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"He's ambitiously stupid" - Why Scott Keith's new book is scary bad


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#1 Bix

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 07:05 PM

I got an advance copy and it's not pretty. A friend of mine described Keith as "ambitiously stupid" after reading it, which is a term I will steal forever and ever. It ranges from inaccurate to stupid to offensive, getting worse and worse. It's a barely coherent collection of essays about Benoit and the Harts and dudes who died and whatnot.

Some of the "highlights":

- He says "I digress" more than anyone I have ever read a book by. Sometimes without digressing.

- Dates are messed up all over the place, starting most blatantly with Benoit's 1995 WWF tryout being moved before his first WCW stint in 1993.

- Then he claims that the AAA PPV got Benoit his ECW gig. Yes, the AAA PPV the night after he broke Sabu's neck in his most famous ECW match.

- "I should also note that at one point they fought into the women's bathroom, resulting in every brawl that WCW put on after that having to do the same spot." What?!?

- Re: the WMXX main event: "It was a fantastic match, the best three-way match ever in my opinion, and ended the night with Benoit celebrating with fellow World champion Eddie Guerrero to a sea of confetti in a scene that will sadly never be seen on WWE programming again." Yes, that's the important part.

- Does anyone have a Keith to English dictionary? "A few years before that, Benoit was arrested for a DUI, another fact that came out after his death in the media's attempt to somehow justify his actions by making him seem like a monster all along."

- Nancy Grace bashing! "The early talk show coverage was a circus, with the WWE declining to send anyone to shows that they perceived as not in the interest of the company (i.e., everyone but Larry King) and 'reporters' like Nancy Grace and Geraldo Rivera bringing bitter ex-wrestlers with an axe to grind on their shows for maximum shock value"

- Exactly why is there doubt here? "And like Zahorian, Astin prescribed huge amounts of painkillers and steroids to his clients, including a ten month supply of what was believed to be testosterone cypionate every three to four weeks to Chris Benoit."

- Contradictions! "Toxicology reports didn't really tell us anything about the killings that we didn't already know -- Benoit indeed had elevated levels of testosterone in his system, well past the limits established by the NFL and the WWE themselves, and Daniel was given Xanax to keep him calm (or even asleep) before he was killed."

- "He was having a bad year, personally, but none of his friends and co-workers, even those that knew him at home, would ever say that he was the type of person to commit an act of violence that terrible" Except for the friends who told Meltzer that they weren't surprised that he killed Nancy.

- This. "Personally, I think that although erasing Benoit from the WWE 24/7 library in the short-term is a good move to distance the company from the murderer, in the long run it's going to be healthier for fans to remember the entertainer rather than the horrible person he became.  The WWE's own company line following the tragedy was that they're in the entertainment business, and no matter the end that he met, Benoit was still one of the most entertaining wrestlers in the business.  Wrestler Mark Kinghorn, who I talk with regularly, said it best when he told me 'I'd maybe ask fans to remember Chris Benoit as the entertainer he was because that is the Chris Benoit we all knew and loved.  Maybe I'd also tell them to be careful who they pick as a hero cause ya never know.'  I think that's the biggest lesson to take out of this, if there's anything positive to come out of it."

- And this. BULLY FOR YOU! "If you have moral high ground enough to judge the entire body of work of a man because of his deeds in real life, then bully for you. It must be nice to be so righteous. I think it's sad, and it's a tragedy, and Benoit proved to be a horrible human being who got exactly what he deserved, but in the end unless you were related to Nancy and Daniel it's hard to justify acting like you knew them any better than Benoit's longtime fans knew him. In the end, there'll be a TV movie or an episode of Law & Order, and we'll all go on with our lives doing the best we can to cope or mourn or forget about it or whatever. I'm glad I didn't know Benoit the person, because it would have made it a lot tougher to like Benoit the performer, and if nothing else positive can come out of this whole sick situation it's that I can at least still get enjoyment from his matches and hope that one small bit of happiness can overcome the crushing horror that those two days have brought. I'll take what I can get, I guess."

For what it's worth, I have no problem with someone wanting to still watch Benoit matches unless they make some weird issue about it, and he makes it like everyone who won't watch Benoit matches are doing it for moral reasons, as opposed to, y'know, simply getting creeped out since he used his finisher to kill his kid.

- No, he hasn't: "["Superstar" Billy] Graham has since said that he has no regrets about his lifestyle choices"

- One little city is an odd way to refer to that territory: "Further, Stampede started picking up stars from around the world, integrating styles from Japan and Mexico into the standard North American one, becoming a melting pot of wrestling goodness in one little city." Also, he may think that "melting pot" is a culinary term.

