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By Greg Stephens on 10/30/2006 9:30 AM

I have just finished reading Eric Bischoff’s new book, Controversy Creates Cash.  It is rather ironic from the onset that any internet wrestling web site would devote space to review Bischoff’s book, considering how much ink he used to bash the very medium and insult those that work hard to provide a market with what they seek.

To be certain, this book will not be like any other wrestler book you will read.  I have read autobiographies from Foley, Lawler, Flair, Austin and the Rock, as well as R.D. Reynolds’ Death of WCW.  I have also given a fair amount, but not complete, perusal to books by Funk, Race and Rhodes .

Bischoff’s book is different than any of the above-mentioned works.  You will find hardly any tales of specific incidents between he and other notable wrestling personalities, such as unknown conflicts or issues.  There isn’t much discussion of specific pay-per-view incidents, Nitro moments, or personal interaction with the wrestlers.  What you do find is Eric Bischoff’s basic personal history in a nutshell, as well as the Cliff’s Notes version of his career in wrestling.

After a brief glancing of his upbringing, Bischoff explains how he got his start in the old AWA under old-school Verne Gagne.  To me, this was an interesting part of the book, as I remember when Eric joined the ESPN broadcasts.  He explained some of the behind-the-scene issues with the closing of the AWA and how he parlayed that into a career with WCW.

Once Bischoff’s book begins to explore his WCW career, it will vastly disappoint most readers.  Bischoff references issues with different people within the management of WCW, such as Bill Barnett and Ole Anderson, but gives little anecdotal support to most of his conclusive statements about these people.  Two hundred pages are devoted to the rise and fall of WCW with little to no mention about the visible product itself.

The book will not give people the ‘shoot’ dirt on the Steiners, Sting, Luger, Hart, et cetera.  The wrestler he mentions most is Hogan, followed second by Flair, and these mentions minimize the impact of the talent, their interactions, and the demise of WCW.

He plays off the notion that internal politics behind the curtain contributed to the downfall of the organization, contrary to Reynolds’ book.  Bischoff’s finger constantly points to the continually changing roster of clueless executives as well as the negative effects the Time/Warner/Turner/AOL mergers had on the business.

The book is pretty much consistent in that you would expect Bischoff to take credit for all the positives of WCW’s brief boom period.  It’s also consistent in that it tries to portray Bischoff as humble, hard-working and in complete control of the situations when he was allowed to be.  The frightening aspect of this book is that it reveals a philosophy of ‘sports entertainment’ over ‘wrestling’, which most readers would probably expect on a certain level.  To read this book, however, one would probably be shocked how Bischoff’s visions, or what he claimed his visions were, are probably more extremist than even those perceived from McMahon.

Controversy Creates Cash is a must read book for all wrestling fans.  Don’t read it expecting to get a better idea of what Nash, Hall and the rest were really like.  Don’t read it expecting to uncover new stories that have never been revealed before.  Don’t even read it expecting to truly understand everything behind WCW’s rise and fall.  Read it with the expectation of getting a better idea how the Turner organization was truly messed up, and how the attitudes of Turner’s top executives never allowed WCW to have a chance.  Also be prepared to get a greater appreciation of Bischoff’s talents, as he does demonstrate a fair sense of marketing and business acumen. 

Oh…also read it with tongue in cheek where the internet sites are concerned.  He isn’t kind, but remember, controversy does create cash.