Book Review - An Education In Idiocy"
"The Complete Idiot's Guide To Pro Wrestling"
August 26, 2003 - by Emer Prevost

W ell, loyal reader, I never thought I would see the day when I actually read one of those stupid 'Complete Idiot's Guide' books. But, thanks to (the funniest wrestling site on the net) and all of the people who wrote into the site talking about this book, I had to read it for myself. So, here we go, a look at 'The Complete Idiot's Guide To Pro Wrestling'. All I ask is that you hold in your laughs at what I am about to tell you. If I have to hold it in while writing it, you can have the decency to hold in your chuckles until the end. And, if you don't make it to the end, I understand.

First off, this book was written by sportswriter Bert Sugar (I've never heard of him) and wrestling legend, Captain Lou Albano. With Lou writing, you would think that the book would be great. But, the real problem with the book is the load of typos and slight inaccuracies.

The book does a pretty good job with explaining the modern history of wrestling (starting around the post-Civil War era of wrestling). Although I really am not a wrestling historian, the history part seems to be in order.

The first real problem seems to come in the form of a list of the current (at the time of the book's publishing - 1999) WWF and WCW rosters. The one that everyone notices reads "Rocky Melvin (a.k.a. The Rock)". Yes, most of the people really seemed a little pissed that the people's poser was listed as Rocky Melvin instead of Rocky Maivia (yes, I know that the name is still misspelled, but that is what they call him throughout the rest of the book). Now, let's look at some of the other mistakes here in the roster listings, shall we?

Also on the WWF list reads this heading "Undertaker (a.k.a. The Dead Guy)". Maybe it's just me, but the only people who I have ever heard call the Undertaker 'the dead guy' are usually stumped on the name and just use 'the dead guy' as a vague description. It wouldn't be so bad if this was the only mention of this nickname, but it comes up about two other times in the book. I think I'll leave that one where it lays.

The rest of the WWF roster seems safe from the evil typos of the authors/editors, but what about the WCW roster?

The first mess up I noticed here was "Chris Kenyon". Now, I know that Chris KANYON isn't a very popular wrestler, but his name isn't a very hard one to mess up (but, most would think that about Rocky Miavia, and I just showed you what happened there). Thank God this is the only mention of Kanyon (well, it's supposed to be Kanyon), so his name isn't drug through the mud too much.

Right under "Chris Kenyon" is "Lido (of Raven's Flock)". Again, LODI isn't a popular wrestler, by any means. But, this mistake one makes sense, sorta. How often have you been typing something, and you accidentally transposed (or switched around) two different letters? But, these books are supposed to be looked over before they are published, aren't they? Well, while this minor typo isn't anything major, it is still something worth mentioning.

The only other real questionable entry on the WCW listing read "Ultimo Dragon (a.k.a. Last Dragon)". Now, I have done a lot of research, and am yet to find any mention of the Ultimo Dragon ever wrestling as The Last Dragon. But, I might have missed something. So, if anyone has ever heard of Ultimo wrestling as The Last Dragon, shoot me an e-mail, and I'll be sure to make mention of it in a future column.

Well, that about covers the roster part of the book. Now, we get to some other typos and a lot of just plain stupid false comments that were made in this book.

"Hollywood" Hogan shocked the world.

Did you ever wonder why Hulk Hogan became Hollywood Hogan when he came to WCW? Well, according to Captain Lou and Bert Sugar (who got this info from the WWF), here's the reason. And I quote:

"'Hulk' Hogan had to go to 'Hollywood' upon leaving the WWF for Turners WCW: The WWF owned his old ring name. (Source: World Wrestling Federation)"

Is that a fact? I always thought that Hulk was owned by Marvel Comics, thus the reason for the whole trademark Marvel Comics Group at the end of every WWF PPV and TV show involving Hulk Hogan. Go ahead, pop in WrestleMania VI, and you'll see it. 'Hulk', 'Hulkster' and 'Hulkamania' were all trademarked by Marvel Comics (supposedly to use for their big green retard, The Incredible Hulk). So, this one can't be blamed on the authors entirely. This was a fact that came right from the WWF themselves.

