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Arnold Furious

1PW Book

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Staniforth was given the job of finding British talent for the shows, since Gauntley didn't know much about the UK scene. He was gone before the very first show, mind. The book gives the impression that most felt Staniforth was just trying to get his mates on the shows.

 

By that logic he must've been sacked because he didn't have anyone to get on the show. I can picture him in the pub "will you be my friend? you can be on a wrestling show"

"Yeah, sure, mate. By the way, I've a vision of a thread on the UKFF slagging off PTW that'll be posted next week." Classic Petey and his down-the-pub friends.

Edited by Khemical

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He'll be here any minute with "I was just down the pub with a pint, enjoying a small cigarette in the beer garden with a fine lady as company, I then received a call from a good friend telling me about this thread...." when he was really doing an hourly search of his own name while watching Eastenders at home with a can of Skol.

Anyway joking aside, I just noticed this thread and had a fun read, I expected tired old 1PW bashing cliches I didn't need to see for the 78th time but instead I got the never gets old and well deserved Tommyboi stuff. Bullseye!

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Staniforth was given the job of finding British talent for the shows, since Gauntley didn't know much about the UK scene. He was gone before the very first show, mind. The book gives the impression that most felt Staniforth was just trying to get his mates on the shows.

Have you read it, Benny? I can't think of a better person to review it than you. I'd be definitely interested in an honest credible review of it before I invest a few quid in it.

(and Charlie... and Arch...)

 

Just seen this, apologies. Have kinda promised a bit of a write-up to someone else too, so I'll write something up in the next day or so...

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Finished this at the tail end of last week after lending the book from a friend. As an over-view of the company from those with a passing interest in 1PW and the controversy surrounding the company, it will most definitely be the best book ever released about the company. For those who were there from (practically in my case) the beginning, it feels like there's stuff missed out, or not touched upon, or even getting a few things mixed up here and there. They mention wanting to expand 1PW early doors and include an e-mail from Gauntley putting his foot down that they will remain local in Doncaster, but the reason for this outburst, the fact that the two Jan shows were going to take place in Blackpool and Doncaster is omitted. While the lead up to and WND are covered very thoroughly, the aftermath as to *how* Gauntley was able to come back (anonymous investors my fucking arse) is not queried at all, which is a shame as even I've heard potential "truths" to that situation so would've liked to have the truth finally come out.

 

The Jan 08 Granby shows are touched upon briefly, but the fact that the first show was going to be in the Dome until a "scheduling conflict" or some bullshit. I think back then that was a big sign that 1PW V2 were in trouble when a Dome show was going to be on the Friday to a Saturday Granby one, and then the Dome was suddenly unavailable. But the fact is not mentioned at all other than mentioning Abyss and Keenan's reactions to the Granby. There were some stuff I wasn't aware of such as the money issues at the end of the Third Anniversary Show. And, the days in which 1PW really became a shambles and really ripped off the customers, the Danny Rodd days, were very light at the end of the book with the majority being 05-09.

 

A lot of paragraphs are wasted on show/DVD reviews that didn't need to be that long (or that biased too for that matter) and there are some people interviewed who's input was fucking useless.

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Whether or not you agree with the tag-line of 1PW being “Europe’s most controversial wrestling company”, you are unlikely to find anyone that wouldn’t think the story behind the 6-year history of the organisation isn’t worth telling. For all the big attendances, large venues, impressive production values and international television stars, there was also a background of politics, bad business, fall-outs and, for want of a better word, ‘sleaze’, much of which has been the subject of thousands of words on internet forums and message boards since the promotion’s very inception. No more is that obvious than the fact this book was actually originally envisaged as a modern-day look behind the curtain of the entire British wrestling scene, only to turn into the project it did when the author stumbled across so many interesting 1PW stories, tales and controversy during the early days of their research. As such, it then became the first ever attempt to tell the story of a single British wrestling promotion in such detail.

