The eight-part A&E Biography series on WWE Legends has been excellent. This coming Sunday is the final documentary in this series: Bret Hart. And, it all started on Sunday, April 18 with one of Bret Hart’s greatest rivals: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Considering there have been so many “Stone Cold” Steve Austin documentaries over the years, is this one worth watching? Read on for my thoughts.
DK Publishing is back with another WWE book, and this one is just in time for WrestleMania: WWE Superstar Handbook! Written by Jake Black, this 208-page paperback book is filled with stats and facts on more than 300 WWE Superstars. Alexa Bliss, The Rock, Roman Reigns, Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Bret Hart, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch — they’re all in here! Check out my video review below to get a look at what’s inside and whether or not you should buy a copy of this new book. Enjoy!
I’m always up for a good book about professional wrestling, and a new one is coming out on April 27, The Wrestlers’ Wrestlers: The Masters of the Craft of Professional Wrestling by Dan Murphy and Brian Young. Unlike other wrestling books, this isn’t focused on one particular individual or promotion. Rather, it’s a collection of profiles of elite performers, analyzing what made them your favorite wrestlers’ . . . favorite wrestlers. So, instead of simply being a list of the greatest wrestlers of all time, according to the fans, this book is about the wrestlers that other wrestlers admire. It’s an interesting concept.
I have now interivewed four members of the TNA/IMPACT Wrestling Hall of Fame, with the newest addition being the greatest referee of all time: Earl Hebner. For more than 40 years, Earl has been the gold standard for professional wrestling referees. From officiating matches between Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant to Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, he’s the absolute best at what he does. Earl spent 11 years with TNA Wrestling and he told me that it was the happiest time in his career. We talked about what it was like working with Dixie Carter, taking part in entertaining storylines, including ones with the Knockouts, life on the road, working internationally, and the art of being a great referee, among other topics. It was an honor and a pleasure to speak at length with a man I admire, and I know that his commentary will make a great addition to my books about the history of TNA/IMPACT Wrestling.
This week, in addition to others, I’ve interviewed Gail Kim, Jeff Hardy, and, now, Ken Shamrock! The first-ever world champion in TNA/IMPACT Wrestling, and the only person to be both in both the UFC Hall of Fame and the IMPACT Wrestling Hall of Fame, Ken Shamrock is the real deal and a bonafide legend. While his moniker is “The World’s Most Dangerous Man,” he was a pleasure to speak with. Ken and I talked about what it was like to win the NWA-TNA World Heavyweight Championship at the company’s first-ever PPV, his thoughts on what makes TNA/IMPACT Wrestling special, what the locker room culture is like, the Montreal Screwjob, the best advice Bret Hart ever gave him, and a whole lot more. Want to know his thoughts on Eddie Edwards, Sami Callihan, Moose, and what it’s like wrestling in the era of COVID? I asked Ken about all of this. I also spoke with him about his time in the WWF, including his thoughts on The Rock, Mick Foley, Bret Hart, and officiating the iconic match at WrestleMania 13 where Stone Cold Steve Austin’s star shot into the stratosphere. As someone who grew up watching Ken Shamrock become a combat sports legend, it was an honor to pick his brain and gain a greater understanding of what make him special. I look forward to sharing these thoughts with all of you in my books about the history of TNA/IMPACT Wrestling.
My first “Pro Wrestling Demystified” article focused on wrestling being “fake.” If you haven’t read it, do so. I’m proud to bring you the next entry in this series. Today, we’re going to take a look at suspension of disbelief — a commonly used term in professional wrestling parlance when describing the total immersion of oneself in the storyline and/or match that’s taking place.
There have been numerous documentaries about professional wrestling over the years, including ones produced by WWE about its superstars, legends, factions, and historic moments. In addition to these highly enjoyable, polished pieces, there are gritty, reality-based pro wrestling documentaries that are more focused on providing the viewer with an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the legends they grew up watching on TV. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake, an excellent character study and inspirational story about how the power of believing in yourself can transcend addiction, was firmly created in this style. 350 Days, coming out April 2, is the newest addition to this style of storytelling, and it’s an intriguing, enlightening, educational, and, most importantly, satisfying, documentary that everyone should see.
Today I went to Icons of Wrestling II, which took place at the famous ECW Arena in Philadelphia. My main reason for going was to get a photo with WCW and WWE legend Sting, and to meet and finally get a photo with a wrestler I grew up watching in the 1990s: Bret “The Hitman” Heart.