Wrestling at the Chase:

The Inside Story of Sam Muchnick at the Legends of Professional Wrestling

by Larry Matysik

Description: Larry Matysik was fan who became a reporter, and announcer, a booker and an influential member of the most celebrated territory around, St. Louis. As a prodigy of Sam Muchnick, Larry worked his way through to become the public face of the hugely popular Wrestling At The Chase programme.

Although I knew nothing about St. Louis or the majority of the wrestlers who worked there, Larry Matysik managed to captivate and enthral me throughout the book. Obviously, the majority of the book is dedicated to the business of promoting in St. Louis and the wrestlers who worked there, but the relationships and dealings that Larry had with them are subtly woven in to the descriptions. However, a book which could have become an encyclopaedia of professional wrestling manages, through excellent writing, to capture the spirit and tradition of the time without overwhelming the reader with details of specific wrestlers.
One thing which shone through to me when reading the book was the obvious passion, devotion and thorough understanding of the wrestling business which Larry Matysik has. Every story draws the reader in and really leaves you with the feeling of what this period in wrestling was like.

There are specific chapters devoted to the work, philosophy and personality of Sam Muchnick, and each of these leaves you in awe of the respect generated by the "Father of professional wrestling" from all levels of the business. The influence of several legendary stars such as Jack Brisco, Ric Flair and Harley Race are present and detailed throughout the book, with the most touching being the influence that "King King" Brody had on Larry. The specific chapter dedicated to Larry's relationship with Brody is captivating, funny and incredibly touching at the same time.

The only negative point that I could make about this book is that I got the feeling that at times (when describing a situation or event) Larry thought of something else and quickly mentioned it before going back to the original story. Although this in now way detracts from the book, a fan who is uneducated about St Louis (such as me) may be distracted.

Overall, I loved this book. I knew nothing about St Louis or Wrestling At The Chase before reading the book, but I felt like I had lived alongside Larry and the legends of the ring when I'd finished. An enthralling read, and definitely recommended reading for one Vincent Kennedy McMahon on how to book a promotion! Highly recommended.

Rating: I would have to give this book a high 9 out of 10. It is a well written and excellently comprised book, that will leave both hardcore and casual fans captivated by the Kayfabe era and the people who helped to create the magic of professional wrestling, in which Larry Matysik played a large part.

Reviewed by Jim Davis on September 6, 2006.

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