National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling by Tim Hornbaker
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling is the story of the formation, life, and demise of the NWA.
This is the second book in my Kindle Unlimited Experiment. For the 30 day trial, I'm only reading books that are part of the program and keeping track what the total cost of the books would have been.
National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling details the formation of the NWA due to the need for one recognized world champion instead of each promoter recognizing his own title holder and the monetary advantages thereof. I find it fascinating that forty or so promoters tried to do what Vince McMahon Jr. did decades later, only instead of one man having his cake and eating it too, many men were fighting over how big of a slice of cake they should get.
The books starts in the days before the formation of the NWA and describes the early days, like promoters battling non-members and forcing them to join or go out of business. I had no idea St. Louis was such a battleground in the forties and fifties. I also had no idea Lou Thesz was an unpopular champion with the promoters and not a huge box office draw for most of his tenure as champ. Danny Hodge's father getting so mad at the man wrestling and beating his son that he jumped into the ring and stabbed him with a pen knife was crazy! Also, I never heard of Sonny Myers but getting sliced by a fan in the dressing room and requiring over 150 stiches was really interesting. Other parts, I already knew, like Toots Mondt and Strangler Lewis having a lot of power in the old days.
Wrestling is a morality play, a conflict between good and evil. So how did Hornbaker manage to suck all the fun out of it? Well, most of the writing was very dry. Every time the NWA hit a bump in the road, there were pages of quotes from court transcripts, newspaper articles, and legal documents. For me, the most interesting part was the profiles of all the important NWA champions from Orville Brown all the way to the point WCW withdrew from the NWA.
The book had its moments but I'm glad I didn't pay the $8.69 list price. 2.5 out of 5.
Current Kindle Unlimited Savings Total: $12.18.
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