Cubed Circle Newsletter
In this week’s issue we cover the Hell in a Cell go-home show, Greg Klein’s book on the Junk Yard Dog – The King of New Orleans: How the Junkyard Dog Became Professional Wrestling’s First Black Superhero, an enjoyable edition of Impact, the worst non-holiday RAW rating in 15 years (again) and Ben Carass covers NXT and SmackDown!
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The King of New Orleans: How the Junkyard Dog Became Professional Wrestling’s First Black Superhero by Greg Klein – Book Review
Over the past month or so I have had a chance to read Greg Klein’s book on arguably Mid-South’s biggest star, Sylvester Ritter, the Junkyard dog. The book covered the Junkyard Dog’s time in Mid-South, as well as a pretty in depth history of Mid-South itself, Bill Watts, African American Stars and the like. It wasn’t the longest book in the world clocking in at just 178 pages. However, it does an excellent job with the space it has.
The writing style of the book is very similar to that of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter historical pieces and obituaries, written in a manner that sees one topic branches seamlessly to the next, which, made it a free flowing, enjoyable and easy read.
There is a lot of information on Mid-South as a whole, with the history of the promotion being pretty much laid out from beginning to end – the history of the Tri-State territories and Watts’ rise to prominence as a promoter. One thing that I found particularly useful was a chronological outline of many of Mid-South’s Super Dome matches, which makes the book not only an interesting read, but also a good reference, with attendance, mainevents and gates for the shows being mentioned in full.
The book isn’t about JYD alone, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. On one hand in 178 pages you are able to get a great account of Mid-South, the sale to Crockett and other Mid-South wrestlers both in JYD’s era and the one that proceeded him. On the other hand the book is only 178 pages and because there is so much information on other topics it felt at times more like an overview of Mid-South, than a history of JYD’s career.
This writing style served me well in particular, because I didn’t grow up with Mid-South, nor was I completely familiar with its history. Sure everyone knows the Junkyard Dog, Bill Watts and Ernie Ladd, but I had never had a chance to experience an overview of the territory like this in the past.
If you are looking for an in-depth account of everything that went on with Mid-South and the Junkyard Dog and are familiar with the product, the book will certainly entertain and inform, but it is meant more for people like me; who don’t know the complete history of wrestling inNew Orleans.
After reading the book I don’t want to say that I view JYD in a new light, but I definitely view him as a Wrestling Observer Hall of Famer at this point. Klein actually goes on at the end of the book about how the Junkyard Dog, out of all the major wrestling halls of fames, has only been inducted into one, with that one being the WWE Hall of Fame.
People often bring up people like Big Daddy as cultural icons, which they were, but they were never proven draws when it came to sheer numbers. JYD was a different story. He wasn’t a good worker, or even a decent one, what he was though was a cultural icon that was able to draw very well until the end of his tenure in the territory with his departure to the WWF in 1984.
The Junkyard Dog is definitely portrayed as a cultural icon and one that in many ways has been forgotten. Klein even brings up a chant that was started and is famous inNew Orleansthat has been attributed to the Junkyard Dog. Unfortunately many people have forgotten just how influential JYD was and in many ways JYD has been forgotten for his role inNew Orleans.
The book even goes into WCW and very briefly into Bill Watt’s booking tenure, with excerpts from Watt’s book being featured throughout the book. It is a welcome edition and that together with many other quotes and sources truly makes everything standout.
As a whole the book was very enjoyable, I wouldn’t put it on the same level as the Bret Hart or first Chris Jericho autobiography, but that would be an extremely unfair comparison. For one, this book was not about a wrestler recounting the tales of his career, but rather by an author retelling the story of a deceased wrestler and an entire territory in 178 pages – and as that this book does a phenomenal job.
My only major gripe would be the fact that the book is so short, as I could have done with easily 50 more pages of quality writing. My gripe is overridden to some extent, because the book in many ways simply didn’t need the extra space, because Greg Klein in someway, and I am not exactly sure how, was able to tell such a long and detailed story in such a short period of time.
If you are looking to learn about the Mid-South territory and the Junkyard Dog, there is no better place to learn. Even if you are familiar with both I would still go and pick this book up. It has some great stories and is written so well that it is very hard not to like. Overall this was an extremely, solid, engaging and easy to read professional wrestling book that I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone even mildly interested in Mid-South.
WWE Monday Night RAW October 22nd 2012
East Rutherford, New Jersey
This show is just so incredibly long that I really wasn’t surprised with RAW’s rating this week. They tried something different this Monday by having longer drawn out segments, rather than many short segments – the result was no difference to the quality of the show or ratings. The fact that AJ is no longer the GM and Vickie has such a wacky title now is just too much. Every few months we get a new General Manager, each one in storyline more incompetent from the last; it is a huge distraction from the show. Unless they are making room for Flair, which I highly doubt given the state of the TNA lawsuit, then I see no point in changing general managers.
While I love Kane and Bryan as an act, having them on for 40+ minutes doing a comedy gimmick was indeed a killer in the ratings and it just didn’t work. The go-home segment was fine, but the fact that they placed champion versus champion on TV with no build when they just mentioned it a few months ago astounds me. Wasn’t that the reason that Punk walked out a few months ago or am I getting ahead of myself? Having a lumberjack match on RAW and SmackDown was also stupid, as it felt exactly like some of the more questionable theme pay-per-views. All in all this was a mediocre show. It had its highlights,Bryanand Ziggler was an awesome TV match, but it just dragged for ages
A tweet was shown proclaiming that AJ had an emergency meeting with the Board of Directors and was not there. It’s strange how these meetings always come up in the middle of RAW.
1. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow
It was nice to see a match open the show for once, particularly a match deciding the number one contenders for the tag team titles. It may not mean much, but it does show that the esteem that the tag titles has been held with has been raised; even if just by a small amount.
Sin Cara landed some leg kicks onRhodesand missed a back elbow. He landed a head scissors and made the tag to Mysterio. Mysterio landed a facebuster, butRhodeswas able to make the tag to Sandow. Mysterio landed a head scissors, he went for the 619, butRhodesmoves Sandow out of the way. Cara landed a splash ontoRhodeson the outside and Mysterio landed a seated senton. All the while Kane and Bryan were shown looking on. Cara landed a double springboard moonsault onto Sandow who was held up by Mysterio in a great spot. Sandow however got the advantage andRhodeslanded a delayed facebuster for two. He and Sandow tagged in and out. Sandow landed a snap suplex and a knee drop. Ross talked about the Texas Ou