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

He was really funny and he was the guy that had star ratings for matches. I think that him and Jim Cornette actually came up for that. He was a good friend of Jim Cornette's when they were both kids. He made no bones about it. So, I think that's kind of where I got the approach from.

WrestlingINC: What was the reaction like when it started catching on and started to kind of expose the business?

Meltzer: You know, a lot of people loved it and a lot of people hated it. A lot of people in wrestling thought I was public enemy number one which is kind of funny. Some people still do, which is really funny because they don't even know why anymore. I think it's the whole -- I don't know. Every other sport and every other business has something like this.

You really notice it when you deal with other sports how wrestling pay are way behind the times and in a different world in a lot of cases. It is the only business that I know of where the idea is that they think that it shouldn't be covered. Whereas, everybody else just accepts that it's been like this for 100 years and always will be. With wrestling, it's like they still fight the idea. Like, somehow, it's wrong.

WrestlingINC: I remember reading a while back that you said your phone bill was like $1,000 a month.

Meltzer: Yeah, it was. [Laughs.] It's not that much anymore. Everything has changed in the last 15 years. I mean, everything has changed.

WrestlingINC: But with those kind of expenses, how were you able to get the word out? You probably didn't have too much of an advertising budget.

Meltzer: A lot of it was word of mouth. I did some advertising in the magazines. I definitely had a lot of help those couple of years when I worked for The National Sports Daily. That helped my name a lot. That was a period of a lot of growth.

But, just doing radio shows and word of mouth -- people would read it at matches or see it at matches. That's kind of how I would spread the word.

WrestlingINC: You did cover other sports for different publications. How was it explaining that on one hand, you're covering soccer or something and then also pro wrestling? Was that kind of odd?

Meltzer: That was just hard. I wouldn't say odd -- I guess it was, I don't know. I guess it probably was, but I never thought of it. Covering wrestling was such a full-time job that doing other stuff was hard.

WrestlingINC: You were actually going to shut down the newsletter at one point in the '80's, right?

Meltzer: Yeah, I got another job and I just thought that at the time, I couldn't do both -- which I couldn't. But, I changed how I did the newsletter and it kind of resurrected itself. It never actually went away.

The idea was that I was going to shut it down but that I would keep in contact with people and just kind of write a weekly letter and the weekly letter ended up becoming the modern version of The Observer.

The old Observer was this monthly thing, actually every three weeks. So, the idea was that I'd write this 6-8 page letter and people wanted to subscribe to that. That became The Observer. That was actually a lot more successful than the every-three-weeks thing. So, the whole format was actually something I fell into when I was trying to shut it down, which is actually what lead to it's popularity.

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