A true Internet wrestling legend, RD Reynolds has solidified himself as a man whose name is on everyones lips. And why wouldn't it be? He's been a manager and booker on the Independent scene, created one of the most popular wrestling websites on the net (Wrestlecrap.com), and written a hugely-successful book to go with it. His humorous style of writing has earned him a legion of fans, and his triumphs and tragedies have been shared by all. Now, RD has joined forces with Bryan Alvarez of Figure Four Weekly to release "The Death Of WCW", an emotional book chronicling the truth behind both the rise and fall of World Championship Wrestling with a mixture of humour and seriousness. I was able to chat with RD recently and find out more about the book, as well as Wrestlecrap and the man himself.
First things first, what prompted you to write a book on WCW?
I had written the first WrestleCrap book, and the publisher (ECW Press) wanted a follow-up. This was due, I think, because the first book sold approximately 10 BILLION times better than they had expected a book with the word "CRAP" in the title to sell. I kicked around a lot of ideas, and basically came up with three concepts, one of which had nothing to do with wrestling at all and would have been a co-op effort between myself and Matt over at x-entertainment.com. ECW wanted another wrestling book, so it came down to the Death of WCW or the Death of ECW. I decided that the ECW story would be way too depressing to write, because even at the end they were putting out a good product and everyone was trying hard. WCW, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. If ever a company was doomed to die, if ever a company NEEDED to die, it was WCW and the boneheads in charge there. The comedy, which is obviously very important to me, was all there. So I went forward with that.
Was this before or after the success of the Monday Night Wars DVD the WWE released?
We signed the deal about a year before the Monday Night Wars disc was released. I remembered being very concerned when I heard about that disc, thinking it would cover the same ground. In some ways, it did, but realistically, it was written from WWE's perspective, which isn't really an unbiased look at things.
How did the partnership with Bryan Alvarez (Figure Four Weekly) come about?
I had been a F4W subscriber for quite some time, and thought Bryan was/is hysterical. Our views are very similar. He also has a ton of backstage knowledge that I didn't have. Therefore, I asked him to join me in writing it. Thankfully, he said yes. He was great. In fact, he wrote about 75% of the original manuscript. I did all the rewrites, so it probably worked out 50-50 on the material in the book, but without him, that book wouldn't have been anything near what it was. I can't say enough good things about what he did for the book.
Is it true that you never actually met each other once during the writing process?
We have never actually met, no. We talked on the phone several times a week, but most of it was done via email. I was going to try to meet him at the Cauliflower Alley Club in April, but things just didn't work out. "Real life" got in the way. :)
I take it that Bryan was instrumental in Dave Meltzer (Wrestling Observer Newsletter) writing the Foreword. How much did Meltzer contribute to the book past that, and did you have much contact with him yourself?
Dave was great. He did all our fact checking. He's like a walking wrestling encyclopaedia. Again, I can't say enough good things about Dave - he's a great guy. Interestingly enough, we (Dave and I) never actually spoke, though, until I was on Observer Live.
How much publicity has actually gone into the book?
We didn't have a ton of publicity. ECW Press is a small company, and they've done what they could. They line up interviews, etc., done some in-store promotion, and have put commercials on wrestling radio shows. But obviously they don't have the budget WWE has.
So I'm sure you must be more than ecstatic with the success the book has had
"Success" is all a viewpoint. I don't view success based on how many books we sell or how much traffic the website gets. I view it as...do people enjoy the book? Did people learn something? Did we bring something interesting to the table. And most importantly, did people laugh? That's what I consider success. With the feedback I've gotten, I definitely am happy with the success of both books. :)
Surely though you must be more than a little happy that your book is ranked higher than that of Triple H
I admit - that was actually a goal I had for the book, lol. But Trips shouldn't feel bad - after all, we dedicated OUR book to him and Steph!
At the end of the book, you reveal who you believe to be responsible for the ultimate demise of the company. Did you personally have a prime suspect already sussed out before writing?
We did - and they are all on the front cover. When we revealed the real culprit, I think it was a surprise ending, like finding out the butler did it or something.
Did you have to watch a lot of WCW footage throughout the research for the book?
I went back and watched a lot of the earlier stuff. Basically, it played out that I wrote the early stuff and the end stuff (2001-on). So I watched all of that stuff. Bryan didn't watch ANYTHING - he just remembered it all. He wrote stuff like the MACHINE bit without even pulling out a tape. Amazing.
Were you a fan of WCW during it's existence at all?
Absolutely! I thought the era of the Hogan turn and the nWo was fantastic. I also liked that they brought a different style of wrestling to fans. Even at its worst, they had great cruiserweight matches that Vince will never, EVER promote. That saddens me so much. I remember when we started the book, Bryan said, "You know we're going to get really depressed writing it." And I thought there wasn't a chance of that, since I had watched the company collapse. I remembered how bad it was. When I started watching the old tapes, though, I saw just how GOOD it was at times too. And, as Bryan predicted, I got VERY depressed.
Having said that then, what are your personal favourite and least-favourite moments of WCW?
Favourite moments: any of the great cruiserweight matches. I loved the early nWo stuff too. I'll never get the image of Rey Mysterio being javelined into the side of a truck out of my head. Any of the Scott Hall-Giant stuff, where he'd act like the earth was shaking as Giant entered the ring. Least Favourite Moments: watching the company implode due to bad booking, like the destruction of Goldberg's character, the fingerpoke of doom, and the Vince Russo era, particularly David Arquette's title run.
