Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
World Wrestling Insanity: The Decline and Fall of a Family Empire Paperback – May 1, 2006
|New from||Used from|
About the Author
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
Based on the title of the book, "The Decline and Fall of a Family Empire", I was expecting a chronological analysis of the WWE over the past decade, similar to the recent "Death of WCW" by R.D. Reynolds and Brian Alvarez. Rather, Guttman makes his case in a series of chapters explaining "what's wrong" with the current product. Perhaps, because we are still in the "decline" phase of the WWE, it is difficult to have the perspective on the WWE that Reynolds and Alvarez had for WCW.
I enjoyed the book because I can see Guttman's love of the sport of professional wrestling in his writing. Guttman is frustrated with the problems inthe industry for fans and wrestlers. He comments on the lack of opportunity for advancement for minority wrestlers that has restricted "ethnic" wrestlers (African-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Italian-Americans, for example) to dated stereotypes and the mid-card. Two chapters are devoted to labor-management issues in the WWE that have prevented the formation of a wrestler's union and instituted arbitrary rules on workers. A very funny chapter covers the ridiculous "Diva Search" and "Tough Enough" segments that used a considerable amount of television time, but did not result in the development of a single talented player for WWE. My favorite part of the book was the last two chapters where he defends his love of the sport of professional wrestling.
Overall, "The Decline and Fall of a Family Empire" is an easy read and enjoyable "rant" from an entertaining and humorous fan.
My biggest issue is with Mr. Guttman. The entire book is your basic polemic on the evil ways of Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H. Not once does Guttman ever acknowledge the possibility that he simply disagrees with WWE. Instead every instance of his disagreement is explained in his favor by the dastardly ego and manipulations in the McMahon family. But I do not take issue with criticizing them per say, rather I felt that the premise of his criticism is severely flawed. Essentially Mr. Guttman attack's the WWE product through logic...which would be fine, except that wrestling- like other forms of entertainment- requires you to suspend disbelief...which includes logic.
I do not want to spoil the book for anybody foolish enough to buy it, but I can use some pop cultural references to give you a feel for Guttman's critique. Imagine a critic taking The Hangover to task because in his opinion, the guys would have called the police or hotel security the moment their friend went missing. Or a critic of Die Hard saying it was preposterous that a single NY cop could take down an elite terrorist group. Mr. Guttman attacks WWE programming from an entirely logical perspective without taking into account that the viewer wants to be told a story and will accept some implausibility, in the name of entertainment.
One other thing I don't feel Mr. Guttman understands about wrestling: Getting Heat. This is where the bad guy beats up the good guy. Throughout the book, Guttman criticizes a wrestler getting heat by saying he's burying the good guy. In my mind this is the most basic premise of building a wrestling storyline: The bad guy gets heat and the good guy gets a comeback. However if the good guy is not getting over (popular), then the bad guy keeps his heat for another good guy. Mr. Guttman seems to like good guys always winning in the end. There is a specific instance where Mr. Guttman himself concedes a good guy was horrible...but he still think the bad guy should have given up his heat!?!
Mr. Guttman consistently proclaims his love of wrestling. I do not contest this. I do, however question if he understands how the business really works.
There are millions of fans in the world, be it wrestling, sports, movies, or music fans. Many fans don't truly understand the many parts that go into a successful product. They like what they like and hate what they hate, and are quick to reach for any flawed explanation to justify their hatred. Guttman has offered a logical criticism of a product that does not purport to be logical. This is where his critique falls horribly flat. Guttman simply does not understand the small parts that build the final product, and his book reflects this fact.
All in all, I would not waste my time on this book.