on 29 June 2011
This book is great, a very well written highly entertaining read, if you were a wrestling fan during the late 90's then this book will bring back forgotten memories of how the good times turned very bad very quickly due to inflated ego's, bad business decisions and truly nonsensical booking/storylines. I cant praise the book enough. If you missed out on the glory days of wrestling and currently watch TNA wrestling then buy this book and you may see things happening all over again, the "old" guys who wouldn't step aside in this book are very same "old" guys who are still failing to step aside today,14 years later.
on 11 October 2012
The Death of WCW is a book that explores the highs and lows of the WCW Company, a Company that was until it ceased trading in 2001.
Personally, I was not a fan of WCW back in "the glory days" (from around 1998-2001 or so). Me, I was a WWF lifer, although I knew of the Company's existence. With this in mind, I found this at my local bookstore and decided to give it a go, believing I would educate myself about WCW in the process.
Was I wrong? Absolutely not! If you want to educate yourself about WCW all the way, from its' creation to its' burial, then this book is for you, by all means. You will learn about the ratings (Monday Night) wars, high-rise WWF stars jumping ship to WCW with the promise of "guaranteed contracts" and, finally, how WCW managed to screw it all up and come apart at the seams, thanks in large to an ageing roster with even bigger egos and nonesensical, ridiculous storylines. It's all here and written in a very accessible, easy to understand language.
Finally, I would recommend this book to any wrestling fan. If you were there back in the day and managed to "see" WCW fall apart, then this book puts things on paper, to use the term. If you weren't there, then this book will surely educate you on the topic. A very interesting, highly entertaining read overall!
on 28 June 2013
The Death of WCW is a must-read for anyone interested not only in the history of professional wrestling, but in what happens when a company falls into a holding pattern and has no concept of what its audience actually wants.
Through regular financial statistics, television ratings, pay-per-view buyrates and anecdotal evidence, the book accurately portrays a promotion that appeared to be the strongest force in the industry but was in fact sewing the seeds of its own inevitable demise, thanks to the short-termist greed and egotism of certain wrestlers coupled with overall incompetence and out-of-touch decision-making from an overly-corporate authoritarian presence. Despite having almost every advantage imaginable - great wrestlers, big names, history on its side, and being bankrolled by a multi-billionaire wrestling fanboy - WCW shot itself in the foot repeatedly, letting its most popular emerging talent make their names in the rival WWF because those in charge couldn't see past current trends to think about their own future. Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Jericho were all misused by the company and would all become major stars for the WWF during the Monday Night Wars, all of them also eventually winning world titles having been told by WCW that they were 'vanilla midgets' who couldn't put butts in seats. Paul 'Triple H' Levesque was also let go in the mid-90's and became a huge asset for WCW's competition. Rey Mysterio, one of WCW's most marketable stars who has since become one of the most decorated men in WWE history, had his legendary luchadore mask removed for no good reason even though it was still selling out at merchandise stands and was then booked into oblivion. Goldberg, the last great hope for WCW having any kind of long-term success, was undermined at every opportunity by jealous colleagues and eventually fell by the wayside as well, despite maintaining his popularity with fans. Even Ric Flair and Sting, the two most loyal and most beloved wrestlers in WCW since the mid-80's - you might even say they were the very epitome of what fans regarded as WCW - were repeatedly buried to accommodate the fragile egos of Hogan, Nash, and others.
When Eric Bischoff, the man who almost single-handedly turned the company into a major force but then subsequently allowed it to tank just as quickly, was finally removed from his duties, Vince Russo came in and hotshot the world title until it became worthless, booked horrible angles that were rarely edited or crosschecked before being greenlit, and removed all suspension of disbelief by relying on 'shoot' (i.e. fourth-wall-breaking) vignettes and promos under the naive belief that everyone watching knew the ins and outs of the business. The result was $62m lost in a single year in 2000. Time Warner then merged with AOL, leaving Ted Turner almost powerless to stop WCW finally being held to account not only for its financial losses, but its ridiculous expenditure that included concerts that drew low ratings, elaborate but pointless mini-movies, and even airline tickets for every wrestler on the roster to every show - even on shows where they were not going to be used.
