Monday, March 14, 2011

Canon Review List-A-Mania: The Top Ten Wrestling Books

Well, as you could probably tell by the title, here is a list of the top ten wrestling books according to The Canon Review. In case you were wondering, the worst wrestling book I've ever read all the way through is Hulk Hogan's first book, which is so full of tall tales and outright lies that it's hard to believe anything the book says. Also, I once read five pages of 'If They Only Knew' by Chyna and couldn't believe how bad it was. As for the top ten wrestling books, well, here they are:

10. Foley is Good: And the Real World is Faker Than Wrestling by Mick Foley

The second of Foley's four autobiographies (note: how many people have written four autobiographies?) Foley is Good chronicles the career of Mick Foley from 1999-2000, a period in which he held the WWF Title three times and main evented Wrestlemania before retiring as an active competitor.  While not up to par with Mick Foley's first book, Foley is Good is an entertaining and in-depth book, and Foley's defense of the WWF against groups like the PTC at the end of the book provides a few intriguing items to think about. Plus, Foley isn't nearly as self-righteous as he would come off in his next two books, so that's nice.

9. The Death of WCW by R.D. Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez

A collaberation between the creators of and Figure Four Weekly, the Death of WCW is an in-depth look at, what else, the death of WCW. This book is both quite informative and humorous at times as it details some of the absurd things going on in WCW over the years, such as paying Lanny Poffo a huge salary even though he only made one appearance in the company. The only problem I have with this book is that a lot of the backstage activities in the book seem to be based more on rumor than fact, as the authors credit very little sources other than interviews with people that may of had a bias. Still, this is an interesting book to read about one of the most fascinating stories in wrestling history.

8. WWE Encyclopedia by Brian Shields and Kevin Sullivan

Yes, there are a few notable omissions in this book, but the WWE Enyclopedia is a very thorough listing of nearly every WWE wrestler, pay-per-view, championships, and everything else WWE. Each wrestler featured, from Beaver Cleavage to The Rock, gets a photo and a description of their WWE tenure. The WWE Encylcopedia is both an informative reference and a blast to flip pages through.

7. Tributes/Tributes II by Dave Meltzer

Ok, so I kind of cheated and put 11 books on this list, but so what? Anyway, both of these books are written by Wrestling Observer founder Dave Meltzer and both books have numerous profiles about wrestlers that had passed away, such as Owen Hart, Andre the Giant, Curt Hennig, and Freddie Blassie. After reading both books, I found that the first book had better editing and more photos, while the second book featured slightly more detailed profiles. However, both books are really well done and are very informative looks at a variety of wrestlers, so I really couldn't pick between the two.

6. Cheating Death, Stealing Life by Eddie Guerrero 

Written just before his untimely death in 2005, Cheating Death, Stealing Life is an in-depth and personal look at the life and wrestling career of Eddie Guerrero. Guerrero chronicles his problems with substance abuse, which nearly cost him both his career and his life on a number of occasions, as well as the struggle to 'get clean' and become one of the best wrestlers on the planet. Guerrero pulls no punches in this book, as he is very honest about his struggles and the personal problems he endured over the years. It's a great book, although it is kind of sad that Eddie passed away before it was released.

5. Pure Dynamite: The Price you Pay for Wrestling Stardom by Tom Billington

One of the first wrestling autobiographies to hit the market, Billington, a.k.a. The Dynamite Kid, gives a brutally honest account about his life as a wrestling superstar and the struggles he's gone through after injuries and drug problems left him a broken man. Billington is quite candid in this book, as he blames himself for his actions instead of trying to justify it with excuse after excuse, and is unafraid to call others out if he feels they deserve it. A very good book that I fell has been forgotten about a little over the years.

4. Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps by Chris Jericho

Hey, I just reviewed this book earlier this month, so there isn't a whole lot I can say here that I didn't say earlier, other than that if you are a wrestling fan, then I suggest you read this book as soon as physically and fiscally possible.

3. Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling by Bret Hart

Hitman is probably the most in-depth wrestling autobiography of all time, and Hart writes the entire story in his own words, from his childhood growing up in the crazy Hart family, to wrestling for his father's company, to his rise in WWF, and his fall from grace and medical problems that caused his retirement and nearly cost him his life. Hart writes his book in an honest and frank manner, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to wrestlers like Bad News Brown, Shawn Michaels, or even his own family members like Bruce Hart. It's a great read, although I did feel that Bret was a little full of himself and his constant attempts to justify his affairs on the road became tiresome after a while. Still, highly recommended reading for all wrestling fans. 

2. Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks by Mick Foley

Perhaps the most famous wrestling book, Have A Nice Day is Mick Foley's first autobiography and was a fixture on the New York Times best selling list in 1999. The book covers everything in Foley's life from his childhood, to training under Dominic DeNucci, to struggling in the territores, to his stints in WCW and ECW and finally his rise in the WWF, culminating in winning the World Title for the first time. Along the way, Foley shows a great sense of humor and a remarkable talent for writing that is only surpassed slightly by his wrestling skills. Yes, Foley's other three books have not come close to the standard of Have a Nice Day, but I can't think of many autobiographies in any subject that come close to the greatness of this book.

1. A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex by Chris Jericho

Ever since getting this book for Christmas back in 2008, I must have read this book five times, as it's just that great. Jericho displays a great sense of humor and a talent for storytelling in this book about his travels all across the world, trying to realize his dream of becoming a wrestling superstar. From Jericho's adventures training at the Hart Brothers Training Camp, to his tales of wrestling in Germany, Mexico, and Japan, to his time in ECW and the highs and lows of working in WCW, A Lion's Tale is a hilarious and yet sincere look at Chris Jericho and his lifelong quest to reach the top of the wrestling world. My favorite wrestling book, and probably one of my five favorite books period.

Well, that's all for this list. If you agree of disagree with any of the selections on this list, then I implore you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment on the blog or by sending me an e-mail at


  1. Great article! I need to pick up some of these. I've only read 3 on the entire list.

  2. have you read edge's book yet??if so why is it not in your top ten?i have not read it yet and have just orderd y2j's 1st book.please respond