Posts Tagged ‘Book Review’

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Book Review : How To Become The World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps

January 25, 2011

Reviewed by Steven Wilson of MainEventRadio.com

In the opening foreward of Chris Jericho’s new book “Undisputed : How To Become The World Champion In 1,372 Easy Steps”  Mick Foley writes about how back in 2007 when Jericho’s first autobiography “A Lion’s Tale” was released, Foley found himself not only enthralled in the story Jericho was telling but worried that he was about to lose his title as the wrestling star with the best autobiography out there.

While Foley has never defeated Jericho in a wrestling ring (a point Jericho makes sure to point out numerous times throughout this book) Mick refuses to relinquish his title in the author’s squared circle but not before putting him over big time and basically admitting that if someone is the next Mick Foley in the wrestling author ranks, its Chris Jericho. If anything that is all you need to know before deciding whether or not to pick up Jericho’s new autobiography as Jericho delivers another awesome read.

Picking up where A Lion’s Tale left off, Y2J takes you through his WWE career to date beginning with the infamous debut segment on Raw where he interrupted The Rock turning out to be one of the most unique debuts in recent memory. Despite this fact, Jericho’s early days in the WWE were no different than many before him as he recalls the massive heat he developed backstage as he tried to adjust to the WWE way of doing things.

Jericho’s story is both intriguing and hilarious at the same time. Coming from WCW to the WWE was a major transition for Chris. In the first few weeks and months of his WWE career he managed to piss off  locker room leaders like The Undertaker and Triple H, developed a reputation of being green as grass and nearly had his “Walls of Jericho” finisher named “The Salad Shooter” of all things.  Yes that’s right, WWE’s creative team offered up some of the dumbest names one can think of, and Jericho includes the original email to prove it.

Reading the stories of Jericho’s interactions with boss Vince McMahon is a fascinating look inside the WWE that we rarely get. Any wrestling fan has heard the things the so called dirt sheets has had to say about McMahon and his rapport with his staff, but having it come straight from the mouth of someone who has spent a lot of time working for him and someone without an agenda of being bitter over a release or sucking up in hopes of a push, makes much of this book a truly awesome read.

Coming in at nearly 450 pages the book covers a lot but doesn’t seem anywhere near that long as its quite the pager turner. Amongst what will be the most talked about chapters is the one simply entitled Benoit.  It may be nearing 4 years since the tragic events of June 2007 but reading this chapter about Jericho’s interactions with Benoit in the weeks leading up to the tragedy and his reaction is truly captivating. Although Jericho doesn’t intend to offer up any sort of new information on the tragedy he indirectly does so when describing how hard it was for him to interact with Benoit during his final years due to Benoit’s anti social nature.  Much like he did during the few media appearances Jericho made during the media blitz that covered the tragedy, Jericho does what I consider the best job in telling the world how and what to separate when thinking of Chris Benoit the man versus Chris Benoit the murderer.

The other important aspect of this book is Jericho’s decision to chase yet another dream with the formation of his band Fozzy. The chapters about the adventures of Fozzy are sprinkled throughout the book and are just as interesting as the wrestling related chapters as you learn a lot about how the recording industry truly works and how hard it was for Fozzy to even get to the point they are today.

Overall, Undisputed is yet another great book from Chris Jericho. It’s honest, its entertaining and it’s insightful, I highly recommend it , and to Mick Foley I’d say watch out, Jericho could quickly become the “undisputed” wrestling author champion of the world.

Chris Jericho’s “Undisputed : How To Become The World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps” will be available February 16th in book stores everywhere.

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Book Review : Countdown To Lockdown : A Hardcore Journal By Mick Foley

September 11, 2010

Reviewed by Steven Wilson of MainEventRadio.com

The hardcore legend Mick Foley is back with his fourth book of memoirs entitled Countdown to Lockdown : A Hardcore Journal, hitting bookshelves this October. This time around Foley looks at the weeks leading up to his in ring debut with TNA at their Lockdown PPV in April 2009, but  alsotouches on a wide variety of important topics along the way as well.

