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(Book Review) Fathers' Blood

Professional wrestling has always seemed like like an over-the-top circus (fittingly, given the industry's roots.)  Loud overgrown men vowing to defeat their opponents, putting on an entertaining physical show in front of cheering audiences, and then packing up and moving on to do it all over again in the next city.  The travel is intense, and the job security is temporary, but these guys (we're only focusing on male wrestlers here) grind away at it day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.  The audience might sometimes forget that these performers are real people with real lives, and many of them have faced a major challenge out of the ring: fatherhood.  How does this nomadic lifestyle work with being a parent?  That's the focus on Sean Oliver's new book, Father's Blood.  (Release date: October 2, 2018)

Oliver is the founder of the popular Kayfabe Commentaries, a video company which conducts behind-the-scenes interviews with pro wrestlers (also known as "shoot interviews.")  (See our review of his last book here.)  He's talked with many in the industry about their real lives over the years, and he's in a good position to look at this subject.  Father's Blood focuses on people who were active pre-2000 when there were more territories for wrestlers to find work.  The book looks at a handful of names including: J.J. Dillon, Gary Hart, Eric Bischoff, Lanny Poffo, Tony Atlas, Bam Bam Bigelow, Kevin Sullivan, and Tito Santana. 

We learn about how these men handled different issues like the constant travel, parental authority challenges, estrangement from their kids, and the different approaches they took to"smartening" their kids up to what dad did for a living.  Some of it might seem predictable, but Oliver also brings up other issues we'd never thought about before, like a young child having to deal with large crowds threatening dad's safety back in the pre-"sports entertainment" days.  Even that comes with a perspective you might not expect.  For instance, there's a story of Gary Hart's son freaking out during a brawl between Abdullah the Butcher and Bruiser Brody, but you probably won't be able to guess why he had the meltdown.

The parenting stories range from things going fairly smoothly (considering the demands of the wrestling business), to complete estrangement, and everything in between.  Oliver knows this crazy world and many of its participants well, and he does a good job of showing that these characters we love to cheer or boo are also dealing with real life issues just like the audience.  Fathers' Blood is a interesting look at a different side of the wrestling world.

 

Sean Oliver October 23 2018Sean Oliver is back with another book for wrestling fans to enjoy.  (pic via twitter.com)

 

 

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 2, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 172739190X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1727391909

 

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