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Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling Paperback – 4 Oct 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press,Canada; Rev. Ed edition (4 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550227874
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550227871
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.1 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 886,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan on 18 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
I've read SO many wrestling books over the last few years, but I would have to say that 'Pain & Passion' is my absolute favourite. In fact, when I finished it, I very nearly started reading it all over again immediately.

The book is crammed full of anecdotes; fascinating, amusing and touching. It's put together chronologically but even at the outset, the historical parts are coloured and kept alive by quotations from the Hart family along with well-researched references from other texts.

McCoy's reporting always seems unbiased; something difficult to do when you consider how some members of the Hart family (and extended family) have acted after Owen, Stu and Helen's deaths.

All-in-all, it's a really fantastic read - it'd be great to have it as the blueprint for loads more books about wrestling (how about Memphis?!).

You cannot fail to like this book. Top notch!!
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By freddy1984 on 15 Nov. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stampede wrestling was light years ahead of it's time. Many of the gimmick matches that are still used today such as the ladder match were invented in stampede wrestling. Wrestling pioneers like Bret Hart and Dynamite Kid made Stampede wrestling a wrestling company that was cutting edge and had a huge cult following. This book is the history of it. Like all good wrestling books it is packed with those fascinating back stage, behind the scenes stories that fascinate the hard core wrestling fan. If you're a British Bulldogs or Hart Foundation fan then this is pretty much a must read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ashley on 28 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
Out of all the wrestling books i've ever read , this is by far the best. If your intrested in the hart family, then this is worth reading. If your thinking about buying this but you're not sure. Buy it because you will not be disappointed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
How the city of Calgary influenced pro-wrestling. 6 Oct. 2007
By Brad from OWW - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the October 2007 rerelease of one of the greatest wrestling books ever written. It was originally published two years ago, but ECW Press struck a deal to publish it once more with a brand new cover design and an additional bonus chapter focusing on various important Stampede-related developments. Author Heath McCoy brings us up-to-date on Bret Hart's WWE Hall of Fame induction, the uprising of the third generation Hart family members signing with the WWE and the horrific events that unfolded at the Benoit household on June 25, 2007 that became known as "Wrestling's Darkest Day."

To wrestling fans around the world, the city of Calgary represents the home base of a promotion known for producing some of the greatest stars the industry has ever seen. Men like "Dynamite Kid" Tom Billington, "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, "Bad News" Allen Coage, "Flyin'" Brian Pillman, "The Rocket" Owen Hart, and of course WWE Hall of Famer Bret "The Hitman" Hart are at the top of the list of distinguished Stampede alumni. That list is long and glorious and full of big names that, even though did not achieve mega-stardom, played a dramatic role in one of the most under-rated and often-sheltered territories in the world of pro-wrestling. The show was run by one of the most beloved men in wrestling history, the tough-as-nails patriarch of the Hart family, Mr. Stu Hart. Along with his devoted wife, Helen, Stu assembled a roster of stars that prominently featured many of his own sons. The Hart family was the "heart" of the promotion, but the endless parade of heels that came in to face the Harts (and their allies) was definitely the blood that ran through its veins. Stampede was a promotion known for its heat, its pride, and its passion.

Calgary Herald writer Heath McCoy has put together the most thorough book about any single wrestling topic that I have ever come across. His dedication to the project is what makes all 296 pages (bumped to 333 pages in the 2007 rerelease) in this book so fascinating. McCoy researched Stampede's history for (I'm guessing) well over a year and pieced together everything from beginning to end hitting all points in between. I was happy to see that McCoy made a point of not stroking anybody's ego when discussing the many personalities that competed inside of the blood-stained Stampede ring. There were plenty of positive and negative things to say about all the Hart brothers.

Pain & Passion isn't just the story of Stampede wrestling. It also deals with the tumultuous history of the Hart family. Towards the end of the book, I started to get the impression that "Pain & Passion" referred to the two loves of Stu's life; Wrestling & Family. The author goes all the way back to Stu's youth, growing up in the prairies, and follows him as he finds his way into the wrestling, and eventually meeting his future wife on a beach in New York. You will also read chapters about the Hart kids growing up, the death of Owen Hart, the inevitable division of Hart's loyalties, the new generation of Hart kids, and so much more.

Rating: 9.5/10 -- I can't say enough good things about "Pain & Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling." This is easily one of the top five wrestling books of all time and I recommend everyone pick up a copy today and read it. You will love it just as much as I did.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Little Territory That Could've Been 10 Jun. 2008
By R. Howell - Published on
Format: Paperback
"Pain & Passion" is a deep insight into Stampede Wrestling through it's transformations, growths, and declines. Stu Hart struck out on his own and created this territory business that would change from Klondike Wrestling into Stampede. This book is not just about Stampede Wrestling but obviously and naturally goes hand in hand with the history of the estranged Hart Clan. Family dynasties in wrestling have been strong such as the Guerreros and Von Erichs but none have come close to the dynasty of the Harts, whether it be Stu & Helen's twelve children or the extended families of in-laws, 'adopted' wrestlers, and grandkids.

