The book Struttin’ & Cuttin’ by Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and Kenny Casanova is a 389-page journey filled with great stories, photographs, and guest commentators that fans will thoroughly enjoy.
Most people will remember Beefcake’s career in the WWF as “The Barber,” as well as Hulk Hogan’s tag team partner, but the book starts off telling how young Ed Leslie knew of Terry Bollea during their early little league baseball careers, and then going into the wrestling world as The Boulder Brothers tag team with the future Hulk Hogan. Leslie’s early career as Bollea’s tag partner, often billed as his “brother” with names like Ed Hogan, Dizzy Boulder, and Dizzy Hogan, takes the reader through the exciting days of the territory leagues working for Jerry Jarrett, Rob Fuller, and Bill Watts. The journey continues through Verne Gagne’s AWA, working in Oregon and Japan, and even working for Vince McMahon Sr’s WWWF.
Beefcake describes how Hogan, Vince McMahon Jr., and Linda McMahon decided on giving him the gimmick of Brutus Beefcake, an “Ultimate Chippendale,” which he hated initially after he returned to the WWF in 1984. After being in several small programs, booker/agent George Scott put Beefcake with Greg Valentine, which helped Beefcake get a break as tag team champions known as The Dream Team. That team eventually led to his popular barber gimmick, which he talks about almost quitting the company over when it was given to him.
The authors also go into the horrifying parasailing accident that almost ended Beefcake’s life, and how ill equipped the hospital and doctors were in dealing with the situation right when it happened. Not only is the writing of the events intense, but the authors also have comments from people who were there at the scene, including wrestler Brian Blair, along with some photographs. The aftermath, with Beefcake having to deal with rehabbing and being extremely careful of his everyday activities (including just sleeping and watching television), makes his in-ring return years later even more inspirational.
The book has plenty of road stories, which brings a humorous feel to the book, with stories about Beefcake and Hogan living in van next to the Samoans Afa and Sika, pranks pulled on several wrestlers by Mr. Fuji, Buddy Rose, Curt Hennig, and The British Bulldogs, which led to the famous Dynamite Kid/Rougeau Brothers backstage fight. There is even a great story that describes when Beefcake was mistakenly taken as Hulk Hogan that involved a samurai sword.
One unique aspect of the book is that not only does the reader get Beefcake’s view and thoughts, there are also contributors such as Diamond Dallas Page, Marty Jannetty and Lanny Poffo telling their side of what happened during the story Beefcake is recounting. There are also nice quotes by Don Muraco, Bruno Sammartino and Bobby Heenan that are placed in the book nicely.
Struttin’ & Cuttin’ (2017, WOHW Publishers) also shares Beefcake’s opinions on his WCW run, failed storylines, promised title runs that never happened, and his views on other wrestlers he encountered throughout the years. This book is filled with nice photographs, great stories, and comments that does not leave the reader lacking in information. Beefcake and Casanova have compiled a nice, entertaining book that even non-fans of the Brutus Beefcake character would find a wonderful read with all the stories.
LANCE LUMLEY is a graduate of Kent State University and lives in Columbiana, Ohio. His blog reviewing books, music, film, and wrestling can be found at www.lancewrites.wordpress.com