Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “TNA”

My First Book: 20-Year History of TNA/IMPACT Wrestling

At long last — after debating it for many years — I’m writing my first book! And the scope of this project is so big that my first book is going to be two books. Yes, you read that right: two books! About what? The entirety of the first 20 years of TNA Wrestling, which is now known as IMPACT Wrestling.

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Book Review: Under The Black Hat by Jim Ross

Jim Ross is the voice of professional wrestling — inarguably the greatest play-by-play announcer in the history of “this great sport,” as Tony Schiavone would say. He southern drawl and impassioned delivery defined the Attitude Era, and behind the scenes Jim signed some of the top talent to WWE, including Brock Lesnar, Christian, Chris Jericho, and Becky Lynch. His first book, Slobberknocker, was good but it focused on the earlier years in his life and career in wrestling. His newest memoir, Under The Black Hat, is the one everyone has been waiting for as it provides JR’s thoughts on his time in WWE and beyond.

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TNA IMPACT Wrestling Annual Books

So far, in its nearly 20-year existence, there have only been three official books published by TNA/IMPACT Wrestling and they are the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of The Official TNA IMPACT Wrestling Annual. All three books were released in Europe, not the USA, but I got copies of them for a reasonable price on eBay. Below are three reviews providing you with a detailed look at each book.

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Jeff Jarrett and IMPACT Wrestling on the Passing of Bob Ryder

Today, it was announced that Bob Ryder, one of the founders of TNA Wrestling (now IMPACT Wrestling), passed away. There has been an outpouring from those within the pro wrestling industry since this news broke, sharing their thoughts and memories of this remarkable man who meant so much to so many people over the years. May he rest in peace.

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Book Review: Women Love Wrestling

Women’s wrestling is more popular than ever. The renaissance of women’s wrestling started in TNA Wrestling — now known as IMPACT Wrestling — at Bound For Glory in 2007 when Gail Kim became the first Knockouts Champion. Prior to this event taking place, female competitors were seen as less than, not equal to, their male counterparts. They were celebrated only for their looks, not their ability. It was a sad state of affairs that was rectified, at least in TNA, in 2007. Today, women’s wrestling is hot in every promotion on the planet, including IMPACT Wrestling, WWE, and AEW. For fans that can’t get enough of the women’s revolution in wrestling, you’ll want to read Women Love Wrestling.

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Pro Wrestling Demystified: You Know It’s Fake, Right?

“You know it’s fake, right?” These are the words uttered by people who don’t understand professional wrestling. How do I respond when people ask this ill-informed question? I say, “You know Darth Vader is fake, right?” Or, “You know the characters in This Is Us aren’t real, right?” Professional wrestling might as well be Rodney Dangerfield because it doesn’t get any respect. Despite the fact that professional wrestling has been around for more than 100 years, some people feel the need to cast judgment and view it as holding no redeemable value. I’ve been a fan of professional wrestling my entire life, and I’m proud of that fact. I’ve derived a plethora of value from my fandom, established friendships because of it, and had amazing experiences along the way. Professional wrestling is just as valid a form of entertainment as anything you’ll find on film, in print, on stage, or even on a sports field. This is the first in a series of posts where I’m going to take the time to help demystify professional wrestling in an effort to help those who aren’t fans understand why millions of us are. Read more…

WWE: Kicking Down Doors

WWE: Kicking Down Doors, a new book from DK, highlights the female superstars who are at the forefront of WWE’s Women’s Evolution. Relive the very first all-women pay-per-view event, discover how legends such as Wendi Richter, Chyna, and Lita proved their dominance in the ring and chart their progression from glamorous sidekicks to fierce and fabulous Divas to the powerful superstars of today. Celebrate the likes of “The Man” Becky Lynch, “The Queen” Charlotte Flair, Naomi, Nia Jax, and Ronda Rousey as they set a new gold standard in WWE.

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What Authors Can Learn From Pro Wrestlers

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I’ve been a fan of pro wrestling since I was a child. When executed effectively, this amalgam of theater and athleticism can suspend my disbelief and take me on a thrilling adventure – similar to other art forms. Unfortunately, pro wrestling doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. There are many uneducated people who approach wrestling fans and say asinine things such as, “You know it’s fake, right?” What these Neanderthals fail to realize is that wrestling fans are fully aware of the fact that it’s an intricately planned form of entertainment; so are television shows, movies and novels, but you don’t see these same myopic buffoons accosting fans of True Blood or Lord of the Rings saying, “You know vampires and hobbits aren’t real, right?”

Rather than dismissing it because you don’t understand it, I challenge those of you unfamiliar with pro wrestling to watch the match below. It’s arguably the greatest match in the history of pro wrestling. It features Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania 25. What makes it special is it tells a story from start to finish. From the opening video package to the match itself, there is a great deal to be learned from these two grizzled veterans. Like any skillful storyteller, they set a great pace, insert several calamities and end with a thrilling, and satisfying, conclusion.

Yes, there are plenty of terrible wrestling matches, the same way there are a multitude of dreadful television shows, films and novels. But the great ones are a spectacle to behold and, as writers, we can learn from them. We can learn that it’s important to know your audience and give them what they want, while at the same time keeping things unpredictable and fun. None of us want to produce something that is forgettable; we want to be known for drawing in our readers, having them fully invested in our characters and anxiously turning pages. Wrestling is the same. Companies like WWE seek to create compelling characters, insert them in precarious situations and let the drama unfold.

For authors, there is much to be learned from pro wrestling. Give the match below a shot and you’ll see what I mean. There are stories being told all around us; some are good, and some are bad. But if we aren’t open to experiencing all of the different mediums through which they are told (e.g., TV, movies, plays, books, music, pro wrestling, video games, etc.), then, as storytellers, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. There is a great deal to be learned, but only if we expand our horizons.

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