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Celebrate more than 150 years of Canada with 150 books.

Dave Bidini Recommends

Drawing Heat by Jim Freedman

Drawing Heat

(From Crowbar Press)

First published in 1988, Drawing Heat was one of the first books to really give the public a glimpse behind the scenes of the world of professional wrestling. Jim Freedman, a Professor Emeritus at the University of Western Ontario who also consults on international development for the United Nations, CIDA, and international NGOs, seems an unlikely candidate to write a book on such a subject, but he paints a captivating portrait of the sport.
Freedman’s primary goal was to chronicle the drama of the sport from the viewpoint of a wrestling fan, but in the process, got much more than he ever expected. During the course of interviewing several participants, he was invited to become a part of Big Bear Promotions, and the book become the story about the demise of a local wrestling promotion being swallowed up by multi-national business interests.

Welcomed into the inner circle by nearly everyone associated with the promotion, Jim presents an insiders look at what it took to promote a small, independent wrestling show ... putting the show together, setting up the ring, counting the money and balancing the books, ring announcing, dealing with sports commissioners who are in the pocket of the big wrestling companies, and what it is that lures wrestling fans into the arenas.

Filled with wonderful characters, the action in this book far outweighs anything seen in the ring today. Dave "The Wildman" McKigney, the main character, is the owner of the Big Bear company, and the struggles and tragedies he faces become the focus of the narrative. Known for traveling with his wrestling bears, one of the most heartbreaking stories in the entire book details the account of McKigney’s girlfriend when she is mauled to death by one of them.

Jim Freedman

Jim Freedman is the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction books on topics ranging from African history to Zen Buddhism to professional wrestling and heads a consulting firm which advises governments and international organizations on peace-building in conflict areas. He lives in London, Ontario, with his wife and teenage son.