With our 15-year anniversary approaching this summer, I took some time to speak with former WWE creative producer Court Bauer, who was a major part of Wrestling Inc. in the 1990's. Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Raj Giri: You were an early part of WrestlingINC.com back in the 1990's.
Court Bauer: Yeah. Maybe even the pre-WrestlingINC.com (days) with The Wrestling Gazette newsletter I think is what you had out there. Everyone signed up for this newsletter chain and everyone read it. You'd see a zillion e-mail addresses on there and then you'd get your news right before the Monday night shows started. It was great.
Then, you'd get all the fall-out and all the gossip. I remember it was like '95-'96 and you had The Wrestling Observer and a few other newsletters but this was like instant information before websites were really a big thing, this was a great thing to get your wrestling fix in terms of news and what's going to happen, who's jumping (sides) -- which was like constantly -- the news cycle was never-ending back in the '90's. WWF or WCW -- it was a really intriguing time.
So, for someone at that point that was really interested in getting into the wrestling business that was absorbing everything like a sponge; to have that newsletter that became WrestlingINC.com was a great thing. I remember hitting my Inbox when I was in college and maybe even high school and just -- you've got to read everything from the top to the bottom of that newsletter.
Eventually, I ended up e-mailing you and saying, "I'd love to contribute." Now, I didn't have any sources. [Laughs.] I just wanted to write. I didn't know what the hell to do other than try to cobble together some leads on a few things and that's kind of what happened. You and WrestlingINC became my entry into wrestling and I used that as a way to then link up with wrestlers and ask them for interviews. I did a lot of op-ed things and put out a few stories.
Giri: Yeah. You really did a great job during your time with the site.
Bauer: I remember I convinced King Kong Bundy and guys like Gary Albright from Japan to do columns and stuff. [Laughs] Guys were doing columns and that's a novel thing today. We actually got them to do them on a -- I won't say weekly basis -- on fairly regular basis.
Giri: Yeah, that's right. I think you were with the site until -- what -- '99-2000?
Bauer: '99 sounds about right. '98-'99 was when I was doing a lot -- I was getting really hands on with wrestling, doing stuff with The Samoans. I had contacted them, setting up a part where I was working and trying to just get in the business. So, by '99, I was pretty much balancing college and the Samoan stuff in Pennsylvania. That's probably when I was spinning so many plates that I stepped back.
Plus, there was always paranoia about the conflict of interest with the Samoans. Especially Afa, who's a WWE Hall Of Famer. He's very old school. So, getting involved with dirt sheets or anything; it was a major taboo then. It still is today. It's not like you could work for Vince (McMahon) and do anything with wrestling newsletters. That's when I probably when I also realized I had to keep that as my primary goal.
I think one of the last things I did was work on promoting a show with WrestlingINC. I want to say it was the memorial show for Yokozuna. I remember doing a lot of publicity, working with you at WrestlingINC, getting the word out. It was very helpful. I remember guys like Eddie Guerrero were on the show… I think Eddie was on the show. But it was like WCW and WWE who were battling it out on the Monday night wars, yet both lent talent to be a part of the Yoko memorial. That might have been in 2000. Point is, it was one of the things I remember doing with you -- one of the last things.
It's really cool to see you guys are still chugging along. God; you were there in the '90's, you were there in the 2000's and you're here in the teens. So, you've kind of been covering it all from parts of three decades. I can't really think of any other site that's done that.
Giri: [Laughs.] Right. We're kind of like the Mae Young of wrestling sites.
Bauer: Yeah. But, hopefully, you don't give birth to anything. That could be kind of scandalous. [Laughs.] Yeah, it's a cool thing. Your sites have always been, like -- in terms of the layout and aesthetically -- it's just been incredible. You've always been, like, blowing everybody out of the water. From the start to now.
I remember -- just so you know -- I wasn't the only one that was reading WrestlingINC.com when I was at WWE, either. There were a lot of other laptops open and we were all reading stuff from WrestlingINC within the office. So, know that there are people at WWE, then and now probably, still reading it. So, that tells you a lot.