Friday, 31 December 2004

The Stone Cold Truth - Book Review

Since Mrs. Foley's baby boy put pen to paper four years ago and penned the now classic Have A Nice Day, we've seen literally dozens and dozens of biographies from wrestlers past and present, with the latest edition being Steve Austin's The Stone Cold Truth, penned with the help of Jim Ross and Dennis Brent.

When you read this book, it's hard not to imagine Austin's voice in your head. Starting off just before his final match at last year's Wrestlemania, and moving from his early childhood into his adult life, and his decision to enrol in Chris Adams's wrestling school, the early part of the book makes for compelling reading. Austin goes to great length telling us how important his family are to him, and how his upbringing made him the man he is today.

But about halfway through the book, things begin to tail off a little. Despite being enthralled by what I had read early on, I found myself somewhat disappointed by the lack of details of certain events, and the glaring errors which Austin himself made while telling his story - for instance, naming Barry Windham as a member of the Dangerous Alliance in WCW in 1992, when it was in fact Bobby Eaton who was the fifth male wrestler in Paul E. Dangerously's group. Windham had in fact sided with Sting's group.

While it is understandable that Austin doesn't go into details surrounding his arrest in 2002 after he left the WWE, it is frustrating that he doesn't go into details with regards to his series of matches with Ricky Steamboat in WCW, his alliance with Triple H in the early part of his heel turn in 2001, his role as the leader of the WCW/ECW Alliance just after, or his views on the arrival of the New World Order in the WWE two years ago, and his apparent refusal to work a match with Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 18. It would have been good to find out just what his views on these events were.

Possibly the best and most thought provoking chapter of the book concerns the late Owen Hart. It was Owen's botched tombstone pile driver at Summerslam in 1997 that caused the majority of the health problems which ended Austin's in-ring career nearly six years later. Austin goes into great depth about the extent of his injury and the effect it had on his live, but his view on Owen's conduct about the injury made for compelling reading.

All in all this is not a bad effort. As someone who loves to listen to old wrestling stories, it's always interesting to hear the views of someone who has been around a bit, who started at the bottom and worked their asses off to get to the top. This is definitely one of the better wrestling biographies around, even though it does become a little stale in parts.