Archive for December 18th, 2009

Review Reset: What the Critics Are Saying About Irvin Muchnick’s ‘CHRIS & NANCY’

“Great read for anyone who cares about wrestling or is interested in true crime.” – Eric Lyden,,

“Muchnick provides a great public service in exposing what he describes as the WWE’s ‘Cocktail of Death.’ Now its up to wrestling fans to demand action, or else continue seeing their heroes die early from avoidable deaths, often ending up destitute after enriching the McMahons.” – Randy Shaw, Beyond Chron,

“The latest from Irv Muchnick, who has already authored one of wrestling’s All Time Top Five books with Wrestling Babylon, is hands down the most important wrestling book in years.” — Critic Derek Burgan,

“Incredibly well researched … an incredibly valuable resource.” – David Bixenspan, SLAM! Wrestling,

“Very few books are ‘good’ and even fewer are ‘important’ – but this book is both.” – Author and blogger Anthony Roberts,

“Muchnick goes where few others care to go.” – Mark Hanzlik, Sacramento News & Review,

“Incredible retelling of the tragic story, with all its odd twists and bizarre turns.” – Rich Tate,,

“Muchnick is hell-bent on discovering the essence of the cover-ups.” – Joe Babinsack,,

First Brain-Trauma Syndrome Reported in Hockey

Reggie Fleming, a former National Hockey League player who died earlier this year at 73, is the first deceased athlete in that sport to have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) diagnosed in post-mortem brain studies.

Fleming’s brain was examined as part of a program spearheaded by the Sports Legacy Institute ( The institute was started by a World Wrestling Entertainment performer, Chris Nowinski, after the effects of repeated untreated concussions forced him to retire.

The New York Times article about Reggie Fleming is at

Irv Muchnick

Linda McMahon Campaign Enters its Post-Obama Phase

President Obama’s latest round of grandstanding on World Wrestling Entertainment TV programs — which has done great damage to serious public debate — will soon be out of the way. At that point perhaps Obama can be persuaded to butt out of the Republican Senate primary in Connecticut and allow the focus of coverage of Linda McMahon’s campaign to go where it belongs: on the pandemic of death in the industry her WWE controls.

Since the president’s salary is $400,000 a year, and Federal Election Commission filings show that McMahon’s campaign manager is scraping by on a mere $280,000, that can probably be arranged.

A few bullets from the new issue of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter:

* If the only problem were WWE’s tacit encouragement of  vast quantities of steroids, combined with dangerous performing stunts, “all to line Ms. McMahon’s pockets,” that wouldn’t be much of a story.

* However, Eddie “Umaga” Fatu is the latest of more than 60 wrestlers who have died in their 30s and 40s over a 12-year period. THAT’s a story.

* In the first steroid testing of the WWE “wellness policy” (which was 2006, following the death of wrestler Eddie Guerrero), 40 percent of the talent came up positive.

* With none of the wrestlers receiving any health-care benefits under their “independent contractor” deals, this phenomenon “becomes inexcusable,” in Meltzer’s words. He concludes:

“When the former CEO of the WWE runs for Senate with an anti-health care reform message as part of her platform, that is something that deserves much more recognition than it is getting, especially since it is the main part of the grievances against the WWE by the very wrestlers who put their lives on the line for Ms. McMahon and have nothing but a lifetime of health problems and no way to pay for proper treatment to show for it.”

Irv Muchnick

‘Most important wrestling book in years’ … critic Derek Burgan

Full text of wrestling media critic Derek Burgan’s review of CHRIS & NANCY: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death is viewable at this link:

Irv’s Tweets

December 2009