Journalist Carrie Dunn goes inside the business of British pro-wrestling.
If your only exposure to professional wrestling these days comes from the TV, you’d be forgiven for thinking that British wrestling was dead and buried.
But you’d be wrong.
Every weekend, in village halls and sports centres up and down the country, a plethora of homegrown wrestling promotions are putting on shows packed with local talent as well as well-known international names.
Love it or hate it though, British wrestling is suffering an identity crisis. While the ‘British style’ has a rich history and is well-respected among workers, today’s audiences want the huge physiques and high-production values they have grown used to from the likes of WWE and TNA.
So what is to be done?
Building on the success of her website, The Only Way is Suplex, Spandex, Screw Jobs and Cheap Pops sees journalist and scholar Carrie Dunn delving deep into today’s UK wrestling scene, and revealing an industry in turmoil, albeit one with a wealth of talent ready and willing to give it top billing once again.
The book briefly touches upon the past – explaining the end of kayfabe and the death of World of Sport – but very quickly launches into today’s pro-wrestling landscape, talking to performers and promoters alike and examining what needs to be done to put British grappling back on the map.
Reading like a who’s who of UK wrestling, barely a page goes by without a top name being quoted or a report from one of the country’s many independent companies, and it’s clear that this has been a labour of love for Dunn. The affection she feels for the industry pours from the page, and the relationships she has built over the years with the wrestlers themselves pays dividends here, as they open up and are unflinchingly honest about their trade.
The honesty goes both ways, though.
In a world where a great many wrestling writers are fans with blogs, Dunn uses her journalistic background to dig deeper into some of the issues plaguing the British scene and asks the kind of difficult questions most are afraid to touch. Sometimes sacred cows need slaying, and Dunn wields her knife with skill.
Spandex is not just required reading for wrestling fans (British or otherwise), it’s a fascinating and entertaining read for anyone who remembers Big Daddy, is intrigued by the poorly-designed ads for ‘Real American Wrestling’ they see in local newspapers, or has fond memories of the whole family watching wrestling at a holiday camp.
More than anything, though, Spandex perfectly encapsulates the level of training, love and dedication needed to make it in professional wrestling in the 21st century.
We have three copies of Spandex, Screw Jobs and Cheap Pops to give away. To win, just answer this question:
Who is the featured wrestler on the front cover of the book?
Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on December 28, 2013. Good luck!