 

‘All or Nothing’ (which was also the name of one of the promotion’s signature events) is a mightily hefty read, clocking in at nearly 350 pages and over 300,000 words. No doubt about it, this will keep you occupied for some time. The page layout takes some getting used to, as each page is presented as two columns of text. It’s a format perhaps more appropriate to a newsletter or ‘dirtsheet’ than a commercially released book, but once you become familiar with it this is no problem whatsoever. What is the most notable point regarding format and layout, however, is that the story is told entirely through the words and opinions of those who were there at the time. Indeed, the whole thing is laid out almost like a film script, with appropriately arranged excerpts from the various contributors’ interviews. It usually takes the style of one wrestler/personality/etc describing what happened through their eyes, then various other people coming in with their opinions and thoughts. What is interesting is that some people were interviewed a few times, so they are able to directly respond to points and comments made by others, either agreeing with them, offering a differing view, or flat-out opposing it altogether.

 

Almost all happenings throughout 1PW’s history are covered in some form or another. The book opens by covering the initial idea behind the concept and how it came to fruition. People like Steven Gauntley, Rick Peters, Anthony Kingdom James, Joe Dombrowski and Peter Staniforth are on hand to present their versions of what happened during those formative months, including the thinking behind assembling the roster, where they saw themselves fitting into the British scene and early problems before even the first show. What strikes me as interesting, and setting the scene perfectly for what was ahead, was that Gauntley is shown to have zero existing knowledge of the wrestling industry or the UK scene, having to rely entirely on the guidance of and (sometimes misplaced) trust in others. The reader is given the impression he is a hardworking and dedicated man, but a fish out of water and someone who had no idea what he was getting himself into. The debut event, in October 2005, is covered in some detail, including thoughts and reactions from many on the roster. From there, the book covers 1PW’s first year of business, effectively describing the excitement, passion and determination that came from early popularity and critical success, at the same time as giving full and frank accounts of some of the headaches and problems which were going along with it. Much is made during this section of the relationship between the guest US wrestlers and the UK guys. For instance, plenty is written on 1PW’s rocky relationship with TNA during these times, including what the TNA wrestlers could and couldn’t do on 1PW shows. There are widely differing accounts from the UK talent on how they found the television stars, both in the ring and in the locker room, as well as plenty of discussion around whether the US superstars were only here for a mega payday. Towards the end of the chapter, many start to mention some of the other points which seem to be holding the promotion back, such as failing to elevate the UK wrestlers to the same level as the guest stars and failing to provide any kind of storylines or conflicting dynamic in the matches in order to create an emotional investment in the outcome from fans. I found this particularly interesting, since these were some of the very reasons I myself gave up on following 1PW (for the first time)during this same period: every show was exactly the same, with exhibition match after exhibition match with seemingly random US guys brought over to fight for absolutely no reason. Once you’d had the novelty of seeing the TV guys in the flesh, there was absolutely nothing left on offer to keep you hooked.

 

From here, 1PW’s apparent bankruptcy and closure at the very beginning of 2007 is rightfully given extensive coverage, as you would expect. What is clearly apparent is that many saw this as an obvious eventuality and, again, we are shown various views and thoughts as to what caused it. The situation with the Great Muta (leading to him describing the UK as “a dangerous place to do business”) is also covered, with Steve Corino’s contributions describing how this was such a dishonour and the opposite of what is expected in Japanese business. The book then turns to Len Davies’ and 3CW’s involvement in picking up the pieces, giving the most open and frank viewpoints we are ever likely to hear on how this came about. Some thought 3CW were vultures trying to pick the corpse of 1PW to their own benefit, some thought they were in cahoots with Gauntley, and 3CW themselves describe their own motivations. It is from this point that Dragon Aisu takes on a much more prominent role in the book, with some open and honest descriptions of what was to go down over the next few years and how he became completely embroiled in it. What is obvious as the book goes on is that the whole thing sours him on the business. Interestingly, the book then jumps ahead to 3CW’s experiences in running their own major event in Middlesbrough a year or so later. This was the event that was billed as Steve Corino’s UK retirement event, only he failed to make it to the show. Of course, this is the main element up for discussion here, but there is no advancement from either side on what was reported at the time: Corino continues to insist he made it to England but was turned away in Customs; 3CW promoter Mike Groom continues to insist he phoned the airline and they told him Corino never boarded the flight. While it looks like the truth may never be known, the reader is presented with the evidence from both sides and left to make up their own mind about what they think went down.

