The Midnight Express 25th Anniversary Scrapbook by Jim Cornette with Tim Ash

June 21, 2019

Unless you have zero interest in wrestling of the territorial and national expansion era, this is an absolute must.

It’s a perfect format, midway between a record book and an autobiography. The main feature is a complete listing of every match from both the Bobby Eaton/Dennis Condrey and Eaton/Stan Lane version of the team, covering Mid-South, World Class and Jim Crockett Promotions. As well as dates, venues and results, the live gate and attendances are listed wherever possible.

The results are broken up by numerous notes of varying length explaining the booking patterns, backstage antics, memorable crowd interactions and payoffs, fair and otherwise. You’ll also seen numerous original documents from Cornette’s collection, including payoff sheets, tickets, memos from management (including Bill Watts explaining how to sell a stipulation match in a promo) and even format sheets for television shows including Clash of the Champions IX, a notable contrast to the epic scripts that occasionally leak from RAW shows today. These are all placed in the relevant section of the book rather than arranged randomly, giving them a much clearer context.

Before and after the result section is around 70 pages of bonus content, a combination of photos and articles on more general subjects in the Midnights’ careers including lawsuits from battles with fans, details of comedy spots the team liked to perform on smaller shows, practical jokes, genuine hate mail from fans, and Jim Herd’s convoluted attempt to explain WCW’s payoff formula in court.

While this doesn’t have the narrative of an autobiography, it’s just as entertaining and the format guarantees it tells a complete story. The content makes the most of the format and it will surely remain one of my favourite books unless and until it’s topped by a similar volume on the history of Smoky Mountain, something all fans should continue to badger Cornette about until it arrives.

[2019 update: Unfortunately the book sold out and has not been reprinted, but is well worth watching out for on the second-hand market.]

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