The Death of WCW, by Bryan Alvarez and R.D Reynolds, is a must read for any fans of wrestling in the late 1990s.
It chronicles the highs, and lows of WCW during the famed “Monday Night Wars”, ultimately resulting in the death of WCW itself. It catalogues the first Nitro where Lex Luger made his shocking debut, to Ric Flair vs Sting at the last ever Nitro.
The Rise and Fall
The book itself is an easy read. Reynolds and Alvarez writing is simple and easy to digest, and don’t get bogged down in numbers and unnecessary details, like Guy Evans’ Nitro. The pair manage to chronicle from the start of WCW, to their first WCW Monday Nitro, all the way the last ever Nitro and the sale of the company. All the while, weaving a narrative of distrust behind the scenes, awful business decisions and complete lack of understand in WCW of what makes wrestling great.
The book starts with the tale of how Ted Turner came into possession of WCW, after the buying out of Jim Crockett Promotions in 1988. It described the trials and tribulations Crockett had up against the wily Vince McMahon Jr, and how the eventually named WCW saved Turner Broadcasting. Due to this, Turner always had a place in his hearts for what he called “Rasslin”. As long as he was in charge, WCW would always be on Turner Network Television.
That would ultimately be the downfall. In the book, the authors detail how Turner bankrolled the company into signing huge contracts with wrestlers that ultimately made the company lose incredible amounts of money. However, these superstars did propel WCW into beating WWF in the ratings for 83 straight weeks. They chronicle the rise of the NWO, Ric Flair, Sting and the rest of the WCW roster putting on great shows to beat the WWF, them how everything went wrong. And boy, did it go wrong. It has to be seen to be believed.
The book also seems to have unfiltered access to the men who worked behind the scenes. They have information on pay-per-view numbers, backstage fights, office controversies and even the inner workings of the likes of Eric Bischoff. It’s a behind the scenes look at running a wrestling company that you simply wont get with other books.
If you’ve ever listened to Bryan Alvarez on radio or podcasts, you recognise his voice immediately in this book. His sarcastic and dry tone is heavily featured, especially in the latter half of the book WCW goes to shit.
There are very occasional spelling and grammar mistakes in the book, which is disappointing as the books contents are exceptional. “The Death of WCW” is one of the best books to read about the rise and fall of WCW. Its a must read for all and I highly recommend picking it up.
The massive mistakes made by WCW, such as having Goldberg lose to Kevin Nash via cattle prod, or the disaster that was the Shockmaster, make this a page-turner that you simply cannot put down. Unlike WCW, this book will be thoroughly entertaining well into the future.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.