BRISCO: The Life and Times of National Collegiate and World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion JACK BRISCO by Jack Brisco
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Brisco is the biography of professional wrestler Jack Brisco.
I was interested in this book for a long time but wasn't in a hurry to read it. I've had a mixed experience with Crowbar Press's wrestling books in the past. I almost quit reading it since it was almost 20% of the way through before Jack transitioned from amateur wrestling in his college days to the professional ranks.
However, I'm glad I stuck with it because it wasn't too bad. It was better written than most of Crowbar's offerings. Another strong selling point for me was that at the time it was written, Jack Brisco had been out of the wrestling business for something like 30 years and didn't have to worry about burning any bridges since he was doing fine financially.
Brisco covers Freddie Joe Brisco's rise from dirt poor roots in Oklahoma to NCAA wrestling national champion, and to his breaking into professional wrestling. Too much time was spent in his college days for my taste but I persevered.
Once Jack goes pro, things take off. He talks about being brought into the Funk's territory of Amarillo just to make Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr. look good. His time with Eddie Graham in the Florida territory is given the most coverage, both in ring and out. He also mentions who screwed him out of pay, noteably Fritz Von Erich, The Sheik, Jim Barnett and even the head of the Florida territory, Eddie Graham.
Brisco seemed like he was still trying to protect the business a bit, like a lot of old timers, but still covers a lot of the backstage stuff, like how he got $25,000 dollars plus $8k a day working for a week in Japan and dropping the title to Giant Baba, only to win it back before the tour was over. He also mentions taping all that money, in cash, to his body to sneak it through customs.
His stories cover a lot of the wrestlers from his hay-day, like the Funks, Rick Steamboat, Jay Youngblood, Wahoo McDaniel, who broke Jack's nose with a headbutt. Jack's days as part owner of the Florida and Georgia territories and eventually selling out to Vince McMahon are pretty much how his career ends. I love his retirement story and don't want to spoil it.
My usual gripes about wrestling books, Crowbar's in particular, apply to this one as well. There was too much pre-wrestling and not enough road stories, although I liked the one about Terry Funk wrecking two cars in one night and the one about Don Muraco not being able to find his car in the airport parking lot because it had two feet of snow on it.
Three out of five stars, although your mileage may vary.
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