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Swimming with Piranhas: Surviving the Politics of Professional Wrestling [Kindle Edition]

Howard Brody , James E Cornette
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In this memoir, the former president of the National Wrestling Alliance, Howard Brody gives a first hand account of how he’s been able to survive the world of pro wrestling politics, despite getting a few bloody noses along the way. Brody delves into the historical aspects of his time at the NWA, describing encounters – both good and bad – with some of professional wrestling’s most powerful and creative minds including Vince and Linda McMahon, Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman, Tod Gordon, Antonio Inoki, Hiro Matsuda, the Funks, Dusty Rhodes, Jim Cornette, Hulk Hogan, and more. Brody describes how he got hooked on the business, how he raised money to shoot a ladies wrestling TV pilot, and how he finally ended up in the NWA, serving as its president from 1996 to 2001, and the controversy surrounding how and why he left. Delving into the inner workings of booking and promoting shows, from dealing with talent to building managers, radio and television stations, Brody explains the differences and similarities between small, medium and large promotions, and talks about the nature of negotiating and selling wrestling to television networks and sponsors. Swimming With Piranhas covers aspects of the pro wrestling business that have yet to be captured on paper. This book reveals the true war stories as Brody takes the reader into the boardrooms and back offices of the most exciting business in the world: professional wrestling.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fascinating new memoir."  —Scripps News



"One of the best wrestling books out there . . . the most real book about wrestling outside of WWE/TNA, most notably the underbelly of the business, that I've seen."  —Wrestling Observer



"Brody had success and failure and came away with an amazing story to tell."  —PWInsider.com

About the Author

Howard Brody is a wrestling promoter and was president of the National Wrestling Alliance from 1996 to 2001. He is the coauthor of Dusty: Reflections of an American Dream. He lives in Las Vegas. James E. Cornette is a legendary wrestling manager.


Product Details

  • File Size: 5609 KB
  • Print Length: 412 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press (November 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0038BQZ9S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,219 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read! March 16, 2010
Format:Paperback
If you have found this book you are probably a avid pro wrestling fan. You probably have purchased dozens of wrestling related books and like myself, are somewhat of a expert on the subject. It is hard for any of us to get excited about another "Tell All" story about the life of a wrestler. There are so many of these books out there that when one FINALLY comes around with a truly different story it really should spark some interest. I found this book at a local book store and figured I would give it a chance since Howard Brody isn't a wrestler at all... He is a former promotor and National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) President.

I couldn't be been more happy with my purchase. Howard has an amazing memory of his life's work. I've often wondered what it would be like working with the wrestlers and this story not only goes into detail vividly, but Howard also puts the reader right in the board room with the biggest promotors of the NWA during that time. You will hear what Bill Behrens, Dennis Coralluzzo and Tony Rumble were like behind closed doors. However, they really are tame compared to the crazy lifestyle of former UWF owner, Herb Abrams.

I guess what really made the book so special was that you could see Howard really tried to do the best job he could even at his personal expense. He was not above pointing the finger directly at himself which adds to his credibility. You will also see what a great man Hiro Matsuda really was. (Matsuda trained Hulk Hogan and Lex Luger among many others.)

I totally enjoyed this book. Howard is a terrific writer and I hope he will write some more wrestling related books. A+++ read!!

Scott Porter
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting perspective on the pro wrestling biz September 25, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read a lot of books written by/about wrestlers, so I was excited to read something from a promoter's point of view, as that is a part of the business which interests me greatly but isn't frequently written about. This book is an excellent and unique take on the business, but it's not a pretty story. Brody endures tremendous professional and personal ups and downs as he builds promotions, loses promotions...secures financing, loses financing... earns money, loses money... develops friendships, watches friends die... on and on, he perseveres and lives to tell the tale. He pulls no punches with his highly readable and entertaining storytelling style, and I appreciate the fact that the book is written from the perspective of a fan, which Brody remains, even after seeing and participating in all the ugliness behind the curtain. The cast of characters becomes unwieldy towards the end-- he throws a lot of names at you and it's hard to keep up-- but that just gives you a great excuse to read the book a second time! Pick it up, you won't regret it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
While non wrestling fans might choose to avoid this book, they will miss out on a heck of a good read if they do. Wrestling fans will get a look "behind the curtain" at a sport, and a business that brings out both the best, and the worst, in its devotees.

