Book Review: Atlantic City and ‘Wrestlemania factored into the making of President Trump By David G. Schwartz, CDC Gaming Reports July 28, 2018 at 10:49 am A lot was written about Donald Trump before he became President. A good amount has been written since then, with more to surely come. This volume by wrestling enthusiast and writer Lavie Margolin explore Trump’s involvement with professional wrestling via Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which until 2002 was known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Connections between McMahon and Trump date from Trump Plaza hosting successive Wrestlemania in 1988 and 1989 (which this writer attended; the most memorable spot was Roddy Piper extinguishing Morton Downey Jr.’s cigarette with a fire extinguisher). Notably, this was not the only casino to host the colossal tussle: Caesars Palace was the site of Wrestlemania 9 in 1993.The working relationship between the two reached a climax with the “Battle of the Billionaires” at Wrestlemania 23 in 2007, in which proxies of the two billionaires fought in the ring, with the losing billionaire having his head shaved. Trump’s wrestler, Bobby Lashley, defeated McMahon’s, Umaga, leading to McMahon having his head shaved. Two years later, Trump returned to the WWE and “bought” its flagship program Monday Night Raw before selling it back to McMahon at twice the price. In 2013, in recognition of his long ties to the company, Trump was inducted in the WWE’s Hall of Fame, alongside luminaries like Hulk Hogan, Pete Rose, and Koko B. Ware. TrumpMania: Vince McMahon, WWE, and the making of America’s 45th PresidentMargolin summarizes the twists and turns of the McMahon/Trump relationship, relying on recaps of televised and pay per view events and sources like Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter rather than new interviews. He meticulously details each step in the budding friendship and on-screen rivalry between McMahon and Trump, providing a unique window into Trump’s “education” in the WWE. Certainly, many of the tactics used to excite fans about wrestling feuds translate well to political theater. Also, his participation reveals his willingness to go to great lengths to “sell” an angle: he agreed to receive a “Stone Cold stunner” from wrestling icon Stone Cold Steve Austin as part of the Battle of the Billionaires, putting himself in harm’s way to give the fans what they want. Trump’s motivations for working with McMahon seem obvious but bear mentioning. The Wrestlemanias held at Boardwalk Hall and sponsored by Trump Plaza were, along with championship boxing, part of the Trump team’s strategy to attract attention to the center Boardwalk casino. Indeed, Margolin recaps an episode of the WWF’s Prime Time Wrestling which aired before Wrestlemania 4, was a veritable commercial for Trump Plaza. Trump’s later appearances in an on-air role as a personality dovetailed with his promotion of his television show, The Apprentice. What is even more interesting is, in his 2013 Hall of Fame induction, Trump was not cowed by boos from fans who were eager to see legend Bruno Sammartino’s induction, playing off the negative reaction and getting more “heat,” or vocal response, from them—again, something which has not been uncommon in his political career. With Trump’s 2016 election as President, the relationship between him and the WWE entered a new phase. Linda McMahon, wife of Vince McMahon and longtime President and CEO of the WWE, was named as Administrator of the Small Business Administration, a major honor. The book could have benefited from better editing; there are several grammatical lapses. For example, in the first chapter, the late Mark Etess is referred to as “Ennis.” These types of shortcomings do detract from the book’s readability, which is unfortunate, since the author has put together what may be the definitive story of Trump and professional wrestling. For those interested in the career of Donald Trump, and those interested in a close recounting of his professional wrestling involvement, TrumpMania will deliver value. It doesn’t provide much analysis into Trump’s leadership style or political leanings, but those who are inclined will use its insights to fill in the blanks on their own. Lavie Margolin. TrumpMania: Vince McMahon, WWE, and the making of America’s 45th President – Published by H. Delilah Business & Career Press, 2018. 212 pages.