The Last Outlaw by Stan Hansen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Last Outlaw is the biography of professional wrestler Stan Hansen.
All of my exposure to Stan Hansen is from other wrestlers' books or fourth generation VHS compilations featuring him wrestling various people in Japan. He seemed like he had an interesting career so I eventually gave his bio a shot.
Hansen covers his pre-wrestling career fairly quickly. I think he was in the wrestling business with the Funks by the 10% mark. Like most wrestlers, he endured a few years of driving hundreds of miles a day for very little money before he started catching on.
The majority of Hansen's career was spent in Japan so that's the book's focus, which is what I was most interested in. He talks about working for Antonio Inoki in New Japan before jumping to Giant Baba's All Japan. Like everyone from that era, he talks about Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. His friendship with Bruiser Brody is also given a lot of time.
Three incidents Hansen is famous for are covered in honest detail. Hansen accidentally breaking Bruno Sammartino's neck, Vader's eye getting knocked out of its socket, and the AWA title controversy are a covered in honest detail.
I thought the backstage stuff from Japan was really interesting but for the most part, the book is pretty dry. Hansen shares some good road stories but most of the book is just the nuts and bolts behind working in Japan for almost 30 years. I felt like he was afraid to say too much about a lot of the more interesting topics. It got a little repetitive by the end.
While I liked the book, I didn't think it was as interesting and entertaining as it could have been. I would have liked more road stories and less of Hansen protecting the business. Three out of five stars.
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