I don’t think that I’ve laughed harder at a wrestling book than with You’re Gonna Hurt Yourself by Ben Nelson Creed, who was usually Bomber Creed on the Canadian indy scene.
That said, I cannot guarantee that you’ll get the joke.
In fact, there’s an excellent chance that you will be any combination of confused, appalled, mortified, or queasy — along with entertained.
At one point I scribbled that You’re Gonna Hurt Yourself is like a published-version of indy wrestling. When you see a show at the high school gym, it’s fun, the wrestlers are approachable and generally competent, and everything is affordable — but you know going in and throughout the show that it is not WWE.
It’s the same with the book. It’s not polished, flipping and flopping from story to story like a spot monkey. Like too many indy workers, who are more concerned with getting all their moves in than cutting things out and slowing down for the good of the match, Creed crams and crams and crams it all into his self-published effort.
With no road agent or editor getting him to cut it out / down, he has free reign — though he does end the book before some of his experiences in Los Angeles at the New Japan dojo and his WWE tryouts, so obviously he was cognizant that it was getting to be a beast. I found myself skimming sections, but at other points I had to re-read because I couldn’t believe the outrageous story. Or better yet, there were laugh-out-loud sections that I read to my wife for her reaction.
After getting this far in the review, you’re probably asking yourself, “Who the hell is Bomber Creed?”
Ben Nelson was born in British Columbia and grew into a competitive rugby player, who even represented Canada at some events abroad. But he always loved pro wrestling, and sought to be trained in the early 1990s. The business was still a little closed at that point, and he eventually landed up the Hart Brothers Wrestling School in Cambridge, Ontario. Packing up and moving east would result in the ride of his life.
The school was run by Waldo Von Erich, a true legend of the sport, but definitely past his prime, and a vile huckster named Joe Frocklage, who wrestled very, very briefly in Stampede Wrestling as Ike Shaw. The former German heel comes off easy in You’re Gonna Hurt Yourself, dismissed as a name from the past who barely comes to the school. Frocklage, however, is the star of the show; he’s a monstrous man, physically and personally, and skewered by Creed’s wit — even if he is an easy target.
The bonds that Creed makes with other students, including former TNA World champion Eric Young, who also trained in Cambridge, are the backbone of the book. They are brothers in and out of the ring, complete with fights, ribs, bad day jobs, and shared bad habits. I was surprised that some of them have lived this long given their lifestyles!We also get access to Creed’s mindset as he has his ups and downs in the business. A downer was heading back to B.C. and not finding enough wrestling work, but that was also where he landed a break to work in Portland for Roddy Piper. Creed did a couple of tours of the Canadian Maritime provinces, where he really got to learn his trade — and have a damn good time apparently!
In the end, You’re Gonna Hurt Yourself is more like a confessional diary than a true autobiography.
Nelson, now a teacher in B.C. admits as much.
“My work situation turned out to be a lot more similar to my early wrestling career than I ever thought it would. So I guess it was kind of cathartic to write all this stuff where all these weird things that happened in wrestling school were paralleling the reality of being a teacher, believe it or not,” he explained in an interview. “It was self-expression, but also, I just wanted to document it, but I also felt like I had to get this stuff out, I felt like it was something that I needed to put to paper so I wouldn’t forget it.”
You’re Gonna Hurt Yourself is wild and untamed, crazily personal, and totally entertaining.