Written in a similar format to his last book “The Hardcore Diaries”, Mick tells us the story of what was mostly self inflicted pressure that he dealt with In preparing for his in ring return against Sting at last year’s Lockdown. Foley has often set the bar high when it comes to what he hopes to get out of a program. I recall watching Beyond The Mat seeing Foley get stitched up following a brutal I quit match with The Rock at The Royal Rumble 99 while he questioned and hoped that the match had come off well enough ensuring the fans got their money’s worth, I realized it then, and reading Countdown to Lockdown made me realize it again, Mick Foley cares, If only everyone was like him nowadays, perhaps the wrestling world wouldn’t be in the slump it seems to be in.

Putting my state of the wrestling business rant aside, Foley’s story is told via a series of diary entries which gives you a interestling look into TNA’s backstage world, dealing with Vince Russo’s creative ideas, the budgetary issues that sometimes throw wrenches into the products direction and having Dixie Carter as a boss.

While Foley’s “Countdown To Lockdown” is a intriguing story in itself, there is plenty of other meaty subjects he has to touch on. This includes his departure from the WWE, The Chris Benoit Tragedy, Steroid Use in Pro Wrestling and Kurt Angle’s overly sensitive personality amongst many other topics.

Keeping with Foley’s writing tradition, he avoids any major burial of those he has disagreed with over the last few years. While his final days with the WWE and the weeks of problems he had with Vince McMahon yelling expletives in his ear while attempting to announce the weekly Smackdown matchups is covered, he decides not to provide the specifics of what was said, and offers only a small insight into some of the rules announcers in the WWE have to deal with, Apparently Vince hates pronouns so I hope he doesn’t read this review!

Meanwhile one of the chapters I found most capturing is one entitled “Kurt Angle, The Sensitive Olympian” Foley tells a story of a day where he and Kurt crossed paths with UFC star Mark Coleman, a former amateur wrestling rival of Kurts. Over the last few years we’ve heard many stories of Kurt’s mental and physical shape, and have also heard of the tough times he has dealt with in his personal life with the ending of his marriage.  The story told by Foley is from around the time Angle’s marriage was coming to an end, he was visibly upset, but would proceed to breakdown after Mark Coleman had a slight botch in memory saying he beat Angle at a championship meet in 1992, Foley tried to talk some sense into Angle but there was no stopping his breakdown, a saddening story to read, and makes one hope that Kurt is doing better nowadays.

Add in a touching appeal to the young up and coming wrestlers in the business to not go down the abusive road that so many in the past have and you have yet another great read from the hardcore legend.  I’d definitely recommend checking it out when it hits bookshelves in October.

Countdown To Lockdown : A Hardcore Journal will be available as of October 1st from Grand Central Publishing with a suggested retail price of $26.99. To get your hands on a copy check out your favorite online retailer or head on out to your local book store.

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Book Review : Rope Opera – How WCW Killed Vince Russo

February 6, 2010


If you speak to someone who has worked with Vince Russo over the last few years, particularly someone who had worked with him before his time in TNA, your likely to hear about how he is changed man. I’ve been told this by some of his peers who I have spoken to, but I had nothing to take their word by, nor to disbelieve their word by. I’ve never met Vince Russo but like many of you I have heard or read some nasty things about him. Much of this negativity stems from his days in WCW, while some of it is a result of his time in TNA (which is often jokingly referred to as WCW as well)

I like many of you have certainly criticized some of his writing over the years, and while its easy to have an opinion on what you like or dislike on a wrestling program, I’ve found it funny that some take it to a personal level.  Chances are no one reading this knows Vince Russo on a truly personal level. The opening pages of his new book “Rope Opera – How WCW Killed Vince Russo” puts the personal side of Vince Russo into perspective as two of his children talk about Vince Russo the man, not the wrestling writer. From there on, over the next 260 pages Russo takes you on a explanation of his personal life, while at the same time dishing the inside story on the roller coaster ride that has been his professional life in the world of wrestling.

