Saturday, 28 September 2013

Stalking the catalogue: WWE encyclopedia

' industry defined by larger-than-life personalities performing acts both heinous and heroic...'

I'm a girl, I have an IQ higher than double digits and I'm an unabashed WWE fan.  I have followed the drama and pomp of WWE since the 1980s, when wrestlers such as Bret the Hitman Hart (my alltime favourite wrestler - boy was I gutted when he was cheated of his title in '97), Hulk Hogan, Jake the Snake Roberts and others dominated the ring.  These days there are more pyrotechnics, weird outfits, strange hair and bared skin (in the case of the Divas) but the battle for belts - and good guys versus the bad guys - never changes.  Each year when WWE comes to NZ I buy tickets and go along dragging my nephews for my cover story.

It's a tall order to expect one book to cover the rather spectacular history of WWE but I think that this encyclopedia does a fairly comprehensive job.  The only thing it doesn't do, which may not be a biggie, is list how past wrestlers died .  Followers will know that some wrestlers died in rather newspaper-making circumstances and none of that is mentioned.  I can think of at least 5 wrestlers off the top of my head who, in the last 2 years alone, were quietly suspended for drug use until they'd cleaned up but there's nary a word of it here.  Perhaps the aim is to concentrate more on highlights of careers rather than lowlights - to keep it in the ring, so to speak.  Either way it still makes for great reading.  I spent a long time oohing and aaahing over names from my childhood and remembering old matches.  Nostalgia never felt so good.  I wish I could say, like DX 'If you're not down with that then I've got two words for you...'  but I won't.  What I will say is: Don't bother to call yourself a diehard fan if you have not read this comprehensive 50 year history of the WWE.

Title: WWE encyclopedia : the definitive guide to World Wrestling Entertainment
Authors: Brian Shields & Kevin Sullivan
Published: DK/Brady Games, 2009

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