For a tale that would make you cry if you didn’t laugh, this book blends its authors’ voices for a particularly apt tone.
Even 15 years later, the speed of the decline of WCW remains easy to underestimate. In 1998 it became the most profitable wrestling company in the history of the business. In March 1999 a Hulk Hogan vs Ric Fair match attracted 325,000 buys; the same bout in March 2000 drew just 60,000, while house show attendance collapsed at a similar rate. In March 2001 the company sold for just a few million dollars.
Just how this happened is detailed at length in a book that divides its focus between the big picture of the business, addressed mainly by Bryan Alvarez, and the fine detail of the weekly descent into some of the least effective creative ever seen on wrestling programming, detailed by RD Reynolds in the same manner with which he addressed wider WrestleCrap.
It’s an effective approach that keeps the book entertaining (if perversely so at times) while informative, bringing home the point that a product so wildly out of kilter with the audience’s tastes was enough to sink a company that had every advantage imaginable.
The only downside is that the writing is highly opinionated, particularly in Reynolds’ sections, which could annoy those looking for a purely objective tone. That said, it’s unfair to criticise it for being exceptionally negative for long periods given the subject matter at times.
While I’ve not read the new edition myself, the 10th anniversary update is said to have an impressive amount of additional detail and context, though some readers have questioned whether it justifies an ‘upgrade’ in itself.