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Book Review: Occupy Wrestling by Garrison Haines-Temons

Book Review: Occupy Wrestling by Garrison Haines-Temons

It's Bonus Book Review Saturday, and today we're going WAY off the beaten path! Our story today is a curious combination of portal fantasy and wrestling. Say what?!

Occupy Wrestling

Over a decade of hard work, sacrifices, and injuries have earned professional wrestler Mitch McLeod a chance at the KDW World Heavyweight Championship, at the time held by a 400 lb. monster named Jason Finnegan. Before their match begins, Jason assaults Mitch in the hallway, hoping for an easy victory later on in the ring. Occupy-Wrestling-Cover Despite the brutal beating, Mitch wins the match via pin fall after his finishing move, a variation of the superman punch, accidentally kills Jason. Legal issues aside, Mitch finds himself embroiled in a plot to have his newly won KDW World Title taken from him by science-fiction-like creatures hired by Keegan Day, the owner of KDW. A world title is a symbol of excellence for not only the wrestler holding it, but for the wrestling industry as a whole. Mitch will be damned if his oppressive corporate master is going to take it from him that easily.

My Review: 3.5 Stars

I was given this book for review, and from the moment I cracked into it, I couldn't believe my eyes. I have NEVER read a story that combines wrestling and fantasy before, so it's definitely one of a kind. Like real wrestling, I kept asking myself, "Is this real?" When the characters did crazier and crazier things in their matches, I found it hard to believe it. And yet I loved every minute of it! There were a few flaws in the story:
  • The writing kept hopping between POVs. It shifts from one character to another, hops to a narrator's style of voice, then goes back in for a close-up POV. This inconsistency made it hard to read.
  • The wrestling moves weren't explained. I understand that it would be way too complicated to explain all the wrestling moves in the text, but perhaps a glossary at the beginning or the end could help us understand it more.
  • It was written by someone familiar with the world of wrestling, but without taking into account that not all readers would be as familiar. A lot of the expressions used were industry/sport-specific, but lacking in definition.
If I could use one word to describe this book, it would be "unique". Certainly not the deepest, most life-changing book I've read, but one heck of a good time. Look past the writing style, and just like wrestling, you just can't look away no matter how "over the top" it is.

Here's a Taste:

A deafening bang resounded off the walls of Mitch McLeod’s hotel room. Except a gun didn’t go off; Teiji Roughhouse super kicked him in the stomach and sent him stumbling backwards until he tripped over a coffee table. The KDW World Champ was in front of the leather couch clutching his torso and struggling to breathe. Out of his peripheral vision, he saw Keegan Day holding the World Title over his left shoulder and strutting out of the room with it. Somewhere in this arrogant walk, Keegan’s smart phone fell out of his pants pocket and remained intact as it landed on the carpet. “Master Day! Master Day!” said Teiji in a mongoloid voice, apparently trying to warn his boss about the smart phone. Keegan seemed more interested in making an escape with the diamond and gold encrusted title than bending over to pick up a stupid electronic device. The temporary distraction allowed Mitch the oxygen he needed to spring up from his seated position and bulrush Teiji against the wall while screaming in a barbaric throaty voice. Mitch continued to thrust his shoulder into the rat’s gut like he would if Teiji was sitting against the corner of the ring. During these shoulder thrusts, the disgusting creature let out a thunderous fart that smelled like rotten meat and cheese. It caused Mitch’s eyes to water and Mitch himself to stumble backwards wheezing and gagging. “It’s a natural function!” screamed Teiji as he attempted a spinning roundhouse kick at Mitch’s vulnerable head. The true champion’s reflexes kicked in and he ducked the kick before scrambling behind the rat, grabbing his waist, and delivering a floor-splitting German suplex. Teiji was feeling dizzy as evidenced by his wobbling head after being picked up by the waist again. Mitch delivered another bone-snapping German suplex onto the floor. And another. And another. And the final one being through the glass coffee table that Mitch tripped over earlier. The two chicks in the bedroom were cheering their man on, but were still sedated from their Vicodin and vodka mixes. They managed simple chants like “Woo-hoo!” and “Yeah!”, but anything else would have sounded like broken English. Mitch was getting exhausted after giving that many suplexes to a heavy creature like Teiji. He wanted to take a breather, but the air still stunk of whatever the hell was decaying in the rat’s bowels. Mitch coughed and gagged while holding his arm over his nose and mouth and searching for fresher air. He found what he was looking for the kitchen and breathed the lovely air ever so deeply. He even turned on the ceiling fan to see if the stench would blow away. He was breathing so hard that his ribs were sore just from that. About a minute of rest passed and the air in the living room was starting to return to a neutral state. Teiji laid over the shattered coffee table spread eagle and bleeding in some places. His eyes were closed, but even Mitch questioned if this fight was really over. He walked up to the prone rat and got a closer look.

About the Author:

Garrison Kelly has been writing creatively since January 2002 and made it official with an English degree in 2009 from Western Washington University. He’s tried to find work ever since completing school, but so far, no dice. His only source of income is through social security payments as he is mentally disabled with schizophrenia and autism. Mental illnesses are a favorite topic of his to discuss when writing, as are liberal politics, violent situations, anti-bullying politics, heavy metal music, and the occasional shy guy love story. Garrison’s favorite writers include, but are not limited to Carl Hiaasen, Lilian Jackson Braun, Brett Battles, and Susan Cain. You can find the book on Garrison's website: Check out his artwork on Deviant Art: Connect with him on Facebook:!/garrison.hainestemons