Wrestlecrap: The Very Worst of Pro Wrestling by RD Reynolds & Randy Baer

November 20, 2019

An attempt to give added value in this book falls short, meaning its most appreciative audience may be limited.

The book stems from a hugely popular site of the same name that regularly posts short articles about some of the more ridiculous gimmicks and storylines in wrestling history, from the Shockmaster to Katy Vick and from the Ultimate Warrior’s mirror magic to Evad Navillus’s rabbit.

It would have been easy to simply pick out a couple of hundred of the standout entries, slap them together with a gimmick (perhaps a Top Trumps style ranking of their various demerits) and make the type of comedic book that you get as a Christmas present and dip in and out of.

While in some ways its admirable the authors tried not to use this approach, possibly for fear of seeming like a cash-in, their efforts don’t really work. Instead they use the original source material to put together a narrative that’s divided into largely chronological-ordered chapters such as one on the WCW mini-movie era.

In trying to be both coherent and complete, the account loses some of the charm of the original website. It means there’s a lot of content that, while necessary to tell the big picture story, feels out of place, such as Monday Night ratings patterns, the booking of the 2001 WWF Invasion angle, or the backstory behind the World Bodybuilding Federation.

It leaves the book in no man’s land of being neither wall-to-wall humor nor a truly comprehensive history (for which Reynolds’ later Death of WCW was a better example.) There’s also far too much editorialising in the book where it would have been better to let the inanity of the gimmicks speak for themselves.

The book certainly has its entertaining moments and brings back memories of some forgotten elements of wackier gimmicks such as the fact the Dungeon of Doom had its very own leprechaun, but the attempt to give the book substance has unfortunately led to a volume that’s unlikely to inspire a second reading.

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