The latest buzz in the pro wrestling book world is that B. Brian Blair is releasing his autobiography. The book, entitled Truth Bee Told, is written with Ian Douglass and will be published from Darkstream Press and Walking on Hot Waffles (WOHW) Publishing. An Indiegogo campaign for the book is now live.
Blair, who was one half of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE) tag team, the Killer Bees with “Jumpin’” Jim Brunzell says he is looking forward to sharing his life story with the masses.
“People don’t really know where I came from,” articulated Blair, who resides in Tampa, Florida, in a phone interview with SlamWrestling.net. “How I became pretty successful in the wrestling industry and actually (also) in politics and in business, you know everything that I’ve done. I mean, I’ve had a lot of hiccups along the way, but eventually everything became a success.”
Blair previously released Smarten Up! Say it Right in 2001. His first book was an ode/how-to-guide to kayfabe (presenting pro wrestling story lines as real) and the carny lingo that has all but disappeared from the industry. On this book, Blair collaborated with author Douglass whose previous work includes the autobiographies of Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl, Dan Severn and Buggsy McGraw. In addition, Douglass also released a coloring/comic book on McGraw.
“It’s tremendous,” offered Douglass on what it has been like to work with Blair on the book over the past 15 months in a separate phone interview with Slam. “Brian is incredibly eloquent. He is incredibly intelligent. And his memory is still very much intact and he tells some of the most entertaining road stories I’ve ever heard. On top of that, due to his business successes and life experiences, Brian also has a great deal of wisdom that he is able to impart during our discussions.”
The book (full disclosure: this reviewer also edited the book) follows Blair’s journey from his humble beginnings in Gary, Indiana (Fun fact: Blair says he lived not too far from Gary’s most famous residents, the Jackson family!) to getting stretched by the legendary Hiro Matsuda in Tampa’s version of “The Dungeon” alongside the late Paul Orndorff and Hulk Hogan as part of his pro wrestling training which for Blair began when he was just a senior in high school. (The book even includes an afterward by Hogan and two forewords by Bret “the Hitman” Hart and Steve Keirn).
“Brian grew up relatively impoverished,” pointed out Douglass. “And so, hearing some of the things he dealt with and the things he was forced to do at a young age in terms of work environments that he had to put himself in, in order to help provide food for the family or help to pay the family’s rent. Those are the sort of stories that are able to motivate me even now that I’m well, well out of my teens. And also makes me wonder, well shoot, what was I doing with my life? I was much too sheltered if that’s the sort of thing he was doing when he was 13 and 15 years old.”
Fans are then taken through Blair’s time in the WWF, international squared circles, the indies, and of course the short-lived and controversial Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) promotion headed by the late and often times eccentric Herb Abrams. (Yet another fun fact: in the UWF, Blair’s wife, Toni, was his valet, Honey!) There’s also insight into Blair’s life outside the ring including his family life, business ventures, political forays and his current role as the President/CEO of the Cauliflower Alley Club (CAC). EDITOR’S NOTE: The Advance Reading Copy of the book that this reader was provided with was completed before the deaths of Orndorff and Blair’s oldest son, Brett. The phone interviews with Blair and Douglass were also conducted prior to these events.
“Brian’s story provides a classic example of someone who made it in the wrestling industry,” remarked Douglass. “But also made it outside of the wrestling industry and is now selflessly doing everything he can within his power to give back to the wrestling industry and the people who need help. And his primary vehicle for doing that has been his services to the Cauliflower Alley Club.” EDITOR’S NOTE: The 55th Annual CAC reunion is scheduled for September 13-15, 2021 at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Furthered Douglass, “At some point every professional wrestler has to make a transition to a post wrestling career or at least a transition that minimizes the role that wrestling plays. And it’s important and I think Brian’s story provides an excellent example of a wrestler who did a fantastic job of evaluating the path of his life and who made a conscious effort to evaluate what path he wanted his post wrestling career to take and made that transition at the perfect time.”
The resulting autobiography is a welcome and rare balance of confidence and vulnerability. The book really allows the reader to get into the head and heart of Blair right from the opening pages where the catchy and suspenseful beginning alludes to a very personal and traumatic event in Blair’s life that will unfold as the pages keep turning. And for those readers who salivate at hearing about pro wrestling ribs (the prank kind, not the edible kind) and behind-the-curtain stories, you are definitely going to get your fill of saucy/scandalous moments featuring a who’s who of pro wrestlers including Andre the Giant, Bruiser Brody, Pat Patterson, Dusty Rhodes, and Don Muraco. Just a warning: these stories will induce a variety of reactions from laughing out loud, to being aghast, to being appalled, and yes at times even feeling like you need a long, hot and purifying shower.
Insisted Douglass, “(Brian) may be one of the most underrated ribbers in wrestling history!” Blair noted with a laugh that he was well prepared to “fit into the wrestling industry” as growing up his father often “ribbed the whole family!”
This reader doesn’t want to give too much of the book’s contents away but in addition to the aforementioned pranks/stories, there’s plenty of sex, brawls and you’ll never look at prune juice the same way thanks to the late Orndorff. (Eeek!) And refreshingly, for those ribs that clearly went too far and pushed the boundaries of basic human decency, Blair seems to express genuine remorse when history has shown many of his peers aren’t as keen to apologize for similar and worse actions.
The only real criticisms this reader has is that it seemed odd that Brunzell was not included in a foreword or afterword of the book. And while I enjoyed the “Bonus Stories and Outtakes” section (it reminded me of the special features option often included on DVDs and Blu-rays which I always, always watch) there were some sections where Blair does come off as a tad bitter or venting such as when he is discussing “Title Reigns and the WWE Hall of Fame” and “The (Ric) Flair Flop.” The section is still a worthwhile read, which readers would be remiss to skip.
“I want them (the readers) to be excited that they’ve read the book,” reflected Blair, when asked what he hopes readers will take away from his autobiography. “And I want them to come away knowing that they can do anything if they put their mind to it and never be poor because you don’t have to be in a free society, and to understand things that they never knew about the wrestling business.”