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It's a very special "pop culture" edition of BoA : Audio, with our guest James Guttman, author of a
We begin the interview by getting some background on James and how he ended up writing about professional wrestling. James talks about how pro. wrestling, much like the esoteric, remains outside of the realm of the mainstream, which hinders serious discussion of the genre. James talks about what sets his book apart from the many wrestling books on the market today and why he chose to focus on the insanity of the WWE.
James gives the lowdown on the present state of affairs in American wrestling today, a situation where one company, the WWE, controls almost the entire industry. He explains how the lack of checks and balances and competition allows WWE heads to use their TV progamming in situations that are often hurtful for their promotion as a whole, all for the reason of massaging egos and settling grudges.
James speaks to the paradox of the last few years, where WWE's television shows have changed from being "a wrestling show" to "a show about a wrestling company." James goes over specific instances where the WWE has used their programming to settle personal grudges instead of making the most out of high profile and highly paid performers.
We talk about the conspiracy theory du jour in professional wrestling today, centering around the wrestler "Triple H", who married into the McMahon family and has seen decidedly one-sided storylines written for him ever since. James discusses another odd paradox within the WWE, in that the company seems to hate the genre of professional wrestling, despite controlling almost the entire industry. How pervasive is this culture of anti-wrestling within the WWE and what happens to "wrestling fans" who work for WWE. We also talk about the WWE's change from privately held corporation to publicly traded company and how "going corporate" has changed the WWE.
Moving on, we talk about another source of problems within the wrestling business and that is the wrestlers themselves. How the culture of the athletes has not evolved since the early days of the genre and how this may be a key cause in the lack of a wrestler's union. We discuss how the superstar mentality causes the downfall of many stars. From there, we talk about wrestling's dirty little secret, the epidemic of young wrestlers dying, including discussion of the WWE's exploitation of the death of Eddie Guerrero.
James talks about the explosion of insider wrestling news and how that has changed the wrestling business. The WWE now owns a vast library of wrestling tapes, allowing them to control how the history of wrestling is written and James talks about the impact of that control on wrestling as a whole. James gives insight into the phenomena of former WWE contracted performers being afraid to speak out against the company, including a humorous story of a source who went missing right around when WWE started re-signing former stars.
Looking forward, James talks about what changes need to be made within the WWE to help improve the wrestling industry. We take a look at the "wrestling bubble" and insulation within the WWE, where they seem to be out of touch with the real world and that ends up hurting them with the mainstream, including discussion on the infamous "terrorist" characters that existed on WWE last year. We look at WWE's attempts at "good publicity" and how, more often than not, they tend towards overkill on promoting their good deeds. Where does James see the wrestling business going in the next few years. He discusses the impact of the boom in populartiy of Ultimate Fighting and mixed martial arts on professional wrestling and the key differences and similarities between WWE and UFC, aside from the "fake v. real" debate.
Finishing up, we find out what has been the reaction from WWE to James's book, World Wrestling Insanity, and from the wrestlers outside of WWE. He talks about the goals of the book's companion website worldwrestlingsinsanity.com and what sets it apart from the plethora of wrestling websites out there today. He also discusses his weekly audio series, Radio Free Insanity, and how it is different from the gamut of wrestling radio shows out there today.
James hosts the weekly audio series "Radio Free Insanity", every Friday @ worldwrestlinginsanity.com, featuring discussion of wrestling news and events along with interviews with a host of wrestling stars, both present day performers and legends of the past.
His website is worldwrestlinginsanity.com