Tod is God: The Authorized Story of How I Created Extreme Championship Wrestling by Tod Gordon & Sean Oliver

March 8, 2023

Sometimes you want a comprehensive, chronological, fact-checked, revelatory account of a wrestling personality’s career. But sometimes you just want to laugh your backside off.

Tod Is God falls very much into the latter category, likely reflecting its origin story. It’s ghostwritten by Kayfabe Commentaries host Sean Oliver and he and Gordon are open about the way its production involved 60 hours of conversations followed by Oliver putting the highlights together in a logical order. The result is much like an engaging shoot interview where every question gets an entertaining response.

This isn’t to say the book doesn’t address key points: you’ll get Gordon’s take on the origins of the business and his personal and professional relationship with Paul Heyman. You’ll also get his side of the story with incidents such as the NWA title doublecross and his departure amid the “lockerroom mole” gossip.

However, the bulk of the book, and the undisputed highlights, are the countless genuinely hilarious stories of the crazy characters involved in pro wrestling. Revealing details would spoil the effect, but it’s filled with ridiculous moments, the humour being enhanced by the way such incidents are considered perfectly normal in pro wrestling, unlike virtually any other business.

For the most part, Gordon shows great self-awareness, making the point that his contribution to the rise of ECW should not be overlooked, but recognising his own limitations. Perhaps the only jarring part is that the repeated tales of excessive drug use and physical punishment are followed by a sobering chapter on his numerous former colleagues who have passed away, and a little more introspection on that connection might have been appropriate.

That said, this is not presented as a book that seeks to analyze the business or culture of ECW and its legacy in the industry. It’s simply the memoir of a man who straddled the line between an anarchic outlaw subculture and the legitimate business world of his family jewellery company. I can’t guarantee you’ll read it in a single sitting like I did, but it would take a heart of stone not to find something entertaining here, regardless of your background knowledge or interest in ECW.

(Disclaimer: The publisher provided a review copy.)

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