As I’ve mentioned before, I love to read books about wrestling and in particular books written by the wrestlers themselves (who better to describe what happened than the people who were actually there). Since I find sun bathing so difficult, I can’t just sit there and do nothing – I get fidgety, I decided to take a wrestling book with me on holiday. I got two books for Christmas, “The Million Dollar Man” by Ted DiBiase and “Reflections of an American Dream” by Dusty Rhodes and decided to read Ted’s book first (it is shorter) and save Dusty’s book for my holiday. I also thought that I could contrast both books as one is WWE endorsed and one isn’t and I’ve always had my doubts as to whether I am reading the real history of professional wrestling, or just Vince McMahon’s account (did’t somebody once say that the victors get to write the history books?). Both books were dissapointing and for pretty much the same reason, they both felt like a transcript of an interview that the respective wrestlers had given rather than a thorough account of their lives/careers, written in their own words. That’s not to say that their personalities didn’t come through, far from it, I could almost hear Dusty uttering each word in his trademark manner and found a lot of what he said to be honest, humourous and insightful.
I finished Dusty’s book within a couple of days of arriving in Florida and so made sure to stop by the bookshop in the Florida mall when we visited; I knew exactly what book I was looking for as I had been waiting for it to be available in the U.K. for ages. I walked straight to the sports section of the shop and immediately identified the book I wanted by it’s distinctively coloured spine. Pink. Anyone who knows anything about wrestling knows that pink is the colour of the Excellence of Execution himself, Bret “The Hitman” Hart and this was his book “My Real Life In The Cartoon World Of Wrestling”. For reasons obvious to anyone who knows what happened to Bret in Montreal in 1997 (what can I say, read the book), this book was not WWE endorsed, so again the prospect of a wrestling history more accurate, if less favourable to the WWE, was a good reason to read it. The hype surrounding this book was ridiculous, Bret kept a tape recorder with him throughout his career and so his book offered a chance to read his thoughts as captured at the actual moments he thought them, a prospect that excited wrestling fans the world over. This book reminded me exactly why I’m such a huge Hitman fan, his matches were exactly the style of wrestling that I mark out for: realistic, hardcore, technical wrestling (not to be confused with the hardcore style of wrestling made popular by ECW) and Bret Hart the regular guy was someone I respected for his dedication to his profession and to his family and his complete unwillingess to compromise his morals or beliefs for anyone (I think this is something that I was particularly able to relate to). This book was compelling reading and turned out to not just be one of the best wrestling books I’ve ever read, but one of the best books I’ve ever read period.
I guess it’s true what they say: Bret Hart is the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be! Sorry Mick.