Eric Bischoff is a guy that I’ve always been a fan of in the wrestling business. His brash, in-your-face, “up yours” style is one that I admire and one that I’ve employed successfully over the last decade of my life from college to the workplace to my small business to even my volunteer work! So naturally, when I heard that he had finally written his biography and focused it around business end of the wrestling industry, I knew that it was a book that I had to pick up and read.
And I’m glad that I did. This book reaffirms all of the things that I like about Eric Bischoff. He talks (in detail) about how he viewed the wrestling business in a completely different way than how the old veterans of the business viewed it. He calls wrestling the “purest form of marketing.” And you know what? I agree with him 100%. He’s right. Wrestling is as basic as it gets in terms of entertainment. Two wrestlers are in a ring and they have to sell a “product” or, in other words, their feud. If it works, they get the cheers of the audience; if it fails, they get the jeers.
The other thing that I really liked about this book was that Bischoff had a chance to put the record straight on many issues and he hits the internet “dirt sheets” pretty hard. Most of this criticism is deserved since his basic premise is that the dirt sheet writers were not just pro-WWE, rather they were anti-WCW and even more anti-Eric Bischoff. And why were they anti-Eric Bischoff? Well, for the same reason that many of the old school wrestlers were against him – he was an outsider to the industry and he took a much different approach to running a wrestling company than they were used to seeing.
And that’s a great way to sum up this book. It’s Eric Bischoff’s tale of being an outsider to the wrestling world and then, in a matter of only a few years, finding himself rising from an entrepreneurial third-string announcer to the head of the biggest wrestling company on the planet. Not many people liked his rise to power, but many of these same haters made a lot of money from his out-of-the-box ideas. Bischoff also tells the real story of the corporate suits who killed WCW. He pulls no punches when he talks about how guys like Vince Russo had no chance of helping WCW and how the people who were making decisions for AOL Time Warner were completely unrealistic in terms of the wrestling industry. It was nice to finally read this all from Bischoff’s point of view.
This was a man who brought professional television writers to the wrestling world to help stretch storylines over the course of two to three months (a practice now used heavily by WWE). This was a man who saved untold hundreds of thousands of dollars by moving WCW’s syndication to a sound stage in Florida (a practice now used by TNA). He was the first to go live week in and week out, he was the first to break the wrestling business down to its 4 core “wheels” of revenue, he was the first to shun the “inside” fans and dirt sheet writers (though not the last)…
Eric Bischoff has made a remarkable contribution to what we watch each week on RAW, Smackdown!, Impact!, and ECW. This just cannot be denied. A lot of what is out there on the internet about Eric Bischoff just isn’t true (even his birthday isn’t properly reported online). For the objective reader, this book finally puts a lot of the bullshit to a halt and gives Bischoff the credit he deserves for restructuring the wrestling industry.
Before I give my recommendation for the book, I have to say that the biggest problem I had with the book was the spelling and grammar errors. I don’t see how the publisher could have let this book go to print when there were punctuation errors, misspelled words all over the book, improper grammar used… Hell, they even labeled a picture of “Sensational Sherri” incorrectly as “Missy Hyatt!” That’s just basic stuff that made what should have been a nice, smooth read a pain in ass sometimes.
I highly recommend Controversy Creates Cash for the fan of professional wrestling. For those of you who aren’t wrestling fans, I wouldn’t bother with the book unless you’re one of these entrepreneurial types who looks at the world of business a little bit differently. You may enjoy this book for its look at the business side of professional wrestling.