 

Gauntley/1PW’s subsequent miraculous revival and comeback then feature prominently, including the widespread disgust, outrage and mistrust in the way they went about it. Gauntley responds by effectively simply saying “We found a backer” and leaves it at that. A picture is then painted of the rest of the Gauntley years, where 1PW continued but the glory days were behind them. Much is made of the fact that they become “just another UK promotion” rather than the something special they had been previously, with smaller crowds and grubbier venues, though it is interesting that a good few wrestlers were still massively excited to be part of 1PW, still holding it with the image of prestige and importance to work there. The 1PW Academy is roundly slated by all except Gauntley, with some hilariously frank opinions on particular named ‘wrestlers’ that emerged from there. There are positives during this period too, though, as the Damned Nation invasion angle is hailed a massive success, the best told storyline they ever ran. Dragon Aisu talks us through the way it came about, starting a lot earlier than most actually thought. In reading this, I could relate to many things in my own visits to shows around the country during this time, in one of many examples during the book where the reader’s own knowledge and experience allow it to hit home with greater recognition and meaning.

 

Next up is the story of how Aisu, El Ligero and Cameron Kraze ended up taking over the company from a burned out and disheartened Gauntley. The group are, by their own admission, portrayed as a group of wide-eyed novices who didn’t really have any idea what they were doing, who saw a chance and naively ran with it. This section focuses on the Third Anniversary Show in October 2008, the major show during that group’s reign, including the acquisition of Ric Flair and a massive financial problem at the end of the night which pretty much killed any enthusiasm any of them had for playing promoter.

 

From this point forward, the book mainly gives the impression of 1PW being a promotion in decline, with no sense of direction and being a shadow of its former self. Most of the comments are negative and it tells several tales of promising leads that ended up collapsing and going absolutely nowhere. In comparison to the early days of the organisation, the Danny Rodd years aren’t given much in the way of coverage, mainly since 1PW is by this time shown to be a dead company that no-one took seriously. Rodd is roundly slated by all, his failings and various doomed projects described in full. Rodd himself is on hand to give his side of events, mainly taking the line he has since the collapse of the promotion and pointing the finger of blame directly at his shady business partner Maurice Brooks. Referee and backstage aide Steve Lynsky also comes in for a bit of a battering from many for his apparent inflated sense of self-importance during this time.

 

As for the in-ring side of things, the matches themselves are described all throughout the book in appropriately-placed show reviews from the curiously titled ‘Arnold Furious’, spliced with supporting comments and memories from some of those involved. The reviews themselves are definitely over-‘smarky’, ultra-critical and analytical to the point they zap any sense of fun from the bouts, but do serve a purpose in that they are the only thing which makes an attempt to actually describe to anyone what the matches were actually like and what went on at the shows. In that sense, they fit the bill. Rounding off the book are a full results index from every single 1PW show, full histories of the World, Openweight and Tag Team Titles and a ‘roundtable discussion’ feature on various topics (for example, ‘Should 1PW have used UK talent better?’, ‘Did 1PW pay talent too much?’ and 1PW’s legacy), presumably using comments from the interviews which didn’t fit into the main feature.

 

It’s difficult to understand exactly who the book’s intended audience is. The book opens with a helpful ‘glossary’ of wrestling insider terms used during some of the interviews, a brief description of the various wrestling companies mentioned, and a ‘who’s-who’ cast list to explain who the various contributors are. This does indeed make the subject matter of the book a lot more accessible and understandable to a complete newcomer or non-fan, but I can’t help the feeling that I got the most out of this book by coming from a starting point where I did already know who the main personalities were and had my own experiences of 1PW in order to compare and relate to. While I can’t say someone with absolutely no knowledge of 1PW whatsoever couldn’t pick this release up and enjoy it to a certain extent, those who will get the most from reading ‘All or Nothing’ are surely those who already know a bit of background and are eager to know more.

