From the cable television ratings to the bestseller lists, professional wrestling is red-hot. How it got that way is not a pretty picture, but it’s one that is painted in more detail than ever before in Sex, Lies, and Headlocks, the first in-depth, journalistic look at the world of wrestling.
At the heart of the story is Vince McMahon, the mercurial owner of the World Wrestling Federation. The authors trace his beginnings as the forgotten son of a second-generation wrestling czar who left rural North Carolina to stake his own claim to the family business. They detail his early, ruthless genius in declaring war on the old territory czars who had grown fat and lazy. And they show how his first brush with fame in the 1980s with Hulk Hogan and Cyndi Lauper sowed the seeds for the drug and sex scandals that nearly toppled his empire in the 1990s. They also tell us the inside story of McMahon’s blood feud with Ted Turner, adding some surprising details about the two men’s quests to ruin each other.
Throughout the book, the authors examine the appeal of the industry’s biggest stars—including Ed “Strangler” Lewis, Gorgeous George, Bruno Sammartino, Ric Flair, and, most recently, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. In doing so, they show us that while WWF stock is traded to the public on Wall Street, wrestling remains a shadowy world guided by a century-old code that stresses secrecy and loyalty.
Sex, Lies, and Headlocks is the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at the history, personalities, back-stabbing, scandals, and high-stakes gambles that have made Vince McMahon the king of the ring and wrestling an enduring television phenomenon.