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The Death of WCW: WrestleCrap and Figure Four Weekly Present . . . [Paperback]

R. D. Reynolds , Bryan Alvarez
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 1 2004 WrestleCrap series
This detailed tell-all of the demise of the former top pro wrestling company World Championship Wrestling explores the colorful personalities and flawed business decisions behind how WCW went from being the highest-rated show on cable television in 1997 to a laughable series that lost 95 percent of its paying audience by 2001. Behind-the-scenes exclusive interviews, rare photographs, and probing questions illustrate with humor and candor how greed, egotism, and bad business shattered the thriving enterprise. Wrestling fans will devour the true story of this fallen empire, which in its heyday spawned superstars such as Sting, Bill Goldberg, and the New World Order.

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Review

"A must-read for fans who want to be taken behind the scenes."  —New York Daily News


"A history book that anyone who has an interest in professional wrestling should read."  —epinions.com


"The exhilaration created by the dueling companies comes alive on the pages."  —Wrestling Observer Newlsetter

From the Back Cover

Showgirls or Spice World?
Reefer Madness or Robot Monster?
battlefield Earth or The Black Gestapo?

One reviewer's relentless search for the most appalling abomination ever to disgrace the screen—at the rate of one movie a day . . . for a year!

For every cinematic classic the studios have released, there have been dozens of cheesy monstrosities, overpriced flops, and schlocky epics. Rampaging robots, bouncing bimbos, moronic martial artists, vapid vampires, troubled teens, barbaric bikers, and idiotic infants—all of these, and more, have been foisted on us in the name of "entertainment." And entertaining they are—for all the wrong reasons!

Featuring a cast of thousands, including A-listers like Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock in their Z-grade origins, and firsthand interviews with bad-movie aficionados, from Leonard Maltin and David Sedaris to John Waters and Eli Roth, this odyssey charts one intrepid critic's attempt to maintain a normal family life and two day jobs as he watches hundreds of dreadful tapes and DVDs in every conceivable genre. Even movie buffs will be surprised by what they can learn as they laugh out loud at the worst of the worst.

With a foreword by revered Night of the Living Dead director George A. Romero, Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies is an unforgettable journey deep into film's forbidden vault of irredeemable crud. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
World Championship Wrestling was not supposed to die. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The authors did a good job in explaining why WCW fell apart. It makes for an easy and enjoyable read for anyone who is interested in what led to WCW's demise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the WWE-produced DVD Dec 25 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From the guys who brought you Wrestlecrap, this tell-all story has so many facts, figures and insight into WCW's rise and fall it made my head spin. Really could not put it down, HIGHLY recommended for any wrestling fan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book Sept. 4 2012
By P.Y.GOD
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A masterpiece for any wrestling fan and wanna-be promoter around the world. I truly loved to read this book. Learn the inside out of the wrestling's business. You will be surprized to learn what goes behing the curtain.

Warning: You can't put it down once you started reading it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account of WCW's Rise And Fall Aug. 12 2008
Format:Paperback
Authors Reynolds and Alvarez do a great job describing the tumultuous history of World Championship Wrestling in this quick read. As a fan of outrageously stupid wrestling gimmicks, I enjoyed the parts of the book that detailed horrendous storylines and characters from WCW. It's also a good cautionary tale for some current wrestling promotions on how to avoid alienating your fanbase. At times the narrative is slowed by an influx of ratings and grosses and buyrates but for the most part it flows well. A must read for anyone interested in how WCW blew up real good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  97 reviews
55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of WCW's Amazing Rise & Fall Jan. 6 2005
By Tim Janson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've been reading Bryan Alvarez' column now for quite some time and he is one of the most respected people covering pro wrestling today. Along with R.D. Reynolds they tell the story of the remarkable Rise & Fall and eventual Death of WCW. Relive some of the classic moments as WCW began its increidble rise from a second rate wrestling company who once gave us Robocop in the ring, to the juggernaut that nearly did the unthinkable: Nearly putting Vince McMahon and the WWF out of business.

Through interviews with many of the stars and other participants we'll see how WCW used the WWFs long-time strategy of raiding its rivals talent rosters as they systematically stole nearly every major star that the WWF had in the 80's and early 90's: Hogan, Savage, Nash, SCott Hall, Bret Hart, Ted DiBiase, Sean Waltman, the Nasty Boys, Ultimate Warrior, and more. The eventual "turning" of Hulk Hogan and the creation of the NWO led to WCW winning the Monday Night ratings war with the WWF for over 80 consecutive weeks.

