WCW Readers

WCW Readers

I don’t know if any of you Crappers out there were like me as a kid, but I hated school with an absolute passion. From the time I was old enough to be shoved into a miniscule desk with a flip lid to my very final day of college, I absolutely loathed every single second of every single minute I spent in an educational facility. Thinking back to my earliest memories, all I can remember was staring at the clock and waiting for that damn bell to ring.

But if there was one time when I wasn’t totally miserable, it was when the teacher handed out the monthly Troll book club newsletter. It was an order form for books, which kids would take home and badger their parents to buy for them, under the pretence that they were books, and books were good, so therefore, parents who bought their kids this crap were good. Of course, I doubt there was too much “educational” value in the Jedi Master’s Joke Book, but hey, if it worked, it worked.

I don’t know if the Troll book club even exists anymore, but if it does, I am certain that kids all over the land were pestering their folks for Dorling Kindersley’s WCW Readers, a pair of colorful tomes of a wrestling nature. The books, aimed at “proficient readers”, appear to have been scribed during WCW’s hot period in the late 90’s. I say that in spite of the books’ 2000 copyright date, due largely to the fact that we don’t get any shots of Se7en, Oklahoma, or Captain Hugh G. Rection, and I find it impossible to believe that books such as these would simply overlook such fantastic characters.

Feel the Sting!

The first book we’re going to look at today is Feel the Sting, which chronicles the title character’s rise from a college basketball player to a WCW superstar. To be fair, it’s actually a pretty decent recap of the Stinger’s career. (Well, as decent as you can get when you have sentences composed of a half dozen or fewer words.) Amazingly, even Bill Watts’ UWF is mentioned, so obviously someone did their homework in putting these things out. But perhaps even stranger than seeing the initials “UWF” in a book of this nature was seeing Sting called “Steve Borden.” If you ever needed clarification that kayfabe was, in fact, dead, I doubt you could find clearer evidence than a wrestler’s real name appearing in a children’s “learn to read” book.

Of course, this being a kids’ book, there are all kinds of colorful shots.

Here, Sting plays volleyball. Sadly, the natural follow up image of his boat being blown to smithereens by Cheatum the evil one-eyed midget is nowhere to be found.

One of the cool things about the book is that it’s not just limited to Sting. Indeed, many top WCW stars get ink, ranging from Rey Mysterio Jr. to Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

To our left we have an image captioned “Larry Zbyzsko in action”. You will note the shot features Larry in a rest hold, which, ironically enough, was about as “action” oriented as Lars ever really got.

My favorite shot in the book, however, is the one to the right. Someone must have REALLY hated Scott Hudson to pull a rib on him like that. Yikes.

The book wraps up with Sting talking about how his favorite part of being a wrestler: meeting all his young fans. Special mention is made of his role in the Make-A-Wish Foundation, in which dying children get special requests, like meeting wrestling superstars, granted. Here, Sting and Van Hammer meet with some young fans.

Not to be crass or a jerk or anything, but if I was a kid on my deathbed, and I asked to meet a WCW superstar and Van Freakin’ Hammer showed up, I’d be reaching to pull the plug myself.

Going for Goldberg

The Sting book was ok, but the real fun comes in the form of Going for Goldberg. No doubt some kids bought one of these while their friends bought the other. I would feel totally gypped if I was stuck with the Sting book after seeing the Goldy one. You see, while Feel the Sting had a handful of illustrations, the Goldberg book has drawings of big Bill on damn near every page.

And as any kid knows, drawings are good!

The format of the book is basically the same as the Sting book, covering Goldberg’s early life and his first days in the business.

Here we see Da Man playing football. Or maybe dancing a jig with ants in his pants. Really, who’s to say?

“During one amazing spell, from March 26 to March 30, 1998, he fought veteran wrestler Jerry Flynn every night, in five different arenas. Goldberg demolished Flynn every time!”

I don’t know what’s more absurd – the fact that someone used their artistic talents to create a JERRY FLYNN illustration, one that got published, no less, or that said illustration appears to be one of Goldberg lovingly caressing his torso.

Here big Bill channels the spirit of Tatanka to flatten the Hulkster.

Sing it with me!

Goldberg! Buffalo!

I thought for sure this was a shot of Bill ending the career of Bret Hart, but no, it would be Kevin Nash getting belted in the chops.

See Nash get waylaid is always nice, but this is even better, considering the last time I saw a drawing of the guy he was lying in bed half naked.

I still have nightmares about that.

To celebrate all his many victories discussed in the book, Goldie throws a kiddie up in his arms…

…and then enjoys what appears to be a nice post-coitus cigarette.

Sheesh, what a non-role model-ish move.

As goofy and weird as these books were, at least they had an excuse: they were written for children. There are actually far worse wrestling books out there, including the books by Lou Albano and Chyna.

And trust me, I’ll take a tomahawk chopping Goldberg over Joanie Laurer’s sex diary any day of the week.

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