Welcome to the 2nd edition of the Wrath of Tito for this week. No, I'm not trying to be daily with this column, as this is a special multimedia edition. After yielding to temptation, I picked up Vince McMahon: Sex, Lies, and Headlocks last week. I shoved this book into my schedule, reading it anywhere and everywhere I could, as I kept it in my bookbag at all times and read it whenever I could. At times, I couldn't put it down, insomuch that I was still reading it when the professor was about to start class.
On the subject of good wrestling books, the lag in the professional wrestling industry has stopped the overall interest in wrestler biographies, and that's a shame. Wrestlers lead very interesting lives, as some of them went through hell just to put on something entertaining for fans. Two cases are Mick Foley and Dynamite Kid. Mick Foley put his body on the line, all over the world and then, after over 10 years in the business, he became insanely successful within the WWF in late 1998. The Dynamite Kid did everything that any other 1980's wrestler would have done, and that's to pack steroids on his body and party with the riches made during the WWF's booming years.
Of course, you could have your choice of WWF-assisted biographies, like Kurt Angle, Rock, and Chyna. Angle's was good, overall, although it didn't seem like it was from the heart, like Foley's, because of Angle's use of a ghostwriter. Same thing with the Rock, only the Rock actually went into complete character at the last 100 pages or so, and really made the book hard to read. Chyna's book is just laughable at times, for she lies a good bit or doesn't mention certain things, like having major plastic surgery on her jaw to look more like a woman. Chyna's plus in her book is the well detailed Jeff Jarrett situation, though.
Other wrestler books include the Bill Goldberg book. I liked it for the most part, as even though Goldberg seemed arrogant and grouchy at times, he was brutally honest on his opinion on many issues, like Russo's booking and especially Scott Hall. WCW didn't regulate it like the WWE has done with their books, which made it better, for the most part, than the WWE regulated books. Same with DDP, as his book was a fantastic read and not controlled by the wrestling company he wrestled in. DDP's book is a good motivational book, too, if you need to relate to a rags to riches story.
More run of the mill books include the Wrestlemania book, which put a huge positive spin on everything. I suppose if you never looked into insider news, it would be a good read. Lots of great pictures, though, and a nice DVD included. "Tributes" by Dave Meltzer is a darn good book, which looked at the lives of many wrestlers who have passed away. Meltzer is the king of insider news, so he gave you a very descriptive look at each late wrestler. "The Buzz on Pro Wrestling" by Scott Keith isn't bad, although its problems with trying to explain what wrestling is and mixing that with insider stories gave it a confusing format. Too many editing errors and the fact that the stories in the book actually contradicted to several of Keith's internet rant stories hurt the book as well.
Aside from these books, you could look for several coffee table books, like the Bret Hart partial biography and the WCW Ultimate Guide. There are many independent bios out there that I have yet to read, and I haven't honestly went out and reached for these books yet. These included Gary Michael Capetta, Arn Anderson, Ted Dibiase, and several others. Unless it's recommended by several reviews that I read or seems to be creating a buzz, I won't usually go out of my way to get a wrestling book.
The books I recommend from professional wrestling are:
-Mick Foley: Have a Nice Day
-Diamond Dallas Page: Positively Page
-Dynamite Kid: Pure Dynamite
-Bill Goldberg: I'm Next
-Kurt Angle: It's True, It's True
And of course, I recommend Vince McMahon: Sex Lies and Headlocks, as you'll see in a little bit.
As I received my usual share of "WHAT CRACK ARE YOU SMOKING" feedback concerning my review of RAW, I just shook my head. Look, throughout the whole show, I was bored out of my mind. The show did nothing for ME and I reported that in MY column. The show did nothing for me, although it may have been a joy to others. For me, the WWE hasn't been the same ever since the night after Summerslam. The shows leading up to Summerslam and Summerslam itself were spectacular, and August was easily the WWE's best month in a long time. But lately, the WWE has been putting too much stock into the Undertaker and Triple H when they are clearly past their primes, while also pushing the smut to horrible levels. The WWE can't even hype a Pay Per View correctly, as it's taking them up to this week to actually book matches for Unforgiven.
