“[Steel Chair to the Head] manages to incorporate a number of interesting perspectives on a complex topic and provides a number of essays that are genuinely illuminating. It did not help me win many converts to professional wrestling, but I would like to think that it won some converts to critical thinking.” — Bart Beaty, Canadian Journal of Communication
"Steel Chair to the Head . . . serves 14 arguments that swell over the simple fluff and shallow violence and pry deeper into the wet, sticky blood of the antagonists, the heart of the industry narrative, and its continuous thud and ritualistic timing for wrestling's own cultural reflection. . . . [A]n unparalleled look at the cultural interaction wrestling has with history and the world. . . . [A] wrestling fan's best friend. . . ." — Nathaniel G. Moore, Verbicide
"Steel Chair To the Head is a truly fascinating look at the sport we love from a couple of steps back. . . . [T]here's no book out there quite as a broad-ranging as Steel Chair To the Head."
— Greg Oliver, Slam! Sports,
"Steel Chair's contributors perform a good-faith service in rescuing this unfairly, if understandably, maligned 'sports-entertainment' from the 'garbage' realm of 'pornography propaganda'. . . ." — Andrew Hultkrans, Bookforum
"[P]rovides readers with a deeper understanding of professional wrestling than heretofore available in the academic literature. . . . [I]nsightful. . . . [E]xcellent. . . . Highly recommended." — D.M. Furst, CHOICE
"[U]nparalelled. . . . Steel Chair to the Head is a wrestling fan's best friend, and the anti-fan's worst enemy. . . . Steel Chair to the Head gives a sort of stigmatic closure to pro wrestling by elevating its criticism and delivery to an intelligent sensitivity. . . . This fact-heavy anthology shows the brain behind the phenomenon that has disrupted our ever unbalanced culture. A definite too for a fan of media, wrestling fan or not." — Nathaniel G. Moore, bookslut.com,
"In the end, Steel Chair to the Head succeeds in showing that pro wrestling is one of the more brutally honest cultural mirrors in our midst, a relationship more akin to symbiosis than parasitism: a form of entertainment finally explored."
— Thomas Wheatley, Flagpole,
"Why do millions of pro wrestling fans spend their Saturday nights watching well-oiled, muscled and costumed men performing in a well-rehearsed stage play in which the winner is decided days earlier? What attracts devotees to this sport? Editor Sammond and a host of academics answer these and many other questions, explaining what they think really goes on inside and outside that ring. . . ." — Publishers Weekly,
“Steel Chair to the Head is an exceptionally smart and well-crafted collection that will be a valuable resource for popular culture scholars of all stripes. From start to finish, there’s not a weak essay in the book. One of the best anthologies—on popular culture or anything else—that I’ve read in a long time.” — Gilbert B. Rodman, author of Elvis after Elvis: The Posthumous Career of a Living Legend
“The mat is the place where sport and entertainment smack down. This excellent collection of greatest hits and latest memories of wrestling teases out the contradictions of this infinitely frustrating, excessive spectacle of domination and parody.” — Toby Miller, author of Sportsex