Saturday, July 24, 2010

Inside Out: How Corporate America Destroyed Professional Wrestling

Author, Ghost Writer, Editor: Ole Anderson, Scott Teal
Publisher: Crowbar Press
Released: 12/03

The Good
This book has that in common with Dynamite Kid's book and if it had come out then it might be held in the same high regard. Ole Anderson is one of the most important figures in pro-wrestling who is often overlooked, but now we can hear his side of the story of pro-wrestling's change from territories to national products. He does come across like a self-centered and greedy jerk at times, but he doesn't care and I like that. What sets this book apart is Ole goes into depth on booking, not as much as I'd like, but more than any book before this. I think Bill Watts and Dusty Rhodes might do better books, but only if they go into much more depth on the psychology of booking. It also tackles a time and area (Southeast wrestling in the late 60s through early 90s) that is somewhat unpublished territory. This is a must read for many reasons. He gives blunt opinions on people, but doesn't just spew venom like I'd been led to believe.

The Bad
There are a few details that are wrong (but really they're not grossly obvious) and some of his knocks on people are questionable (but they're his opinions after all) and that's about all one can say. Ole does seem bitter in parts, remember his appearance on WOL shortly after this, it just seems like an essential part of his personality. Some people probably think he puts himself over too much, but I think he's pretty humble considering his strong opinions. The book really turns a corner in the last leg after "Black Saturday" when he loses the last full authority he'd ever hold. Afterwards, Ole's bitterness toward the changes in pro-wrestling become stronger and they sometimes reach unbearable proportions. I can see some people thinking this is a dull and self-indulgent book by a grumpy old codger, but I personally think it needs to be read to be fairly evaluated.

The Rating: ****1/2

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