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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Book Review: “Headlocks And Dropkicks: A Butt-Kicking Ride Through The World Of Professional Wrestling”

Source - MainEventRadio.com's Steven Wilson:

Whether you be an avid wrestling fan or the casual channel changer there has probably been at least one time where you found yourself saying “I could do that”. The number of those who have said it far outweigh those who have actually gone out and tried it. Enter author Ted A Kluck, a sports writer with a sense of adventure. In the past he trained and played in a Arena Football League, not just for the fun of it, but with the intention of writing a book about his adventure. At the time many of his friends and family rolled their eyes or showed concern for his well being, As you would expect they were just as amused yet concerned when Kluck decided that for his latest book he would live a childhood dream of training and becoming a professional wrestler. Kluck’s shares his experience in “Headlocks and Dropkicks: A Butt-Kicking ride through the world of professional wrestling” now available from Praeger books.

In preparing for the writing of this book Kluck knew he was facing a daunting task. Not only would he have to actually train and pull off becoming a professional wrestler, but he would also have to write a book that as he puts it “will probably satisfy almost nobody”. Kluck explains himself by pointing out that many wrestling books nowadays are either kayfabed to the point that only certain marks will enjoy, or they appeal to the cynical smarks who would possibly laugh at his venture and thus dismiss it as fluff, so instead of worrying, he decided he would not target either specifically and attempt to put a documentary film in words on paper and share the ups and downs of his adventure into the world of pro wrestling, including interviews with those he met along the way.

Kluck shares his experience training in both Michigan and Chicago and credits indy star Josh Abercrombie as his principal trainer. Along the way he shares the realities of wrestling training schools nowadays and those who run the indy feds that these schools are often rely on for new talent. You get to follow Kluck along the entire course of his adventure which culminates in him organizing and executing his very own event in his basement under the name of the “L.W.A” (The Literary Wrestling Alliance”. In between sharing his experience, Kluck takes time out to includes interviews with the likes of Tammy Lynn Sytch, Leaping Lanny Poffo, Baron Von Rasche, Nikita Koloff, As well as stories on interactions with the likes of Christian Cage, Sabu and Steve Blackman.

Coming in at just over 150 pages, the book is at times a interesting read. Specifically some of the interviews and experiences at Indy shows are highly intriguing. The explanation of the training is similar to a story that any smart wrestling fan has heard a million times before, But as mentioned earlier in this review, Kluck had quite a challenge of trying to make this book readable to all crowds. This is achieved by providing a large amount of footnotes explaining certain terms for those who know nothing about wrestling, and with the interviews for the hardcores. That being said if you fall fully into either category you might find that the stuff directed at the opposite group annoying like I did with the constant footnotes.

The list price of nearly 40$ does not get an approving nod from this reviewer, however if you can catch this on sale and are looking for a simple yet interesting wrestling read then you might want to roll the dice.

Ultimately this book is likely to be enjoyed most by a sports fan who always wanted to know a bit more about the crazy world of professional wrestling.

“Headlocks and Dropkicks: A Butt-Kicking ride through the world of professional wrestling” is now available in hardcover format from Praeger Books. It has a list price of 39.95 on Amazon via http://www.amazon.com/Headlocks-Dropkicks-Butt-Kicking-Professional-Wrestling/dp/0313354812. To read my previous reviews head on over to www.wrestlingdvdreviews.com