The main problem I have with the book, though, is that after all of this is said, the authors still seem to hold Jamie Kellner almost individually responsible for WCW's demise, simply because he looked at the bottom line and saw it was in the mire and canceled Nitro. I have no love for Kellner at all, he canceled a lot of really popular shows such as Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain so he could focus on teenage girls and he also said TiVo was 'stealing' from networks because you could fast-forward past commercials. He's a spiv. However, he deserves no blame for what happened to WCW. He saw a show with declining ratings owned by a company with hair-raising losses in the previous twelve months and he made a judgement call that ANY outsider would have made. WCW killed itself with horrendous booking and warped egos.
As a nitpick, the humour can be a bit off and there's also quite a few really irritating moments where the authors will say something like "bear in mind, what we're about to describe really happened" or "you're probably laughing yourself silly" or "I swear this was true." It's pointless and overly colloquial, even for a comedically-tainted book.
Still though, this is an essential read, especially when the same mistakes WCW made continue to be made today, particularly in the videogames industry (EA/Activision/BioWare, anyone?). Anyone who wants to go into business or provide a public service would be well advised to read this and learn from it.
on 1 February 2014
I know what you're thinking, that title is wrong right? Well yes and no, wrestling is still around (and WWE is still making many millions) but since WCW went out of business, the industry has never been the same since. I was never a big fan of WCW, (WWE and ECW fan) but it would be ignorant to ignore the success (and failures) WCW had.
This book tells you HOW to run a wrestling company and at the same time it tells you how NOT to run a wrestling company. With the endless supply of money coming from the very deep pockets of Ted Turner, WCW beat WWE in the infamous 'Monday Night War' for 84 consecutive weeks because it had a huge amountbof talent, groundbreaking storylines and well.... Goldberg. Things got wobbly for WCW during late '98 because those who had a hold of the company weren't higher ups like Eric Bischoff, it was stars like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash who kept their top spots while keeping the mid carders like Chris Jericho from forever climbing up the ranks.
Along came Vince Russo who worked for WWE's creative team, things then got worse for WCW because Vince Russo's creativity had far too many holes in them.
I don't want to give the whole thing away, but you should really buy this book, even if you didn't like WCW, it tells you what is necessary to be a success in wrestling and it tells you the things that can destroy a wrestling company.
on 26 April 2005
I am a self-confessed WCW mark! I loved it and hardly missed a show. So when I heard about this book being released I made sure I got it as soon as I could! Now having finished the book I have to say I was quite pleased. The Book deals with the successes and the failures of the company, and does go into good detail over some incidents such as the Hogan incident at Bash of the Beach!
However towards the end of the book, it feels like the authors are running out of space as they seem to rush to finish of WCW.
But Overall it is a must for any EX-WCW fan, Or Current WWE fan!
on 14 May 2010
I'll get something off my chest right away. In comparison to WWF, I didn't watch any where near as much WCW because there wasn't as much progamming as the WWF put on (not that I ever saw anyway). I did however play the video games on Playstation before I got round to playing the WWF ones (One was WCW Mayhem which I enjoyed at the time, I was 11 after all, the other one I can't remember the name of). Oh, and I did read loads of magazines articles about how poorly the promotion was doing compared to the WWF. What was I going on about? Oh yeah the book. If you want an accurate and fairer portrayal of how things really went down then it is a must read for ALL wrestling fans. It's a story of how the promotion was born, developed, rose, fell and died in 335 pages and also describes how the diabolical Invasion storyline killed WCW for good. It's very funny as well but then RD Reynolds doesn't run Wrestlecrap.com for nothing does he?
on 6 January 2013
Death of WCW is a very good book, that does a great job of not only covering the basics of the collapse of the company, but also providing extra knowledge and a good depth of analysis, also lifting the lid on a lot of information about it that I didn't know, despite being a self confessed 'mark'. Every years is gone into in good detail, highlighting key events, what lead to them and what the fallout was, leaving you well informed about everything and not needing to know more- and the earlier bits about wrestling in the 70s and 80s were a great read for someone like me who doesn't know anything about that time period. The only downside is that the ending does seem a tad rushed, but that's a minor complaint. A very good book and well worth the money. Two thumbs up~!