- The loudmouth scary heel calmly expressing sorrow as he turns face is a rant? "Gouldie, after the match, gave what is without a doubt my favorite interview in the history of wrestling, expressing all his hurt and sorrow and rage in one five minute rant and essentially threatening to kill Bad News Allen in several different ways for robbing his only son of the chance to carry on the family name."

- Just shut up. "While Vince was more than happy to push his new acquisitions in the form of the Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs, he quickly reneged on the money owed to Stu and gave him his company back.  It wouldn't be the first time he'd screw over a member of the Hart family, of course"

- How? Really, how? "It should be noted, however, that the psychedelic green-screen promos with Jason and his manager Zodiac (played by Randy Orton's estranged uncle Barry Orton) were an odd harbinger of the more eclectic interview style pioneered by ECW years later."

- Nice to see his priorities: "The match was well-worked on both ends, but the finish was typical Dynamite craziness, as he stood on the top rope and allowed Davey to ram Greg Valentine's head into his own, taking a flat back bump to the floor in the process.  Luckily the match was a ***1/2 affair."

- Surely, the bumps couldn't have done it! "The problem, it seemed, was that years of steroid abuse had deteriorated the [Dynamite] Kid’s back to the point where he shouldn’t even have been able to walk."

- LOL wut. "Dynamite was returned to the hospital, where the doctors informed him that he would never wrestle again.  But Dynamite Kid was nothing if not stubborn, and only two months later he was back, which was still months earlier than doctors recommended returning."

- "Now, how good the match actually was is a matter of some debate.  I thought it was a fabulous match, one of my favorites of all time in fact, and I gave it the very rare ***** rating."

- "Even worse for [Davey Boy Smith], he got fingered for trafficking HGH to Ultimate Warrior, and was fired as a public gesture towards cleaning up the WWF's drug problems.  However, since he was still a name value in the wrestling world, WCW was all too happy to sign him as soon as the ink on his release was dry and push him to the top, drugs or no.  In all fairness here, he was sold down the river by Vince McMahon without any real cause and wasn't partaking in anything that everyone else in the promotion didn't do themselves, so it's not like WCW was taking in a crack addict or anything."

1. LOL
2. He quotes Bret Hart's book extensively, which at one point reveals that at the time, Smith was a crack addict.

- Umm since when was Davey faking that the trap door handle crushed his spine: "After a few non-descript months in WCW, he took a bad bump on a trapdoor built into the ring, and suddenly blamed years of injuries and drug use on WCW, as his already-crippled spine put him in the hospital with an infection that nearly killed him.  WCW, with no real options left, fired him while he was still in the hospital, but somehow he managed to get yet another shot with the WWF after Owen Hart died in 1999."

- Random and I'm not even sure if it's true: "Diana again relates stories about Smith being so stoned that he was only able to sit at the table and drool, while she was forced to squirt him with a water pistol to bring him back to attention enough to feed himself again.  Her solution was an overdose of Xanax (one of the meds found in Johnny Grunge's system after his death), which finally shocked Davey into checking into rehab."

- He uses the term "white trash." As opposed to what other kinds of trash exactly?

- Actress? "In one of those odd bits of serendipity that wrestling produces, an early storyline saw them hiring an actress named Teresa Hayes to play [Pillman's] "sister" for a one-shot angle where the heels attacked her before she disappeared again"

- Keith talks about himself way too much.

- "In the end, the person helped most by the [Pillman Memorial] shows was William Regal, who managed to get his career back on track after a history of drug use and won a job with the WWF again thanks to an epic match with Chris Benoit.  I guess that’s something." Won a job he already had?

- BWAHAHAHAHA "Not only was Owen dead, but the petty squabbling over the WWF's money tore apart the closest thing that Canada had to a royal family"

- The wife he divorced years earlier and was still friends with as he remarried? "[Chris Adams is] probably best known for training Steve Austin in 1989 and then losing his wife to him in one of those bizarre angles gone wrong that only seem to happen in wrestling or Hollywood."

- TMI: "I won't even get into the whole 'marijuana is or isn't a gateway drug' argument, although I've seen it act as such to a member of my immediate family and thus I'm rather more biased on the subject than some."

- LOL HAM A FAT PERSON DIED: "Yokozuna.  This one's pretty obviously not connected to anything he was taking, aside from ham sandwiches (if I might steal the old Mama Cass joke)."

- YOU ARE A MORON. "Animal, showing what a class act he is, returned to the WWE in 2005 and formed "The New Legion of Doom" (the third such kick  at that particular can, following 1992's Crush & Animal and 1998's Droz & Animal) with the god-awful John Heidenreich, and they actually won the Smackdown version of the tag titles to really spit on Hawk's grave."

