Cover Image: Too Sweet

Too Sweet

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Member Reviews

An exhaustive, deeply researched look into the non-WWE world of wrestling. From the start of indie wrestling up to 2020, this book tells the tale, with a special emphasis on the red hot AEW.
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Back in the day, there were territories. The advent of Vincent K. McMahon’s vision of professional wrestling destroyed the territories but gave birth to the indies. Keith Elliott Greenberg has done a great job of thoroughly explaining and analyzing the indie scene and its role in the wrestling ecosystem. I wasn’t sure where he was going when he brought up New Japan, but he brought it together.
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Keith Elliot Greenberg chronicles the growth of indie wrestling from school gyms to a viable alternative to the WWE and speaks to those involved in the alternative wrestling league with remarkable candor, gaining behind-the-scenes knowledge of this growing enterprise.

When I asked for this book, I was falling back in love with wrestling after finding something new and to see a book that was going to give me a perspective on what I was taking in was for me was so timely and if you are like me, this book is a place to start. Covering Independent Wrestling from all parts of the world and the history of the Indies, this book gives you a respectable background on wrestling - and shares with you what the people inside these companies think and how they ended up there and these stories will make you want to go find these people and binge every match you can. 

This book is definitely written by someone with a passion for this and it shows on every page. Packed with enthusiasm for what the writer is writing about, Too Sweet gives you an insight not just into the wrestling - but also an insight to seeing what you love bloom into something even better. How Greenberg discusses the rise of All Elite and the talent that it includes is so infectious and just keeps you reading - you will love wrestling, because this author loves wrestling and in the last week reading this I have just dived into so much stuff, I am working through such a catalogue of talent and shows. 

I think no matter where you are with wrestling, there is something to take from this book, if you are new to it, you are introduced to the scene excellently, if you love WWE but want to delve into what more is out there - no matter where in the world you are, you can take something from this book, and if you just once loved it, I think I’d shove this book in your hands because you will love it again, if you read this book. Expertly written with great depth and detail by an author who knows the scene well, Too Sweet is an excellent guide to the revolution that is still happening and will continue to go on for time to come. 

(I Received an ARC from NetGalley for honest review).
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Like a stereotypical indy match, this has its impressive moments but occasionally loses focus while cramming too much in.

The challenge of writing such a book is that it “independent wrestling” is a topic with almost unlimited scope. In turn that means having to find the right blend of a straight chronological history and a more themed approach with a focused story.

For these reasons the first third or so of the book often feels a little scattergun, skipping from topic to topic and relaying a string of information about each but without really telling a story or making a clear point. In particular, several sections will have multiple short quotes from different wrestlers and personalities that don’t really add up to an overall insight.

This changes once the book returns to a clear focus point of the first All In show and concentrates on how various developments from the PWG “workrate” era to the rebirth of the UK scene to the way New Japan used international stars to increase its worldwide appeal combined to create the circumstances that led to a 10,000+ seat arena selling out in minutes.

As you’d expect from an author with Greenberg’s experience, it’s clearly written in a straightforward manner. The sections where he writes from first hand experience are among the strongest, helping capture the atmosphere of key independent events.

Sadly it’s a reminder of just how quickly things can change. The postscript recaps the immediate aftermatch of AEW’s formation and the start of the “Wednesday Night Wars” with a final line about the pandemic, but the later stages of the book really highlight just how much is still missing from the indy scene with large crowds and fan travel both still on the back burner.
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I feel like this quote/story heavy book could have been better as a full out oral history like Meet Me in the Bathroom was about the NYC alt music scene or All The Pieces Matter was about The Wire. Nevertheless it is still a very informative book that documents a very important story in the shifting wrestling landscape. I particularly enjoyed the author’s stories from the live shows he attended. Stories about chants at Orange Cassidy hosted live events over Mania weekend are the types of stories that really provide special access. It will be interesting to see what Greenberg is thinking of for a sequel, as the indy landscape has obviously shifted a lot with COVID but will likely rebound when everything clears up.
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This was a great read, walking us through the present of independent wrestling while also bringing us to the past.  Really liked the interviews, the subject matter and the care taken to weave the story by presenting us past and present.

It was great to contrast the different styles - leadership, wrestling, building a story and more.  Finding out more about the rise of pro wrestling tees, how it ties into AEW and the ability to have financial success on the independents was instrumental to the hole story.
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While I appreciate what this book was trying to do, it leaned a little much into the AEW promotion which technically isn't nor has ever been an independent promotion in my opinion. I appreciated the take and as much as I tried not to, I couldn't help but skim over any mention of wrestlers who have less than stellar news coming out about them. Thanks to ECW Press and Netgalley for allowing my to voluntarily review this. All opinions are my own.
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Great book detailing the history and the current events in pro wrestling. It seems to move around a lot but Greenberg seems to bring the focus back before the end of the chapter. This was very informative and highly recommended!
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