 

Overall, I personally thoroughly enjoyed ‘All or Nothing’ and would easily recommend it to others. It is a massive task that takes some getting through, but if you have the slightest of passing interests in the subject matter, you are likely to find this an engaging and enjoyable read. Yes, there were some subjects I would like to have seen covered in more detail, and many that could have done with a bit more background to those reading about them for the first time. However, this is about the most in-depth account, featuring the most relevant talkers, which you are ever likely to come across regarding the workings of an independent wrestling promotion, let alone one that was based on our shores and provoked so many differing viewpoints and opinions. If you imagine “The Death of WCW” book, except told entirely by those that were there, involved in it and driving it, you will come pretty close to what ‘All or Nothing’ is all about.

Edited by Big Benny HG

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Might post more once I've finished reading it, but just one initial impression- there's no contents page, no index and worst of all- no fucking page numbers?? What kind of book doesn't number the pages for fuck's sake? Amateurs.

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So after reading through this thread and reading on what has been said to me and once again i have been branded an idiot for wanting to be a business man about things. I kind of get it on here that people do not want people to be businessmen on here but more hobbyists and enthusiasts of something they love. The general consensus i get is that the forum does not like people coming on here and doing business it goes against some peoples ethos and ethics to turn something that to them is a hobby into something of a business that that people do things for the sheer love and enjoyment and it is not about the money and therefore ruin the enjoyment for some.

 

After reading through the thread and seeing what people had to say to me with my non knowledge of how the money side of things work with publishing i would like to repost if i may how i would conduct things if i were part of 1PW and contributed to the book.

 

If say i worked for 1PW for two years and had a backstage role and say i had content to contribute to this publication that it took me a full day to tell my stories and that the content i provides lasted say 30 pages long.

 

If the book sold 1000 copies at

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So after reading through this thread and reading on what has been said to me and once again i have been branded an idiot for wanting to be a business man about things. I kind of get it on here that people do not want people to be businessmen on here but more hobbyists and enthusiasts of something they love. The general consensus i get is that the forum does not like people coming on here and doing business it goes against some peoples ethos and ethics to turn something that to them is a hobby into something of a business that that people do things for the sheer love and enjoyment and it is not about the money and therefore ruin the enjoyment for some.

 

After reading through the thread and seeing what people had to say to me with my non knowledge of how the money side of things work with publishing i would like to repost if i may how i would conduct things if i were part of 1PW and contributed to the book.

 

If say i worked for 1PW for two years and had a backstage role and say i had content to contribute to this publication that it took me a full day to tell my stories and that the content i provides lasted say 30 pages long.

 

If the book sold 1000 copies at

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So after reading through this thread and reading on what has been said to me and once again i have been branded an idiot for wanting to be a business man about things. I kind of get it on here that people do not want people to be businessmen on here but more hobbyists and enthusiasts of something they love. The general consensus i get is that the forum does not like people coming on here and doing business it goes against some peoples ethos and ethics to turn something that to them is a hobby into something of a business that that people do things for the sheer love and enjoyment and it is not about the money and therefore ruin the enjoyment for some.

 

After reading through the thread and seeing what people had to say to me with my non knowledge of how the money side of things work with publishing i would like to repost if i may how i would conduct things if i were part of 1PW and contributed to the book.

 

If say i worked for 1PW for two years and had a backstage role and say i had content to contribute to this publication that it took me a full day to tell my stories and that the content i provides lasted say 30 pages long.

 

If the book sold 1000 copies at

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You just don't get it, do you?

 

And what exactly do i not get? Someone sells a product and makes money and as a contributor to making that person money you want paid? What am i not getting exactly?

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You just don't get it, do you?

 

And what exactly do i not get? Someone sells a product and makes money and as a contributor to making that person money you want paid? What am i not getting exactly?

Well it's up to you whether you regale in stories for free or not. The important thing is, no one asked you.

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