August 17, 2013
Highs, lows, and redemption all in Lex Luger's story
By LANCE LUMLEY - For SLAM! Wrestling
In his book Wrestling With The Devil wrestler Lex Luger, along with co-writer John D. Hollis, walks the reader through the life of a man with an skills and an ego that propelled him through football to become one of the top professional wrestling stars of the 1980-1990s, his downfall, and his redemption in becoming a born-again Christian. Here are some highlights from the book.
The foreword, by wrestler and friend Sting, is worth the read alone, speaking on how Sting did not like Luger when they first met, but ended up becoming business partners and friends.
The early parts of the book (2013,Tyndale House, $22.99 USD) describes his childhood excelling in sports and going to Penn State University, University of Miami, the Canadian Football League, and ending up in training camp for the National Football League.
After being cut from football, Luger ends up meeting and training with Hiro Matusda in CWF (Championship Wrestling from Florida). He writes: "I was twenty-seven and Matusda had another twenty years on me, but he did everything he asked me to do."
On deciding on his name:
On his name "The Total Package":
On officially signing with Jim Crockett Promotions sometime after being a member of The Four Horsemen (Luger got a three-year deal for $350,000 annually):
Because I was feeling empowered, I said one more thing.
Signing With the WWF (WWE):
Teaming with Elizabeth in W.C.W. after his return in 1999 to W.C.W.:
The death of Elizabeth at Luger's house, while sitting watching movies together eating TV dinners:
The book later discusses how when trying to get into Canada for a show, Luger was stopped at the border, and escorted back to Atlanta due to an outstanding warrant. After missing two meetings with his probation officer, and not doing proper paperwork to be allowed out of the state, the judge sentenced him to four months in prison. It was there he eventually befriended the chaplain, Pastor Steve, and became a Christian after spending time with Steve when Luger was released from jail.
After flying to San Francisco for an autograph signing, Luger felt a pain in his neck and back. Once he got into the hotel, he woke up at 3 A.M., stating, "I was jolted awake by the same unbelievable pain between my shoulder blades that I felt on the airplane. This time something was different. I couldn't move anything except my head and shoulders. ... The combination of my heavy workout before my flight and sitting on the plane with my head awkwardly turned had set my neck up for the 'perfect storm.' I had cut off the blood flow to my central spinal cord, which caused bruising and massive swelling ... the result is the same; paralysis."
After the diagnosis, Luger was transferred to the Shepard Center in Atlanta, where the doctors told him:
"You are a C5-C6 quadriplegic. There's always hope; however, realistically, there is very little chance of you regaining any significant movement from the neck down ... Once home, you will need round-the-clock care."
Luger goes on to explain how his faith in God has led him to be able to walk, drive a car, and share his story to others, including helping others train in a more healthier way.
The book is one of the more interesting and positive wrestling books out there, and author Hollis writes in an easy to read way, with short chapters, which make reading easy to flow.
Lance Lumley is a graduate of Kent State University with a B.A. in English,a dn lives in Columbiana, Ohio (USA). A pro wrestling fan since 1986, when he first saw George "The Animal" Steele on television. His favorite wrestling personalities are Bobby Heenan, Bret Hart, Trish Stratus, and Jim Cornette.