Lion’s Pride, Chris Charlton

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It was about time for a professional wrestling book. Lion’s Pride: The Turbulent History of New Japan Pro Wrestling fits that bill.

Let’s set the stage. Enter, stage left: a brunette, about 5’2. Straitlaced bureaucrat in her mid-twenties with two cats; brings chocolate chip cookies to the office on Fridays. Unlikely candidate for pro wrestling fandom. But then, it’s 2015. That fandom has no likely candidates. Wrestling’s long past its late-90s zeitgeist, and here I am hopping on planes to go to Wrestlemania and Ring of Honor alike.

One of the remaining items on my professional wrestling bucket list is New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual January 4 show in the Tokyo Dome, Wrestle Kingdom. With a name like that, don’t you kind of want to go?

NJPW is, to be frank, cool as all hell. Take a second and google Shinsuke Nakamura, and then tell me you don’t want to start watching Japanese pro wrestling. Here, let me help you out:

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Dope, right? Nakamura is the latest in a long line of phenomenally talented athletes plying their trade for NJPW, and this book by Chris Charlton is a labour of love documenting those wrestlers. It came into my life via IndieGoGo campaign, and I’ve spent the past few days reading it in chunks, not wanting to devour all the pro wrestling knowledge in one go.

It was also kind of a frustrating read (Charlton is a huge nerd like me, but relies on some sentence constructions that I’m not big into, so bits of the book were a slog). If you’re into Japanese wrestling even at all, you need to get your hands on a copy of this book. If you’re not into Japanese wrestling, I’m sorry that I’ll be talking so much about Antonio Inoki for the next couple of weeks. Consider this your warning in advance.

Books read: 6

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