I can start of this review by saying that this book in The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame series by Greg Oliver is a treat for any fan of Canadian professional wrestling. It may not be as in-depth or personal as Pain and Passion was, but it is none the less a must read.
The books first chapter is without a doubt it’s most well known, Olivers “The Top 20 Canadian Pro Wrestlers” certainly stirred up some controversy among certain Canadians, one of them, Bret Hart, took specific offense to his placement rather low on the list, something even at least one of Oliver’s colleagues raised an eyebrow at, I will have to admit that I agree with the criticism on this particular subject, Hart deserves to be far higher on the ranking. With that said I respect Oliver’s opinion and I can’t claim to have a better understanding of Canadian wrestling than him. He is undoubtedly the most well and cited Canadian wrestling journalist of the modern era.
After that introduction, the book chronicles the lives and careers of several individual wrestlers (such as Yvon Roberts, Killer Kowalski, Gene Kinski, Roddy Piper, Stomper Gouldie, Stu Hart, and Bret Hart among others) for many sentences and paragraphs. These chapters are good for an overview of these persons and a great introduction to them if one is not familiar with all of them. It becomes very clear that Oliver has a deep love and appreciation for these workers and their contributions.
By page 79 the book diverts from the earlier formula and begins covering announcers as well. Henceforth the book devotes several chapters to other non-wrestlers who have devoted their lives to the industry, this is very nice and admirable since these people often risk not being acknowledged on the same level as the in-ring workers. My favorite chapter out of the whole book is without a doubt number 23, this chapter entitled “The Families” of course covers Canadian wrestling families, which is a treat to me as someone who has a special interest in this subject. It does a wonderful job at covering all the well known, less well known and the downright obscure families who have made a tradition out of the artform.
At the very end of the book, there is something lacking from many wrestling books, but any great book should have, a long list of notes and citations.
All in all, I give the book a 4 out of 5.