Review by: Brandon Sears
Life is Short and So Am I is the story of the life and career of Dylan Postl (a.k.a professional wrestler Hornswoggle/Swoggle). Postl worked with Ross Owen Williams (The Hardcore Truth/Self-Help) and Ian Douglass (The Realist Guy in the Room: The Life and Times of Dan Severn) to help write the book.
It seems strange to be reading a memoir by someone so young but at only thirty-three years of age, Postl’s life is certainly not lacking for content. Born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, he would undergo four major surgeries before hitting his teen years. During those younger years – laid up in a full body cast – is where he would fall into his fandom of wrestling, something he would get from his older brother Clint. The years that followed would see his family struggle with tragedy as they would lose their home in a fire. Following that, a bitter divorce between his parents would occur and ultimately, the suicide of Clint, Postl’s older brother.
It isn’t long until Postl is making his way into the wrestling business. After spending a few years on the indies, Postl joins WWE at age twenty in 2006 when Ken Anderson (Mr. Kennedy) goes to bat for him following his tryout for the role of Fit Finlay’s leprechaun sidekick. Unofficially dubbed “Lil’ Bastard” (eventually making the switch to the more family-friendly “Hornswoggle”) Postl would lie under the ring until brought out by Finlay to attack his opponent. Due to keeping his appearances a surprise, he would often hide under the ring for hours before his cue. Eventually, he’d be given a mat, a headset and a television to be able to follow what was happening above him. One of the scarier stories he tells comes from early in his time with WWE. In December 2006, Dylan was under the ring during the inferno match between Kane and MVP at that year’s Armageddon event. He notes that there had been a leak from one of the gas canisters, that eventually caused him to feel light-headed and dizzy resulting in him vomiting. He nearly passed out, but stayed conscious and recovered in time for his appearance later in the night.
One of the better parts of the book are the road stories. Dylan discusses the European tours where he would ride in the heel bus before often being “kidnapped” by Undertaker and given the duty of stealing alcohol for the babyfaces. When on the road in North America, he would often ride with Davari, Mark Henry and The Great Khali, which I have to imagine is one of the more unlikely carpools on the roster given the size discrepancy alone. While he wasn’t often the victim of ribs backstage, he would spend his free time messing with Tony Chimmel at live events by hiding the ring bell and yanking the mic under the ring. He notes that his size was never a frequent target by his peers as he often participated in self-deprecating humor. Postl seems like a hard person to offend when it comes to jokes about his stature.
Aside from winning the Cruiserweight championship, Postl’s big push came in 2007 when he was revealed as Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son on an episode of RAW, a role originally earmarked for Ken Anderson. Dylan acknowledges this but writes that he was never told if Anderson was the original choice for the role. He does a lot of floating around after the storyline ends until falling in with D-Generation X in the role of their “mascot” in 2009. He equates this to some of the most fun he’s had in his career as well as the most money he’s ever made.
One of the things he frequently touches upon is his frustration with the creative process. Like many others, it isn’t just about going to the writers and pitching ideas, it often just seems to come down to luck. Postl claims that the writers would often just ignore his ideas without serious consideration. In a chance meeting with Vince McMahon, Vince would tell him he hadn’t received anything from the writers in months. In the meantime, he would often be given roles he didn’t particularly enjoy such as dressing up as an alligator for the tag team Slater/Gator (Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil) or dancing around with Brodus Clay in a singlet. However, it was TV time and beat sitting in catering.
Before being released in 2016, Postl opens up about his suspension in 2015. He never did technically fail a drug test but had issues with providing a sample. He talks about the WWE drug testing process and how the tests are completed via a “fully visualized” process meaning you need to produce a urine sample in full view of a tester with your pants down to the floor and your shirt pulled up to your chin. This became difficult for Postl and he offered to provide a hair follicle test but was rebuffed. Therefore, having not received the urine test, WWE would suspend him for the standard 30 days. The way they would write about it on their website mirrored the verbiage used for those who failed. This would devastate Postl as it presented him as a drug user, something that would create issues for him in his personal life down the line.
Life is Short and So Am I is a mostly enjoyable read, even if it lacked the controversy that fuels a lot of the great pro wrestling memoirs. Dylan is a very humble individual and is often the first to take responsibility when it comes to mistakes in both his personal and professional life. Despite having such a tumultuous life, he’s remained positive. As far as his professional career goes, he appears to be content on the independent scene, but the door will always remain open for a return to WWE (as evidenced by last year’s Greatest Royal Rumble appearance).
Life is Short and So Am I will be released on September 10th through ECW Press by Dylan Postl with contributors Ross Owen Williams and Ian Douglass.