Titan Shattered, the sequel to last year’s Titan Sinking: The Decline of the WWF in 1995, picks up in 1996 during a tumultuous time in Vince McMahon’s wrestling empire. Feeling the increased pressure from rival organization World Championship Wrestling and their attractive guaranteed contracts, McMahon would struggle throughout 1996 to keep the talent he already had, hoping that loyalty would mean more than money.
Unfortunately for Vince, not only would WCW throw out obscenely high salaries but also a reduced work schedule, something McMahon could not offer. This would lead to the departure of many of the WWF’s most well known wrestlers leaving Vince with little to no choice but to try anything he could to stay competitive. This included:
- Attempting to give longtime roster member and gifted performer Shawn Michaels a shot at carrying the company as WWF Champion despite Michael’s childish behavior and rampant drug problems;
- Bringing in veteran Mick Foley and repackaging him as the sadistic “Mankind” and immediately injecting him into a high profile program with The Undertaker;
- Re-signing Jim “Ultimate Warrior” Hellwig in a desperate attempt to bring star power back to his dwindling roster;
- Storylines that blended fact and fiction, one of which involved two of the hottest stars in the business.. and a handgun;
- A series of vignettes parodying World Championship Wrestling showcasing characters such as “Billionaire Ted”, “Scheme Gene”, “The Huckster”, and “The Nacho Man” in an attempt to convince their audience that WCW was where past WWF stars went to take it easy.
With Titan Shattered, Dixon continues with his practice of meticulous research with digestible prose that makes the book an easy read. Footnotes are again scattered throughout offering additional information that expands upon already thorough work. I’d like to consider myself an information sponge when it comes to anything wrestling-related during this period and despite having listened to hundreds of episodes of wrestling podcasts, reading dozens of books and watching several documentaries, I still managed to learn a lot. That’s how comprehensive a work Titan Shattered is.
For those looking to dig as deep as possible into the American wrestling scene of the 1990s, Dixon’s two books (a rumoured third is on its way next year) are essential reads.