The latest World Wrestling Entertainment book to be released is titled "Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s" by Brian Shields. As one might surmise, the book chronicles that ten year period of the then-World Wrestling Federation, spotlighting the performers who took part in that classic era where Vince McMahon expanded his company into a national juggernaut, the title changes, and the major events.
This WWE latest book, which officially hit book stores last week, is a mixed bag at best, taking its cue from the style of programming WWE produced at the time. Thus. you are looking for a quick reference of results and storyline points, such as title changes, you might enjoy this. If you are looking for light reading and nostalgia on some of your favorites or an introduction to that era, this may be for you. If you are seeking something deeper, such as insights into the people behind the caricatures they performed or what it was like for WWF to take over the national wrestling scene, you won't find it here.
The majority of the book features storyline-like profiles on Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Don Muraco, Paul Orndorff, The British Bulldogs, King Kong Bundy, Slick, Wendi Richter, Rick Rude, Roddy Piper, Ultimate Warrior, Bad News Brown, Adrian Adonis, Andre the Giant, Bobby Heenan, Nikolai Volkoff, The Iron Sheik, The Junkyard Dog, Ricky Steamboat, Greg Valentine, Brutus Beefcake, Tito Santana, George Steele, Fabulous Moolah, Mr. Fuji, Jake Roberts, Jesse Ventura, The Hart Foundation, Bob Backlund, the Honkytonk Man, Elizabeth, Demolition, Koko B. Ware, The Killer Bees, Hillbilly Jim, Lou Albano, Freddie Blassie, John Studd, The Rockers, Hercules Hernandez, Ted DiBiase, Sherri Martel, Rick Martel, Pedro Morales, and The Wild Samoans.
The profiles do not provide much in the way of insight into the era's talents, focusing instead on their personas, feuds, signature moves, and things of that nature. Small mentions are made of post-WWF careers, particularly title changes, although the focus is maintained entirely on their WWF run.
It's possible space reasons prevented the book from going deeper, but the profiles suffer because of it. Quotes from others about those profiled, even if they were lifted from other forms of WWE media, would have been a welcome addition to frame them as unique individuals.
Going beyond just the bare bones of their WWF on-camera storylines would have added great dimensions as well, providing a deeper look into who these performers were and what made them unique.
Wrestlers' departures are mentioned but further information is not given to frame them with reasons why. Paul Orndorff's 1987 departure from the company is noted, but ignoring his miraculous return from nerve damage in his arm. or his drive to continue working on top against Hulk Hogan with the injuries. The British Bulldogs' famous backstage feud with the Rougeaus is ignored, although it had a major bearing on their departure from the company. Demolition Ax's run as the Masked Superstar is never noted, despite having headlined in the early 1980s. Adrian Adonis is noted to have passed away in a car accident, but the circumstances - that he was on the road touring with other wrestlers at the time - is not gone into.
There are some talents who are surprisingly not included in the book, including Gorilla Monsoon, Vince McMahon (in his on-camera announcer role), Virgil, Kamala, Johnny Valiant, and the Rougeau Brothers.
The remainder of the book features a listing (complete with explanation and background) of all the title changes of the era, a breakdown of major event results (featuring match highlights and storyline points) of all the major WWF events and PPVs, and a chronology of major events within the company's timeline.
"Raging 80s" is currently available nationally and online at all major book outlets.