When I spoke with Dean Miller, author of WWE Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, it was the day after the WWE TLC pay-per-view. Before we talked about this book that should be on every WWE fan’s holiday wish list, we talked about the craziness of the night before and Miller’s predictions.
“Once Saturday morning rolls around and I see that Roman Reigns is not in that match, and we’re not going to see Bray Wyatt’s Sister Abigail, but instead we are seeing The Phenomenal AJ Styles versus Finn Balor, my predictions kind of went out the window a little bit,” laughs Miller. “It was also kind of a wildly entertaining night. I’m pretty happy as a fan that I got to see AJ versus Finn because I thought that, particularly the last five minutes or so of that match when it kind of just kept getting better and better, was great for us fans.”
WWE Absolutely Everything You Need to Know has fun facts, bizarre-but-true tales and quirky insights into everyone’s favorite sports entertainment stars and inside info on superstars such as John Cena, Seth Rollins, Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair. You have an extensive background with the WWE and covering wrestling. How did you get into all of this and were you a fan prior to that?
I was not as huge a fan of the WWE as a child. I knew it because I had friends that were and occasionally we would rent a videotape of Wrestlemania so I could see Randy Savage versus Ricky Steamboat and Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant. It wasn’t until I was in college when I had some friends who were really into it in my dorm. They asked me if I wanted to go to a show at the Boston Garden. I didn’t have anything to do that night so I went and I was hooked. I tell people to see the WWE live once and you’ll change how you feel about it. After that my Monday nights were booked up with Raw.
I did computer books for 10 years and then I decided to do something a little different. I got to work developing biographies for Dusty Rhodes and George Funk for an independent publisher. Then I saw that WWE was looking for someone to run their book program. I said, “What the heck, I’ll just apply just to say I did.” I worked there for seven years doing their books and after I left I started writing books instead of just editing them.
For seven years, Miller managed WWE’s book and DVD lines, producing autobiographies of Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Batista, and more. During his time there, he conceived of and led the WWE Encyclopedia, which has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and is considered the definitive resource on the history of sports entertainment. Since leaving WWE in 2012, he has written or co-written five books, including 10 Count Trivia, WWE 100 Greatest Matches, 30 Years of WrestleMania, WWE Book of Top 10s, and WWE Absolutely Everything You Need to Know.
This book focuses on numbers – top 10s, how many PPVs, etc. Why are we so fascinated with the numbers?
We’re a trivia-based society. We like to compare things and then it’s a good way to compare things historically. You can say, “Well sure, Demolition was the champion for this many days,” but now the New Day comes along and just shooting for that number of getting closer, getting closer and then get past New Day and then they lose. All of a sudden you have a new number to go with that.
For years, one of the cool numbers in wrestling was the 93,000 people that saw Wrestlemania 3 live. That was the record for a decade. When I was researching the book, found that just two years ago at Wrestlemania 32 in Dallas, 101,000 got in there. That 93,000 number is gone.
Do people say “Dean, come on, it’s fake?”
Nowadays, it seems like, in college football, Alabama wins every year but people still enjoy it and watch it even though they’ve got a pretty good idea of what the ending’s going to be. Then when Alabama does lose or when the Undertaker loses at Wrestlemania 30, it’s pretty shocking and it just adds to it. To me, just enjoy what you want to enjoy. I understand that this is not for everyone but I think it is for more people than sometimes publicly admit.
You’ve talked to a lot of wrestlers. Who meant a lot to you?
I was proud of was one of the first books I did at WWE, which was Shawn Michaels’ autobiography. We did a photo shoot for the cover with him on a ladder. I spent all day talking to him about a lot of things. After, he turns to me and says, “Are you even a fan of professional wrestling?” I wasn’t pestering him with questions about the Clique or about his feud with Bret or things like that. That was kind of a fun interaction.
What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
I wanted somebody who’s maybe a child, or somebody who’s new to WWE, be able to absorb a lot of information about not just the big stars of today but here’s who you’ve known throughout the history. Here are the big events and championships. I also wanted it to be for somebody like you who’s been a long-time fan. Here’s something that you might not have known. Here’s something on every page or so, a tidbit that you could pick up and that’s kind of interesting. You and your fellow fans could quiz each other with the trivia.
Then the final category is waxed fans, people who were big fans when they were kids or when they were in college, or they were the biggest Stone Cold or the Rock fans. They don’t watch it as much but through a book like this, they can realize the magic’s still there. It’s still entertaining.
It’s very entertaining. Order it from Amazon here.
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