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Holy Taco Bad Book Club: Pro Wrestling Poetry

Parts Unknown: Wrestling, Gimmicks, and Other Works is a book of pro wrestling poetry by Michael Holmes. And yes, a legitimate company published this. If Holmes had just written 50 variations of ”roses are red / bruises are blue / I will hit you with a chair / and take your title from you,” then whatever. Instead, he vomited up page after page of avant garde, free-form verse, like so:

A montage of Jim Ross quotes arranged psuedo-poetically? Give this man every Pulitzer!

A quick tip: avant-garde and freeform anything typically means the artist has no idea what they’re doing, and dresses up their ignorance with artsy terminology so when people like me give it shit, they can conveniently dismiss the criticism because I don’t “get it.” Problem is, I do get it. I get that an ode to the Sandman that mentions his time in NWA-TNA, a crappy promotion six people watched and 600,000 people bitched about, makes zero sense to anybody but Sandman himself.

But more importantly, I get that this book is less actual poetry, and more a mangled mash-up of wrestling terms and references that will fly over the heads of all but the most hardcore of fans. And the author can’t even get that right — you write about the Sandman and neglect his terrible WCW run as “Hardcore Hak”? It wouldn’t give good verse, but it would at least prove you finished all your homework and didn’t just desperately cram an hour before finals.

Mad Mikey is the little-known final gimmick of Crash Holly, who himself is fairly obscure to all but rabid fans from the ’90s and early 2000′s. That’s what this book is — obscure reference after obscure reference, painted up all pretty-like and passed off as poetry cuz Mike Holmes said so.

Also, Raven thinks you’re a moronic loser if you call him Scott. You’d think a smart insider like Holmes would know that.

Clearly, Holmes is a fan of actual avant garde poetry, as he parodies bpNichol’s “The True Eventual Story of Billy the Kid” with “The True Eventual Story of Badd Billy Gunn”. Unfortunately, he does so by crafting the clumsiest word salad imaginable.

“They didn’t call him Mr. Perfect or Mr. Wonderful. Curt Hennig and Paul Ornndorff were already those Misters.” So, is this “poem” about Billy Gunn or Curt Hennig? Is it “about” anything? Or are you just throwing shit around to show off how much you know about ‘rassling? Because I can do that too:


Battle Kat creeps to the ring
Though his mind is on the ball of yarn
He batted into the Gorilla Position’s trashcan
Just before his music hit
And why does his music have trumpets? He is a kat
He cares not for trumpets. In fact,
they scare him
It could be worse. The boys could have ribbed him
And made him walk the aisle to the sound
of vacuum cleaners running forever.

I never saw Battle Kat wrestle, since I was on vacation the one week he made TV. But I’ve heard of him, which is all the poetic ammo I need. I wrote that in thirty seconds, by the way. Holmes likely spent the same amount of time crafting his verses.

After awhile, he gives up and simply lists finishing moves, even if the wrestlers performing them weren’t very good. This means even my grocery list can be a poem, if I arrange it beautifully enough.

If this was all the book offered, I’d have simply dismissed it as an inside joke. A poetic spit-take for people in the wrestling business, written by someone in the wrestling business. But then I read this:

A glossary of insider wrestling terms. You know, the kind those in the business would already know! This book actually had casual fans in mind, the ones who know about Hulk Hogan and The Rock, and have a vague memory of maybe having watched a WrestleMania or two back in the day. How those people are supposed to suddenly care about bad poetry more obtuse than REM mumble music just because they now know what a “Double Juice” is beyond me.

I have no clue who this book is supposed to appeal to, and I’m guessing neither did the author. Still though, at least he didn’t just start dumping wrestlers’ catchphrases on us. After all, that would be silly, and probably proof that this guy’s a glorified mark (wrestle-speak for stupid gullible fanboy).

Oh, goddammit.

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