Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chair Shots and Other Obstacles: Winning Life's Wrestling Matches
Author: Bobby Heenan
Publisher: Sports Publishing LLC
Released: 3/04

The Good
Bobby Heenan is one of the most sharp-witted personalities in pro-wrestling history, although he can be a bit formulaic.  His first book, an autobiography, was like his RF Video shoot and any other shoot interview that talks about his career.  He has a rolodex of joke in his brain that he always mentions.  We've heard about Andre the Giant and the screwdriver enough and Heenan certainly has fresher material.  This book provides that hilarity.  What is unique about this is the approach.  Heenan gives his perspective on life in pro-wrestling terms -  “Don't Be a Jobber” and “Cancer, the Ultimate Heel.”  He is a great humorist and this is well edited and compiled.  While the reader may not agree with everything that Heenan says, he comes across as honest and thoughtful.  Heenan chimes in on issues like Vince McMahon and his family, the Montreal screwjob, Owen Hart's death, Hulk Hogan's legacy and hardcore wrestling.  This is not your typical pro-wrestling book, but it is certainly enjoyable if you understand its approach.

The Bad
Obviously, this is not exactly an autobiography.  It is Raymond Heenan reflecting on aspects of his life, his career and his “Bobby the Brain” persona.  The last part was not really a focal point in his autobiography and it makes for an interesting read.  The Bobby the Brain character was that extension of the man behind it with a particular twist that made for a character that could carry territories in the 1970s.  Heenan does not kayfabe in the least, he does not get into angles and he spends much of this discussing people outside of pro-wrestling (his family, friends and past co-workers).  If you do not enjoy his humor, then you may not like his tales of pranking people at Buckingham Palace, his grandfather's Chicago haberdashery or dealing with family members' cancer.  Some might find his comments crass or disrespectful, but why would you be checking out his book?

The Rating: ****

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