Wrestling with the Devil: The True Story of a World Champion Professional Wrestler - His Reign, Ruin, and Redemption by Lex Luger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Wrestling with the Devil details the life of professional wrestler Lex Luger, from his early life to his wrestling career to his abundance of post-career drama.
I got this from Netgalley. Thank You, Netgalley!
As I've confessed in other reviews, I was a huge wrestling fan from my larval phase to around 2003. While I was aware of Lex Luger, he was never one of my favorites. Not unlike Billy Gunn or Test, both of which came years later, I always thought he got huge pushes because of his look and potential despite never really doing much for me. Anyway, on to the review!
Wrestling with the Devil starts with a lot about young Lawrence Pfohl, the boy who would be Lex Luger, and his early athletic talents. Lex seemed like a typical jock in high school, complete with vandalism. Once he got to college, things picked up a bit, especially when he went to the CFL after getting kicked off the team for trashing an apartment. After bouncing around for a while, he gave wrestling a shot and never looked back. Sadly, this took up 30% of the book according to my Kindle.
The wrestling chapters, which I was hoping would be the meat of the book, wound up taking up about 40% of the book. While I found Lex's training with Hiro Matsuda and his early days in Florida and later Jim Crockett promotions interesting, I wanted a lot more. I wanted to hear about the infamous steel cage match with Bruiser Brody and road stories. I did think it was cool, though, that Lex was honest about his limited repetoire of moves and how he was a shrewd negociator when it came time to get paid.
Like I said, too much was glossed over. His days with the NWA were glossed over and barely anything was mentioned. He spent more time on his motorcycle accident after leaving the NWA than he did his entire NWA tenure. The WWF run was similarly glossed over apart from the Yokozuna bodyslam challenge on the USS Intrepid. His jump back to WCW was also skimped on.
Once his wrestling career was over, things really got interesting and brought the book up from being a solid 2. Lex doesn't paint himself in a great light, getting deeper and deeper into drugs and pills and alcohol and having a long affair with Elizabeth that saw his marriage dissolve and led to her death. He keeps sliding downhill until he winds up in jail a number of times and meets a preacher who turns his life around...
... just in time for him to need two hip replacements and have a spinal cord injury that leaves him a quadraplegic. Lex eventually recovered and seems to have his act together now, working as a motivational speaker and running a gym.
I'm giving it a 3 for now. There were some moments near the end that were surprisingly emotional and overall, the book kept me entertained while I was reading it. It's a middle of the road wrestling book with not enough time spent on the wrestling portion.
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