Written by former WWE Magazine editor Brian Solomon, the book is 192 pages long divided into 9 main chapters, each dealing with a subsection of Legend history including managers, ethnic heroes, villains and the weird and wacky. Each Legend's profile typically ranges from 3-5 pages long and features rare photographs courtesy of the WWE archives. The book also includes a foreword by WWE Legend Sgt.Slaughter.
It opens with Solomon explaining his criteria for what he has determined is a "WWE Legend". The main point for selection are those who found fame working in WWE between the 1950s-1984. This means the likes of Dusty Rhodes are not included, due to having found fame in organizations long before he came to WWE in 1989. He also explains that a competing legend does not necessarily have to had been at the top of the game—they might have been an eternal midcarder or tag team specialist, just as long as they have made an impact that influenced or inspires to this day.
While he does acknowledge that some will be upset by the exclusion of certain Legends, based on his criteria, there was nobody who sprang to my mind that was evidently missing and I felt should have been there.
Each section typically reads as a micro-biography for each Legend. You get a little on their early days, how they got into wrestling and into WWE, information on title reigns, what they did that made them so memorable, the twilight of their career, and what happened to them after retiring from in-ring competition. The book is largely written in a kayfabe style (as if all the matches are shoots), but I did not find this bothersome. I think doing so fit in well with the Legends theme, for they would have come from a time where keeping kayfabe was kept like religious observation.
But while it might take a kayfabe approach to the match victories, it does not gloss over or skimp on a wrestler's imperfections. If a Legend was known to have struggled with drugs, committed suicide, or were notorious for being an arrogant prick, it is here.
The book is exceptionally well researched; his sources for information include interviews with living legends, wrestling magazines, eye-witness accounts, as well as wrestlers' autobiographies. On occasion, he does have a tendency to over use the autobiographies though, taking large copy and paste chunks at a time. I think around a quarter of Freddie Blassie's book "Listen You Pencil Neck Geeks" is here, but if you have not read these books in the first place, this will not bother you.
Of particular notable merit are the sections for Toots Mondt and Vince McMahon Snr. Here, the background to WWE's formation, rise and early territories' days are very richly, but concisely summed up. Anyone with an ounce of interest in wrestling history will enjoy reading this part especially.
Many of the wrestlers included here may never get their own dedicated autobiography or biography, so it is nice that a little of their history is in print like this, helping to further cement and acknowledge their legendary status and contributions to the world of wrestling.
Overall, I highly recommend this to any serious WWE wrestling history buff. I hope Solomon will consider a Hulkamania to Attitude Era book one day.
- Meticulously researched and hugely informative.
- Multiple mini biographies for the lesser known Legends.
- History of WWE concisely summed up.
- Nicely laid out with rare photographs.
- Over use of quoting large sections from Autobiographies.
- Kayfabe match telling approach may bother some.
- Some people may not agree with who he has missed out.