I had never had a harder time putting down a book than this instance and also wishing I wasn't reading it.
Assael's book really got me because of the way he just hitting me with different problems and scandals that Vince McMahon went through and how he would just tell me straight up that a decision someone made would come back to haunt them. Assael seems to like to do this a bit in the book.
For me, the hardest part to read about was the sex and steroids scandals that the WWF faced in the late 80's and early 90's. It first started going downhill for me when I was reading about the sexual happenings within the company which included Vince's romps and the alleged sexual abuse of ring boys. The accusations and behavior of wrestlers just seemed to make sense but at the same time it just seemed to be one of those things that you wish had not happened. I wonder why Assael did not address Linda's reaction to this situation.
The description of the steroid abuse was also an eye opener. I think we have all read about this before but the first hand accounts given in this book made me cringe sometimes and I would have to read some parts over again, like the description of Hogan's scar tissue from injecting steroids or the comparison that was made of his biceps to a roll of paper. The way Vince was building up his body was disturbing to me simply because he was the promoter. He didn't have to build himself up and it seemed like the height of egotism. Reading this, I started to think that the Mr McMahon character was really Vince McMahon of the 80's.
The book did pick up as the story moved on from the scandals and focused more on the business aspect of the WWF as it entered the Monday Night War. The way Vince ran his business was different from the way Bischoff ran WCW. In the WWF Vince had the power and did not let wrestlers gain much power in the way matches were set and who would be champion. This was most evident when he took the belt from Bret Hart at Survivor Series. This was something Bischoff was not following, partly because creative authority was something he used to entice wrestlers like Nash and Hogan to work for him. It seems to me that this was akin to the downfall of the old territories during the 80's and reflects what JR told our class. Wrestlers do not know how to be in charge of a wrestling company and that seemed to be the case in WCW. Like in the 80's where a wrestler would refuse to lose the belt to another wrestler and even though Hogan and Nash did not own WCW, you could mistake them for people like Verne Gagne or Dusty Rhodes. People who refused to lose or refused to give others a chance. Perhaps Hogan's experience with Gagne led to his power moves in WCW but this kind of internal power struggle, coupled with a reversal of fortunes in the morality department between the WWF and WCW, led to storylines growing stale and being rehashes. Again the lesson had to be learned. Wrestlers should stay in the ring and leave the story and promotion to the promoters.