The Main Event: the Moves and Muscle of Pro Wrestling
Millbrook Press. 2012
Grades 4 and up
This reviewer received a copy from the publisher
Pop quiz: Who is The Undertaker? a) someone who undertakes unpleasant tasks. b) harvests root vegetables, such as garlic. c) prepares dead bodies for burial. c) is the stage name of a famous wrestler in the sports entertainment industry -- WWE.
(Answers are at bottom of review)
The Main Event by Patrick Jones is written for fans of wrestling, and those who have always wondered what all the hype is about. Jones reveals that wrestling of today is scripted and done to achieve maximum entertainment for fans. Hey, it's a billion-dollar industry!
After a brief history of wrestling, a sport that when first practiced had no rules, the book moves into the more exciting territory: how this once simple form of entertainment, believed to be the world's oldest sport, that required only two people and no equipment, now boasts millions of fans worldwide. “It was said that Theseus, the king of Athens, Greece, first introduced rules in wrestling.”
The six chapters include “Ten Great Main Events,” “The Stars: Great Wrestlers of the Past and Present,” “Wrestling’s Most Devastating Finishing Moves,” “Wrestling’s Most Memorable Moments,” and “Looking Forward: The Future of Pro Wrestling.”
I found the different styles of wrestling interesting. There was "catch wrestling" where a wrestler is allowed to hold any part of his opponents body," “collar-and-elbow” where opponents hold each other’s collars and elbows, and "carnival wrestling," a style that became popular soon after the Civil War, where a wrestler issues a challenge to a fan. Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was a catch wrestler before he became president?
I also find the names of the star wrestlers intriguing: Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, and The Undertaker. Many have embarked on a career in movies and reality TV.
Patrick Jones is a highly respected young adult librarian and author of several YA novels. His enthusiasm for the sport is evident in the tone of the writing. The inclusion of color and black & white photos, and evenly placed sidebars that give additional information will make The Main Event popular with reluctant readers. For example, the sidebar “Not Suitable for Kids?" discusses the pro and cons of children watching such a violent sport that boasts harsh language and a history of drug use. A table of contents, glossary, further reading, and index are included.
Though Jones does a good job of keeping things in chronological order, his continued use of acronyms is very confusing for the uninitiated. We have WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), MTV (Music Television) , WCW (World Championship Wrestling), PPV (Pay Per View), NWO (New World Order), et. al.
The Main Event is a good addition to libraries. It will be best appreciated by those who already have a knowledge of wrestling and are familiar with all the different stars, events, associations, and nomenclature.