Book Review: Spandex Ballet by Lee Kyle

I picked this up as part of my now expired Kindle Unlimited deal, because it seemed like an interesting story about a man looking back at his time as a mediocre professional wrestler in the UK. There aren’t that many books about wrestling here in the UK (that I know of, feel free to post in the comments if you know of any), and the business here is different from the states.

Kyle makes it abundantly clear that he was never the biggest, fittest or best wrestler in the world which should be rather endearing, but the self deprecation does get a bit old. Clearly, he was good enough to keep having matches, so him constantly talking about how average he was is exaggeration. He might not have been Bret Hart level, but he must have been passable.

kerry spandex

Kyle’s background and reasons for going into wrestling are quite fun and relatable (at least for me, taking part in a wrestling match being on the bucket list). A childhood fan he started messing about with some mates in a homemade ring before joining a local promotion. His friends would slowly drop out but Kyle would wrestle for several years, even at one point becoming the champion of the company, although he does point out he was running it at the time.

The book provides an interesting short history of the company Kyle joined and his time in the business, along with anecdotes and observations on wrestling and wrestling fans. There’s also a few personal things along the way, such as day job hassles, issues with crazy neighbours and friendships falling apart. It’s clear that wrestling was a passion project and it’s an oddly inspiring story of sticking with your hobby and focusing on the things that you find fun and make you happy.

Kyle seems like a decent enough bloke, and it made me smile several times, but some of it gets a bit repetitive and there are a few tangents that probably could have been pruned a bit. Kyle jokes about trying to hit a word count a few times, and mostly it feels like a gag, but there are a few times when you think he might actually be padding.

The problem is that while Kyle is likeable and it’s a different view of the world of sport entertainment, it all feels rather flat and there’s too much repetition and lack of focus. It’s diverting enough but I guess I must have been expecting more. Worth reading for a unique story of wrestling in the Northeast of England and with an amiable narrator, but only if you’re really interested in what low level professional wrestling is like.

6/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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