This recent edition of RAW was a perfect example of how Triple H just doesn't have it here in 2002. He was everywhere on the show and even had a mystery opponent in the Main Event. It turned out to be Jeff Hardy, in which Triple H beat Hardy with a SLEEPER HOLD! Is the Pedigree such a bad move to use? The ratings came in and it's a repeat of the 3.4 of last week. It only shows you that the current format and the current stars getting pushed are FAILING and the WWE's ratings and business are showing NO SIGNS of improving. The Unforgiven Pay Per View has the looks to be a complete failure, thanks to a lack of hype and a lack of that the Undertaker or Triple H will give their opponents anything this weekend to work with.
But getting to my point, I just didn't like RAW. It bored me to tears at some points, and that's just my opinion. Anyway, I've got a book to review, and a pretty good one at that.
The book is 255 pages long with all straight texts. It's not loaded with colorful or black and white pictures like many other wrestling books, but who cares? There's more information to read here, as the 255 pages are PACKED with quotes, researched information, and many other goodies on the history of wrestling from the early 1990's to what the WWE is today. But that's a criticism. Why? Well, look at the books title:
Vince McMahon: Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - The Real Story of Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation
This is more of a wrestling history text book of the most successful wrestling organizations in the United States rather than a piece on Vince McMahon. When I bought this book, I figured it would be filled with juicy details on Vince's tough business practices or how many women he's cheated with over the years. This is not the case, although there are plenty of stories and scandals about Vince McMahon in this book. But just not the majority. There's as much information about Ted Turner, Eric Bischoff, and WCW in comparison with Vince McMahon and the WWE.
I mean, it tells an incident where Vince McMahon may have taken advantage of a lady, but it didn't go into depth on the several times Vince has actually cheated on Linda over the years. Although the book does go in depth on the rising of the McMahon family, the only real big scandal analyzed was the steroid scandal of the early 1990's, which was the best part of the book, in my opinion. I thought the book could have been retitled, but the decision to mainly focus on Vince McMahon for the cover choice and title was probably a good marketing ploy to get current WWE fans interested. It worked on me, but oh well, I liked the book overall.
The book starts off with the World Title dispute, in which the NWA eventually started. Well, it actually opened with the Owen Hart death, and then building towards the WWE. It would then go into the mode where several federations broke off from the NWA, including the AWA and WWWF, which became successful on their own. The rise of Vince McMahon Jr. to power was an interesting read, as wrestling promoters seemed to fear him the second he bought the company from his father and other investors. That fear easily translated into an early advantage for McMahon, who eventually obtained Hulk Hogan, used Mtv for some great publicity, and made the WWF legendary with Wrestlemania 3.
Ted Turner would get into the wrasslin' business, but totally fail until Hogan would join WCW and until Nitro was started. But the steroid part of the book was the best part. The story about the WBF 13 bodybuilders trying to get off the steroids was frightening, as the feds were sniffing the WWF for possible steroid distribution from Dr. Zahorian. Vince McMahon totally dodged a bullet in his trial, although evidence compiled against him in conjunction to using the evidence with the witnesses failed to take him to jail. The struggles with the USA Network in 1996-1997 were pretty good, such as the early days of "attitude". The book heads into the rise of the WWE, and I agree with the notion that Mike Tyson was a BIG factor in getting extra attention to the WWE. It goes into the WWE's booming business, the XFL, the PTC, and many other recent issues of the WWE, including some recent business declines.
It's a well put together book. A criticism of the book, though, are the few errors on dates and timeline, as I'd read such and such bout an event occurring and see the date to be a little off. The book is loaded with information, though, and I'm sure the editors and writers were confused on some stories, especially on anything involving television events. From a lot that I've read on professional wrestling, it seemed pretty accurate, which shows that Assael is quite a writer, and his help was well selected in Mooneyham and anyone who gladly helped out.
LAST WORD: If you want a good book that describes how professional wrestling became what it is today, then this is your fix. It's NOT a book dedicated to Vince's tough ways to the top of the wrestling world, although it includes many incidents of McMahon's. It's a very nicely organized book that will keep you reading until you finish it. This gets an
CLICK HERE to buy "Vince McMahon: Sex, Lies, and Headlocks".
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Take Care, and Thanks for Reading.