promoters, memories they have of the business, and talk of how the business changed in Britain ultimately succumbing to the invasion of American style professional wrestling over the television channels. Backstage at a WWF (Now WWE) show in England he even managed to secure interviews with such stars as The British Bulldog, Shawn Michaels, and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. For the most part the wrestlers are light-hearted and just reminiscent of yester-year and the tremendous success achieved during their time on top of the entertainment scene in the U.K. Others come across as slightly bitter at how it all ended and towards other stars who they feel attributed to it's almost sudden demise. Followed by only a recount of an interview of may-be the most famous and mysterious character from this era, Kendo Nagasaki.

The Wrestling is an enjoyable read if you are looking to just relive fond memories of your childhood in front of the fire during winter watching these larger than life personalities duke it out on T.V. It is also good if you want to get a loose feel for what that period of British wrestling once was and an idea of the sheer magnitude of success it saw. By no means is Simon Garfield's book an accurate representation of wrestling in the United Kingdom. Certain parts are glaringly mistaken or left out, may-be this is due to the wrestlers memories, but there are places where Mr. Garfield has added information, where as other segments are left uncorrected. It is an enjoyable read overall, but it can not be taken as a serious view on British professional wrestling.

3/5 Stars

By Jimmy Wheeler

Full list of people featured as per the book:

Bill Abbey (Promoter), Bobby Barnes (Wrestler), Roland Barthes (Semiologist), Big Daddy (Wrestler), Big Jim Harris, the Mississippi Mauler (Wrestler), Peter Blake (Artist & Fan), Dave Soulman (Wrestler), Don Branch (Wrestler), Wayne Bridges (Wrestler), Robbie Brookside (Wrestler), Frank Casey (Wrestler), CB Cochran (Promoter), Brian Crabtree (Announcer), Max Crabtree (Promoter), Dickie Davies (Commentator), Doc Dean (Wrestler), Alan Dannison (Wrestler), Brian Dixon (Promoter), Joe D'Orazio (Referee), Ian Dury (Singer & Painter), Greg Dyke (Television Executive), Brian Howard Finkel (Former WWE Announcer), Simon Garfield (Narrator), Giant Haystacks (Wrestler), Brian Glover (Wrestler & Actor), Steve Grey (Wrestler), Georg Hackenschmidt (Wrestler), Diana Hart (British Bulldogs Former Wife), Bobby Heenan (Former WWE Commentator), Hunter Hearst Helmsley (WWE Wrestler), Hulk Hogan (Former WWE Wrestler), Les Kellett (Wrestler), Kendo Nagasaki (Wrestler), Mucky Mal Kirk (Wrestler), Ilona Kirk (Mucky Mal Kirk's Widow), Kondyke Kate (Wrestler), Johnny Kwango (Wrestler), Ken Livingstone (Politician), James Mason (Wrestler), Vince McMahon Jr (WWE Owner), Mick McManus (Wrestler), Paul Merton (Comedian), Shawn Michaels (Former WWE Wrestler), Miss Linda (Valet), Mitzi Mueller (Wrestler), Sir Atholl Oakeley (Promotoer), Jacki Pallo (Wrestler & Promoter), Jackie Pallo Jr. (Wrestler), Steve Prince (Wrestler), Pat Roach (Wrestler & Actor), Rollerball Rocco (Wrestler), Lloyd Ryan (Drummer & Manager), Mal Sanders (Wrestler), Jimmy Savile (Wrestler & Celebrity), The British Bulldog (Former WWE Wrestler), Adrian Street (Wrestler), Tony Banger Walsh (Wrestler), and last but not least Kent Walton (Commentator),
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it Dec 30 2012
By Zom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Excellent book about the history of pro wrestling in England. Lots of
interviews with some of the greatest of all time. You get to hear lots
of stories from the past both in and out of the ring. Colorful person-
alities and lots of drama.

If you are a fan of pro wrestling you will like this book. If you are
a fan and have never seen any British pro wrestling check it out. It is
still a great read and you will learn a lot about the business and the
wrestlers.
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