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Publisher's Summary

What went wrong with WCW?

In 1997, World Championship Wrestling was on top. It was the number-one pro wrestling company in the world, and the highest-rated show on cable television. Each week, fans tuned in to Monday Nitro, flocked to sold-out arenas, and carried home truckloads of WCW merchandise. Sting, Bill Goldberg, and the New World Order were household names. Superstars like Dennis Rodman and KISS jumped on the WCW bandwagon. It seemed the company could do no wrong.

But by 2001, however, everything had bottomed out. The company - having lost a whopping 95% of its audience - was sold for next to nothing to Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment. WCW was laid to rest.

How could the company lose its audience so quickly? Who was responsible for shows so horrible that fans fled in horror? What the hell happened to cause the death of one of the largest wrestling companies in the world? The Death of World Championship Wrestling is the first book to take listeners through a detailed dissection of WCW's downfall.

©2014 R.D. Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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The Best Wrestling Book I've Ever Listened To

As someone who lived through the Monday night wars as it's called and being such a huge fan of the WCW company instead of the WWF (as it was known at that time) this book is perfection in literally every way. It told me things that even I didn't know and I like to consider myself one of the biggest pro wrestling nerds on the planet. I'm not sure why it took me so long to finally get to this book as it's over a decade old but I'm very glad I finally did.

It's written brilliantly giving you constant information on a company that had so much history and things that could be said about it. It goes from the highs to the lows and lets you in on things that normally us fans (especially at the time this originally released) wouldn't be in on. All the backstage issues and business dealings that happened, how the snowball formed, and how eventually nothing could stop it from finally dying.

I'd recommend this book to any wrestling fan but it hits home even more to fans who grew up watching WCW as you'll know some of the things talked about all too well. I couldn't praise this enough. It's definitely in that must read/listen to catagory of books if you're a wrestling fan. It's a nostalgia ride hearing about some of the things talked about and you remember the good times you had when you watched the shows. That being said it also takes you down and makes you absolutely baffled at how the company even lasted as long as it did with the stuff that was happening backstage.

In conclusion there's nothing I can say that will do this credit. Many more before me have written reviews on this book. Some who know a lot more about literature than I. But as a wrestling fan this is simply the best book about professional wrestling I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. Thank you to Bryan Alvarez, Big Money Dave Meltzer, and R.D. Reynolds for this trip down the rabbit hole of the company that started my love for this sport.

I look forward to eventually reading The Death of TNA/GFW/iMPACT Wrestling whenever that day finally comes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The full story of how you DO NOT do Pro Wrestling

Learn more about WCW, their struggle with WWF/WWE and how their rise and fall changed Pro Wrestling forever.
Narrated by co-author Bryan Alvarez from Wrestling Observer (famous for his MINUS FIVE STARS quote used in Botchamania), learn in detail how the habit of misusing young talent, collusion with the bookers, and blowing money away at things not wrestling resulted in their bankruptcy and being bought out by WWE. Also added are moments were in present day even WWE seems to have made the same mistakes, and a certain infamous promotion, TNA Impact Wrestling, died the same death by the same reasons and by the same integral people responsible for WCW's.
Dry at first, the wit and sarcasm Bryan is known for and has made many laughed during The Bryan and Vinny Show podcast comes into his narration when the company's decisions are at their worst and dumbest. Recommened to any interested in wrestling, even if one only simply watches the previously mentioned famous Internet video series Botchamania. Of course, a lot of WCW's most famous botches are featured in Botchamania for those who still don't believe in these stories.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A little too much detail for a casual fan

The beginning of the book is very interesting, covering the history that allowed for the creation and rise (and fall) of the WCW.

This book suffers from a lot of what my friend refers to as "begating"; referring to the parts of the bible where for a few pages we get lists of who begat who. This book covers the various title changes in the WCW history, which is important as one of the books points (the constant title changes weakened the value of the belt) but that sort of detail is more than I was looking for, its like hearing a listing off of all that begetting in the bible and makes you flip up that narration speed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Like a rambling friend telling you WCW history

I'm split on this review, but I think my headline captures it. You can tell the author/narrator is incredibly knowledgeable about the history of WCW. The amount of detail you get (down to weekly ratings) is fascincating and at times, almost too in-depth.

However, your rambling friend sometimes goes on tangents, and for a few minutes, you're completely confused as to what he's on about, before just as suddenly being right back on course. I'm sure a lot of this is due to trying to fit in the "Lessons Not Learned" sections from the book. But there is no distinction as to when these end, and when he's back to the narrative unless you're paying careful attention.

Additionally, the author often repeats the same information over and over. Paraphrasing from memory: "Hard to believe Tank Abbott would join 3 Count someday". "This is strange booking considering he would soon join 3 Count'. And then finally getting there in the narrative... "You wouldn't believe who 3 Count revealed as their new member... Tank Abbott!"

It's like each section was written on it's own and then mashed together without editing to clear out all the redundant mentions.

Overall, if you're a fan of WCW or pro wrestling in general, I still think this is a worthwhile listen, you'll just have to put up with your friend's rambling at times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Well written and narrated book.

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. The narration by Bryan Alvarez was well done and did a great job not only entertaining, with the use of sarcasm, but kept me engaged in the life and The Death of WCW. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in wrestling - casual fans and smarks alike.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Bryan killed it

This is my favorite wrestling book. I was born early 90s, so i was a child during the war. This book informed me more about wcw and wwe than any dvd or network special. I went back on youtubes after hearing about segments or angles. Insane how cringeworthy stuff was.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A must read for even casual wrestling fans!

