Controversy Creates Cash

December 11, 2006

Controversy may create cash, and the “image” of controversy may have sold some books, but believe me when I tell you WWE and Eric Bischoff did NOT create a good book. I generally avoid reading wrestling biographies because with very few exceptions they are nothing more than a self promoting tool, and yet another chance for the boys to “work” everyone into thinking they are better than they truly are or were. WWE made me believe “Controversy Creates Cash” was going to be a bit of a finger-pointing book and I thought since in addition to being Eric’s career story it might be WCW’s story as well, so I picked it up. WHAT A MISTAKE!

In my opinion this book is the biggest load of crap I’ve read in a long time, and I’m saying that as someone who liked and got along well with Eric Bischoff. There are two major faults with the book and I will look at both because I’m in the mood to rant and I absolutely hated this book.

The first problem is that WWE and Simon and Schuster obviously put very little effort into publishing books, at least WWE ones. The writing is bad, the editing is bad and the book on the whole reads like it should be a first draft. There are countless spelling and grammatical errors. I’m curious if anyone from WWE or the wrestling industry bothered to read this book before it went to print. I can guarantee you Eric didn’t, or at least if he did the publisher ignored any concerns he brought up. For starters they spelled “RICK” Flair’s name wrong. Now I realize typos exist but did no one proof reading this notice? Come on, he is Ric “F’N” Flair for God sakes. The grammatical error that drove me crazy the most was one that I know would bug Eric too. The book kept referring to “THE” WCW or “THE” WWE. They wouldn’t do it all the time but most of the time they would include the “THE”, which is of course incorrect. The fact that they didn’t even do it consistently was even more frustrating because then it not only became a grammar mistake but an inconsistency error. I know this bugged Eric because we had this conversation when WWF first became WWE. When talking about World Wrestling Federation you need to use “THE” because it is the World Wrestling Federation, but World Wresting Entertainment doesn’t need one because it is NOT The World Wrestling Entertainment. Same with WCW it was World Championship Wrestling not THE World Championship Wrestling. Eric hated that WWE made him say The WWE and certainly wouldn’t like them editing his book to do it as well. There were also photos mislabeled and one, which, I found particularly funny, was a shot of 8 people from WCW and the caption for some reason (no one publishing the book gave a damn) only listed 6 names.

The second problem with the book is that it is the biggest load of crap I think I’ve ever read. Eric should have titled the book “Damage Control” or “Spin Doctoring”. He completely skimmed over or ignored anything he couldn’t blame on someone else and wove what I would call (based on my knowledge of the Industry at the time) an almost complete fabrication of what went on in WCW. He devoted as much space in the book talking about a Johnny Grunge Rib where he stole (borrowed) a TV truck as he did explaining the Botching of the Sting return PPV match against Hogan, which was a monumental booking disaster. The disastrous misbooking of Bret Hart was covered as much as a completely irrelevant trip Eric took with his daughter to Paris, and in case you haven’t read the book, the reason they didn’t do anything with Bret after the media storm created by Montreal was because he didn’t really have it anymore.

So many of the booking mistakes are just completely ignored or glossed over. If a big idea failed to draw money Eric would brush it off claiming drawing ratings or buy rates wasn’t the goal, they were looking for publicity. This may sound fine on the surface but what is the goal of publicity? The goal is to create interest and in turn draw money! If the publicity you get does NOT encourage anyone to watch, purchase, or attend your show, or more realistically in these cases, actually tune out, stop purchasing, and quit attending event, it accomplished nothing, and in fact HURTS your product!!!!!!!!

There were also inconsistencies or out right contradictions in the book. There was one paragraph were he is talking about Vince Russo where the first sentence of the paragraph is, “I liked him.” Not 4 or 5 sentences later when he is asked by Brad Seigel if he could work with Russo he said, “I don’t have to like someone to be able to work with him.” I know I’m nit picking but what happened in those 5 sentences that changed Eric’s opinion of Russo? There was also one point when Eric was blaming WCW failure on a hiring freeze which was crippling his ability to compete, and then the next paragraph he talks about being green lighted to hire Bret Hart, and the following chapter he talks about several other hiring’s and huge money expenditures. Was there a freeze or wasn’t there?

I think the single most shocking thing for me in the book was the realization that Eric Bischoff doesn’t even know what the Montreal finish was. The single most famous finish in the history of the business and the man who claims, at the end of his book, to be the second most influential man in the history of the business, after Vince, (and truth be told he very well could be) doesn’t even know what happened in Montreal. In the book he describes the finish in Montreal as the ref fast counting Bret on a pin fall. How he could not know that it was a submission finish swerve I have no idea!!!!!

If the book is to be believed, Nitro was created, instantly dominated and beat WWE in every aspect of the industry, no bad booking decisions were ever made, Turner executives forced him to change the product to a kids show, “rated G”, formula because of a couple anti Bill Clinton joke Bischoff told on air, and the company collapsed solely because of corporate politics and the rated G formula. Oh yah and Dirt Sheet writers and the Internet community know absolutely nothing about wrestling. What an informative read.

If you want to read a good book about what happened to WCW pick up “The Death of WCW” by R.D Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez. It’s our current Book Marks selection and is a WAY better read and I believe paints a far more accurate picture.

Lance Storm