Book Review: Wrestling For My Life by Shawn Michaels and David Thomas | Smark Out Moment

Book Review: Wrestling For My Life by Shawn Michaels and David Thomas

Posted by Ross K. Foad Saturday, April 25, 2015
Book Shawn Michaels Autobiography WWE David Thomas Christian Released in early 2015, Wrestling For My Life is the spiritual — in more ways than one — sequel to Shawn Michael's 2005 book, Heartbreak and Triumph. Detailing the journey from a self-destructive, drug-addled superstar to a devoted father, husband, and born-again Christian.

The book is a noticeably slimmer volume than its predecessor, weighing in at 160 pages long, divided into fourteen chapters. It should also be noted that though this is not an official WWE tie-in product, he has been allowed to incorporate numerous photographs from the WWE archives to go alongside the personal/family ones too. Michaels' story is also prefaced by two separate forewords from fellow WWE legends Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H.

Each chapter opens with a verse from The Bible, typically one relating to being saved/redemption, which Michaels then relates to a period of time or incident in his life he can associate it to. This may be something to do with wife, his children, hunting, his church, or — what I imagine most people would buy the book for — wrestling.

But this is by no means a wrestling book in the traditional sense. Yes, it is referred to throughout each chapter, but those wanting an in-depth look on his early life and career, should look to Heartbreak and Triumph instead.

HBK The Game DX Reunion 2006 Suck It Shawn HunterThe years 2005-2010 do get covered in a brief amount of detail, such as his feud with Chris Jericho, the DX reunion, and his WrestleMania matches with Undertaker, but probably not to the extent most wrestling fans would like, which may lead to disappointment if this is the sole reason one purchased the book.

Instead, the book largely focuses on his spiritual story and family life; something he touched upon in the first book, but not to the extensive amount of detail he does here. This book is far more about separating the character of HBK from the real-life Michael Hickenbottom. In other words, his real-life, not just his wrestling life.

Shawn Rebecca Hickenbottom Family Children Michaels
Michaels writes frankly and humbly throughout, and though he has a different co-writer this time around in David Thomas, the book's narrative deeply engages the reader in the same fashion of the earlier book. His self-deprecating nature makes you warm to him easily (assuming you were not already a fan) and certainly left me with an even greater level of respect for him.

However, one criticism I will bring up over the writing style is the book's structure with time-frames. One might assume a book about redemption would have an obvious timeline to follow, but the chapters are not necessarily arranged in a way which best illustrates this. Occasionally, it can feel more like a series of blog posts under a spirituality theme, as opposed to being a true journey, which is a slight shame as this, in my opinion, would have made the overall message of the book more powerful.

As a Christian myself, I found the book very uplifting, and I thoroughly enjoyed this element of it. As a piece of stand-alone Christian literature, it also works exceptionally well. However, I am acutely aware this will not be for everyone.

I would hate to dissuade anyone from wishing to read a book with such a positive reflective piece, but if one was an ardent atheist with no room for being open-minded, then the book may grate ever so slightly. That is not to say Shawn is happy-clappy though; he acknowledges that Christianity is far from being all rainbows and unicorns, which to me made it a far more relatable read.

Overall, this book is not for every wrestling fan, but Shawn never intended it to be. This was a book he wanted to write as opposed to being asked to, and I for one, am glad he did.


+ Inspirational.
+ Causes reader to reflect upon their own life and values.
+ Good insight into the real Mr. WrestleMania.


- Some will be disappointed with the lesser focus on wrestling.
- Timeline of spiritual journey jumps back and forth too frequently.
- Shortish length.


Ross K Foad is a writer, actor, YouTuber and founder of the Sherlock Holmes website No Place Like Holmes. He has been a published writer since age 13 with a comic strip in a regional newspaper and a wrestling fan since the Rock 'n' Wrestling era. You can follow him on Twitter


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