Unless they bought the Hulk name from Marvel (which is a possibility), the WWF was just blowing smoke up the asses of the people over at Macmillan Publishing, and they, in turn, blew that same smoke up the asses of all who read the book. And, by reading this article, I just blew that same smoke up your ass. That is a very sick image, I'm sure, but it's true.

Here's a quote from Sugar about a fan favorite of the time (I think):

"Bob Goldberg never went the route of a formal wrestling school course, but that doesn't mean he didn't get training. He just trained outside the field of wrestling until he realized where he really wanted to go in his career: 'I did my homework. I studied martial arts. But I had an idea to portray a character people would like.'"

Now, I'm taking a real wild guess that Bert is talking about your favorite piece of driftwood and mine, Bill Goldberg. But, there might be a Bob Goldberg wrestling in the indys that none of us know about, but I strongly doubt it. And, if there is a Bob Goldberg in the wrestling business, I want the WWE to sign him and fire Bill. This way, the fans can chant for Goldberg, and the real fans don't have to suffer with Bill's crap week in and week out.

Next, let's look at a list of wrestler's finishers, straight from the book itself. It say's Austin's finisher is the Stone Cold Stunner. So far, so good. Ric Flair finishes matches with a Figure Four. No problems yet. Owen Hart and Curt Hennig both use a Dropkick as their finisher. Hold on. That's sure a funny way of spelling Sharpshooter and Fisherman Suplex. Yes, according to "The Complete Idiot's Guide", Owen and Curt both used simple dropkicks as their finishers. Oh well, at least they have Shawn Michaels' finisher as the Pile Driver. What? That isn't right either? Well, at least they didn't list his super kick as the "legendary 'boot to the chin' kick." Oops, they do, when they explain the ending of the Michaels/Austin match from WrestleMania XIV. Alright, so these guys suck at naming finishers. That's just a small portion of the book (about a page worth of finishers). It's nothing to get excited about.

Another area of the book talks about the wrestling businesses use of stereotypical characters (everything from cowboys to Arabs to Native Americans and beyond). The only point that made me chuckle was that Chris Chavis' famous character was listed as Tanaka (instead of Tatanka). Everything else seemed in order, at least to me.

The other typos aren't as major as this. They are normally just a letter missing, like the second C in World Class Championship Wrestling. It's referred to as WCW for an entire chapter. Everything else actually looks decent. Or, they accidentally misword something and it sounds way off. The best example is their explanation of how a Camel Clutch is applied:

"Camel Clutch: This is the Steiner Recliner, used by Scott Steiner. With your opponent face down on the mat, sit on his back, and slide your arms under his legs. Apply a chinlock, and then pull back."

No matter how many times I picture this, I see a hold that is much more painful than the Camel Clutch. But, that is what happens when you switch arms and legs around. I hope that someone read this book and started using this bizarre version of the Camel Clutch and have dubbed it as the Complete Idiot's Camel Clutch. If that happened, then a mistake in this book would have lead to one of the coolest looking submissions in all of wrestling. But, it just might be the way I picture it that makes it so cool, I don't know.

In all honesty, I think that the book is an okay read, if you can survive past all the typos and minor falsities, you might learn something from the book. But, like I said, I'm no historian, and for all I know, the whole book might be just one bigass lie, and should be written off as just a mere joke. If you're curious, go ahead and plop down the $18.95 (you poor Canadians have to pay $28.95, sorry) and give it a try. I learned that a second edition came out, so maybe there is some hope after all of the typos being resolved and the falsities fixed. But, I wouldn't bet on it.

Oh, and if anyone remembers any time that Kane and the Undertaker regularly burned caskets in the middle of the ring, let me know. The book mentions this, and I for the life of me have never seen it happen.

by Emer Prevost


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