Riding high, WCW will soon collapse under its own weight. Soon, big, guaranteed contracts given to wrestlers take their toll on WCWs budget as guys like Nash, Hogan, Hall, and Hart would be injured for months at a time. WCW leaked money like a sieve, tossing about millions to bring in celebrities like Dennis Rodman, Jay Leno, and Karl Malone, and trying to make wrestlers out of people like Jerry Only of the Misfits.

Meanwhile egos clashed as the powerbrokers like Bischoff, Hogan, and Nash controlled everything and kept younger wrestlers down. Fights backstage and no advancement would eventually lead many younger stars like Chris jehrico, Chris Benoit, and Eddie Guerrero to jump ship to the WWF.

Small cracks became large fissures. WCW brings in Vince Russo to do the booking leading to some of the greatest embarrassments in the history of wrestling with Hogan lying down on the mat to lose and actor DAvid Arquette becoming WCW champion. Add to that, WCW could find no answer to the WWF's two hugely popular stars: Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.

It would all lead to a company that was once worthy tens of millions being bought by Vince McMahon for a fraction of that and opening up the last Nitro show announcing the purchase of WCW.

Many of these details are quite well known but the interviews are great and its amazing the way even years later some of the parties involved still refuse to accept any blame for WCWs downfall. Excellent Read!
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, but badly sourced Jan. 1 2008
By Michael J. Gelfand - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a tough review to write. On the one hand, I enjoyed this book immensely. It was a fun trip down memory lane reviewing all the twists and turns of the Monday Night Wars in terrific detail. In fact, this is probably the most detailed book you'll find out there about this period. The authors also have a wonderful sense of humor, and the book is a quick and fun read.

What immensely frustrated me, however, was that almost no effort was made to provide sources for the voluminous amounts of information presented. While there is a very short bibliography at the end of the book listing a handful of sources organized by chapter (which probably do not account for most of the information in the book), no indication is given as to which pieces of information came from which source. To me, this is a major issue because the wrestling industry is rife with unfounded internet rumors, and it's important for the reader to be able to distinguish documented facts from unfounded rumors or speculation.

For example, the authors make numerous allegations about WCW's financial status at different points throughout its history with no citations or any other indications as to where this information purportedly came from. In his book, "Controversy Creates Cash," Eric Bischoff lamented the fact that internet writers often made unfounded and inaccurate claims about WCW's profits and losses since the company's information was proprietary and was allegedly unavailable to anybody outside of WCW. Of course, Bischoff could be lying through his teeth, but there's no way to tell (at least from this book) because Alvarez and Reynolds give us no way to determine where their figures came from.

In addition, the book is replete with allegations of conversations and happenings that occurred backstage with, again, no citations provided to allow the reader to verify any of it. This became especially frustrating when the authors wrote about promoters' and wrestlers' INTERNAL motivations for certain actions. The authors write about these internal thought processes as if they were mind-readers. Hulk Hogan got the worst treatment, as he was frequently accused of internally plotting to put his own interests above those of WCW. A notable example occurs on page 139, detailing what allegedly led to the July 6, 1998 match between Hulk Hogan and Bill Goldberg:

"As the date drew near, Hogan, the wily veteran, came up with a plan. Aware that all the Turner bigwigs would be at the show, he offered to take Goldberg on in a non-title, non-televised match in which Goldberg would get the win and and send the folks home happy. All the company execs, seeing the huge house, would obviously assume that Hogan drew it, and his standing as WCW's top dog would be cemented."

How do the authors know this was Hogan's motivation and thought process? Did they interview him? Did they rely on his book or something else that he wrote? Not according to the bibliography. In the bibliography, the only sources listed for the chapter on 1998 were a Prodigy Chat with Eric Bischoff CONDUCTED IN 1997 and a personal interview R.J. Reynolds conducted with Bobby Heenan (which is also listed as a source for the chapter on 2000). Since the Heenan interview is never referred to in the text of the book, it's entirely unclear which pieces of information (if any) actually came from that interview. Even assuming that Heenan provided the authors with information about Hogan's "plan", at best that's hearsay about another individual's internal thought processes from somebody who may or may not have an axe to grind. The reader is left to wonder whether Hogan's "plan" is a documented fact, the result of hearsay from Heenan (or somebody else), or completely unfounded speculation by the authors.

That's just but one example of the unfounded allegations that arise throughout the whole book. In sum, while this book is an immensely enjoyable read, the facts presented in it, other than what we saw on our TV screens, simply are not reliable. And that is a shame.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very mixed bag Oct. 24 2010
By Dave M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'll get the good stuff out of the way. As someone who was big into wrestling during the "glory days" of 1997-2000, this book does provide outsiders with a rather comprehensive view of the havok that was going on down at Atlanta. If you were big into the "behind the scenes" stuff during that time and was big into insider wrestling news sites, then this book won't tell you much more that you didn't already know. For the unitiated and newer fans (which basically makes up about 80% of WWE's current fan base) this is a good way to learn about the fall of WCW, and how a company with so much going for it screwed up so royally. Finally, I ended up getting the Kindle version and it did have Text to Speech enabled, which I always enjoy.

