We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History

We Promised You a Great Main Event: An Unauthorized WWE History

by Bill Hanstock


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Unauthorized. Unrestricted. No holds barred.

In We Promised You a Great Main Event, longtime sports journalist Bill Hanstock pulls back the curtain to give a smart fan’s account of WWE and Vince McMahon’s journey to the top. Untangling the truth behind the official WWE storyline, Hanstock does a deep dive into key moments of the company’s history, from the behind-the-scenes drama at the Montreal Screwjob, to the company’s handling of the Jimmy Snuka scandal, to the real story of the Monday Night Wars.

WWE is an extraordinary business success and an underappreciated pop cultural phenomenon. While WWE soared to prominence during the Hulk Hogan years, as the stakes grew more and more extreme, wrestlers faced steroid scandals and assault allegations. The whole story is here, good, bad, and ugly, from the heights of iconic cultural moments like Wrestlemania III to the arrival of global superstars like The Rock and John Cena.

We Promised You a Great Main Event is an exhaustive, fun account of the McMahon family and WWE’s unprecedented rise. Drawing on a decade of covering wrestling, Bill Hanstock synthesizes insights from historians, journalists, and industry insiders with his own deep research to produce the most up-to-date, entertaining history of WWE available. Full of amazing characters and astonishing stories from the ring to corporate boardrooms, it is a story as audacious as any WWE spectacle. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062980847
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2020
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 123,251
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Bill Hanstock is an Emmy-winning producer, screenwriter, editor and journalist. He has covered and interviewed countless WWE and independent wrestling personalities and events for SB Nation, has contributed to Polygon, The Athletic, and Inked magazine, and has penned nearly a dozen stories for the official WWE comic book. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, son, and two cats.

Table of Contents

Introduction You Know It's All Fake, Right? 1

Part I The McMahon Family and the Early Years

Chapter 1 Genetic Jackhammers and Actual Sledgehammers: An Introduction to the McMahon Family 9

Chapter 2 A Brief History of Kayfabe and the Territories 22

Chapter 3 Howdy Doody Must Die 35

Part II Hulkamania, Steroids, and the New Generation

Chapter 4 Black Saturday: Vince Jr. Runs the Territories Out of Town 43

Chapter 5 Thunderlips, the Ultimate Male 56

Chapter 6 Hulkamania Runs Wild 73

Chapter 7 The WWF's Relationship with Women Starts Out Weird 88

Chapter 8 Next Man Up: Experiments and Controversies 96

Chapter 9 Wars and Warriors: The Torch Doesn't Get Passed 114

Chapter 10 Hulk Who?: The Gamble of the New Generation 131

Chapter 11 WCW Takes Command 162

Chapter 12 Screwjobs, Loose Cannons, and Dirt Sheets 182

Part III The Attitude Era and the WWE Monopoly

Chapter 13 Get Ready to Suck It: The Rock, Stone Cold, and the Attitude Era 207

Chapter 14 That's Gonna Put Some Butts in the Seats 229

Chapter 15 Chyna, Sable, and the Women of the Attitude Era 254

Chapter 16 A Monopoly on Everything but Panda Bears: WWE Closes Down the Competition and Gets the F Out 263

Chapter 17 Cena Rising: The Ruthless Aggression Era 282

Chapter 18 The Chris Benoit Murders Change Everything 301

Part IV TV-PG, the Reality Era, and the Money Rolling in

Chapter 19 The Exploding Limo That Wasn't: Transitioning to the PG Era 321

Chapter 20 Pipe Bombs and Anger Management: The New Hope of the Reality Era 332

Chapter 21 Total Divas and Total Evolution: Women Become Superstars 371

Part V What Comes NXT

Chapter 22 TakeOver: WWE Gets Global 387

Chapter 23 Nobody Gets Over on My Watch 402

Afterword All Bets Are Off for What Comes Next 427

Acknowledgments 435

Index 439

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