Thursday, July 3, 2014

Atlas: Too Much, Too Soon

Atlas - Too Much, Too SoonAtlas - Too Much, Too Soon by Tony Atlas

Atlas is the biography of former wrestler Tony Atlas.

Other than his embarrassing stint as Saba Simba in the early 1990s, I don't have many memories of Tony Atlas as a wrestler aside from what I saw in the magazines. I figured the road stories alone would make this a good read, though. After all, I knew he traveled with the Junkyard Dog and Tommy Rich.

The first 20% of the book was Tony Atlas' pre-wrestling life. As with most wrestling books, that part felt about twice as long as it needed to be. From there, Tony went to work with the Crocketts and it was off to the races.

Atlas' book paints a vivid picture of what wrestling life was like in the 1970's. People protected the business and the general public still wasn't sure how real or fake it was. Atlas talks about long trips between towns and tells a lot of hilarious road stories, most of them at his own expense.

The book follows the structure that most episodes of VH1's Behind the Music followed. Tony went from being dirt poor to making $2500 a week, blew his money on cars and drugs, and eventually wound up homeless in Maine. Then his fourth wife help him get his act together and now he's doing fairly well.

My favorite parts of the book were the road stories, of course. Tony talks about hanging with Tommy Rich, Junkyard Dog, Ric Flair, Harley Race, and pretty much all of the greats of the 1970's and 1980's. He talks about seeing Bruiser Brody murdered in Puerto Rico and narrowly missing the Guatemala earthquake of 1976 by mere hours. He also talks about working out with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno back in the day.

It was an enjoyable read overall but there were some rough spots. There are some grammatical errors and his account of the late 70's and early 80's seems really disjointed, although if he was doing as much coke as he said he was during that time, I'm surprised he can recall any of it.

Not the best wrestling biography I've ever read but definitely not the worst. Three out of five stars.

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