The Death of WCW
R.D. Reynolds and Brian Alvarez
Synopsis: A humorous look at the history of WCW.
Lex Luger, in an interview segment with Stevie Ray called "Suckas Gots to Know," asked if what he was about to say was just between the two of them. Apparently he was unaware that the program was being broadcast nationwide to several million people. Stevie was apparently unaware as well, since he responded that it was "just between you, me and 5,000 viewers."
Tony Schiavone tried to make the save by claiming - really - that he meant 5,000 viewers in each house.
When WCW folded in 2001, it didn't get its just due. Part of that, I'm sure, was because WWE's purchase of its assets (and tease of a "new" WCW) kept it on life support for an unnecessarily long time. ECW has been immortalized through the One Night Stand shows and its own WWE brand (make your own punchline here), while the much-larger and powerful WCW is barely remembered.
That's why I found this The Death of WCW so fascinating. In many ways, WCW is wrestling's greatest untold story. One of the biggest successes in the business and likewise, one of its biggest failures. I'm not sure if the group deserved the death it received, but damned if it didn't get a great obituary here.
R.D. Reynolds (of Wrestlecrap.com) and Bryan Alvarez (of the Figure 4 Weekly newsletter) are both skilled at casting events in a historically significant -- and yet often hilarious -- light. They give out tons of information on attendance, buyrates, television ratings and backstage gossip, while documenting the highlights and lowlights of the promotion. Never before has such a complete chronology been put together in one place, showing you what WCW had, what it could have been, and, most importantly, how they lost it all.
One nagging concern with this book. If you read Eric Bischoff's autobiography Controversy Creates Cash, he disputes several of the theories written here (without ever referring to the book by name). Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Vince Russo have done the same in public interviews.
Who's right and who's wrong? It's possible that it's a little bit of both, but Bischoff, Hogan, Russo and Nash (oddly enough - and I just realized this after typing this sentence - four out of the five people on the cover) lived this book. Again, it's very possible each of these guys are just trying to cover their respective asses, but you have to at least take the theories written here with a grain of salt.
Rating: Oh Hell Yeah! A very funny read for both people who lived through the WCW era and those who want to know more about it. Note that there is also an updated and more comprehensive version of this book published on its 10th anniversary.