on October 24, 2011
I have a full collection of wrestling titles, including some of this author/photographer's previous books. But this book is his best! Amazing photos of every big star from the days of wrestling territories (my era) to the present. Over 350 photos, and these must be the author's favorites, and there are all types: photos from the most famous events (Wrestlemania, Starcade, Stadium Shows, Historic title changes, etc); in the ring action of all types; early photos of today's stars "before they were stars"; and a whole section of "away from the ring"-- the wrestlers in real life.
Among the highlights for me: a picture of Randy Savage at age 20 as a rookie in Kentucky weighing just 180 pounds and not looking anything like you think; the Road Warriors without their makeup; Hulk Hogan in Japan from the late 70s eating dinner with a young Curt Henning, Adrian Adonis, Duck Murdoch, Andre the Giant and others; Ric Flair in bed!!!!and tons more.
Some of the elongated captions reveal interesting never before told stories about the wrestlers and the specific picture. There are full chapters on Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, ECW, Babyfaces, Heels, Japan, Mat Classics, Hardcore, TNA, Tag Teams, current stars, and more.
I loved the backstage photos that we fans never get to see. Celebrities with wrestlers; Andre playing cards; a young Jesse Ventura; Abdullah the Butcher out of character; a young Rock; and so much more.
Look for some more amazing photos: Pat Patterson driving a cab! Bruno Sammartino with Joe DiMaggio! Captain Lou Albano, the Grand Wizard and Freddie Blassie from the 60s! And stuff from every decade.
I highly recommend this book. Every photo tells a story. The author shot photos at almost every p-p-v, and visited the following cities on a regular basis for over 30 years: Houston, LA, Miami, Chicago, Baltimore, Norfolk, San Antonio, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia,Charlotte, Kansas City, Dallas, Cleveland, and of course NYC--never missing a show at Madison Square Garden. He also shot photos at dozens of more cities and arenas--and also photographed the wrestlers away from the ring (in their personal life; at the gym; at their homes; etc) and backstage. He must have had thousands and thousands of photos to choose from and he does not disappoint.
Every couple of pages there is an amazing surprise--some great memory or photo of one of your favorites doing something you didn't know, remember, or expect.
I loved the book.
on January 27, 2012
This is a great book of wrestling photographs for a long-time fan like me.
It includes several pictures taken in Japan, which brought back my memories.
Accompanying essays reveal stories behind the photos.
I had a chance to meet the author in Tokyo back in 1980s.
He was friendly and took time to chat with me about wrestling.
I did not ask for his autograph then, which is a bit regrettable now.
on February 13, 2014
George Napolitano has been ringside for just about every major pro wrestling group in the 1970s, 80s & 90s and Hot Shots and High Spots: George Napolitano's Amazing Pictorial History of Wrestling's Greatest Stars contains photographic proof of that but this 320 page book with over 400 photographs from Georges personal archives contains photos from beyond the squared circle as well, for example as a native New Yorker George, a METS fan, includes several photos from NYC, Brooklyn and Shea Stadium such as the Dudley Boyz, Bubba & Devon, posing with METS mascot Mr. MET, according to George the Dudleys wanted to meet Mr. MET pretty bad and as luck would have it George was there to snap the photo, Tajiri in his METS hat & jersey and Mick Foley throwing out the first pitch at a September 2001 game. there are several amazing photos from Puerto Rico to Japan, from ICW to FMW, from Carlos Colon, Abdullah the Butcher and Bruiser Brody to Mr. Pogo, Megumi Kudo and Hayabusa. celebrities pepper this book as well, Andy Kaufman, Joe DiMaggio, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Muhammad Ali and more. Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and Terry Funk are well represented between these pages. hardcore wrestling is prominent from cover to cover with barbed wire, blazes of fire and too many crimson masks to count. an equal mix of old school stretchers to todays gen x sports entertainers makes this a well rounded read. wrestling fans of all ages will enjoy this book, it's not just the history of pro wrestling, it's also Georges personal nearly 50 year journey around the world of pro wrestling. I feel this is George Napolitano's best book to date. I bought my copy shortly after it came out, it's a great coffee table book and I noticed my friends who watch wrestling pick it up and flip through it all the time so I bought five more copies as gifts and when they come over they still flip through my copy because it's that damn interesting. whatever kind of wrestling you like I highly recommend this book for all pro wrestling fans. I can't wait for Georges next book but until then this is a book that you can read over and over and over and over again and again. Thank You George, you made six totally different type of wrestling fans agree on one thing, this book kicks ass!