Monday, 31 December 2007

Two Falls, Two Submissions or a Knockout - Book Review

One of the joys of working in the wrestling business is that you get to hear some great stories from people who have been in the business years, which is why I was looking forward to reading the following.

Two Falls, Two Submissions, or a Knockout, written by “Judo” Al Marquette, was released last October. I have to admit I knew almost next to nothing about Marquette prior to the publication of this book, but he certainly gives an interesting insight into the world of British professional wrestling in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

A judo master, Marquette tells of how he got into the wrestling business because of his former occupation. Marquette guides us through his career, telling us stories from his travels on wrestling circuit, stories about the various promoters he worked for, as well as stories about the wrestlers he encountered. We get his own personal views on people such as Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks, Brian Glover, Kendo Nagasaki, Les Kellett, and many other British greats who are fondly remembered.

We also get to hear stories about the various show business personalities he has met over the years, some of whom who have gone on to become close, personal friends of his. It seems that he’s met the entire cast of Coronation Street at one time or another.

It’s an enjoyable read, but this book isn’t without it’s faults. In other wrestling biographies, there is a distinct timeline of events, things are put in chronological order. Sadly, this is lacking in this book. The stories are interesting, sometimes funny, and sometimes sad, but a lot of them have no order to them.

There is also no mention of Marquette’s actual retirement from in-ring action. It would have been nice to read what his thoughts and feelings were going into his final bout.

What is also different about this biography is the way Marquette writes about his matches. Other wrestlers write about their matches, and the fact that the results are already pre-determined. This is not the case here. Marquette does go into a little detail about certain aspects of matches, but details of the planning of matches, which we hear a great deal about in other books and most notably in video shoot interviews, are hardly mentioned here at all.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a perspective on the golden age of British wrestling, then Marquette’s account of his time in the business is an enjoyable read. Just don’t expect a book that will give you all the secrets of the wrestling business, or a book that will heavily criticise the people he worked with.