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Wrestle Maniacs Kindle Edition
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I started watching because I felt sorry for the boy, sitting all alone in front of the TV, and because it seemed like a good way to share his hobbies. And, oddly enough . . . I kind of enjoyed it. It was entertaining, plus, there was the added draw of seeing lots of (mostly) well-built men in tiny underpants. And, YES! I KNOW IT'S FAKE! That's part of the appeal to me. I don't want to watch men (and women) actually hurting one another. If I did, I'd watch boxing.
Weeks turned into months, and before long, I had my favorites - The New Day, Neville, Cesaro. But, in that strange world known as the WWE, everyone comes and goes so quickly. I took a few months off, and hardly recognized the players when I returned. Why are my sweet Usos now bad guys? Why is everyone booing Roman Reigns, but cheering the much more obnoxious Seth Rollins? And, Neville - yoo hoo! Where are you?
Truly, it's easier to keep up with the Kardashians.
The wrestling world presented in this collection of stories is about as far from the McMahon family's sanitized version as you can get.
The characters in these tales get down and dirty, their matches are sweaty, nasty brawls. And, occasionally, the participants find themselves fighting for their very lives. The stories are all well written - some quite funny, others dead serious. All in all, it's a pretty gritty read, and not recommended for lightweights. Plus, there're bodily fluids a-plenty, so don't do like I did and read it while you're eating.
I have never been a Wrestling fan, but I did not hesitate in purchasing this book - not only to support Howe's new label, but in all honesty soley for Howe's included story, Rassle Hassle (an all-new Reggie Levine story!)
As expected, Howe's story is worth the price of the book (what Adam puts Reggie through... man-oh-man!), though surprisingly it ultimately wasn't my favorite story in this collection - that honor goes to Gabino Iglesias' El Nuevo Santo's Last Fight - I loved this story!
I also really enjoyed Duncan P. Bradshaw's Glassjaw. These were the top three stories, in my opinion - each one worth getting this book.
While some of the stories in this collection are hit-or-miss, there are some others still worth mentioning - James Newman's A Fiend in Need, Patrick Lacey's Kill to be You, and Tom Lein's Real Americans were some of the other stand out stories.
All-in-all, whether you are a fan of Wrestling, or not, chances are you will enjoy a good bit of these stories!
Tom Leins - Real Americans..... a former Native American wrestler turned drug-addled cop works a case - I didn’t miss getting my ass handed to me by herniated middle-aged rednecks in sweat-streaked leotards. - and enjoys a re-union with a former wrestling acquaintance. Brutal and extremely harsh, climaxing in the best fight of his life. XXX-rated.
James Newman - A Fiend in Need .... Nick the Widowmaker Bullman saves the day, when a former colleague loses the plot, kills his wife and threatens his kids.
Eryk Pruitt - Last of the High-Flying Van Alstynes .... one of the last of the legendary Van Alstynes, a wrestling dynasty gets kidnapped and doped for his seed to create a new race of superhuman. Yes really. Family tragedies, family issues.
Adam Howe - Rassle Hassle .... strip club bouncer Reggie Levine does a solid for a friend. Plenty going on here, a trip with a child to see his wrestling hero, destroying an undercover police op, sucking snake venom from a wrestler's ass and getting his own handed to him in the ring, before being carted off unconscious and in handcuffs. All in a night's work for Reggie.
Ed Kurtz - Duluth ... an exhibition, a movie-man, a living nightmare and a date with his father. A bit of a strange one, truth be told.
Hector Acosta - From Parts Unknown .... a family re-union and a reluctant acceptance of duty and obligation. Supernatural/other world elements.
Joseph Hirsch - Three Finger Bolo .... boxer turned wrestler turns boxer again in a re-enactment of WWII and a fearsome fight with The Hungry Hun and his pickelhaube helmet.
Duncan P. Bradshaw - Glassjaw ..... some old timer advice to a young gun
David James Keaton - El Kabong ..... The brass knuckles I’d bought for the best man at our wedding were illegal, but that’s what I needed. I figured if you could commit a crime against humanity like playing an accordion in public, there was no reason they could outlaw such a beautiful natural extension of a man’s hand. - nailed it regarding accordion players! A man widowed, his wife stuffed in a guitar case. Different.
Gabino Iglesias - El Nuevo Santo's Last Fight .... a last fight, threats, intimidation and an intended fix - El Nuevo Santo has pride and other ideas in mind.
Patrick Lacey - Kill to be You .... wrestler-turned actor meets his own self several times before a switcheroo is pulled on him and a life of fame and adulation beckons for his opportunistic and manipulative other being. Yeah hard to explain rationally, but it worked when reading. Impossible, inexplicable, interesting
Jason Parent – Canadian Donkey Punch .... One of the best of the bunch. Our primary character is a wrestling ref who incurs the wrath of a hostile Canadian crowd and the vanquished wrestler when he arbitrarily decides the outcome of the bout. Being your own man comes with a consequence.
Adam Howe - Afterword ... an interesting page or two on the conception of the book and the difficult journey to press
An interesting and mostly enjoyable collection of wrestling themed short stories which I meandered my way through during June and July. There's a fair bit of diversity in the tales with a dash of supernatural elements in a couple, a tale from a referee's perspective, a bit of a crossover into boxing territory with steroid abuse, snake-bit asses, sweaty jockstraps and lots more to get your teeth into. Family crises, family abuse, family murder, familial reconciliation, old scores and long memories, broken bones and lots of blood spilled. Pride, revenge and redemption feature prominently.
Most enjoyable stories - the editor's story Rassle Hassle from Adam Howe, Tom Leins and his Real Americans and Jason Parent's Canadian Donkey Punch.
Least enjoyable - hmm.... nothing sucked, I just happened to like a few a bit more than some of the others. In an anthology it would be strange for everything to rattle my bones.
Four of the authors have been enjoyed before - Tom Leins, Adam Howe, Ed Kurtz and Eryk Pruitt - so it was also an opportunity to see how I took to a few new folks. James Newman and Hector Acosta sit on the TBR pile with more from Leins, Howe and Pruitt to enjoy at some point.
4 from 5
Read in June/July, 2018
Published - 2017
Page count - 221
Source - review copy received from editor Adam Howe
Format - kindle