RADICAN’S BOOK REVIEW: The Business of Kayfabe by Kayfabe Commentaries owner Sean Oliver, advice on how to run a business of passion, great wrestling stories

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist



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The Business of Kayfabe by Kayfabe Commentaries co-owner Sean Oliver is a book that’s half small business advice and half behind the scenes stories from his dealings with Kayfabe Commentaries. Oliver’s first book, Kayfabe, was a ton of fun to read, as it was all about launching Kayfabe Commentaries and what it was like working with wrestlers behind and in front of the camera.

The Business of Kayfabe isn’t a full-blown wrestling book, as a lot of content from the book has Oliver sharing stories and giving advice on how to run a small business based on his experiences with running what he calls a “business of blood” or in simpler terms running a small business that owner is extremely passionate about and the advantages of knowing that market so intimately.

Sean Oliver bares it all in this book from a business standpoint. He talks about running a business of passion from all angles. Oliver’s passion is wrestling and his business is Kayfabe Commentaries, which produces the finest DVD series I have seen that cover the wrestling business (Guest Booker, YouShoot, Timeline The History of WWE etc).

Oliver is open and honest in the book about things that have worked for his company and things that haven’t worked and there’s a business lesson behind each story. The most compelling parts of the book are that despite the advantages of running a business of passion, Kayfabe Commentaries has had a hard time adjusting to the demands of how the market wants their content delivered.

Right now Kayfabe Commentaries is on a hiatus from releasing content and Oliver explains why, as they prepare to figure out how they’re going to distribute their content going forward with the destination point being on on-demand site for a flat fee that hosts all of their content.

Kayfabe Commentaries was able to stay afloat by producing high quality content featuring a mix of great concepts that presented wrestling fans with something they couldn’t get from just listening to a podcast, but with the DVD market dying and fans getting used to consuming content by paying a flat monthly fee for a service a la the WWE Network, Kayfabe Commentaries is in a period where they are adjusting to the times. Going forward, Kayfabe Commentaries is going to have to figure out to produce shoot content and make a profit while distributing it through an on-demand service.

Oliver also goes into detail about why certain series for Kayfabe Commentaries have worked and why some haven’t. Oliver talks about trying to do different concepts that were outside of what fans expect from Kayfabe Commentaries. It’s fascinating to Oliver talk about the mistakes his company has made in great detail and how he’s learned from them when it comes to trying out ideas that didn’t quite fit in Kayfabe Commentaries wheelhouse such as Gabe Sapolsky’s Next Evolution, which was a great concept, but just didn’t fit in with what the company produces for its fans.

There are some great wrestling stories in this book. Oliver details working with an indie promotion and trying to coordinate things with them to deliver Russo to their set to shoot a release. The end game of the story is that the person from the company Oliver was working with to deliver Russo to his set ended up dropping him off at a gas station and Oliver had to get in a car and go pick him up.

The best story in the book involves Jim Powers holding up Kayfabe Commentaries for more money is worth the price of admission alone, especially because it involves the Nasty Boyz in a bar setting. Oliver is really good at managing personalities and the Powers story is a great example of why Oliver is so good at his job at Kayfabe Commentaries, which is basically dealing with crazy people on a regular basis.

Overall thoughts: Not only will fans of professional wrestling find this book to be a great read, but people that want to start a business born out of passion in any given field will get a lot out of this book as well. This book has it all and is a great sequel to Oliver’s first book about working with those in the professional wrestling industry called Kayfabe. There are some top notch wrestling stories in the book as well and Oliver has encountered all sorts of crazy situations dealing with personalities like Vince Russo and Jim Cornette. High recommendation.

NOTE: You can read the Business of Kayfabe for free with an Amazon Prime subcription right now. You can purchase a copy of the book HERE

Email Sean Radican at radicansean@pwtorch.com. Follow him at twitter.com/sr_torch. 

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