THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
Guess what I got for Christmas?
When I heard that British wrestling legend Kendo Nagasaki was writing a book called “The Grapple Manual”, I had visions of a book filled with stories from Nagasaki’s long and storied career, with tips on how to get into the wrestling business, and thoughts on his spiritual teachings.
But what we have here is something of a disappointment. Coming across as something similar to the WWF annuals of the early 1990’s, The Grapple Manual takes a look at some of the greats of the wrestling world from Britain and America, with one page biographies on Kendo himself, as well as stars such as Big Daddy, Hulk Hogan, Giant Haystacks, Mick McManus, and more.
Although the book is well written, it is the lack of certain information and glaring factual errors that make this book disappointing. For example;
On the bio page for Jake “The Snake” Roberts, no mention is made of the time he spent in Britain, although there is mention of Roberts’ legal problems here.
For Bret “The Hitman” Hart, it reads; “It wasn’t long before he was back in grapple action though, this time for rival organisation WCW, taking the world title to add to his impressive array of honours. Vince’s and Bret’s paths crossed once again when the promoter took over WCW, but on hearing this “The Hitman” opted to retire rather than work for his former boss.” Bret wasn’t actually employed by WCW when the WWF brought the company. He had officially retired a year before because of injury.
For Ric Flair; “Flair, now in his late fifties, continues to be one of the busiest wrestlers on the profession, often wrestling six nights a week and in matches that could go to an hour or more.” As far as I know, Flair hasn’t wrestled an hour-long match since 1989.
For The Rock; “The Rock, a skilled salt water fisherman, has not turned his back on wrestling and continues to feud in the WWE.” The Rock hasn’t been under WWE contract since February.
While these facts would probably go unnoticed by the casual fan, or by people who don’t follow wrestling that much, the die-hards would definitely pick up on this sort of thing, and this is one of the things that makes this book disappointing. Also, at just under eighty pages long it’s definitely in the quick read kind of mould, something that you could definitely accomplish if you’ve got fifteen minutes to spare.
In conclusion – disappointing. I’ve heard rumours that Nagasaki is working on his autobiography. If this is true, I hope that his second effort at book writing is better than this one.