- Scott Keith on Miss Elizabeth, who was portrayed as an abused spouse afraid to leave her abusive husband for the biggest run of her career: "a groundbreaking symbol of female empowerment"

There's more, but you get the idea.

#2 Loss

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 07:24 PM

Thank you for doing this. Do more! :) Or maybe I shouldn't wish that on you, I don't know.

#3 Bix

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 07:32 PM

Please don't. I skipped over reading some of the dead guy bios and there were blatant timeline errors that I ignored because any more would have driven me to the edge.

#4 JHawk

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 09:43 PM

- Actress? "In one of those odd bits of serendipity that wrestling produces, an early storyline saw them hiring an actress named Teresa Hayes to play [Pillman's] "sister" for a one-shot angle where the heels attacked her before she disappeared again"


Isn't Teresa Hayes Beulah McGillicutty's real name?

#5 Bix

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 10:02 PM

Yup, same person. She was Pillman's girlfriend at the time.

#6 tomk

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 10:59 PM

Why are you hating on the Zodiac promos?

#7 Boondocks Kernoodle

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 11:28 PM

Wrestler Mark Kinghorn, who I talk with regularly, said it best when he told me 'I'd maybe ask fans to remember Chris Benoit as the entertainer he was because that is the Chris Benoit we all knew and loved. Maybe I'd also tell them to be careful who they pick as a hero cause ya never know.' I think that's the biggest lesson to take out of this, if there's anything positive to come out of it."


Yeah, I can just picture it.

*Slow-motion montage of black-and-white wrestling clips*
"WWE superstars are some of the most-loved entertainers in the world, considered role models by millions of children."
*EVIL, reverse-color-scheme B&W photo of Chris Benoit*
"But sometimes, WWE superstars do BAD things."
*News footage on Benoit murders*
"You never know when your favorite wrestler will go postal on his family. Use discretion."

Final screen:

Posted Image
"Choose your heroes wisely"
www.wwe.com



- YOU ARE A MORON. "Animal, showing what a class act he is, returned to the WWE in 2005 and formed "The New Legion of Doom" (the third such kick  at that particular can, following 1992's Crush & Animal and 1998's Droz & Animal) with the god-awful John Heidenreich, and they actually won the Smackdown version of the tag titles to really spit on Hawk's grave."

LEAVE THE MEMORIES ALOOOOOOOOONE.....

I wonder if Keith thinks it was wrong for AC/DC to replace Bon Scott. Or the Three Stooges continuing after Shemp died. THE ROAD WARRIORS ARE SOMETHING SACRED HOW DARE HE

#8 Bix

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 01:10 AM

Why are you hating on the Zodiac promos?

I'm not. I like them a lot. I'm saying that I don't see how they influenced ECW.

#9 The Thread Killer

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 02:17 AM

Random and I'm not even sure if it's true: "Diana again relates stories about Smith being so stoned that he was only able to sit at the table and drool, while she was forced to squirt him with a water pistol to bring him back to attention enough to feed himself again. Her solution was an overdose of Xanax (one of the meds found in Johnny Grunge's system after his death), which finally shocked Davey into checking into rehab."

This story, (and from the looks of it, a lot of the information SK uses) is blatantly lifted from "Pain & Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling" by Calgary Sun writer Heath McCoy. That is an excellent book.

- How? Really, how? "It should be noted, however, that the psychedelic green-screen promos with Jason and his manager Zodiac (played by Randy Orton's estranged uncle Barry Orton) were an odd harbinger of the more eclectic interview style pioneered by ECW years later."


That exact sentiment is expressed by McCoy in "Pain and Passion" where he hails Bruce Hart's booking in the 80's as ahead of his time...and similar to what ECW and WWF Attitude ended up doing years later...McCoy mentions the Zodiac and Jason stuff as a specific example.

- No, he hasn't: "["Superstar" Billy] Graham has since said that he has no regrets about his lifestyle choices"

On the Superstar Billy Graham DVD "20 Years Too Soon" Graham makes a comment at the end that even if he had known the effect the steroids were going to have on his body, he might have done them anyhow, because he loved wrestling so much and his jacked up body was what made his career and success possible. I remember that distinctly, because I was pretty shocked that he said that after 90 minutes of stories about how his entire body was breaking down due to steroid abuse. Then again, I don't doubt that he contradicted this statement elsewhere in other interviews...it seemed the main purpose of his WWE DVD was to shift any blame for Graham's health away from McMahon and Company, and onto Graham himself. Some of the grovelling and kissing up in his WWE produced autobiography is quite shocking.

#10 MikeCampbell

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 05:37 AM

Agreed with Loss, please do some more, Bix. 411 was sent a review copy and I'd considered volunteering to review it, but now I can safely say that I made the right call.

