ECW was one extreme contradiction piled on top of another. It was an incredibly influential company in the world of professional wrestling during the 1990s, yet it was never profitable. It portrayed itself as the ultimate in anti-authority rebellion, but its leadership was, at various points, working covertly with the two wrestling giants, the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. Most of all, it blurred the line between real life and the fantasy world of professional wrestling like no other company before it - many of those who thought they were conning others ended up being victims of the ultimate con.
Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of the ECW offers a frank and balanced look at the evolution of the company, starting even before its early days as a Philadelphia-area independent group called Eastern Championship Wrestling in 1992 and extending past the death of Extreme Championship Wrestling in 2001. Writer Scott E. Williams has pored through records and conducted dozens of interviews with fans, company officials, business partners, and the wrestlers themselves to bring listeners the most thorough account possible of this bizarre company.
The book sets out to answer several questions: Did World Championship Wrestling really try to destroy ECW by draining off its talent? Was Vince McMahon secretly as a friend to ECW, as he has claimed? What really caused the death of ECW? Who lied to whom? Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of the ECW will address all of those mysteries and many more in a story that is sure to be extremely controversial for fans and critics of both the ECW and professional wrestling.
©2006, 2007, 2011 Scott E. Williams. Foreword copyright © 2006, 2007, 2011 Shane Douglas (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I believe at some point the author notes that he's a newspaper writer, or maybe I made that up, I really can't remember. However this book reads like it was written by a newspaper journalist - which isn't bad since the book is strong on substance and structure but that also means its not strong on narrative and 'heart'. By that I don't mean it's dry but it does feel fairly detached at times.
With that out of the way I enjoyed the book as a recap of the history of ECW. It seems well researched and moves at a good pace. I knew a good part of the general history but this book fills in a ton of details. If you have any interest in the subject you'll most likely enjoy the book.
The reader does a good job even if it is a pretty straight read.
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