Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War That Changed Pro Wrestling Forever

Tim Hornbaker. ECW (Baker & Taylor, U.S. dist.; Jaguar, Canadian dist.), $19.95 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-77041-384-9
Hornbaker (Turning the Black Sox White) turns the spotlight away from the wrestlers and onto the behind-the-scenes promoters who controlled the shady, loosely regulated world of professional wrestling in the 1950s–1980s. Memorable figures include Leroy McGuirk, a professional fighter who was blinded in a car accident and became a promoter in the 1950s, controlling Oklahoma and Arkansas, as well as the fiery ex-footballer Jack Adkission, who fought as a German villain under the name Fritz Von Erich and became a promoter in the 1960s, controlling the Dallas territory. The narrative moves swiftly to the 1980s, when the World Wrestling Federation established a virtual monopoly on the business, shutting out the regional players who had run the sport for decades. “It was difficult to find many territories not being directly impacted by the WWF one way or another,” Hornbaker writes. Most influential in the wrestling world was Vincent Kennedy McMahon, the voice of the WWF, who in the 1980s took the best-known wrestlers from all the TV territories and created WrestleMania just as growth in cable television and pay-per-view programming began to boom. There is a dizzying amount of detail—such as how WWF charged $30,000 for a 30-second ad in 1985—and the general reader may get lost in the blow-by-blow, but tried-and-true wrestling fans will find lots to get excited about. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X