He is the most ornery, cantankerous rule-breaker the sports world has ever seen. Seventy million people witnessed his pioneering event. While his athleticism is unparalleled, it is his persona - as The Destroyer and later Doctor X - that earns the reverence of people worldwide...yet few have seen his face. Masked Decisions paints an in-depth portrait of Dick Beyer's unexpected journey from a working-class Buffalo upbringing to a sports standout at Syracuse University to a world class wrestling trailblazer. Along the way, readers are given front-row seats to experiences and decisions that took a Depression-era boy into a euphoric future. An inspirational story of family, personal resolve and making the best of situations, it resonates with today's headlines. Researched and written over three years, the book presents the never-before-revealed backstory of the athletically gifted Beyer. While working toward two college degrees, Beyer inadvertently morphed into one of the most compelling amateur sports stars of his era. He co-captained his football team to its first bowl appearance, was chosen Syracuse University's 'athlete of the year', medaled in national wrestling tournaments, and while on the coaching staff of Ben Schwartzwalder, mentored freshman Jim Brown, helped guide the 1959 team to a national championship, and developed the offensive line that propelled Ernie Davis to the Heisman Trophy, before taking up professional wrestling full time. Through early television broadcasts of wrestling, Beyer gained respect, but not marquee status, until a Los Angeles promoter put him in a mask and named him The Destroyer. At first, Beyer detested the gimmick, but soon realized he had an opportunity for something unique. However, even Beyer could not foresee how his life would dramatically change after a match with the father of Japanese wrestling thrust him into the spotlight. The Destroyer became an international star and Japan's biggest media celebrity, but soon his world would be rocked. More than a celebrity sports bio, Masked Decisions underlines the human emotions and consequences associated with fame, faults and fortitude. Ultimately, Beyer's most significant and lasting achievement is realized not in the ring but outside it. His example influenced many, and his story will inspire many more.
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
Couldn't put it down!!!
By Olivia Z
I got this book because I love biographies and I found this one a great read! From the opening chapter, which explains how Dick Beyer became 'The Destroyer', to his emotional finale, I was riveted by the twists and turns this man's life takes. But if you think this is just another book about a sports figure, you will be very surprised. While it is filled with college football and wrestling stories, there is so much more. It's a saga about a man's triumphs and heartbreaks, and the impact his decisions have on the people closest to him. However, I was impressed by the fact that no matter what adversity he faces, he stays true to himself. The book is loaded with vivid descriptions, and the humor and tragedy woven throughout allow the reader to feel the gamut of emotions. It is truly an inspirational story, with something in it for everyone; you don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy this one. I found it hard to believe this man hasn't been written about previously. Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
The MAIN EVENT of wrestling books published to date.
By George Schire
I waited a long time for this one. When I got an email from Dick Beyer telling me that it was finally available, I couldn't wait to not only get it, but read it. This is a fascinating story about a true "Living Legend", and one of the most interesting and intriqing characters the pro wrestling business ever saw climb into a ring. From his earliest beginnings, to his retirement from the squared circle, "Masked Decisions" is a book that you won't be able to put down.
As a young journeyman in the 1950's, Beyer colorfully creates a visual picture of the wrestling scene in the territorial days. And then in 1962, the legend, "The Destroyer" was born! Not by his own choosing in the beginning, but soon, the mask wisked away humble Dick Beyer, and gave the promoters and the fans, a wrestler that was always guaranteed to electrify them.
Over the course of his career, Beyer, the Destroyer, and in between, Doctor X, carved out a ring record that is second to no one else in wrestling before or since. All the big stars of his era are included in his memories: Freddie Blassie, Giant Baba, Verne Gagne, Lou Thesz, Rikidozan, Hard Boiled Haggerty, Don Manoukian, Art Michalik, and even Gorgeous George. And in his AWA days as Doctor X, the gallery of stars that either faced or teamed with him is a who's who of the business. Names like Igor Vodik, Crusher Lisowski, Dick the Bruiser, Wilbur Snyder, Edouard Carpentier, Cowboy Bill Watts, Paul Diamond, Mad Dog Vachon, Black Jack Lanza, Harley Race, Larry Hennig, Nick Bockwinkel, Billy Robinson, Lars Anderson, and even his famous brother-in-law Billy Red Lyons.
And Dick doesn't just tell us about his career, he also shares many personal highs and lows in his personal life as well. Stories about his family, the hardship of traveling, and about the two great women that helped him through it all.
Over the last decade or so, there have been literally dozens of wrestler and wrestling books published, but "Masked Decisions" is the main event of them all. This is the one you don't want to pass up! And my special thanks to Dick Beyer for all the many years of friendship he's given me. I'm honored beyond words.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
Masked Decisions: The Triangular Life
By Don Manoukian
This is an athletic/academic inspiring history of a coach,mentor,teacher, and businessman who holds a Masters Degree and just happens to be a world renown professional wrestler. His physical and athletic skills have enabled him to travel the world and win the acclaim of not only his fans but his peers as well. "The Destroyer" has created a life that has no twilight or no "just fading away" to it (like General Mc Arthur). His boundless energy and genuine interest in other people should serve as a reminder to us all that life is a cornucopia of friends and endless learning. I am looking forward to "Mr" Beyers next book when he celebrates his 90th. We thank him for sharing his memories and thoughts with us.