Extreme Championship Wrestling is a company that has been written about for years, but Scott Williams’ book, “Hardcore History – The Extremely Unauthorized Story of ECW” gives us a different take by attacking it from multiple sides. After a few pages, it’s obvious he understands and loves the “sport.” After a chapter or so, it’s equally as obvious that he’s a good journalist. As a result, you get a book that is well-written and well-reported, resulting in an intense and engaging reading experience.
Having a decent source list is pivotal when putting a book like this together and here Williams doesn’t disappoint. Everyone from ECW founder Tod Gordon to the company’s cameraman is quoted, as well the super fans that literally bled for the company. While certain wrestlers under WWE contracts at the time the book was written weren’t interviewed, the quotes from the athletes in the company he does end up getting, such as Shane Douglas and Terry Funk, give a plethora of information and don’t pull any punches.
However, while there’s a ton of wrestling information in the book, the best parts are about Heyman’s dealings with other personalities and other businessman. described by Williams as a guy with a dream that eventually got in over his head and couldn’t keep his ego in check to get the help he needed, Heyman ends up looking like the Bernie Madoff of professional wrestling. A schemer from start to finish, Heyman’s company ended up failing and if you were unsure as to why when it originally did or were too young to watch ECW when it was around, Williams paints a real picture of the company physically and financially.
With all of the ECW books to come out over the past decade, Williams ends up putting together one of the best thanks to a great list of sources and the type of reporting any journalist would be proud of. While many of his sources have opinions, Williams keeps his to himself, ultimately telling a story of how Heyman preached togetherness within his company and ended up leaving it alone during its toughest time to go film a movie. In the end it says a lot about his character and the hardships of the industry as well, making it a book that every dedicated wrestling fan should read.
As a result, by the time the last page is flipped, you’ll know why this book was unauthorized by ECW and even more so why guys like Douglas and Funk contributed to it. Gritty and honest, this book ultimately tells you most of the things you always wanted to know about ECW.