Who do you think the WCW belt looked better on? David Arquette or Vince Russo?
David Arquette, because you could at least make an argument that it was good for business. A dumb argument, but an argument nonetheless.
Do you think the WWE should make a DVD solely for WCW, in the same vein as The Rise & Fall Of ECW?
No, because their view of WCW is very different than what reality is. There was a lot of good in WCW, and WWE has no interest in showing that. That's one of the reasons we wanted to write the book, actually - to give guys like Eric Bischoff credit he deserved. Because, before he lost control of his company, he did a LOT of great stuff, which benefited not only WCW, but WWE and ECW as well.
Are there plans for you to write another wrestling book?
At this point, I just want to kick back and enjoy life for a while. I'm sure I'll write another book someday, though - I just want to make sure it's every bit as good as the first two were.
With that out of the way for the moment, let's find out about the real RD Reynolds. You've just announced on your website that your wife is expecting your first child. Congratulations. You must be overjoyed.
I am absolutely thrilled. I was starting to get to the point where I didn't know if I would ever want to have kids, because I'm in my late 30's. I didn't want to be the guy that sat at my son's school functions, with his friends whispering, "Is that your grandpa?" :)
Obviously you are most famous in wrestling land for the highly-popular Wrestlecrap.com website. Recently, you've had to cut back on the size of the site in order to be able to afford the site bills. Do you think, taking everything from the family to any money made from the books into consideration, that we'll ever see the site return to its original glory?
Here's the thing about posting all the old stuff - in addition to it costing so much, a lot of the old stuff, if you'll forgive me, absolutely SUCKS. I swear, I look at some of the stuff I wrote five years ago, and I think, "Dear God, I can NEVER let anyone see this." I think the original Gobbledy Gooker induction was probably the worst - it talked about Gene Okerlunds WCW hotline more than anything else. The original Red Rooster induction was like 150 words or something. In short, all the old stuff is just that - old, bad, and woefully outdated. The nice thing about posting stuff here and there is that I can clean it up, update it, and make it worth reading. If I had the money and time to update them ALL, I'd have everything up at once, sure.
Did you ever expect the site to take off like it did?
No. It was never designed for that. It was designed for me and my buddies to laugh at stupid wrestling stuff. That's it. It was never designed so I could write books, or put out a DVD of my horrible indy matches. It was designed to make me and my friends laugh. As it turns out, I just wound up with a lot more friends than I started with, and that, to me, is the biggest success of all.
Ok, let's move on to a quick word association game (no interview is complete without one)
The only game in town
Stupid website that made me a lot of friends (maybe HEIDENREICH should run it!)
Great co-author, very funny guy
Insane genius. Wait, scratch the genius part
The best - and worst - thing to ever happen to WCW
And finally, Viagra On A Pole
If you have a pole, why do you need Viagra?
Where does RD Reynolds go from here?
It's a time of change. I need to recharge my batteries, spend some time with my family. The last time I needed this, I shut the site down. That was dumb. This time, I'm not so dumb. I don't want to lose my fanbase, my friends I've met. I just need time to revitalize myself, and maybe let someone else help carry the load of the site. Thankfully, I have someone in mind. :)
If you could describe your life since the conception of Wrestlecrap in no more than ten words, how would you describe it?
Lucky, fun, beyond my expectations. I've been very blessed.
Quickly plug anything and everything that you would like to shill
Wait, here's Barry Didinski to shill for me (I keep him in my basement).
Barry Didinski: Fans, you just CAN'T GO WRONG with any of the fine WrestleCrap merchandise available at WrestleCrap.com! There are two books that some critics have claimed are BETTER THAN THE BIBLE: WrestleCrap and the Death of WCW. There's the fantastically awful WrestleCrap Personified: The Worst of RD Reynolds DVD, which caused Les Thatcher to proclaim "Thank God RD Reynolds retired!" Finally, there's shirts and other crap you can buy with the WrestleCrap logo slapped right on. In short: WRESTLECRAP: BUY IT IN BULK!
Thanks, Barry. Now get back in the basement.
Finally, with everything said and done, with the success of the two books and the website, with the new friends you have made and the family you are about to expand, the inevitable question needs to be asked - what on Earth possessed you to buy the Katie Vick outfit?
Blade Braxton (who writes Jobber of the Week for the site). He's like my Emperor Palpatine. He turned me to the darkside, told me we had to buy it. In the end, I had to agree with him - it's only appropriate given how I made my name, that I own it (and force Blade to wear it).
At least if you have a daughter, you can encourage her to become a cheerleader
And I will advise her to never, EVER go for a car ride with a burned up, murderous freak. That's just good advice, I think. :)
Well RD, it has been an honour and a privilege. Good luck with everything, and thank you very much.
Thank you, this was fun. And thanks too to all my fellow Crappers. Keep on Crappin', gang. Just don't forget to wipe.
For more info on Wrestlecrap see: Wrestlecrap.com
Buy the books:
The Death of WCW - UK: £8.39 / USA: $12.89
Wrestlecrap: The Very Worst of Pro Wrestling - UK: £9.77 / USA: $12.89