How Dr. Death Became Dr. Life

by Steve Williams with Tom Caiazzo

Description: Having grown up as one of Vince McMahon's children, I was not fortunate enough to be introduced to Steve "Dr. Death" Williams - except for what I read in magazines - until I discovered the miracle of video tape trading. Through magazine articles, and later the internet, I became familiar with the husky grappler and realized that he was truly a force within the wrestling business. The wrestlers I was being exposed to in the WWF were often portrayed as fluffy and cartoonish, but this Dr. Death character actually looked like he could kick some major butt for real. After viewing some of his matches on rented video tapes such as Starrcade 1987 and 1988, and Great American Bash 1989, I quickly developed a firm level of respect for the man named Dr. Death.

Of course a lot has happened since then; I've had the pleasure of viewing many of Steve Williams' matches from everywhere he's worked, such as Mid South, Bill Watts' UWF, NWA, WCW, Japan, Herb Abrams' UWF, MLW, and of course the WWF. I've remained a huge fan of Dr. Death the entire time, which is why I was extremely saddened by the news back in 2004 that he was suffering from throat cancer. Thank God that Steve Williams beat cancer's butt and survived to tell his story in his biography, appropriately named "How Dr. Death Became Dr. Life."

I was lucky enough to receive a complimentary copy of the book in my mailbox out of the blue several days ago. I was not expecting it, therefore I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the face of Steve "Dr. Death" Williams looking back at me when I opened the package. I simply could not wait to dive into this one; setting aside the book I was already reading, I made Dr. Death's book my number one priority. I read the entire book in three days, which is very uncharacteristic for me - but I just couldn't help myself. I was immediately sucked in from the first chapter, which revealed the details of Doc's courageous battle with throat cancer and the absolutely terrifying treatments he endured. I became emotionally attached to the person being profiled. I continued to read page after page chronicling Steve's personal life, playing football in college and in the pros, wrestling professionally all over the world, and later humbly giving his life to God.

He's literally done it all, and he's got something to say about every major wrestling organization in the world because he's worked for them all at some point in his career. Once you get past the football years, Doc writes about getting started in the business by the legendary Bill Watts, and learning the ropes in the Mid South territory. He eventually makes a huge name for himself in Jim Crockett's NWA (which became WCW), followed by lengthy stints working for both Antonio Inoki's New Japan, and Giant Baba's All Japan promotions. Dr. Death also talks about his experiences in Herb Abrams' UWF as well as MLW - and don't forget his short stint in the WWF, which includes the story of the infamous Brawl for All fiasco. All-in-all, the book is a fantastic tribute to a tremendous wrestler and a wonderful man who deserves to have his story told. He credits God (yes, there is some preaching near the end of the book) with his transformation from Dr. Death into Dr. Life. Doc's rebound from near death to being full of life is nothing short of inspirational.

The hardcover version of "How Dr. Death Became Dr. Life" will be available some time in March 2007 for $24.95 (US) at major chain and independent bookstores (Borders, Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, etc) or by calling Sports Publishing toll-free 24-hours-a-day 1-877-424-BOOK (2665) in the continental U.S. (217-363-2072 outside of the continental U.S.) or online at

Rating: 9 / 10 -- Great book about a great guy, you will learn a great deal!

Reviewed by Brad Dykens on March 11, 2007.

© 2007, Black Pants, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective holders.