WrestleCrap: The Book Review

 

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Book Review: WrestleCrap

I clearly remember the first wrestling match I ever saw...

I was flipping through the channels one Saturday morning and stumbled upon two guys beating the hell out of each other. It wasn’t long before the epic battle between Sgt. Slaughter and the Masked Superstar had me hooked on professional wrestling, an addiction I have yet to overcome. Since that time I have almost become obsessed with the so-called sport of oiled-up, hairless men who pretend to hit each other. I watched all the television shows I could and bought videotapes of the promotions that my cable company didn’t carry. I devoured the worked magazines like Pro Wrestling Illustrated until I discovered the “underground” dirtsheets and soon became a subscriber to both the Pro Wrestling Torch and Wrestling Observer. I went to every live wresting show in my area and traveled to each Pay Per View event in the New England area.

The funny thing is, for the life of me I can’t tell you my favorite matches over that time- other than the Sgt. Slaughter/Masked Superstar match which I’ve never been able to track down on tape- much to my chagrin. However, I can vividly remember everything that I hated in all those years. In fact the WWFE had a pretty neat advertising promotion a little while back that centered around the theme ”I was there…

I was there when the Four Doinks (Men on a Mission & the Bushwhackers) battled a Surivor Series team that included Bastian Booger..

I was there when the Undertaker “died” and rose to the rafters of the Fleet Center.

I was there when Lawrence Taylor, no doubt hepped up on crack cocaine, main evented a WrestleMania.

A couple years ago I stumbled upon a website named WrestleCrap.com and read a review of the time RoboCop saved Sting on a WCW Pay Per View and I was thinking, “I remember that!” I was quickly checking back to the website constantly, and became a huge fan of its creator RD Reynolds. He seemed to have a passion for wrestling that I admired and a talent for writing that had me coming back for more. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard the news that RD was coming out with his own book. Of course, my excitement was a bit tempered when I considered all the wrestling books, like Chyna’s and Pro-Wrestling for Dummies, that made me embarrassed to be a wrestling fan. I held out the hope that RD would rise to the occasion though, and deliver something along the lines of Mick Foley’s Have a Nice Day or Dave Meltzer’s Tributes, books in which I would even recommend to my non-wrestling fans.

So when my copy of WrestleCrap: The Very Worst of Professional Wrestling arrived, I breathed a sigh of relief after just reading the forward by John Tenta. Yes, any book that has a forward written by a wrestler who has had such gimmicks as The Shark and Golga is a book for me.

In fact, the best part of WrestleCrap, the book and the website, is that it embraces the bad gimmicks and angles we’ve been subjected to as fans. Right at the start of the book RD talks about one of the biggest disappointments in my life as a rasslin’ fan, that being the infamous unveiling of the Gobbledy Gooker at the first Survivor Series. I remember in the weeks leading up to that Thanksgiving Night Pay Per View, I was infatuated with what could be inside that giant egg that the WWF kept saying was going to “hatch” during the PPV. I, along with all my friends, was absolutely convinced that it was going to be pair of WWF Tag Team Championship belts. Don’t ask me why I felt that way, I was just a stupid kid, but when that egg hatched and a dancing turkey came out I felt like little Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story after deciphering Little Orphan Annie’s secret code. I sat in stunned silence watching this goofy bird dance with Gene Okerland in the middle of the ring.

But thinking back, I can’t remember anything else from that show other than the Gobbeldy Gooker. I’m pretty sure that the event was sold on a confrontation between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, surely two of the biggest, if not THE biggest stars of my generation, and yet for the life of me I can’t tell you what happened between them. However I can picture in my mind the hatching of the egg, the Gooker taking Mean Gene down the ring and even Roddy Piper’s absurd play-calling of the event, trying to get across that the fans loved this Turkey when they were in fact booing him out of the building.

The rest of the book covers events such as the WCW mini-movies with Cheatum the evil midget, the Ding Dongs, the ventriloquist dummy Rocco, Al Snow’s dog Pepper and my personal favorite wrestler for reasons unknown even to myself, Nailz. RD sets up each subject and deftly segues into another so well that you sometimes wonder if there was anything good going on in wrestling at the time. From that infamous night in Hartford with the Gobbeldy Gooker to Triple H screwing “Katie Vick’s” brains out, RD covers the worst that we fans have been subjected to in loving detail. Reynolds doesn’t make me feel embarrassed to have put up with all this garbage, instead he makes me feel as if I should have appreciated it more when I saw it, as true WrestleCrap is just as memorable as a 5 star wrestling match.

Speaking of 5 star wrestling matches, there is probably not a wrestler alive who has been in more than Ric Flair. Recently, the WWE put together one of the greatest DVD’s in the history of wrestling with many of Slick Ric’s best matches and angles. Flair versus Steamboat. Flair versus Funk. Four Horsemen promos. But when I was watching the discs, I couldn’t help but think of the things I most remember Flair for that weren’t contained on the DVD collection. I remember the Black Scorpion being unmasked to reveal Ric Flair in one of WCW’s most botched angles. I remember the Flair for the Gold (think WCW’s version of Piper’s Pit) in which the ShockMaster debut consisted of crashing through a fake wall and promptly falling on his ass. The DVD does not have these moments, but thankfully WrestleCrap the book does.

 

Copyright © 2005 Derek Burgan. All rights reserved.