Cover Image: In Defense Of... Exonerating Professional Wrestling's Most Hated

In Defense Of... Exonerating Professional Wrestling's Most Hated

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book. It gave me insight on a sport that I love. Also some of the stories invoked fond memories.
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Sometimes you don’t enjoy a book because it’s plain bad. Sometimes you don’t enjoy it because it just isn’t for you. This feels like more of the latter.

“In Defense Of…” is an anthology of columns from the 411Mania site in the mid 2000s with a simple concept: to take the conventional wisdom of the “Internet Wrestling Community” and argue against it, in the form of a courtroom defense argument.

Prag is open in the appendix of this book that what some readers will see as a weakness is a deliberate design choice. These aren’t meant to be balanced articles or to get involved in a back-and-forth of the style that would actually happen in courtroom cross examinations or a debate. Instead they are intentionally one-sided pieces that ape and almost mock the extended negative rants that were popular online at the time.

The book is certainly wide in scope, covering all the major topics of the era from the Monday Night Wars to Montreal to the booking career of Dusty Rhodes. That means it will certainly appeal to those who like the idea of thought-provoking and unfamiliar takes. (That said, the piece on Owen Hart’s death – a topic which really was a court case involving legal responsibility – feels completely out of place among the other ‘crimes’ under examination.)

For me, the format didn’t really appeal as so many of the pieces were intended to be relentless for literary effect but do so to the point that it’s hard to know how seriously to take the argument. For example, the defense against charges of Eric Bischoff being an overall negative on WCW’s legacy include his karate skills. It’s clearly a joke and almost a parody on the hyperbolic vitriole of his opponents, but it makes it harder to assess which parts of the argument have real merit.

Another element which is a matter of personal taste is that the book is inherently prone to strawman arguments. Because each piece addresses a wide range of criticisms and arguments on a particular topic rather than being a specific targeted rebuttal, it often feels as if Prag is simply countering the most extreme and ridiculous takes. 

To be fair, the book is limited by contextual issues outside of the author’s control. Having a string of articles in the same format can be overwhelming compared with their original appearance as standalone pieces (or even multi-part articles), particularly given many are exceptionally long and detailed. They also lose the original context of appearing on a website just a click away from a host of columns with a negative and repetitive tone that gave these pieces their unique selling point.

Whether you enjoy this book will largely depend on whether the premise appeals. If you think the idea of an almost 4,000 word explanation of why everything you believe about the “Fingerpoke Of Doom” is actually wrong, this is tailor made for you.
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Not great, not bad.  If you read wrestling dirt sheet sites at all, none of this is a surprise.  The scope of the book is impressive.  It does feel a bit disjointed, but it covers a lot of topics.  I would say it's worth the read, but it's not indispensable.
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Subtitle: Exonerating Professional Wrestling’s Most Hated

I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Although I haven’t watched much professional wrestling over the last decade, I still maintain a passion for anything pro wrestling related from when I became a fan in the early 1970s through the demise of WCW in the early 2000’s. This book looks at villified wrestlers, storylines, and events and presents what amounts to a defense case for them.


The material presented in this book originally appeared as blog posts by the author from approximately 2005 to 2010. Much of it revolves around the ‘Monday Night Wars’ of the late 1990s, which led to the eventual sale of WCW to Vince McMahon’s WWE, and McMahon’s handling of the integration of WCW wrestlers into WWE.

First off, I need to point out that there was so much material presented that it seemed like it took me forever to get through this book. I enjoyed the cases involving individual people (such as Eric Bischoff, Sid Vicious, New Jack, etc.) much more that the ones centered on storylines or eras. I think the book could have used more editing to pare down the volume of information.

In Defense Of… is not listed on Goodreads yet, but I give if an overall rating of four stars. If the content had been limited in scope to personalities, I would have given it five. I also need to point out that the ARC I received had both missing pages and duplicate pages – this did not affect my rating, as ARCs are not completely finished copies. However, if I had paid for a book with these same issues I would be asking for my money back.
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Ok so I have been a avid wrestling fan for a long time. I was very excited to read this book. It was ok. Lots of unnecessary info in my he author making his case. Also, all the cases he made a defense for was found not guilty. The book is set up with the author defending the subject. In all, he was able to get a not guilty verdict. Really? Not one case where you did not successfully defend the case? The best case was the death of Owen Hart. The defense of the cases go on for far too long. To the point it lost my interest. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the arc of this book in return for my honest review. Receiving the book in this manner had no bearing on this review.
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An interesting look into a fun side of pro-wrestling. I've been a fan of pro-wrestling for a long time, and this was insightful, fun and entertaining, with lots of in-jokes and info-bursts that would help out new fans too. There aren't enough books like this, so I was pleased to see this released. Recommended.
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This is not what I was expecting. It was basically a lot of word salad. A waste of my time! No real reason to bother with this.
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