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Summary

In April 1999, Entertainment Weekly asked its readers what many were surely wondering to themselves: How did wrestling get so big?

As a consequence of the heated ratings competition between World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), the spectacle had taken over Monday nights on prime-time cable television. But in a departure from the family-friendly programming produced by the last industry boom - the 1980s wave, which made household names of Hulk Hogan, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, and Andre the Giant - the new era of wrestling combined stunning athleticism with a raunchy sex appeal, engrossing story lines, and novel production techniques that reflected a changing society and its shifting values. 

Once again, wrestling was a ubiquitous phenomenon - only this time, it seemed as though the fad would never end. With both WCW and WWF expanding into other forms of entertainment - movies, video games, music, and the like - the potential for growth appeared to be limitless. 

But with uncertainty surrounding its corporate future, and increasingly uninspired programming eroding its audience, WCW stood on the verge of collapse. Three years into a five-year plan devised by its charismatic leader - a former Blue Ribbon Foods salesman named Eric Bischoff - the company whose unexpected ascension initiated the entire boom was operating on borrowed time. 

For by the end of the five-year plan, WCW ceased to exist.

But Nitro is a story about much more than WCW and the Monday Night Wars. It is a story of an era, a time in which the media and cultural landscape precipitated - and later supported - pro wrestling's mainstream popularity. It is a story of how a company made in the image of an intuitively brilliant risk-taker betrayed its original promise. It is a story of how a handful of men, each struggling with their own limitations, facilitated a public obsession that changed television forever.

*Features interviews and comments from 120+ WCW/TBS employees*

©2018 Guy Evans (P)2020 Guy Evans

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good, not great

This book is stuffed with fascinating insights into the juggernaut that was Nitro and Guy Evans is to be commended for compiling it into a singular narrative. However, some of the excerpts and quotes could have been condensed for clarity and length, becoming a distraction instead of a plus. Some of the artistic flourishes are trying a bit too hard to reach for a grander meaning in what is essentially a business story. Additionally, while Evans gets a plus for effort in recreating some of wrestling's greatest voices, the performance overall was subpar. Definitely one for existing fans of wrestling.

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Incredible

An absolutely fantastic book from start to finish. The granular detail is magnificent, the timelines are great while also allowing asides to really set the stage for later events. I've seen two criticisms of the paper book: 1. It's not 'wrestling' enough 2. There isn't enough analysis Regarding 1, I've seen all of Nitro and can do so again at will. I don't know why I'd want that much detail on individual storylines Regarding 2, this is the most comprehensive book about such a production from all sides. Make your own mind up. More authors for wrestling books should narrate their material. Guy did a great job because he knew the tone that these quotes were said in. Along with a charmingly awful Dusty Rhodes impression that came across rather tongue-in-cheek (or tongue-on-lips) that was worth the price of admission alone, it's the best read wrestling book I've listened to so far. Highly recommend and I'm looking forward to Guy's next work(s), wrestling related or not

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Outstanding!

Having read 'the death of wcw' this book goes much deeper and right into the cracks and delivers a breathtaking account of hubris and shocking missed opportunity.

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A very detailed and surprising tale of WCW

Evans covers all the major points of the WCW era: the first Monday Nitro, rise of the nWo, Goldberg-Hogan in Atlanta, David Arquette as champion. It is all there and well covered. There is not an episodic breakdown of Nitro which I thought was a positive move. The book does follow a logical chronological order but does not get stuck in the weeds of giving a review of every Nitro ever produced.

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Terrific education on a seminal time in Wrestling

I absolutely loved listening to Nitro recently whilst I’ve been at work/ I’ve learned so much about WCW, a company I was too young to see in its heyday. I found it an incredible education into a seminal time within the wrestling industry that held my interest throughout its runtime and I cannot recommend this highly enought to anyone with even a passing interest in Wrestling, WCW or the entertainment business itself. I cannot wait to see what Guy and the team do next!

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Very interesting - high in detail

very good book. very interesting. goes into more detail than i could have expected. It is a little dry but that is be be expected with such a comprehensive covering of the WCW lifecyle. It highlights famous on air moments as well as the business lanscape of Turner broadcasting. worth a listen.

