Finally this under-covered era gets some attention from WWE.
Snark aside, this is pretty much the book version of the countless documentaries and countdowns WWE has produced in recent years, particularly since the launch of the network. It’s not a chronological history but rather a collection of pieces focused on the main players, with a heavy emphasis on photography.
As you might imagine, the book is hardly an objective history. At times the detailing of events such as the Montreal Screwjob verge first into being misleading and then outright false. The book also has a few sections where things are presented either without context or with errors. For example, there’s a story from Stephanie McMahon that’s simply referenced as the “wedding angle” with no background, accompanied by a picture of her and Triple H at an in-ring ceremony. However, on closer reading the story actually refers to her aborted wedding to Test, who isn’t mentioned in the piece, and the revelation of a drive-thru ceremony with Triple H, which is mentioned without explanation. (The same thing happens later in the book, making it clear Test’s name has been deliberately excluded. Perhaps more understandably, there’s a wonderfully chosen shot of the Radicalz where Chris Benoit is completely hidden behind Dean Malenko.)
While there’s not much you’ll learn from the book, it does finish with a fun section of previously-untold road stories including the origins of the Rock’s use of “smackdown” and the Big Show making an unfortunate exit from a jet plane. You also get a few pieces of artwork such as original designs for wrestler costumes. A book based around such content (along the lines of the memorabilia collection in the Ultimate Warrior book) would be a more intriguing prospect that what’s on offer here.
It’s somewhat telling that such a book exists and is considered a marketable prospect in 2018: after all, it’s the equivalent of WWF at the peak of the Austin-McMahon feud releasing a photobook celebrating the Billy Graham era. That aside, it’s a light piece that’s fine for what it is, though it’s more of a nostalgic gift for lapsed fans than a genuinely insightful history.