The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame:
The Canadians, by Greg Oliver

Description: First of all, let me explain that I am a huge fan of Canadian wrestlers. It seems like some of the better athletes hail from Canada (which barely tops the Japanese wrestlers). Think of the biggest names in wrestling. Guys like Bret Hart, Stu Hart (and the rest of the Hart Family), Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Killer Kowalski, Mad Dog Vachon, Steve Corino, etc are all names that people place on the "Best of the Best" in their respective heyday. It seems like there's no list of "best of" anything without at least one Canadian being in the top ten, or even the top five.

Need an example? "Best Wrestler" usually includes Bret (sometimes spelled "Brett") Hart or Chris Benoit at the top of the list. For years, the "Best Female" had Trish Stratus at the top. Even Val Venis and Lance Storm have been called some of the best workers the companies they've worked for have had in a while.

It's only fitting that these amazing athletes, who primarily focus on form and technique over flash and show, are given a book dedicated to them and their rare style. It's been said that every region carry its own style of wrestling. Mexicans and South Americans follow the ways of Lucha Libre. The Europeans follow more a sport-like atmosphere with rounds and stiff blows given. Canadians carry an amateur-ish wrestling style that one could see in Olympics. The Japanese have a mixture of the European stiffness the Mexican's lucha libre, the Canadian amateur style, and their own distinctive martial arts style. Meanwhile, America (mainly just the U.S.), focus on flash and style over anything that seems "sporty."
If a person wants to see more "sport" than "flash" in wrestling, then Canada is the place to go. It's a country that bore dozens of world-famous professional wrestlers who've been known all over the world.

The book itself explains the professional lives of various Canadian wrestlers, including the famous ones that time will never forget such as Benoit, Stu Hart, and Abdullah the Butcher and some not-so-famous ones due to time moving forward such as Gene Kiniski, Stomper Goldie, and Earl McCready (all of whom I've never heard of and as a fan of the sport for a little over ten years, that's pretty surprising).

The book isn't in any specific order of a "top best," instead it does away with that tired format, thus reducing any sort of hatred many disagreeing fans would give the book. Instead, it simply names and tells the story the best of the best from Canada from past to present.

The book isn't absolutely great on every level, but if the reader is truly interested in reading brief history of how a couple of dozen changed the style of professional wrestling for years, then it'd be a great read.

Rating: 5/5 (It's a great book for its history lesson, but pretty short, too, so those with ADD can actually finish the book. Very informative and covers a good majority of Canadian-born and Canadian-adopted performers. Everyone from Rowdy Roddy Piper to Leatherface and Pierre Carl Ouellet.)

Reviewed by Jesse Lee on March 13, 2008.

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