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Wrestling Babylon: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal Paperback – April 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
The truth was quite the opposite. First off, I should have checked that the book 152 actual pages. That's ...nothing.
Second the content is sub-par, old overwritten--it's all available online. Further the content in this book is often inaccurate or at least needs to mention alternative conclusions and the reasons for or against those.
It's not worth a dime. In one word this book is: Wrestling Garbage. At best.
The material is readable but nothing new to wrestling fans who have read other books.
Don't buy this book.
As Stephanie McMahon has proved time and time again, pedigree is no guarantee of talent. Fortunately that's not the case with Muchnick, the nephew of legendary wrestling promoter Sam Muchnick (who headed the fabled St. Louis promotion and blazed a trail with his Wrestling at the Chase TV show). Not only does Irving share his uncle's talent for writing but he also possesses the same keen understanding of the business.
While this isn't the first book to document wrestling's scummy side, it's a must-have for several reasons. Besides being a great read (whether you're a wrestling fan or not), the book provides a brutally honest look at some of wrestling's darkest moments, collected from the many publications Muchnick has written for. The articles date cover a wide range of scandals, ranging from the suspicious death of Jimmy Snuka's girlfriend (I plead da fifth brudda), sex scandals in the WWF, the infamous gun incident between Brian Pillman and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin on Monday Night RAW, Vince McMahon's try at a bodybuilding federation, the rise and fall of the Von Erich dynasty, and the outrageous number of wrestlers who have died early.
Through the years, professional wrestling has drawn unwanted criticism from people with fans understandably irate at it being portrayed as a fake sport aimed at the mindless. However this same criticism has also given the industry a pass from the mainstream media on some very disturbing scandals. That does not mean that the sins of sports entertainment have gone unnoticed; something evident as you page through Muchnick's various columns. Fortunately, the fact that very few people seem to care about wrestling's dark side hasn't kept Muchnick from writing about it.
In today's era of instant wrestling news, it's easy to dismiss the work of Muchnick until you realize how much inside information he obtained before the dirtsheets became prevalent (although Muchnick is quick to acknowledge the help of Dave Meltzer) and the Internet made reporting on wrestling easier (although true reporting is still a rarity on the net). Muchnick's investigations into the seedy side of wrestling demonstrate that it's not impossible to pierce the veil of secrecy surrounding professional wrestling (especially when you factor in a lot of his work was done before the death of kayfabe).
Muchnick also combines his writing talent with a keen analysis of the evolution of professional wrestling and the much ballyhooed dumbing down of America. Not only does he point out the advent of the WWF Attitude Era and the rise of media sensations such as Bill O' Reilly but he compares the seeming epidemic of performance enhancing drugs in major league sports to that of the WWE.
While Wrestling Babylon doesn't drip with the same vitriol of Phil Mushnick's work, you can't help but sense that whatever love Muchnick once held for professional wrestling has been soured by years of covering the industry's various scandals. Whatever his feelings towards the sport, Muchnick's work is bereft of any agenda towards the industry or those involved in it.
The book's only real flaw is that it's so damned short. At just over 150 pages, it's hard to justify paying $17.95 for a softcover book. Reading the book though, it's a case of quality over quantity. If you haven't read about some of the bigger scandals in wrestling from the past two decades, you definitely will learn a lot from Wrestling Babylon. It's also a great book for aspiring wrestling writers who want to avoid the pitfall of becoming just another newzboy. Once you've finished Muchnick's collection of columns, you'll realize that while some people can't take professional wrestling seriously, that doesn't mean writing about it has to be a joke.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written and very interesting read all about the wrestling biz.
If you are a wrestling fan this book is a must read.