A book by Dan Murphy and Brian Young
Being a big professional wrestling fan, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity to read this new book by ECW press. ECW Press, coincidentally not named because of the former company, occasionally does Wrestling books that are very good. If you haven’t ever heard of them, The Death of WCW by Bryan Alvarez and R.D. Reynolds is worth a read for sure. This book in question, The Wrestlers’ Wrestlers – The Masters of the Craft of Professional Wrestling has the initial experience of a typical curated top XX list, but what sets it apart from others is the source material for the list. The author went out to other wrestlers and asked “who would you say is a ‘Wrestler’s Wrestler?'”. The responses were varied and deep and not what one typically sees in these sorts of books.
“The Wrestlers’ Wrestlers spotlights elite performers and analyzes exactly what made them your favorite wrestler’s favorite wrestlers. Authors Dan Murphy and Brian Young interviewed more than 40 in-ring veterans, historians, referees, and promoters to get a unique insider’s look at the people who have made a lasting impact on the world of professional wrestling. It offers a special peek “behind the curtain” and a rare look into the top stars’ thoughts on their peers, their influences, and their personal favorites.”
My biggest takeaway from this book are the sections about wrestlers that I am too young to have ever seen anything of. With the book spanning the 1920’s to modern times, information about wrestling in that post WWI era is always scarce despite hearing the occasional move being named after somebody today (Thesz Press comes to mind). Getting to read things about pioneers of the artform such as Karl Gotch, Strangler Lewis, and Lou Thesz was awesome, and with the latter, I have decided to pick up a copy of his book as it was the source for a lot of this material evidentially. One of my favorite recurring tidbits is the fact that in those early days of pure shooter styled wrestling, matches would sometimes last upwards of two hours in length. I can’t imagine sitting through that now, but it must have been a real sight to see back then!
This book occasionally has pictures to accompany the information presented, which is a nice touch. That way you can see some of these legendary men for yourself and see if the descriptions match up. All-in-all this book is a great addition to the bookshelf of any wrestling fan as long as they are willing to venture outside the recency barrier and see what the sport was like in the past. It doesn’t strive to be an encyclopedia or a definitive list in any way, but its interesting to see what qualities the actual wrestlers see as important to being a “Wrestler’s Wrestler”.