Having been a fan of the WWE's "Monday Night War" documentary series, I wanted to get the story without the bias of a Vince McMahon production. If anything, Vinny Mac was holding back! This book provides a fascinating look into the rise and fall of a company that was once a close second to the WWF, and the narrator injects life and credibility into the, at times, nearly unbelievable story. A++ would read again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Must for any Attitude Era Wrestling Fan

This is a fantastic look at the life and death of WCW. Reynolds and Alvarez take an in-depth look at the ego, the terrible decisions, and the gigantic wastes of money throughout the history of the company. With this new edition, published with nearly a decade of hindsight, they also show the lessons not learned by TNA and WWE (mostly TNA) in the terrible decisions that have been made more recently. If you were, like me, glued to the TV during the 'Monday Night Wars', then you NEED to pick this up.

My only complaint is Alvarez sometimes pronounces words strangely. For example, when he says 'lunatic' he pronounces it 'lu-NA-tic'. There are a few other examples, and the pronunciations are so off-putting that I had to rewind just to be sure I was hearing it properly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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One of My New Favs

Content of the audiobook was phenomenal, with fantastic delivery. Makes me want a TNA version!

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Fantastic

I honestly loved this book and Brian was great at telling the story and holding my interest.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • matt
  • 09-24-16

Brilliantly told

Even none wrestling fans will be drawn into Alvarez' storytelling. This is the factual story of how ego, delusion, greed and stupidity collided to burn a multi million dollar business, and left long lasting ramifications on the wrestling entertainment business that are still felt today .

It's also a stark reminder to us all that even when the sky is clear of clouds , the rain is never far away , so you'd better pack an umbrella.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr Dean Robertson
  • 10-08-16

Fastest 14 and a half hours of my life.

Such a good listen that I wish it went on for another 14 and a half hours

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gerard
  • 09-28-16

wish there were more books like this

loved it. finished it in a few days, great reading, really informative and very funny, if a little depressing for the the poor people who had to watch WCW at the end. would love more books from these guys (the TNA one hopefully won't be long).

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben M Spalding
  • 10-19-17

Brilliant and insightful

If you want to understand the pure brilliance alongside the utter stupidity of the wrestling business, then this is the book for you.
Honestly think this should be used in business school as a demonstration of the product lifecycle and how not to manage change and how to engage your employees and listen to your customers. Basically bar a 2-year period do nothing WCW did!!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fizzgow
  • 10-07-16

very good

A very good Insight for wrestling fans on how truly terrible the WCW became .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-18-18

Amazing story into the history of Wcw's death

Accurate and to the point, a must listen for wrestling fans, bryan does an excellent job narrating, and shouldn't be overlooked

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • N A
  • 07-04-18

excellent in the history of the matches WCW

good book very in-depth narrative of what happened in WCW on TV. I would have liked to see a bit more of the management side, what was going on back office. There is a lot on the ratings and the actual booking of the matches. But it will be good to see the Inside Story of how the company actually worked.

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  • Michael
  • 06-06-18

Brilliant book for any wrestling fan

This book is a must for any Wrestling fan, some much information given to you in the best way

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jayce
  • 04-02-18

A comprehensive history of WCW

Where does The Death of WCW rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

With The Death of WCW Alvarez and Reynolds deliver an outstanding, comprehensive year-by-year account of the rise and fall of one of wrestling's most unique, exciting and often downright weird promotions. Attention is paid to the events that happen in the ring, as well as the backroom politics of WCW and the cutthroat business side of pro-wrestling in the 1980s and 1990s.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Bryan Alvarez?

Alvarez is a competent narrator. However, his pronunciation of "W" often sounds like he is underwater. In an industry filled with companies that often use acronyms containing multiple W's (WWWF, WWF, WCW), this, at times, makes it feel like the book is being read to the listener by an Atlantean.

Any additional comments?

A fascinating read/listen for both veteran fans, as well as the uninitiated.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-12-18

A tragic story of greed and hope. A must.

I grew up on WCW way before I got into WWE, so this was a bitter sweet journey through my childhood. We're things as cool as I remember? No. But do the backstage stories have you hooked? Definitely. A must read for any wrestling fan.

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  • Attila
  • 01-01-18

Not research or a study. Just a podcaters opinion.

I got this thinking I was getting a comprehensive study on how the business lost millions and needed to sell itself for next to nothing to its rival. Was disappointed to find its just a fan boys ranting. Think comic book guy from Simpsons and this is what the author sounds like. No research, no interviews, just rumors he dug up from the internet and a snark "worse wrestling show ever" followed by an attempt at wit or humor, not sure what the author was aiming for. He constantly says things were ironic however misuses the correct meaning of he word. Was very surprised that could pass the editors. Obviously self published. In my honest opinion avoid, maybe one day a proper study will be carried out on WCW's business practises, this is not it.

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  • scott116hunt
  • 09-26-16

fantastic read - couldnt press stop.

If you have any interest in Pro Wrestling history this book is a must. The book expertly documents this rise and fall and even for a non pro wrestling fan the laughs at how comically inept it gets are worth it.

Couldnt recommend it more.

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  • Brad
  • 02-18-17

Great~!

Definitive story on how the company rose, declined and failed. Brilliantly read by the narrator.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful