The Death of WCW

Narrated by: Bryan Alvarez
Length: 14 hrs and 27 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (1,530 ratings)

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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 listeners say about The Death of WCW

Average Customer Ratings
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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This book is terrible just like the TV show...

Dont waste your time, money, or audible credit on a summary of a TV show that you can get for free on YouTube. You could also watch the entire run of the TV show on the WWE network which would be more entertaining than listening to this guy for 12hrs. This is just a rant on the authors opinion that WCW sucked and therefore failed. There are really no interviews or direct quotes from many of the wrestlers whom are still employed by either WWE or another TV show such as New Japan, TNA or AEW. The 1990s and early 2000s were the golden age of trash TV that's what made this show great. It also he makes it sound like its Hulk Hogan's fault the show went under. The "Hulkster" is like "Pikachu" is to Pokémon he's the face of wrestling and one of the most recognizable characters in pop culture people will love his wrestling performances whether or not they were 1 minute long or 1hr long people are only tuning in just to see him. Nobody cares about rookies unless they are dedicated wrestling fans. Lastly this book uses a lot of terminology that most people who are casual fans who only tune-in once a week or haven't watched wrestling since 1989 and the days of Tube TV wont understand. Such as "Heel-Turn", "Baby Face", or "K-Fabe" and doesn't explain any of it. Finally, WCW died because Ted Turner sold the program to Vince McMahon in 2001. The rest of this book id just a big 11hr rant and summary of every episode from 1988 - 2001. It also has 2 forwards each one he dedicates the book to different individuals in each forward which takes up the other one hour. I expected an ESPN 30-30 written well and explained more in depth story about how the history of Ted Turners entertainment wrestling contrasted with popular culture and trash television of the 1990's. but all I got was a "Super-Fan" critique and summary of every episode of the 13yr show. WCW was a great show. The author probably thought Wrestling, The Easter Bunny and Santa Clause were real until he was 35 and wrote this book after his mom finally told him those things happen to be fake. This book is really bad and hard to get through.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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Worst book ever

book fill with only rumors Very boring The narrator is t Or sucks sometimes feel asleepWaist of money and time

1 person found this helpful

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Horrible book

This book has that feeling that fan sitting on a couch watching WCW and talked to a couple of wrestlers then wrote a book. No information from key people. The narrator voice sounds like a radio jock. There are no details or back story of WCW. Buy the WCW Nitro book it’s much better, lot of details on the back story of WCW, Information from key people including those connected directly with CNN.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Surrenders in audio book format

Nothing but a collection of dirt sheet stories many of which are not accurate. If I HAD to say something nice... At least the stories are in chronological order.

1 person found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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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.

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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 person found this 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

4 people found this helpful

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  • Laura
  • 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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 people found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this 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 person found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean Goodliffe
  • 10-19-20

The most important book of wrestling.

This is a book I heard about for years and its raw, unflinching detail is immaculate. There is no glamorisation of WCW in its rise and fall, merely pointing out good and bad actions the company did with either data to back it up, or often foreshadowing to the inevitable collapse of the company. It does all of this whilst also being an incredibly gripping read about a company that could do no wrong and was seemingly set for life turning over the course of a few years into a sinking ship with not enough lifeboats. If you enjoy the history of wrestling this is a must, its written by people who have been around the industry for decades and their knowledge is evident throughout the book. My only warning is there are many points where you'll feel like things couldn't get any worse, only to be baffled at the decisions WCW made towards its inevitable failure. I can't recommend The Death of WCW more highly. - Sean Goodliffe

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  • Adrian
  • 10-15-20

I Can't Believe This Is Real

I've always wanted to listen to this and now that I finally have, I was not disappointed. The story of the rise and fall of WCW is amazing, the mistakes they made sound like there is no way it could have actually happened and yet, it did. This book is shocking, hilarious and embarrassing at times. I really hope they make a documentary series on this. I highly recommend this book

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  • paul sheehan
  • 08-21-20

Hmmmm

Does a lot of contradicting himself Not really a story of how it died, more a timeline of stupid things they did while Monday morning quarterbacking

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  • Primazon
  • 08-10-20

Very Informative

I wasn't around during the MNW & this helped me realise that good consistent booking is key in wrestling.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-01-20

loved it

a true retelling of the rise and fall of WCW this is a must read for all fans of the Monday night wars

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Brad
  • 02-18-17

Great~!

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

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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.