Author Brody became fascinated by wrestling as an adolescent, many do, but what sets Brody apart is that he "followed his bliss." He began as a writer for wrestling publications, and went on to become a promoter (and president of the National Wrestling Alliance, NWA). Along the way he was betrayed and hustled by some of the biggest names in the game.

From "friends" who sabotaged his nascent writing career to the strange duo of Dory Funk, Jr. and his wife Martie. Who made impossible demands--including that an unready protege be given a major push. This push was detrimental to to the other workers in the locker room, and to Brody's promotion. When he (Brody) attempted to make peace with Dory and Martie. They told him that "it was business, not personal."

This is just one of many episodes recounted in this book. Also included are sad vignettes involving the late Chris Candido, qnd the still troubled Scott Hall. Anyone considering investing in, or working in professional wrestling, would be wise to take the time to read this book.

The book is not entirely a chronicle of missteps and calumny. The story of Rockin Robin, daughter of Grizzly Smith, and sister of Sam Houston, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who grew up in what can only be imagined as a nightmarish homelife. Robin became a top woman wrestler, and a full blown alcoholic. At a point where death seemed inevitable, she chose to live, come to grips with her horrendous treatment by an unspeakable father, and get her life on course.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Shoot November 15, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Let's face it. Most of the books by wrestlers and about wrestling are just OK. Now that it has become a cottage industry, many are the literary equivilent of grade B shot for video flicks. This one is a total shoot and it is very well written. Check it out!
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5.0 out of 5 stars What an awesome book. June 11, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Upon first receiving this book in the mail, I was disappointed to see that it was, in fact, an auto-biography of someone who I had NO knowledge of prior to opening it.

That was quickly thrown out the window as soon as I began reading.

Swimming with Piranhas recounts the story of one Howard Brody, who's name is probably unknown to most wrestling fans outside of the Southern United States, and his trials and tribulations as he rose from publishing small wrestling articles in newspapers to eventually becoming the president of National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).

But there's so much more than that. Howard also documents, in great detail and style, his multiple near-misses with big-time success, dealings with the industry's biggest names (McMahon, Hogan, Bischoff, Heyman, etc.) and his personal relationships, both good and bad.

I was initially, perhaps somewhat ridiculously, expecting a "how to" book on the politics of wrestling, but again, there is so much more to this book than that. Not only does it exceed that by giving endless real life stories, examples, and reflections, but it's also done in a relatively classy manner, which makes Howard all the more likeable.

I've read pretty much all of the wrestling books that are considered the "best", and would put this one right up near the top, as it is in itself a very unique book, given its perspective. If Mick Foley's first book is considered to be the gold standard for wrestler-writers, this book is the equivalent for wrestler-promoters.

Do yourself a favor, put aside your prejudice for reading books only written by big name "superstars", and buy this book....you won't be disappointed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
An interesting look at some of less publicized people involved in the wrestling business.
Published 4 months ago by Tony F.
5.0 out of 5 stars Is there any way the writer or someone can make ...
Is there any way the writer or someone can make an audio book version of this and offer it on here and amazons site Audible. It will be big to have for that
Published 7 months ago by john t carroll
3.0 out of 5 stars Surviving The Perilous Jaws Of Pro Wrestling
Howard T. Brody's life long ambition was to get into pro wrestling in any capacity available, except as a wrestler. Read more
Published 15 months ago by goodbadandugly
1.0 out of 5 stars I love wrestling, but this was a bore of a read
I have read nearly every wrestling biography out there and this one is extremely boring. It got tedious when he had to write every little detail about every transaction he ever... Read more
Published on September 9, 2011 by C. Medlock
2.0 out of 5 stars His story simply isn't that interesting
Maybe I've been spoiled by the books written by Foley and Jericho, but I found "Swimming with Piranhas" to be a bit of a bore. Read more
Published on June 27, 2011 by Stephen Ott
5.0 out of 5 stars pro wrestling with no punches pulled
A brutally honest look at pro wrestling outside of the ring. One man's story of what really goes on in the back rooms and his struggle to be seen as a major player in the... Read more
Published on September 11, 2010 by Martin H. Greenfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
I knew Brody as the president of the NWA but there are so many interesting stories he has had during his time in the wrestling business. Read more
Published on May 16, 2010 by J. Roop
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the FEW great wrestling books from 2009
This is a great read ... Howard takes you behind the scenes into the under-belly of pro wrestling ... Read more
Published on November 12, 2009 by Gary Cubeta
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