If you are a listener to Jim Cornette’s podcasts, you have heard of — and from — Charlie from Starkville. Charlie sends in questions and has become a regular contributor to the podcasts.

Charlie from Starkville is actually Charlie Dimino, who has authored two books, and his latest, What Happened to Our Wrestling?: … Charlie From Starkville Asks the Fans! is partly inspired by his time on Cornette’s shows.

In What Happened to Our Wrestling?, Mr. Dimino interviews pro wrestling fans, wrestlers, and promoters from all over the world and asks their thoughts on how wrestling has evolved over the years. The book is flawed but provides insights into why a segment of longtime fans no longer enjoy wrestling like they used to.

One of the strengths of the book is the diverse background of the interviewees. There are current wrestlers, supermarket managers, fitness instructors, and even a Braille proofreader. Mr. Dimino’s book provides a tapestry of individuals who love, or have loved, professional wrestling. This allows the reader to see perspectives from average people and not just those who have worked in the industry. It is an impressive feat from Mr. Dimino and likely due to his hardy online presence.

Mr. Dimino’s first book, teaming with illustrator Justin Adcock, was the 2022 graphic novel, Into the Pines. Though he hides it as a part of his wrestling “gimmick”, Mr. Dimino has a writing background, including covering the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2000s, and his mother, Vicki Dimino, was an English teacher and published her own novel, My Summer of Cats in 2014.

The first chapter of the book offers an interview with the grandson of William Afflis, aka Dick the Bruiser. Finding out the thoughts of someone who has been, not just around wrestling, but is related to one of the all-time greats makes for a fascinating read. Karl from Indianapolis is not, however, a wrestler. So, while his opinions are influenced by both his grandfather and father, who was also a wrestler, it is also the opinion of someone who works for an aircraft maintenance company.

Jenny from Rochester, who works for the local fire chief, offers insights into the female perspective on wrestling. She described it as “disheartening” having to watch women’s wrestlers since the Attitude Era. The industry’s attitude was “find some pretty girls and show them some moves.” Jenny also offers praise for WWE’s Rhea Ripley and AEW’s Nyla Rose for representing change with different looks and body types.

These are just a couple of examples. The interviews would make for an interesting read for local promoters and even Tony Khan to get a glimpse of what some fans feel is missing. Including fans who do not enjoy the WWE corporate style or have been turned off by AEW. Chris from Sooke, British Columbia, said he had a subscription on TSN’s website that allowed access to AEW events. He used it for a couple of months before saying, “I can’t do this anymore,” and canceled it. There are several examples in this book of fans trying AEW and turning it off.

My biggest criticism of the book is the format. Although the book is a little over 200 pages, it does drag. The interviews in isolation are interesting, but without visuals they become repetitive. Photographs, which would be difficult to include since the book is self-published, would have added to the enjoyment. Perhaps filming these interviews for YouTube would have been a better idea, although I do not know how realistic that would be for Mr. Dimino to pull off. It would have been interesting to learn how Mr. Dimino was able to contact his interviewees. Were these in-person? On Zoom? Email?

It is not like Mr. Dimino is a stranger to YouTube, as he has The Official Charlie From Starkville YouTube Page, and creates content for his Facebook pages. (Just when does the 43-year-old find the time to run his storage unit business in Mississippi, though?)

There is also the option of formatting the book into more of a conventional book instead of a series of interviews. Again, this is just some ideas of how the book could have been improved. The content is fascinating and worthwhile, but it got repetitive.

Overall, I (Thomas from Florida) enjoyed reading the book. Fans of Mr. Dimino, who has his own fan page on Facebook, will enjoy reading these interviews. It does offer interesting thoughts and insights that a segment of fans will relate to. It would be nice if promoters paid more attention to these perspectives rather than just using the same old same old “modern” style. This is a book strictly for wrestling fans and would have benefited from visuals or being put into an audio/video format.