Wrestling literature enthusiasts have been treated to numerous books highlighting the top performers in the squared circle. Several books have been published singing the praises of Ric Flair, Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan.
There were not, however, any publications that celebrated the failed characters and horrifyingly awful gimmicks in the history of the squared circle. For every Nature Boy, after all, there is a Black Scorpion; for every Stone Cold, there is a Ringmaster; and yes, for every Hulkster, there is a Mr. Nanny. Much of this “illustrious” history of the mat wars has not been scribed — until now.
Wrestlecrap: The Very Worst of Pro Wrestling, published by ECW Press, is the work of R.D. Reynolds, or as he is known in his civilian life, Randy Baer. The book is based from the postings of Reynolds on the popular website, wrestlecrap.com. The postings by Reynolds reflect on the bad and ugly of the wrestling world, remembering those gimmicks, matches and angles that many of the higher-ups would probably sooner forget.
While some might think the origin of the Wrestlecrap phenomenon was a grandioso scheme to remind Vince McMahon of the bunk that he has produced in the past so that he does not repeat history, the motivation behind the site was much simpler. “I’d bought this computer, and I wanted to justify all the money I’d spent on it, so I thought I’d do a website,” Reynolds confesses. “My main interests are pro wrestling and videogames, but there were tons of sites dedicated to both, so I was at a loss of what to do. One night, I was talking with (co-creator) Merle (Vincent) on the phone, and we were both watching Nitro. Something stupid came on, [I] don’t even remember what it was, and he said, ‘That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.’ And I said, ‘Well, then apparently you never saw the Gobbeldy Gooker.'”
“That’s when the idea came to me. Merle had been looking at writing something online for a while, so he jumped in writing a weekly column and helping me come up with the stupid gimmicks and stuff.”
Throughout the site’s history, there have been inductions that, for one reason or another, have been labeled as questionable by some readers. Imagine how it feels, then, for the wrestlers who have been inducted into the proverbial hall of shame. Reynolds recounts the reaction of one talent who felt his induction was not right. “I remember a few years back that Oscar from Men on a Mission was all up in arms about the fact that I inducted them,” Reynolds recalls. “He thought that was totally uncalled for, but in more or less the same breath thought the site was great.”
The Wrestlecrap book, however, is not just a word-for-word recreation of the site; rather, it is an extension of the webpage. Reynolds sees a definite difference in the way the two media have been written. “The site is just a bunch of single entries, and during the initial stages of writing the book, I found that to be very tedious to read. It would have made good ‘bathroom’ book had I done it that way, but I wanted it to be something more, something folks could put their teeth into,” he says, adding that, “the most important thing to me was that anyone could pick up the book, read a little, and laugh. Making folks laugh is more important to me than how many books have sold or anything like that.”