Dave Meltzer Discusses Appearing On 'Donahue' With Vince McMahon, WON, UFC, '90s Wrestling, More

I recently spoke to Wrestling Observer Newsletter (wrestlingobserver.com) editor Dave Meltzer. Mr. Meltzer has been a big influence on my career, as his newsletter was what inspired me to start The Wrestling Gazette in the late '90s, which led to the creation of this website.

In the first of my three-part interview, Meltzer and I discussed the origins of his newsletter, appearing on Donahue with Vince McMahon, covering the UFC in their early days, the steroid and sex scandal in the 90's and much more. Make sure to check back here tomorrow for the second part of our interview with Mr. Meltzer.

WrestlingINC: When did you first start watching wrestling and what drew you to it?

Dave Meltzer: 1970. When I was a kid, all the kids watched it. Most of the kids watched it before I did. We would just play baseball, I think wrestling was on at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, so we'd play until 4:30. We'd watch the end of bowling, which I think aired on ABC. Then, when bowling ended, we would watch wrestling, which aired for an hour in our local market. We started going to matches at that time, pretty quickly.

WrestlingINC: Did you pretty much stay a fan the entire time until you started the newsletter?

Meltzer: I started the newsletter pretty quick. I think I had a newsletter by '71. I was always a fan. There were periods in the late '70s, when I was in high school, where wrestling was really uncool. But, I still watched it on TV most every week.

When I look back at the late '70s in San Francisco at the Cow Palace, I have vague memories of it. I don't think that I followed it as closely. Whereas, the early- '70s stuff, I remember distinctly. I think what happened was that in the late '70s, I kind of grew out of it. In '79, when Georgia Championship Wrestling got on here, that was really good stuff. Then, I started getting newsletters and stuff that I got back when I was younger.

So, I would say from '76-'78, I watched it for sure, but it was kind of vague. But, from '79 and on -- yeah. I really followed it close.

WrestlingINC: So, you actually started writing about it in the early '70s?

Meltzer: '71, yeah.

WrestlingINC: Was it more of the way it is now, with breaking kayfabe or was it more opinion-based?

Meltzer: For the time, yeah it was but not to the extent that the Observer was. But for the time -- I mean, I never pretended that it was real if that's what you mean. [Laughs.] When I wrote about it in '71, even though I was 10-years-old, I never pretended that it was real.

WrestlingINC: You started the Observer in the early '80s, right?

Meltzer: Yeah, the end of '82.

WrestlingINC: During that time, all the magazines treated wrestling like it was real. I believe yours was the first major one to treat it like it wasn't.

Meltzer: That's not really true because ... even when I did stuff in the '70s, there was no inclination that it was real or anything like that at all. But, the first guy to do what I did was a guy named Norm Dooley in Indiana. I don't know if I saw his newsletters before I started or when I started, but he was definitely inspiration.

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