Monday, June 07, 2010

P.W. Why?: Does Anyone Read Pro Wrestling Illustrated Anymore?

Last Thursday, on my way to doing the Mouthpiece Wrestling Show, I stopped off at a Barnes & Noble to kill a little time and wait out a brief thunderstorm.  As the skies opened up, I gravitated to the magazine section to see what, if any wrestling magazines were on sale.

A little over 10 years ago, there were at least a half dozen pro wrestling titles available on every major newsstand.  Apart from the Pro Wrestling Illustrated family of magazines (PWI, The Wrestler, Inside Wrestling) you had WOW, the Starlog titles, Wrestling's Main Event and some others. Back in the 70's, titles like The Ring's Wrestling, The Big Book of Wrestling and Wrestling Revue populated local newsstands and were prized collectables of kids like me all around the country.

Today, you have WWE Magazine and PWI. That's it.

There are people who will tell you that these are changing times, that printed media is a dinosaur and how everyone gets their information from the Internet or TV.  I won't argue that trend, but I look at newsstands today and I see just as many titles as I ever did.  Most are glossier, many are thinner, but they are still there.

Back to Barnes & Noble last Thursday.  Browsing through their huge selection of magazines, I saw the latest issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated - the "State of the Game" issue.

I flipped open to the article called "The State of Independent Wrestling."  It talked about Ring of Honor (on national TV and touring around the country, so that's hardly an independent), DGUSA, Jersey All Pro Wrestling and something called EVOLVE.  And that was it.

Ugh.  It was as though wrestling did not exist beyond the NY, NJ, PA area.

I thought to myself, "How crappy is this?  This is so not thorough.  Why would anyone bother to read this?"

A couple of months ago, we got an e-mail asking us to send in pictures and profiles for the annual PWI 500, an issue where the top 500 wrestlers in the business are listed.  Every promotion around the country PWI has an e-mail address for gets solicited for this and we're happy to send in names, photos and bio information.

But why does it stop there?  Why is it that PWI has such a narrow focus?  Is it a lack of resources?

Back in the territory days, promoters would pay to fly in a Bill Apter, who would take photos of the big shows, write stories about the top stars in a given territory and highlight certain talent.   While WWE has its own magazine and doesn't need PWI to expose its talent, WWE still dominates PWI content as it should.  But shouldn't there be more coverage or more avenues for coverage for the significant independent companies around the country?

Any wrestling fan can get all the latest news for free on any number of wrestling news sites.  The internet has done more to usurp the importance of the newsstand wrestling magazine than anything else.  PWI has allowed itself to be pretty irrelevant by not embracing the online world.

I think there is still a value to the newsstand wrestling magazine, but not if its going to focus only on a few companies.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Amazon DVD Deal

If you've never seen the 5 disc Wrestling Gold box set chock full of great 70's and 80's matches, you owe it to yourself to get this set.

10 hours of old school wrestling for less than $15?  Yes inded.  This is the best wrestling DVD bargain out there.

This DVD set is special because the bouts are presented with not only the original commentary, but also with a special alternate commentary track featuring Dave Meltzer and Jim Cornette, who give great background and stories about the matches and the territories and what was going on in the business at the time.

You owe to yourself to add this to your collection and the price is most definitely right.

No comments: