The Official Insider’s Story of WrestleMania by Basil Devito

June 17, 2019

While the story of WrestleMania is well-told, both through independent accounts, compilation sets and even the WWE’s “True” story documentary, this is a different beast and one well worth exploring.

DeVito joined WWF shortly before the first WrestleMania and was in charge of marketing for all of the 16 events covered in this book. As such, there’s plenty of genuine behind-the-scenes insight. It’s not backstage gossip about finishes and match politics, but rather stories about the challenges and strategies of promoting the event. While company employees are exempt from explicit criticism, DeVito doesn’t shy away from naming and shaming business partners and celebrities who proved unhelpful or obstructive.

While  the key matches are recapped, the focus is on new details such as the recruitment and handling of celebrities, the logistics of running the split-sites of WrestleMania 2 and the Pontiac Silverdome for III, and the hassles involved in transferring from the Los Angeles Coliseum to the LA Sports Arena, including having sold more front row seats than were available in the new site.

The book is copiously illustrated, not just with event photos but memorabilia such as ticket stubs, access passes and promotional material. If you’re lucky, you may pick up a copy that still has its original bonus DVD, which is a four hour compilation of match footage from, and stories about, the first 15 WrestleManias. It’s condensed from the eight-hour “All Day Long” pay-per-view that aired before WrestleMania 2000, a two-hour version of which is included in that event’s DVD release.

For a real novelty, seek out the UK release which has a front cover based on a Wrestlemania 2000 cover featuring Big Show, Rock, HHH and Chris Jericho, taken from posters for that event made before Jericho was replaced with Mick Foley.

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