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Very detailed account

So many facts and pieces of info. Normally prefer stories to facts but enjoyed nevertheless

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Fantastic Book for wrestling fans

If you are a wrestling fan of the era when WCW was a wrestling powerhouse you need to read/listen to this book. Guy Evans has done a fantastic job of documenting the inner workings of WCW during the time when wrestling was arguably at its peak. Insightful anecdotes from key people of the time let’s you peak behind the curtain of events not seen on tv during this period.

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Best in Class

I have read or listened to possibly every wrestling book on the marker. This book my friends is Top2. Only Bret harts book comes anywhere near this. Unsurpassed in the level of detail on offer. If you like getting in the weeds and looking at the business side of the wrestling business then this book is for you. This is the only book you will ever need on the monday night war era of wcw. No stone left unturned and flows so easy. Finished in 2 sittings. A must read for any wrestling fan. 5stars

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what is this voice?

i can't take this fake voice longer than 20 minutes. i think the reader is from the west country but this could just be an Englishman doing his best american accent? I can't take it, it goes from smooth english, to west country twang to replacing all "t" for "d" ('straddagie' [aka strategy] or 'addedude' [aka attitude]). it is awful. the content is intriguing but someone else ought to read it

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  • Chris
  • 26-05-20

Excellent Account of the WCW story

Guy Evans has produced probably the most thorough & reliable account of the WCW story. Evans talks to people in many facets of the companies involved and actually has the facts to back up the narrative.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-11-20

SO good, it brought me to anger tears!

I was a huge wcw fan, and was aware of some of this stuff going on. But I didn't know ALL of this went on!

1 person found this helpful

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  • jamie
  • 04-11-20

a must listen for wrestling fans

The Monday night wars was the biggest time if pro wrestling history. This is the story of WCW nitro and the in depth analysis of what was a success and what ultimately went wrong.

1 person found this helpful

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  • michael j pasco
  • 29-10-20

very satisfied

good informative and entertaining. reminded me of a lot that I forgot about over the years and learned more stuff as well.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Thomas Schoenfeld
  • 28-10-20

phenomenal!!!

narration was awesome. one of the best if not the best book on pro wrestling history i have had the pleasure to listen to. job well done sir

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  • Tony Tarkowski
  • 16-10-20

If you're a wrestling fan, you need to listen to t

If you are on the fence about this book take my advice -- LISTEN TO IT! It does get a little dry in spots that are more business side of things, but this is very much worth the listen and the Narrator has a great voice. I am glad I listened and I will recommend this to everyone I can.

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  • BangoSkank
  • 24-09-20

The Best Book on The Monday Night Wars

Can't suggest this book enough. This is my favorite era of wrestling for many reasons and I have always tried to fully understand what ultimately contributed to the complete collapse of WCW. Guy Evans demonstrates very clearly what the internal and external issues were that Bischoff faced. It's so detailed and well-researched that I started to get stressed as he described the mismanagement of WCW & Turner Broadcasting. Highly recommend this book for all serious wrestling fans.

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  • Marc
  • 20-09-20

Definitely the superior book over Death of WCW!

This book is an unbiased account of what took place during the Monday night wars! I was grateful to be a kid watching it during the golden age of wrestling and it did bring back a whole lot of memories! if you are a wrestling fan I highly recommend this book!

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  • Jeff
  • 28-08-20

Very enjoyable history of WCW

I planned to read Nitro book since hearing about it on the 83 weeks podcast for many months, but couldn't find the time. As soon as it hit Audible I downloaded a copy and was honestly looking forward to my hours long drives for work. The book is an amazingly detailed history of WCW, inside and outside of the ring, that you're not going to find anywhere else. I highly recommend it.

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  • Lance
  • 15-08-20

Incredible

While this book is about a Pro Wrestling company, pro wrestling is really the backdrop (see what I did there) to the story. It's such a detailed account of what was going on with the company during that time. What I appreciated the most, the author had no agenda. He researched the subject, he did the interviews, he did the freaking work to find the truth. I truly believe this book is as close to the truth as we'll ever get. I personally want to thank Guy Evans for writing this book. it brought back so many memories and I learned so much of the context of those memories and more. I definitely recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful