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Editorial Reviews

The ECW was always an underdog in the world of wrestling, smaller and scrappier than its bigger brothers, the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. In journalist Scott E. Williams' Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of the ECW, Karl Miller intrepidly narrates the now defunct company's fascinating backstory, from its genesis in 1992 to its collapse in 2001. Miller's clear and sympathetic voice performance underlines the brutality of the sport, while critically unveiling the truth behind questions that still linger, including the ECW's relationship to Vince McMahon and the WCW, and the real reasons the ECW died.

Publisher's Summary

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Get a narrator with product knowledge

What a great book on the history of ECW! it is well written and has tons of quotes and backstage stories. As good as the book is, the narrator ruins it. His voice is flat with little intonation. I can forgive that, but I can't forgive the mispronounced names throughout. He could have jumped on YouTube to hear the names, he could have asked the author, he could have done his homework. Instead, we are treated to Chris Benoyt (Benoit) and Tony Skee-ah-voon (Schiavone) He ruined the entire book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

terrible reading

this guy made so many mistakes in his reading. it was comical how many names he got wrong and how many times a clearly different voice was reading the odd line.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Well written, good coverage

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hardcore Resurrected

Loved reliving the glory days of one of the most influential companies in wrestling history. ECW and it's impact could be seen while watching the Big 2 engage in the Monday Night Wars. The impact is still felt in arenas today. Only drawback to this book was the lax narration, compounded with the mispronunciation of wrestlers names throughout the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, pretty good narrator most of the time.

The only complaint I have about this one is that the narrator mispronounced quite a few names. It doesn't ruin it, but it definitely sticks out. Other than that, he did a good job. A+ book, and a must-read for fans of the original ECW or 90s wrestling in general. A lot of fun history here, and the author goes into detail exactly when you want him to.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Learn to Pronounce the Names

The story was good. The narrator mispronounced too many names for it not to be come distracting. It forced a loss of credibility for the author. Much of this is common knowledge for most fans, but it is nice to hear from some of the voices that the WWE has kept quiet in recent years.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

More detail than I expected

Out of the dozen or so wrestling books I have read, this one stands out. It contained more detail than I was expecting, and while very pro-ECW, did present the negative aspects of the company.

Other than some strange mispronounced names every once in a while, the narration was better than multiple other wrestling audio books. There should be a requirement that book narrators be at least marginally familiar with the subject matter.

The only nitpick I have is the exclusion of some small details that a fan of ECW would recognize as missing.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great history of ECW

Having grown up watching ECW this book was extremely entertaining and spot on. The narrator was alright, but not unbearable. The inside details and story do ECW justice. Now we just need an updated version. If you liked this book try also: The Death of WCW. It is an excellent listen with a great narrator.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story ok narrator

If you really want to know the history of ecw, this is the book you need to read. Yes we know Paul was not the best manager but there was more to it that caused the fall.

The narrator though some of his pronunciation was terrible...he still drove the point Home though. Give the book a listen if you are a fan of wrestling Or ECW

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

E C DUB!!!!!!!!!

What did you love best about Hardcore History?

Any and everything ECW..... Those three letters being chanted in a shabby little bingo hall in south philly, 20+years later still brings a smile to my face

What was one of the most memorable moments of Hardcore History?

I loved the accounts of the mass transit incident

Which character – as performed by Karl Miller – was your favorite?

Not characters

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not that kinda book

Any additional comments?

Good read/listen

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  • jam
  • 03-20-17

spot on !

its addictive and extreamly satisfying (pun intended) am awating more like this on auidible they cant come fast enough.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • miss Laura Z Burden
  • 09-06-18

just about able to listen too!<br />

although it was packed with intresting information the audio was very poor, not to my taste!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul L.
  • 05-25-18

Excellent Book

The rise and unfortunately the fall of ECW. Told truthfully instead of McMahon version of history by the WWE

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • 05-15-18

Great book about a short lived star of the biz.

I'm a casual rather than dedicated wrestling fan, and wasn't around for the ECW when it was on air. But I still thoroughly enjoyed this. William's has an obvious passion for the subject, has done his research, and manages to articulately convey the promotions history, why it was popular, and its context in the broader industry and cultural landscape. I particularly enjoyed the chapters concerning ECWs weird afterlife as part of Vince McMahon's empire, and his complex relationship with founder Paul Heyman.

It's a well-written history of the company, and a warm tribute to those who made it happen. It really conveys just how dedicated wrestlers have to be, (especially the a"hardcore" variety), and how difficult it is to consistently make money in the wrestling business.

The narrator is good too.