The book starts off with Stu's parents and some of the ordeals they went through when he was a child and quickly moves into Stu's young life and establishing of his own wrestling franchise. We get a rich rundown of stories and personalities that flowed through Stampede, focusing well on the beginnings of Tom 'Dynamite Kid' Billington, before entering into the Hart family offspring. Here is why my rating is only 4 stars instead of 5. Once the story progresses to Bret and Owen, Stampede is left behind and the story focuses on Bret & Owen's success and journey through the WWF/E. From this point on there is less and less talk of Stampede and the book becomes a more focused biography of the Bret/Owen successes and then the Harts' hardships instead. It's difficult not to separate the two topics but from here on, there is little about Stampede itself. The unfortunate death of Owen then brings forth the division of the family and the legal battles which arose from it that nearly (and some may claim did) destroys the family. There are some fascinating stories regarding the Hart Dozen and you learn some interesting items regarding them. So you know, the Hart Dozen are (in no particular order) Smith, Keith, Ross, Dean, Wayne, Bruce, Bret, Owen, Alison, Diana, Ellie, and Georgia.

Just prior to the Bret/Owen segment of the story is the Stampede Wrestling I am most familiar with, having watch it regularly as a grew up in the early 80s. Unfortunately, there is not much written about this decade and it's stars other than pass-by mentioning of the Karachi Vice foregoing the likes of Biff/Beef Wellington (not mentioned until the third to last page of the book), early Benoit, Lethal Larry Cameron, Viet Cong Express (briefly mentioned). There was nothing about the continued training of future performers through the Dungeon or Hart Brothers Training Camp (Jericho, Storm).

After the Owen's death, the book continues with the many downfalls (legal issues, drug/steriod abuse, Bret's career in WWE) and deaths (Davey Boy, Pillman, Helen & Stu, Bad News Allen) which then beseiged the family. On an upturn, the re-release of this book brings us an extra chapter regarding the next generation of Hart family stars, Benoit's downfall, and Bruce Hart's continuing refusal to let Stampede Wrestling rest, instead clinging off and on to what is nothing but a shadow of what once was one of the most intriguing and star producing territories in wrestling history.

Overall, it's a fantastic and well researched text on arguably Canada's most important wrestling organization. The history, trials, and successes of the Hart family is well documented here and the author weaves a story intrigue and fascinate the readers. Certainly one of the best wrestling books in print.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is the definative book on Stampede wrestling 17 Sept. 2008
By J.S. Hicks - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I grew up in the deep south of the United States. Thus, wrestling wise, I grew up on Memphis, Continental, and NWA wrestling. I only knew of Stampede wrestling through the Apter magazines and was exposed to their top stars only when several came to the WWF in the mid-1980's.

Recently I read the awful Ring of Hell book which was an extremely unbalanced look at Stampede wrestling. As I discussed the book on my classic wrestling audio show at Wrestling Observer's website, several of my listeners recommended this book for a more complete view of the promotion.

They were right.

This is a fantastically well written book taking you from beginning to end. All the greats of Stampede wrestling are covered in great detail in this book including: Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Chris Benoit, the Mongolian Stomper, Bad News Allen, Davey Boy Smith, the Dynamite Kid, Bruce Hart, Keith Hart, David Schultz, the Honky Tonk Man, Andre the Giant, and much more. Also this book features great biographical details on the patriarch of the Hart family; Stu.

Heath McCoy has done the best job to date in summarizing the history of a classic wrestling promotion.

If you are a fan of any of the above mentioned wrestlers or just want to know more about classic Canadian wrestling or you want to read more about one of the most dysfunctional families in wrestling history then this is a must read.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating even if you aren't a wrestling fan... 31 Mar. 2008
By Rhythm Nation - Published on
Format: Paperback
Great book if you are interested in reading a wrestling book written very much like a historical text. The author is very comprehensive and detailed, alhough slightly biased at times, especially when comparing the Harts to outside entities. However this is a very meaty, pithy book with lots of new information in an age where regurgitation is the norm. Highly recommended for any wrestling fan who enjoys learning more about the subject.
Product review 24 Jan. 2013
By Nicholas R Annen - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Any wrestling fan out there who loves to learn about the history of pro wrestling will love this book. Furthermore any fan of Bret "the Hitman" Hart will love this book as well because you can learn about his humble beginnings on the Stampede circut in western Canada. This book is great and well worth your time.
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