A peek into a secretive world

It’s a billion dollar industry that, according to Wikipedia, has origins in 19th century carnival sideshows — yet much of the behind-the-scenes of professional wrestling remains shrouded in secrecy.

“It’s a very secretive business,” explained Matthew Randazzo V, a Sequim man whose debut book, “Ring of Hell: The Story of Chris Benoit and the fall of the Pro Wrestling Industry” takes readers inside the mysterious world. “You have to have connections to know what goes on,” Randozzo said.

Growing up in New Orleans, Randazzo was a fan of watching pro wrestling on television. As he got older, he said his enthrallment changed from watching it to learning what went on backstage.

“I’ve always had an incredible fascination with the subculture (of pro wrestling),” Randazzo said. “It’s interesting that someone would sacrifice their health and families for what to an outsider looks like silly, slapstick television. It’s incredibly bizarre.”

Randazzo was working on four other investigative books, all dealing with organized crime, when he got a call from a friend working in the wrestling industry. The friend, whom Randazzo declines to name, asked if he would work with him on a book about Chris Benoit, a professional wrestler who made headlines in the summer of 2007 when he, his wife, Nancy, and 7-year-old son Daniel were found dead in their Georgia home. Soon after they were discovered, authorities confirmed that Benoit had killed his wife and son and then taken his own life.

“‘Ring of Hell’ explains in unprecedented detail how wrestling’s outrageous business practices have led to the physical and mental destruction and premature demise of dozens of pro wrestling’s biggest stars,” wrote Randazzo in a release.

Randazzo had a quick deadline — four months to talk to the industry’s most in-the-know people including entertainment writers, producers and the wrestlers themselves, no easy task for such a guarded industry.

Luckily, Randazzo, by chance, had several friends in the business who introduced him to the right people.

“There’s probably no more meticulously recorded book on the industry,” Randazzo said.

Due to his ability to get insider information on the wrestling world, Randazzo’s book has reached the top of several bestseller lists including the wrestling genre in the U.S. and Canada.

“Ring of Hell” is available online at, and can be ordered through local bookstores.

“I’ve always had an incredible fascination

with the subculture

(of pro wrestling).”

– Mathhew Randazzo

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 20
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates