Monday, 31 December 2007

Slamthology - Book Review

Wrestling fans in Britain will know of John Lister. A wrestling fan since the age of 14, Johnhas written for a number of publications over the past few years, most notably for the sadly departed and dearly missed Pro Wrestling Press.

Recently, John put together a collection of his work, Slamthology, an edition of collecting wrestling writings, some of it dating back to 1991. Part travelogue, part history lesson, part opinion, it’s a hell of a read.

A great deal of writers who try to ply their trade on various wrestling websites all seem to make a common mistake these days - they don’t do any research. This is something you can’t say of John though. The history portion of Slamthology makes for compelling reading, and it’s good to know that there are still people out there in this day and age who are more than willing to delve into professional wrestling’s rich and chequered history. Did you that Antonio Inoki started off his angle with Tiger Jeet Singh by having the Indian attack him in a Tokyo street? Or that there was once a wrestling match that lasted over five hours? I didn’t until I read this book.

John’s opinion pieces are also a good read. His thoughts and views come across really well, and are a sign that he truly loves the wrestling business, as well as writing about it.

But the jewel in the crown as far as this book is concerned is John’s travelogues, documenting the events surrounding his journeys across the pond, to venues such as the ECW Arena and the Dallas Sportatorium. John’s done more travelling to watch wrestling than most smart marks would do in a lifetime. The tales of his encounters with wrestlers and fans are great, especially when one Brian Christopher, then working for the USWA, gave John advice on how to get a lift. It was nice to see that John got a measure of revenge on the future Grandmaster Sexay just a few days later.

In conclusion, Slamthology is a hell of a read, and well worth the price. If this book only contained the stories about John’s travels, then it would still have been worth the read. The only criticism I have of this book is the spelling mistakes which seem to crop up with great regularity every few pages or so. Whether this is the fault of the publisher, or John’s fault during the final editing process is unknown. But the fact that the only thing I found wrong with this book was the spelling mistakes say it all. A good read here, and hopefully, we’ll see Slamthology Volume II someday.