Book Review: ‘Tuesday Night at the Gardens: Pro Wrestling In Louisville’ by Jim Cornette & Mark James

I was glad that I picked this book up from Jim Cornette’s website before he had to shut it down multiple times due to being overwhelmed by people like me buying up all his great old school wrestling goods.

What’s really cool about this book is that it is written by Jim Cornette, along with Mark James, who is one of the premiere wrestling historians, especially in regards to the old territory era.

Cornette grew up in Louisville and it’s where he first fell in love with the wrestling business. His passion and love really comes out in this, as he walks the reader through professional wrestling history in the Louisville area.

He goes into Louisville’s ties with Memphis wrestling, the stars that used to come through his hometown and all the major angles and developments that shaped the business during that great era.

For fans of old school territory wrestling, this is an immensely informative and entertaining read.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other books on the history of territory wrestling. Primarily those by either Mark James or Scott Teal.

Vids I Dig 384: The 6:05 Superpodcast: Bobby Heenan Special

Taken from Arcadian Vanguard’s YouTube description: The 6:05 Superpodcast presents a special episode paying tribute to Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. The Great Brian Last is joined by experts and historians for a look at every facet of The Brain’s legendary career.

Documentary Review: The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior (2005)

Release Date: September 25th, 2005
Directed by: Kevin Dunn
Music by: Jim Johnston
Cast: Ultimate Warrior (archive footage), Vince McMahon, Triple H, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Eric Bischoff, Adam “Edge” Copeland, Ted DiBiase, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Chris Jericho, Jim Johnston, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Steve Lombardi, “Mean” Gene Okerlund, Bruce Prichard, Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Ross

WWE, 90 Minutes

Review:

“He was probably too stupid to know where he was from! Either that, or someone paid him to keep it quiet. ‘Here’s 50 bucks, don’t say you’re from Pittsburg!'” – Bobby “The Brain” Heenan [on the Warrior hailing from “Parts Unknown”]

This was a controversial documentary from a pop-culture standpoint and it is one that the WWE sort of wishes they had never made because it’s sentiment doesn’t paint one of its most popular legends in a very positive light. But I guess Vince McMahon had thin skin and a bug up his ass in 2005, which suddenly went away around 2014 when he put the Ultimate Warrior in his Hall of Fame.

That being said, when you watch The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, it actually isn’t that bad and it’s not as heavy on the bashing as one would expect based off of the historical hype surrounding it.

I did see this back in 2005 but I hadn’t really watched it since. Back then, most of the information and stories about the Ultimate Warrior were already public knowledge. What made this interesting, though, is that the stories were now told by several of his former peers, colleagues and bosses.

This is kind of a disjointed production, however, as it spends a lot of time building up the man and his career. It takes digs and soft jabs throughout but it does convey his impact on the wrestling world. In a way, this is one part career retrospective and one part tabloid.

The tabloid parts of the film surround the stories about controversy, scandal and the Ultimate Warrior just being a general douche to most people.

Was he a likable guy? Probably not. Did he do some stupid shit that was only done to serve his own ego and self-interest? Absolutely. But does he deserve the condemnation that this documentary tried so hard to manufacture? Probably not.

The thing is, this was made with a very clear agenda in mind. Hell, the agenda is in the title. So it’s kind of hard to take this too seriously, as the WWE has a track record of re-shaping history to suit Vince McMahon’s wishes. I’m not saying that people are outright lying but if you have 90 minutes of a dozen or more people sharing their worst experiences with someone, you can paint anyone out to look like a total piece of shit.

Still, this is mostly entertaining and it allowed some other legends to blow off some steam. However, it’s hardly a clear or accurate picture of who the Ultimate Warrior really was at his core.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: other ’00s WWE documentaries.

*since a trailer is no longer available, here’s an insane Ultimate Warrior promo.

Vids I Dig 376: The 6:05 Superpodcast: Houston Wrestling Special

Taken from Arcadian Vanguard’s YouTube description: The Great Brian Last & David Bixenspan take a look at the history of Houston wrestling. Around clips from past episodes of the Superpodcast, TGBL & Bix talk both about their past experiences living through Superstorm Sandy and let the listeners know how they can help out with the relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey.

Vids I Dig 375: Whang!: WWE Attitude Era Censorship

Taken from Justin Whang’s YouTube description: During the late 90s, WWF’s programming grew more mature with the Attitude Era. Although this greatly improved ratings, it drew the attention of the Parents Television Council, an organization that would try to get their advertisers to leave through a letter writing campaign. It backfired spectacularly.

Book Review: ‘Fall Guys: The Barnums of Bounce – The Annotated Version’ by Marcus Griffin, Annotated by Steve Yohe & Scott Teal

Fall Guys is a book that was written in the 1930s in an effort to expose the wrestling business. While it gets a lot of credit for pulling back the curtain, it wasn’t really the first piece written on the subject, as many magazine and news articles of the time had already delved into the behind the scenes stuff.

I think that this became somewhat legendary because it was released as a book and not as a series of articles in the paper or in a sports magazine.

If you’re going to read this and I feel like fans of wrestling history should, it would behoove you to pick up the annotated version by Steve Yohe and Scott Teal.

This was a great and solid read, as the new commentary on it served to correct some of the wrongs of the book and to clear up any misconceptions and faulty facts. Also, a lot of the examples and stories in the original book were fiction, used by the author to better illustrate his points.

The original piece of work is still an entertaining read and it does a superb job in painting the picture of what wrestling looked like in the 1930s, which in the wrestling world may feel like prehistoric times now. But it is certainly cool seeing what the business was generally like then in contrast to what it’s evolved into almost a century later.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other historical wrestling books available by Crowbar Press.