Friday, 31 December 2004

Wrestlecrap - Book Review

In the age of the Internet, the wrestling business is more open than it's ever been. These days whenever you log onto a web site or fan forum you always read about the things that are bad about this business. However, you seldom hear such things with a great big dose of salt.

Wrestlecrap: The Very Worst Of Professional Wrestling, comes from the same people who give us the hilarious Wrestlecrap (well, duh) web site. Like it's Internet namesake, it takes us through a journey of the worst gimmicks and angles this business has seen.

R.D. Reynolds and Randy Baer take us on a journey back into time, reminding us of times when it seemed that for many, being a professional wrestler was merely a second form of income, as during the day they worked as plumbers, garbage men, professional sportsmen, and taxmen.

It makes one realise just how god damn awful some of these gimmicks would be if they were introduced into the world of professional wrestling today. Imagine, if you can, Lance Storm going into a production meeting and being told that he was no longer Lance Storm, the consummate wrestler, but Lance Storm, the chicken. Such a thing wouldn't be considered today.

But in years gone by such things were. Wrestlecrap makes you realise that guys you cheered for when you were but a slip of a thing, guys who seemed larger than life, guys who cut their opponent's hair after they finished their bout with a sleeper-hold (another thing you wouldn't see much of today) are really mere mortals who had no more than a few good moves between them. And those that did have a few good moves were clearly overshadowed by their gimmicks, as they went from great technical wrestlers to chickens to computer nerds.

Wrestlecrap just doesn't remind us of the awful gimmicks that were a part of professional wrestling, it reminds us of the people behind those gimmicks. It chronicles in great detail how the mighty WCW went from making a multi-million dollar profit to a multi-million dollar loss in the space of a couple of years, no thanks in part to one Vince Russo. It also reminds us of the side-projects Vince McMahon undertook, how he thought he could conquer the worlds of bodybuilding and American football, but ended up falling flat on his face and losing a packet in the process.

We also hear about the many so-called celebrities who graced the world of professional wrestling, from Liberace attending the first Wrestlemania, to David Arquette's disastrous run as WCW World Champion. We hear about how the entertainment and the sports-entertainment worlds sometimes make strange and often mismatched bedfellows.

While it doesn't take itself too seriously, Wrestlecrap serves as a reminder that for every superstar, for every championship winning gimmick that comes along, there's always dozens of other gimmicks that fail miserably. The world will remember Chris Benoit in twenty years, but will they remember T.L. Hopper?

In conclusion, a highly enjoyable read, and well worth the money. If you want to see more of this sort of thing, log onto www.wrestlecrap.com.