Wrestling fans that run across Power Players: Sports, Politics, and the American Presidency at their local bookstore or online will immediately be drawn to the photo from WrestleMania 23 on the cover. There’s a triumphant Bobby Lashley, his hand raised in the air by his second, Donald Trump, after defeating Umaga and shaving the head of Vince McMahon in the much-ballyhooed Battle of the Billionaires.

Even in some of the promotional material, Power Players plays up Trump’s wrestling connection and how the lessons he learned while around the sports-entertainment world helped shape his governing style.

The author, Chris Cillizza, doesn’t really break any new ground for wrestling fans as far as Trump and his wrestling tie-ins, so as long as you don’t pick it up for that reason alone, you’ll be fine.

Instead, Power Players is, in its own words, “A colorful look at how modern presidents play sports, have used sports to play politics, and what our fan-in-chief can often tell us about our national pastimes.”

So there’s golf, lots and lots of golf, but if that’s your thing, there’s other books on presidents and golf. In 2003, Don Van Natta Jr’s First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers, and Cheaters from Taft to Bush was published, and, more relevant to the start of this review, Rick Reilly’s amusing Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump came out in 2019.

Baseball comes into the book with both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush as fans. Fun fact: father and son also had a penchant for horseshoes. We get hoops talk with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, bowling with Richard Nixon, and touch-football, swimming and sailing with JFK. The Joe Biden chapter almost seemed like an afterthought, as, at his age, riding a Peloton at The White House counts as good exercise, and the list of great athletes from Delaware is a definite space-filler.

With Ronald Reagan, there’s the acting history — Win one for the Gipper! and all that jazz — but he was also the first President to really popularize winning sport teams dropping by The White House for a photo op.

Cillizza has a unique writing style which may or may not get on your nerves as he (hey!) often adds smart-ass asides (like this!). But then, this is not a sit down and read from start to finish kind of book. Maybe you’ll be like me, skip to the portion on the only WWE Hall of Famer in the book, and then wander around to find other interesting things.

He definitely has his bonafides, though, from 2012’s The Gospel According to the Fix: An Insider’s Guide to a Less than Holy World of Politics to his 40 years in and around Washington politics at the Washington Post and CNN, and the oodles of research is evident, even if there appears to be a lack of original interviews. And, according to his Instagram, at least, he likes his rasslin’: “I love Solo stoves, pro wrestling and long walks on the beach.”

There’s enough in Power Players: Sports, Politics, and the American Presidency (April 2023, Twelve Books) for sports fans and political junkies … just not the diehard wrestling fans.