Book – Wrestling For My Life

Author – Shawn Michaels

Year – 2015

Pages – 161

Genre – Wrestling Autobiography

Bought for me by Michaela and Darcy (and Vinnie)

The first of my Christmas reads, and you’d better believe it – it’s a wrestling autobiography! And plenty more of these to come in the new year, so something to look forward to.

Shawn Michaels is one of the biggest legends of the wrestling industry. I say that with no hyperbole. He is responsible for some of the best in-ring work, and most incredible matches of all time. Many would have him on their Mount Rushmore of wrestling for sure. However, his career is one of two halves. The first involved a brash, cocky character that was similar in real life – drinking, drugs and a backstage politician that caused many in wrestling to hate him. After a retirement through injury in the late 1990s however, Michaels became a born again Christian, meaning that his outlook on life was very different when he managed to return to the sport in the early 2000s, and he is widely respected by his peers now that he has changed his life around.

This book focuses on the second half of his career, and importantly, on his change to become a Christian. In fact, the sub-heading of the book is “The Legend, The Reality, and The Faith of a WWE Superstar”. So it is with fair warning that I started this book.

It doesn’t change the fact that it is so regularly dull. Fair play to anyone who finds faith, especially if it helps to change your life around to the extent that is has done for Shawn Michaels. But it’s not really what I wanted to hear about here. I wanted the stories of his life in the ring, and of what happens behind the scenes. I want to know about this genuine legend of professional wrestling and his views on so many things. I want gossip and news. Instead he spends more time talking about his faith than any of that.

I understand, that is his prerogative. If he chooses to focus on one part of his life, it is his autobiography and he can chose to do so. This is his second autobiography and the first was far more scandalous. But that only covers the first half of his career and I’d have loved to have the same attention lavished on his return. No one is reading to hear about Shawn Michaels for his Christian work, they know him for his wrestling, and that is the more interesting part.

To compound this however, it is so repetitive and uninteresting. It is a trap that so many wrestling autobiographies fall into, but you can’t just keep repeating the same thing – in this case how much he loves his wife, how his faith changed his life, and how much of what he does is simply because of God’s will. A book needs more than that to hold the attention of the reader, and it is disappointing that is all we get.