20th Mar2020

Ten Best: Wrestling Autobiographies

by Chris Cummings

One of my favourite things to read, and I’m a big reader, is a good wrestling book. There are a whole bunch of autobiographies out there from a load of wrestlers, and the world of bodyslams and Monday night warfare is not short of a million crazy stories, so these books tend to be jam-packed with entertaining anecdotes, life stories, road-tales and a variety of things to keep fans (and perhaps some non-fans) hooked from page-one. I thought it might be fun to assemble a top ten list of what I feel are the ten best wrestler autobiographies out there right now. We’re fast approaching the release of Jim Ross’ second book, Under the Black Hat, which will be released at the end of March, so what better time to talk about wrestling books, that right now? Let’s go!

wrestler-biogs

10. Adam Copeland: Adam Copeland on Edge

Edge has had a hell of a career in wrestling, and his life prior wasn’t without it’s interesting stories either. This is a warm-hearted and well penned tale of the trials, tribulations, failures and successes of one of the most entertaining stars of the late-90s until the modern day. Edge’s life before wrestling is delved into, as well as his training, his relationship with his late mother, and his awesome run in WWE, going from a mysterious goth raver to a vampire to a dorky kazoo playing tag wrestler to a run as a successful singles guy. The complaint here is that this book was releaseed in 2006, before Edge had climbed to the heights he eventually would, and while this has plenty to say, about injury, relationships, friendship, passion and determination, it would be great to see a follow-up from Copeland where he can talk about his run as the Rated-R Superstar, to being a multi-time World Champion, to his relationship with Lita, his marriage to Beth Phoenix, his retirement due to injury, his entry into the Hall of Fame, and his eventual return to WWE again in 2020. An all-time great, this is a worthwhile read for sure, but was perhaps penned too soon.

9. William Regal: Walking A Golden Mile

William Regal has always been a guy I’ve enjoyed, from his days as “Lord” Steven Regal, to his run at William Regal in WWE, donning a crown as King, or a suit and tie as Commissioner, he’s always been entertaining. Regal has a hell of a story to tell, and this book, released back in 2005, see’s Regal tell the tale of life growing up in Blackpool, England, wrestling in the fairground and fighting Britain’s old-school wrestling heroes of the time. He goes into his move to the US and his time working for WCW and eventual entry into the WWE system. There’s also a real honesty here, something that is never amiss with Regal, a very open book when it comes to his past problems with injuries, drugs and alcohol. It’s sad, at times, funny a lot, and offers a real strong feeling of hope. Regal remains in WWE now as a coach, a scout and as the GM of NXT, so I’d love to see another book from him, he must have thousands of untold stories left to tell.

8. Eddie Guerrero: Cheating Death, Stealing Life

The late Eddie Guerrero was one of the best ever. His life, growing up as a member of one of the most famous and beloved wrestling families, is something that, alone, could give content to a hundred books, so be assured that this book, released back in 2006, delves into Eddie’s run in Japan and Mexico, his run in ECW and WCW and his time in WWE leading up to his huge WWE Title victory in 2004. There’s plenty here about family, life and love, and there’s plenty here about demons too, with Eddie’s struggle with painkillers after being involved in a car accident back in 1997. A blunt, at times, yet hopeful and heartbreaking tale of wrestling, life and passion. This is a hard one to read, too, because of what would happen to Eddie. After all he overcame, it makes the book and all the stories inside it all the more difficult to read. Still, it’s wonderful and definitely a must-read.

7. Bobby Heenan: Bobby the Brain – Wrestling’s Bad Boy Tells All

One of the voices of pro-wrestling in the 80s and 90s, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best to ever take hold of a microphone, wear a ringside headset or stand at ringside as a manager. This book, released back in 2002, is a unleashed life story from “The Weasel” as he discussed his life, his loves and his experiences in the weird and wonderful world of pro-wrestling. He talks about working with guys like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and Vince McMahon, among others. He discusses his time in the territories back in the 60s and 70s, his time in WWF in the 80s and 90s, and his final full-time run in WCW. The only one problem I had with this book was that it’s only 224 pages long. Bobby could have easily told stories and shared experiences for triple that length and still have a ton left to spare, and I wish he had. Still… for what it is, this is a must for fans of the business and for fans of “The Brain”. A real treat.

