Monday, June 11, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Bruiser Brody

THERE are a lot of wrestling books on the market right now - too many, if you want my honest opinion. Some are great, some are good and some...make great doorstops.

Bruiser Brody by Emerson Murray (Crowbar Press) is very good. Almost great.
It's certainly a book that's hard to put down.

Murray's tome is not a biography - it's basically a series of recollections about the original wrestling outlaw from Brody's friends, enemies, fellow wrestlers, bookers, promotion owners and a range of other folk involved in the wrestling business.

What is truly fascinating is Murray's decision not to edit any of the comments, even when they seemingly contradict each other.

"I have decided to let the people who were there tell their stories of Bruiser Brody as they remember them," he writes near the start of the book. "There are contradictions, exaggerations and, more than likely, downright lies. Like the blind men who variously described the elephant as a wall, a tree, a snake and a spear, Brody was many different things to different people. What is the truth? You'll have to decide that for yourself."

What the reader gets is a ton of great anecdotes (together with loads of great - some rare - photos) from legends like Harley Race, Nick Bockwinkel, the Funks, Carlos Colon, the Road Warriors, Abdullah The Butcher, Kamala, Jim Duggan, Gary Hart and many, many more.

Brody and Terry Gordy get hard-core in Texas long before hard-core even existed

Through the many contradictions, Murray builds a fascinating, complex portrait of a wrestler who was, at times, a great guy and, at other times, a complete arsehole.

The introduction is by Stan Hansen and features one of the few factual errors I could find in the book (Stan states he and Brody never tagged together outside of Japan and Puerto Rico. But I have seen video footage of the two tagging in Australia in the early 80s. But that's a minor quibble).

Hansen and Brody...twin terrors

The book touches on Brody's Aussie tenure - including him beating up booker Larry O'Dea over - what else? - a money dispute.
Even more entertaining is the five pages devoted to the near-mythical 1986 "shoot" between Brody and a very young Lex Luger. It was fascinating reading various people's accounts of the cage match where Bruiser stopped selling Lex's offense (causing Luger to eventually panic and climb out of the cage to get away from Brody), then seeing the bout itself on youtube.com.

Reading the various contradictory accounts (and watching the video to determine the truth beneath the bullshit) sums up everything that makes Bruiser Brody an important historical document and, better still, a damn fine read.

Watch the video of this famous match at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epmXA8w0Qjo.

Then head to BruiserBrody.com and order a copy of this book...PRONTO!
True rasslin' fans won't regret it.

RIP Frank "Bruiser Brody" Goodish (1946-88)

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