"The Death of WCW" Highlights End of Monday Night Wrestling War

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Hulk Hogan, "The Rock", "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and others entertained over 12 million fans every week in the late-'90s. The new book, "The Death of WCW", describes how the Monday night pro-wrestling war came to a bitter end.

Death of WCW by Bryan Alvarez and RD Reynolds

Death of WCW highlights the end of the mid-90s Monday Night Wrestling war

"It was an unparalleled level of stupidity that took the company down," Alvarez said. "As I was writing it, I couldn't believe my own book."

There was a time in the summer of 1998 that professional wrestling's popularity rivaled that of Monday Night Football.

"Yes, that pro-wrestling, and that Monday Night Football," said Bryan Alvarez, co-author with RD Reynolds of the new book, "The Death of WCW."

On Monday, August 24th, 1998, the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), running head-to-head on the USA Network and TNT, combined to draw a 9.72 rating in 7.2 million homes. At the peak of what became known as the Monday Night War, 12 million people were cheering on stars such as "The Rock" Dwayne Johnson, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and Bill Goldberg every Monday night, only slightly less than the 13.1 million who watched ESPN's Monday Night Football on October 7th, 2014.

Just three years later, due to a mix of storytelling incompetence and financial mishaps, WCW was dead, having lost over $60 million in a single calendar year. It was sold to rival WWF in March of 2001 for roughly $2.5 million. "The Death of WCW" chronicles the rise and spectacular fall of what was, at one time, the biggest and most successful professional wrestling organization in history.

"It was an unparalleled level of stupidity that took the company down," Alvarez said. "As I was writing it, I couldn't believe my own book."

Alvarez, 39, has been covering wrestling since 1995, first as the editor of the Figure Four Weekly print newsletter, and later online for http://www.wrestlingobserver.com with Dave Meltzer, a pioneer of wrestling journalism. Today, he hosts Wrestling Observer Live with Mike Sempervive every Sunday on Sirius Satellite Radio, as well as twice-daily podcasts on his website.

"It's hard for newer fans today to understand just how popular wrestling was in the 1990s," said Alvarez, who has also worked as a professional wrestler for over 15 years. "The fall of WCW is not only a cautionary tale for everyone working in the industry today, but really for anyone who is running any sort of business. WCW may well have survived through today if they hadn't made such fundamental business mistakes, over and over."

The Death of WCW is a revised and expanded edition of the original 2004 work, which has sold over 50,000 copies to date. It is available wherever books are sold, including http://www.amazon.com and traditional brick-and-mortar stores, beginning Tuesday, October 14th.

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