6. Chris Jericho: Undisputed (How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps)

The second book from “Y2J” was released in 2011 and kicks off where his first book ended. We read about Jericho’s thoughts of life in WWE, his climb up the political ladder, feuds with a variety of guys and his big title wins. There’s plenty about his music here too, with the book looking at tours with his band, Fozzy. There are tales about Jericho’s loss of friends Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, but for the most-part it’s a positive and cheerful memoir of life in the WWE system and life on the road as a rock-and-roll star. If you’re a Jericho fan, then you surely need to read this.

5. Mick Foley: Foley is Good (And the Real World is Faker than Wrestling)

The second book from Mick Foley’s fingers is ALMOST as entertaining as his first one, but… not quite. Still, that’s not to say that this isn’t incredible. That trademark humour and everyman tone that Mick brings to the table is back as he talks about a whole bunch of career highlights, such as working with The Rock and various others. It’s a peek behind the scenes written at a time where we didn’t get to see back there too often. It’s funny and charming, as always, and if you’ve read his first book then I’d recommend this one too. A really fun read.

4. Chris Jericho: A Lion’s Tale (Around the World in Spandex)

Jericho’s first memoir was released back in 2008 and is still my favourite of his books (some may disagree). The book covers Jericho’s childhood, his love for music and pro-wrestling, his runs in Mexico, Japan, Europe and Canada, his time in ECW and WCW and comes to a close with his debut in WWE in 1999. Sure, we don’t get much in the way of WWE stuff here, but the way it’s written and the humour and heart that Jericho puts into it, makes it hard to put down. It’s a fun one, and if you want a little more insight into Jericho’s career, his upbringing and his history as a heavy metal guy, then look no further.

3. Jim Ross: Slobberknocker

Jim Ross has been, for many of us fans, the voice of wrestling for many years. This book, which starts with Jim Ross’s youth and entry into the business, his work in Mid-South and WCW, and his life on the road, with all its up’s and down’s. Now, this doesn’t have EVERYTHING in it, it’s a first-part to JR’s story (with the second book, Under the Black Hat, coming out on March 31st), so expect to finish reading it with an urge for more. We’re getting more! Still, this is an awesome read, with JR delving into his life growing up on a farm in Oklahoma, to working his way up the wrestling ladder to become the greatest pro-wrestling announcer of all time. An enthusiastic, energetic and entertaining look at life through the eyes of a man with a million stories to tell. I shot through this quickly, and have read it a few times and, good God almighty… you should do the same.

2. Bret Hart: Hitman (My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling)

Bret Hart has lived and breathed pro-wrestling for his entire life. Growing up in the Hart Family, with the Hart Dungeon just a few steps away from your bedroom, it was in his blood from the second he made his first step. This book, one of the very best wrestling books ever penned, is packed full of stories of his childhood, his family, his career and his life after his career ending injury. There’s a lot of sad stuff here, with Hart suffering great losses in his life, such as his brother Owen. Bret talks about the infamous screw job from Survivor Series in Montreal in 1997. There’s a lot of darkness, but there’s also plenty to smile about. Bret talks about his life and career in detail and with a real passion. You can tell, with each page, that he still loves wrestling, and has many fond memories of it, and many of the workers he’s shared the ring with over the years. If you read any wrestling books from this list, make it this one, and… the next…

1. Mick Foley: Have a Nice Day (A Tale of Blood & Sweat-socks)

The first autobiography from Mick Foley was released back in 2000, and remains my favourite wrestling book to this day. I’ve read it a bunch of times, and it still holds strong as a thoroughly entertaining, laugh-out-loud, emotional, moving and insightful look into the life of Mick Foley. It takes a long look at his childhood, his early love of wrestling, his training, his career, and all under the dome of humour and thoughtful insights. Foley wrote this book alone, and it was a real passion project, and it shows. There’s so much going on, and so many wonderful moments here. Whether he’s cracking a joke about Al Snow (I mean, who wouldn’t?) or discussing normal-life events like meeting his wife, Colette, it’s all entertaining. From losing an ear in a match with Vader in Japan, to being launched off the Hell in a Cell, Foley isn’t without his injuries, so expect a whole bunch of accounts of this, among the tales of becoming a father, coming up with the Dude Love character, and being the most radical and groovy ladies man in the history of Long Island. Owwww, have mercy! Read this. It’s the best.

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