Written over a three year period, Rope Opera is presented in a uniquely “Russo” way. As you read the first few chapters, its easy to notice that unlike most books, it is not presented in chronological order. In one chapter you will be reading about Russo’s childhood or his home life, while in the next you’ll be hearing about how he felt walking into the building the first Nitro he worked for WCW. Which can be quickly followed up by a chapter pondering how and why wrestling fans let the product consume their life. To say the least this is not your typical wrestling autobiography, and as Russo openly admits, he wanted it that way in hopes that he could not only give you the details that a wrestling fan wants to know about his career but at the same time trying to get a message across about his views on life, god, and other topics he finds important.

With that being said I’m sure some will take negatively to the book much like some take negatively to his wrestling television writing. I for one am not looking to be preached to and as I began reading this book I was worried that this would turn out to be more preach than wrestling. Nothing against that type of book, it’s just not my cup of tea, However I think that Russo finds a good balance as the chapters or paragraphs he peppers in to discuss a topic apart from wrestling are kept somewhat short and to the point avoiding the loss of my attention. If your one who really cant stand any discussion apart from the wrestling topics then your likely to be annoyed enough to skip a chapter here and there. However I feel obliged to point out that it’s the personal chapters which will help you understand How WCW Killed Vince Russo

When it comes to the wrestling topics, the story begins in late 1999 as Russo slips into Titan Towers for the last time to empty out his office before flying down to meet with WCW officials and take the reigns of what was a sinking ship. Similar to his first book, Russo is not afraid to speak openly about the topics at hand. At times he names names, but other times holds back but even when he holds back he still provides the meat and potatoes of the story without burying anyone six feet deep.

The chapter that I’m sure everyone wants to hear about is amongst the ones I enjoyed the most and that is the infamous Bash at the beach 2000 incident. Russo states that it’s the question he is asked most and for 10 years now he has refused to truthfully answer it. I debated about how much I would reveal in this review, since it is one of the bigger selling points of the book, but Russo lays out the entire incident as he saw it go down, explains what was real, what was fake, and how the defamantion of character lawsuit ended up coming about.

Almost equally as intriguing is the chapter on David Arquette. Talk about Vince Russo’s career to any one of his critics and chances are Arquette “reign “ as world champion will be amongst the first things to come up. Russo has been bashed for it for a decade now, but surprisingly he doesn’t regret it, his argument? If people are still talking about it all these years later it must have been a hell of a storyline irregardless of how dumb it may have been to have Arquette as champ. That isn’t suprising to hear, instead the more interesting thing is the admission that eventhough he gave it the stamp of approval, he has been taking heat for something he didn’t even come up with, so who’s to blame? Tony Shiavone!

Russo’s entire TNA run is also covered, from the intial call, to his obsession with the S.E.X. angle, and his initial departure from the company it’s all discussed. His return and working with Dixie Carter vs Jeff Jarrett, and wrapping it all up with the chapter about the announcement of Hulk Hogan coming to TNA, it’s all there.

The book closes with a short diary entry dated November 5th 2009, Russo is getting along with Eric Bischoff, and is about to meet with Hulk Hogan for the first time. Russo hopes he can make this work, because if he does, it will be the greatest accomplishment of his personal life, note that its not his professional life, but rather his personal life.

In the book Vince Russo says he felt like he owed something to ECW Press. They let him write what he wanted how we wanted when he released his first book, Forgiven. In return he felt like he owed them this “wrestling” book so they could make the money they didn’t necessarily make off Forgiven, That being said I don’t consider this to be a throwaway, put a bunch of stories on paper and get people to mark out book.

Every story has two sides to it. We’ve pretty much all heard one side of the story when it comes to Vince Russo, and If you’ve been on that one sided bandwagon, then I think you should at least hear the other side out. It might change your mind, It might not, but from what I can tell Russo has pleaded his case and tried to teach you a thing or two along the way, and he did so as openly and honestly as he could, thus id recommend checking this out.

