This is a guest review by freelance journalist Chris Slater. Reach him on Twitter here.
Jason Paul is a 30-year-old lifelong wrestling fan who realized his dreams and wrestled for WWE under the moniker "JTG." Its meaning has shifted over the years from "Just That Good" to "Just That Gangsta." It's not quite at the level of asking CM Punk what the "CM" stands for, but it's up there.
JTG had the look, the skill, the charisma, the catchphrases, a little bit of everything. I wouldn't call him a Total Package, but he was definitely a Better-Than-Average Package. So, what happened? Why didn't he amount to much in WWE? Why didn't he win any titles or be anything other than a midcard tag wrestler and eventually an entertaining jobber?
Heat. As JTG puts it, heat is "a 4 letter word that has ended more wrestling careers than steroids, painkillers, and alcohol combined."
JTG was infamously fired from WWE in June of 2014. His firing was shocking because it shouldn't have been. The online joke going around was to make fun of how long he had been employed by WWE. There were parody twitter accounts and a countdown clock. When JTG was finally released, he had been employed for seven years, thirty days, twenty-five minutes and twelve seconds. JTG even had a sense of humor about it all, tweeting "Damn! Why I pick up my phone!"
That sense of humor is what led JTG to publish his first ebook, "Damn! Why Did I Write This Book?" which is a look at his time in WWE. It is not a traditional autobiography in the sense that it tells his life story. It is a memoir that only features stories about his heat with other wrestlers and members of management. It goes in chronological order, starting with his first days in OVW and getting a talk from Elijah Burke about what exactly heat is and how to avoid it, all the way to his final days in WWE.
And for those needing a refresher, heat is basically when somebody is angry with you. It can either be for a legitimate reason, or not. JTG tells a story about an unnamed wrestler getting called out by another unnamed top star for wearing sunglasses inside the building. And that is the tone of the book. With a few exceptions - Vince McMahon most notably - JTG doesn't name any names and just lets the story speak for itself.
With that said, though, a lot of the names are obvious. You can clearly tell when JTG is mentioning John Cena, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon.
The Vince McMahon story involves JTG asking for new theme music. Vince puts him in touch with some people and later JTG has trouble remembering the names Vince gave him. Vince tells JTG to always remember somebody's name and stresses the importance of that. The next time they speak, JTG mentions that he sent some music ideas to Jim Henson. Longtime wrestling fans know Jim Johnston, the man behind probably 98 percent of every iconic theme song in WWE history. Long story short, JTG didn't get new music.
Some aren't named, but are very obvious. JTG talks about a WWE Hall of Famer having issues with his entrance. JTG says that this guy has a very danceable entrance and was a huge influence on him growing up. After being accused of doing a "crotch chop" on his way to the ring, JTG was chewed out by HBK - I mean, this unnamed wrestler - in front of the entire locker room.
There are a few other stories involving names like that. You can tell very obviously that Trevor Murdoch is the guy hassling JTG on an airplane. On a more positive note, he doesn't mention their names, but he is very clearly talking about William Regal and Chris Jericho in two different stories. Regal makes a group of wrestlers leave JTG alone and Jericho discreetly gives JTG advice when others would have called him out for his mistakes.
The one name that must be mentioned here is Shad Gaspard. JTG calls his former tag team partner out in the beginning, noting that most of his heat was by association because of Shad getting in trouble. JTG doesn't hold that against him, as the two are still close to this day.
Shad got JTG in trouble from the beginning, from having them accidentally miss an OVW show, separate incidents of saying something inappropriate in front of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, and of course the incident with the referee in 2007 that got them both fired for six months.
JTG wrote a good book. It's worth a read if you want a peek into the backstage world of WWE. In addition, JTG also writes about why he didn't leave after becoming a jobber, what he was doing the day he found out about Chris Benoit's death, the infamous WrestleMania payoff tweets, and he doesn't go too in depth but he mentions a wrestler's union enough times to know it's something he is serious about.
A casual wrestling fan may not care about this book. But if you are big wrestling fan and care about the people behind the characters, check it out. There are several ways to get this book, the easiest being Amazon, either for a Kindle or Kindle smartphone app. Over on his twitter, @JTG1284, he has other links. If you're curious, the "1284" is his birthday.