As promised, I’m going to inform you all about my first official release, Kyle Summers, Booker—a novel about one wrestling fan’s endeavor to save a failing professional wrestling company from itself that was in no small part inspired by my own “misadventures,” for lack of a better term, in reigniting my own love for an entertainment venue that I used to be a fan of growing up.
In a nutshell, I used to be very much into pro wrestling back when I was younger, particularly during the late 1990s to early 2000s, which wrestling fans remember today as the “Attitude Era.” Unfortunately, when the spring of 2001 rolled around and the pro wrestling industry took a turn for the worse with like likes of such events as Paul Heyman’s ECW going bankrupt and World Wrestling Federation owner buying out World Championship Wrestling, I had all but lost my interest in the art form and stopped watching it altogether for a matter of years. However, as time passed, I found myself missing wrestling and wondering how the business was doing since my temporary departure from the fanbase. What new promotions had emerged? Which new faces were making names for themselves in the industry? What new shows had debuted on TV that showcased such talents doing what they apparently did best? Well, in 2008/09, I dared to find the answers to these questions out for myself and had managed to stumble across quite a few articles, forums, YouTube videos, and podcasts about the pro wrestling industry at the time, and according to what I’d read and heard, was I at all encouraged to tune back in to the sports-theater hybrid I once knew and loved?
To put it simply, no.
Granted, I did come across a few pieces where the author, video maker, or podcaster in question had something positive to say about the wrestling business, whether it’d be about a particular promotion, pay-per-view event, or TV show or just the pro wrestling scene in general. Unfortunately, there were many more posts that spoke negatively about how the industry had turned out since I’d stopped paying attention to it. I’m not even talking about the news reports of such wrestlers as Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Mike Awesome whose lives had come to a premature end through one means or another. Rather, I mean the events that had been going on in both of the nation’s top promotions—namely, WWE and its closest rival, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (oftentimes referred to nowadays simply as “Impact Wrestling”). For months I paid close attention to much of what these fans’ concerns were with both promotions, and the basic gist of what I’d read and heard amounted to their displeasure with the overall management of both products, particularly the booking. Aged veterans forced to work past their prime; younger, talented wrestlers not being allowed to elevate themselves on the card and become the central focus of the show so that they could take over for said aging veterans; newcomers winning titles within a mere matter of months (if not, in fact, weeks) of their company debut; angles either expiring too soon to truly build up the people involved in them or lasting too long for fans to sit through them from beginning to end; pointless swerves that defied all storytelling logic for the sole sake of “surprising” the fans—all were occurrences that these wrestling fans were getting sick and tired of, and understandably so. To think, too, that this list only gives a small sample of these fans’ complaints! It was actually pretty tough for me to not take the brunt of what I was reading and hearing to heart, and the whole thing truly made me feel concerned for the wellbeing of a venue that used to entertain me like nothing else back in the day. I mean, come on! What point was there for me to support a product that wasn’t putting on its A-game night in, night out? It just didn’t make any sense to me. Therefore, there was only one thing that I felt I could do in order to enjoy pro wrestling again without coming off as the “whiny mark” that I’m sure both wrestling companies (not to mention a good number of ‘Net surfers who chanced to look in on the whole matter and yet couldn’t give two wags of a dog’s tail themselves about pro wrestling) saw these wrestling fans as being. That one thing, of course, was to write a novel that reflected my thoughts about the whole ordeal.
Hey, why not? It’s like the old saying goes: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In fact, such is more or less the theme of the novel that I’d ended up writing—namely, Kyle Summers, Booker.
Currently available for $7.99 at Smashwords.com, this book presents the story of Kyle Summers, a young publisher who is very much like the fans I’ve described in the narrative above when it comes to professional wrestling: passionate about the business and hopeful for its success, yet at the same time, frustrated as all else for the critical errors that take place within it. Such is especially true for High Intensity Wrestling, an up-and-coming wrestling promotion that Kyle supports most loyally amongst all other televised wrestling products, even in spite of all the faulty booking decisions they make time and again on their weekly program, HIW Battlefield. Then again, one more error on the company’s show eventually becomes one mistake too many for him to bear, and after a few minutes of sharing his frustrations with his wife Stacy, Kyle suddenly gets the idea to put his experience both in the literary field and as a longtime wrestling fan to the test by getting in tough with HIW management in hopes that they will hire him to become the latest addition to their booking committee. It seems like a crazy idea on his part at first, but surprisingly enough, HIW—desperate enough as they are to maintain whatever status they may have left as a wrestling organization—is willing enough to take him up on his generous offer…or, that is to say, HIW general manager Anthony Conklin is. HIW founder Jerry Swanson, on the other hand, is too stubborn to see the issues that his very own pride and joy has, and his resentment of having an outsider coming in to help out with it when it—at least according to him—is running just fine really rubs him the wrong way and as such creates a rift between him and Kyle. Of course, Swanson isn’t the only one whom Kyle has to win over, as there are plenty of wrestlers on the HIW roster who have become so used to their employer’s faulty vision of how their once-beloved wrestling company should be run that they have all but lost hope for it success. Needless to say, Kyle’s got his hands full when it comes to winning over his new coworkers, and only time will tell if his fandom-inspired ideas and booking style will help to revive HIW’s ailing product and make it worth watching once again.
In short, if you’re interested in professional wrestling and would like to see a different side of the story as provided by a fellow wrestling fan, look no further than Kyle Summers, Booker, currently available on Smashwords.com. For more information, please check out this particular book at my Smashwords author page, and until next time, thank you for reading.
Dustin M. Weber