I did have a number of beefs with this book, mainly pertaining to how it was written. For one, and this may be a personal thing, but I like my non-fiction books to have a serious tone with a strong sense of neutrality and not giving unwanted opinions. This book has very clear tones in it to the point where it starts to get annoying at times. I don't care for a book that gives opinions of how good a match was (saying things like Match A sucked, Match B sucked, which are totally subjective) nor do I think it's right for them to criticize the Undertaker/DDP angle by saying that DDP's real wife was hot while Undertaker's wife was a "Horse Face." Just tell me the story and let me form my own opinions.

Speaking of opinions, there's no real reason to read the last chapter of this book, as it is just a long diatribe of how the WWF screwed up (in their opinion) the WCW/ECW invasion angle. It comes across as very fanboyish and something that a 16 year old wrestling fan with too much free time on their hands would write. It criticizes the McMahons for getting involved in the angle (something I had no problem with) and the lack of major stars on the WCW side (as if the WWF didn't try to get all the big WCW stars to participate.)

I do understand that the things I listed as faults could be viewed as positives for other readers, so if a book with bias and attempts to be witty appeals to you, and you want to know the story of the downfall of WCW, then odds are you will be very satisfied. Conversely, if you appreciate a more serious tone and you are on top of your wrestling knowledge (especially during the Monday Night Wars) then this book offers very little. I do not regret purchasing this book, but if I had to do it again, I likely would have abstained.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Blame of WCW's Demise Oct. 29 2005
By Blake L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's hard to believe that a company could fold the way WCW did several years ago. At one time, WCW stood at the top of the wrestling mountain, and crushed the WWF/E in all ratings on television. It was obvious. WCW had became the number one promotion in the wrestling world. But gradually, something happened. WCW decided to go against the formula that brought them success. And when you do that, something bad is bound to happen.

When Eric Bischoff's idea to bring in Scott Hall and Kevin Nash from the WWF came about, no WCW management was for sure if it would save the ratings. It did just that. WCW became the mainstream wrestling product for most wrestling fans, as the N.W.O. changed wrestling forever. But, just as it was normal for WCW to do, they ran the N.W.O so long that it became stale. But rather than drop them, they continued the run, which eventually led to the likes of Scott Norton, Buff Bagwell, and even Virgil joining the group. Bad idea.

Also, the backstage situation was nothing short of a disaster. No one liked anyone. When you run a successful company, everyone wants to be the number one guy. Which is exactly why in the late 90's, the WCW World Title began to change hands on pretty much a weekly basis. Also, we can't forget one of the most memorable title reigns ever brought about by Vince Russo, and his idea was for........himself to become WCW Champion. Probably not good business there. Neither was the idea to have actor David Arquette win the WCW Title and beat two legitimate contenders, Jeff Jarrett and Diamond Dallas Page.

It becomes obvious in this book that there is more than one person to blame for the death of World Championship Wrestling. Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, Hulk Hogan, Goldberg, Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and even David Arquette had vital roles in situations that led to the company folding.

For any former WCW wrestling fan, this book is an absolute must-read. This is one of the greatest wrestling books I have ever read, and it shows just how bad things can get in a company in a downward spiral. Some of the things you read in the book will be so completely absurd, that you would think some of these things weren't possible. But, it's true. And that is why WCW is no longer in business.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good....but Depressing... Book for old WCW Fans July 19 2005
By David Girod - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a steady visitor to Reynold's Wrestlecrap.com website, and really enjoyed "Wrestlecrap" the novel. I was looking forward to reading "Death of WCW" to get a few laughs at the stupid booking ideas, and to remember some of the goofy things that used to happen on "Thunder". About halfway through the novel I realized....I wasn't laughing, in fact I was getting angry and depressed at the same time. I have quite a few fond memories of watching WCW, and just reading about all of the talent WCW had, all of the money made available to the promotion...it just kind of hit me how badly the entire promotion was run. Eric Bischoff and company had all of the means necessary to become THE Premier wrestling company in the US....and just blew it! As a fan who lived through the "Monday Night Wars" this was a great book, that brought back so many memories, and if you were a fan of WCW or WWF/E at that time you should definately read this book. It's amazing how inept WCW became...and what's really amazing is watching the current WWE making so many of the same mistakes that are outlined in this book??!!
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