Bobby the Brain unleashes the life story of Bobby Heenan, better known as “The Brain” in wrestling circles. He tells all about his experiences with Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Vince McMahon, and all the other personalities that every wrestling fan knows like a relative. Just like his career, this tell-all has no holds barred.
In April 1999, Entertainment Weekly asked its readers what many Americans 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.
And so, with the inside knowledge of a journalist, the perspective of a historian, and the passion of a fan, author Guy Evans provides a fresh look at an unfortunate inevitability – the downfall of World Championship Wrestling. Bolstered by exclusive interviews with over 120 former TBS and WCW employees, NITRO is the definitive picture of the last wrestling boom.
Featuring exclusive interviews and comments from:
Eric Bischoff, fmr. President of World Championship Wrestling;
Harvey Schiller, fmr. President of Turner Sports;
Jamie Kellner, fmr. CEO of Turner Broadcasting System;
Bill Burke, fmr. President of TBS network;
Joe Uva, fmr. President of Turner Entertainment Sales and Marketing;
Scot Safon, fmr. SVP of Marketing for TNT network;
Kevin Nash, WWE Hall of Famer and 5-time WCW world champion;
Diamond Dallas Page, WWE Hall of Famer and 3-time WCW world champion;
Vince Russo, fmr. WCW writer;
Marcus ‘Buff’ Bagwell, fmr. WCW superstar and 5-time world tag team champion;
Kevin Sullivan, fmr. WCW superstar and head booker;
Hugh Morrus, fmr. WCW superstar;
Neal Pruitt, fmr. WCW Feature Producer and voice of the nWo;
David Crockett, fmr. WCW Vice President of Production;
Dick Cheatham, fmr. Group Controller for TBS;
Alan Sharp, fmr. WCW Director of Public Relations;
Mike Weber, fmr. WCW Director of Marketing;
Rob Garner, fmr. WCW Vice President of TV Programming and Sales
Jerry Jarrett, legendary wrestling promoter and booker…
And many, many, many more!
Saint Mick from New York Times #1 bestselling author Mick Foley is a Yuletide tale like no other: part jolly memoir, part whimsical ode to a lifetime love affair with Christmas, part solemn tribute to the power of finding the best part of oneself in the unlikeliest of places. After a lifetime of putting his body on the line to entertain his dozens (and dozens!) of fans, the Hardcore Legend is paying the price – both physically and emotionally.. Unable to resist the roar of the crowd, Mick returned to the ring too often, risking too much, losing belief in the characters that had defined him, and losing sight of his dreams. When the final bell on Mick’s career finally tolled – not with glory inside the ring, but with solemn words in a neurologist’s office, the future is far from merry and bright. Until hope and redemption come to him in the form of a beloved figure from his past. Given the chance to become Santa Claus – not dress up, not pretend, but become – Mick Foley rediscovers the joy of performing, finds a character he can believe in, and even finds a way to put his body on the line in commitment to his new craft, enduring an excruciating six hour bleaching so that the beard on his chin can be as white as the snow. Mick charts a course from the heartwarming to the surreal, detailing the drastic measures he takes to keep the magic age of belief alive for his younger children, as well as taking us inside the secret world of the Santa subculture – where -real-bearded Santas- and -traditional- or -mystical- Santas are quite often at odds as to who makes the better red suit ambassadors. Along the way, Mick worries that he will be excommunicated from the Santa world for everything from his colorful WWE background, to his Santa character being run over by a motor vehicle on Christmas Eve on WWE television, to his intentional breaking of -The Santa Claus Oath- by promising toys to families in need, to his participation in a controversial Santa Claus documentary. With Saint Mick , Mick Foley sails into the Holiday season with the earnestness of George Bailey discovering how wonderful life can be, the dog-eared determination of Ralphie on his Red Ryder quest, and with the speed and precision of a Buddy Elf snowball barrage. And with the help of an unlikely elf — 8 time Grammy award winner Norah Jones — Mick learns valuable lessons about the real power and responsibility of the red suit, and that success as Santa comes not by appearing in front of millions on TV, but by touching hearts and creating -Santa moments- for the young and the young at heart – one memory at a time.