#11 kjh

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:33 AM

- Nancy Grace bashing! "The early talk show coverage was a circus, with the WWE declining to send anyone to shows that they perceived as not in the interest of the company (i.e., everyone but Larry King) and 'reporters' like Nancy Grace and Geraldo Rivera bringing bitter ex-wrestlers with an axe to grind on their shows for maximum shock value"


I'm sure Scott never forgave Nancy Grace for the heinous sin of saying Chris Benoit was a member of the Four Horsemen at the time of his death! Fortunately, Scott would never publish a book with such a blatant disregard for the facts! :lol:

- Umm since when was Davey faking that the trap door handle crushed his spine: "After a few non-descript months in WCW, he took a bad bump on a trapdoor built into the ring, and suddenly blamed years of injuries and drug use on WCW, as his already-crippled spine put him in the hospital with an infection that nearly killed him. WCW, with no real options left, fired him while he was still in the hospital, but somehow he managed to get yet another shot with the WWF after Owen Hart died in 1999."


Didn't everyone (the doctors, his family and WCW) think Davey was faking his injuries to get painkillers to feed his drug addiction until they X-rayed his back and found out it was completely fucked? Scott must have forgotten the last part of the story.

- YOU ARE A MORON. "Animal, showing what a class act he is, returned to the WWE in 2005 and formed "The New Legion of Doom" (the third such kick at that particular can, following 1992's Crush & Animal and 1998's Droz & Animal) with the god-awful John Heidenreich, and they actually won the Smackdown version of the tag titles to really spit on Hawk's grave."


I love how Scott brings forth more bile for Animal tagging with Heidenreich in a scripted TV programme than for Chris Benoit who murdered his wife and child in real life!

Please don't. I skipped over reading some of the dead guy bios and there were blatant timeline errors that I ignored because any more would have driven me to the edge.


Aww, I'm sure we could easily come up with the Scott Keith book reading drinking game to ease your pain!

#12 jdw

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:41 AM

I had forgotten just what an idiot SKeith is. This thing needs a multi-part review akin to that famous one on Bret Hart's book (Bix had linked to it a while back). John

#13 Tim Cooke

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:55 AM

If that was only a brief expose of Keith's fuck up's, I imagine it could take days to type up all the other stuff. Someone should email him this thread.

#14 tomk

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:55 AM

Why are you hating on the Zodiac promos?

I'm not. I like them a lot. I'm saying that I don't see how they influenced ECW.



Your acid inspired Zodiac promos as proto-MTV editing-----MTV editing inspires ECW backstage filming.

I don't believe for a minute that Zodiac promos influenced Hype Williams or Spike Jonze.

But it would make sense for Heyman to be a guy who says "Hey we can use this style to make our show feel contemporary. It's worked before in wrestling".

More likely ECW editing style was developed by Matty in The House who never saw any Stampede.

Still of all the things you quote that seems like something that someone could legitamately argue.

#15 Bix

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 12:02 PM

All of them, including the ones that are blatantly false?

#16 Boondocks Kernoodle

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 12:25 PM

Did Keith do ANY fact-checking at all on this thing? One minute on prowrestlinghistory.com would have told him that Benoit was in ECW for three months before that AAA PPV. But he doesn't need "research" or other such fancy concepts, he's SCOTT KEITH, the world's foremost wrestling expert!

#17 MikeCampbell

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 01:04 PM

Did Keith do ANY fact-checking at all on this thing? One minute on prowrestlinghistory.com would have told him that Benoit was in ECW for three months before that AAA PPV. But he doesn't need "research" or other such fancy concepts, he's SCOTT KEITH, the world's foremost wrestling expert!


The scary thing is just how many 16 year olds out there who think that's actually the case. And how many others who think that's the case strictly because he's written books (no matter how inaccurate they are).

#18 Bix

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 01:47 PM

BTW, I think Mike should review the book in epic fashion.

#19 Log

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 02:18 PM

So, this is like the anti-Ring of Hell, eh? Just from what you've posted, it's scary the lengths he (SK) feels he needs to go to in order to defend Benoit: the performer vs. Benoit: the murderer. I dunno, seems like there's some kind of middle ground where you can admit that he was a great wrestler, but a piece of shit human. I mean, aren't most of them?

#20 MikeCampbell

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 02:49 PM

I dunno, seems like there's some kind of middle ground where you can admit that he was a great wrestler, but a piece of shit human. I mean, aren't most of them?


I've been saying that both on here and other places for months on end.

And Bix, I was lucky that I didn't go insane with Keith's 'Tonight In This Very Ring' which was just his recaps of various years of WWF angles and stuff. I can't imagine how bad this winds up being, well actually I can since you've already given us a sneak preview.




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