Rope Opera – How WCW Killed Vince Russo is now available from ECW Press. For more information or to order your own copy check outhttp://www.ecwpress.com/books/rope_opera

To read my previous reviews check out the reviews section of MainEventRadio.com, and you can always follow me on twitter via @WrestlingReview

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Book Review : Chris & Nancy – The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide

January 27, 2010

Reviewed by Steven Wilson of MainEventRadio.com

Ever since the tragic events of June 25th 2007 many of us have wondered and debated about what went on in the head of Chris Benoit as he proceeded to murder his wife and child and later kill himself. In the days and weeks following the tragedy, news outlets reported a variety of conflicting reports about steroids, concussions, text messages, Wikipedia hackers and who knew what, when and why. Unfortunately we will never have complete closure on this tragedy as it will be impossible to determine and share what exactly happened and why, but that won’t stop some from trying to shed some light on the facts. Since the tragedy there have been a couple of books released  attempting to do just that, the latest from ECW Press is “Chris & Nancy – The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide & Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death” written by Irv Muchnick.

The opening pages of the book feature a profile on the author Irv Muchnick and why he is such a hated man within the offices of the WWE. For years he has published very well written articles and books on some of the more controversial subjects in WWE’s history. Unlike some haters, Muchnick is not someone who is spewing hate blindly, he knows what he is talking about and often has some evidence to prove it, this book is no exception. Using evidence from the actual public records of the investigation Muchnick and takes his “best stab at (explaining) what it all means”

The 1st chapter gives you a summary of the events of that tragic weekend in the summer of 2007. It is thorough enough to give you a fairly clear picture on the events of that weekend, and also begins exposing and debating upon some of the evidence. For example using references to autopsy reports Muchnick gives you insight into what exactly were the causes of death.

From there you get chapters on the lives of Chris Benoit and his wife Nancy, as well as a recap of the problems Benoit had to live through as his close personal friends began to drop off like fly’s. These are expected chapters but not the strength of the book as it attempts to maintain the balance between telling the story of their lives without delving into too much detail. Depending on how much you know about Chris Benoit’s life you could love or hate these chapters as its easy to point out some of the missing information and point out what should of or should not of been included. That being said the life and times of Chris Benoit is not what this book is intended to be and not what you should be buying this book for, after all the title eludes to the fact that it wants to tell you the true story of the Benoit murder-suicide.

The most important question to answer then is whether or not the book is able to establish itself as the best reference tool when researching this topic. Covering the events of that weekend, the progression of who knew what and when, the Monday night tribute, the text messages, how the investigation was completed and how the media handled the entire mess, as well as the fallout from the tragedy including the Dr Phil Astin investigation and congress’s smackdown on the world of wrestling and it’s rampant substance use, this book is undoubtedly a strong reference tool. Along the way there is some conspiracy theory thinking and personal opinion which you may agree or disagree with. If you disagree with it you may be one to not put as much stock into what he is offering as the truth, but you shouldn’t as this is an extremely well written account of the tragic events.

I have come to realize that when this topic comes up from time to time there are those who do not want to hear about it or discuss it at all. They are just done with it all together. However I am the complete opposite, Since that day in 2007 ive wanted to learn as much as I can about the tragedy and why it happened. If your like me then you’ll absolutely love this book. Some of the other books released about Benoit since the tragedy focus more on his career and less on the investigation, this is the opposite and uses actual police material that Muchnick obtained which to me makes this the best book published on the subject to date. Trust me when I say there is a lot to be learned in reading this book.

In addition to the book, author Irv Muchnick is selling a companion DVD that contains all of the investigation evidence that he obtained including crime scene photos, 911 audio, and transcripts of text messages and statements, you can check out www.muchnick.net for more details on that.

“Chris & Nancy – The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide & Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death” is now available  in paperback format from ECW Press for the suggested retail price of 19.95 US.