On a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down with long-time wrestling journalist Bill Apter to get his thoughts on the pro wrestling storylines of today and the state of pro wrestling journalism. At 1Wrestling, Apter has been publishing “Kayfabe Newswire” videos inspired from his days in wrestling magazines where he and other journalists would add more to wrestling stories to create more drama and entertainment for fans.
One of Apter’s recent videos focused on WWE Universal Champion Roman Reign’s heel turn and his partnership with Paul Heyman. Apter explained the history between Reign’s Anoa’i family and Heyman.
“So Paul Heyman, as you know was a photographer for the wrestling magazines, and back in the day those days when he was a photographer, he was with The Grand Wizard, Freddie Blassie, Captain Lou Albano. Captain Lou Albano, hmm, very interesting,” Apter remarked. “He managed The Wild Samoans Afa and Sika. Well, who is Sika’s son? Roman Reigns. So Paul Heyman has kept his relationship through the years with Sika, and Sika always trusted him as did Afa.
“So Sika got to his son and said, ‘listen, do business with this guy. He can get you someplace. It doesn’t matter what the fans do. The fans booed us. We made a million dollars. Go into this guy.’ So it was Sika who convinced his son to go with Paul Heyman. That’s a great story, right? People loved it. We got a few thousand views on every one of them saying, ‘wow, Apter doing what he does best,’ and they love that thing.”
Stories like these could sometimes draw the ire of promoters. Apter discussed why it was bad to piss off promoters and how the goal was to draw fans in, have them continue reading the magazine and focus on the storylines.
“Well, the reason we wouldn’t have done what the promoter didn’t want us to was we would have had our press credentials revoked and told Apter or these other guys can’t come into the building anymore,” Apter explained. “I mean if you really look at it, it was their business and it was their rental of the arenas [or] whatever, and they could let whoever they wanted to in the house and they could also keep out whoever they wanted to keep out of the house as well. But no, if there was an injury that someone sustained and was going to be out for a few months, we played that up. They loved it. The promoter loved that.
“We talked about people getting title shots when they felt they couldn’t go on any longer, and they won the title that night. “It’s drama. We embellish to make the fans sitting there reading us in their living room or on the toilet bowl, wherever they were reading this thing to really be compelled to want to read what was going on.”
Media access has grown in wrestling over the years with media scrums and press conferences becoming more of the norm than ever before. However, the word “scrum” is something that Apter is not a big fan of.
“I hate that word. I hate the word scrum,” Apter remarked. “It just sounds so dirty. ‘They’re having a scrum over there. Can you clean the scrum? Wait a minute, here comes one of the scrums.’ To me, it’s a press conference.”
Despite the growth of media access, Hausman asked if there is still the mentality to not say the wrong thing and get on the bad side of a wrestler or promoter. Apter said his motto is to not piss someone off since that relationship can be hard to mend once it is broken.
“That’s my motto,” Apter stated. “A lot of internet people say to me, ‘why won’t so-and-so let me in? Why does this person curse me out online.’ I said, ‘well, if you piss somebody off, they’re gonna have a bug up their butt for the rest of their lives about you, and there’s no hemorrhoid cream to get that away.'”
The two later discussed their appreciation for Andy Kaufman especially for his feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler, who has long wished for Kaufman to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Apter revealed that it was him that introduced the two together and noted that was the birth of “sports entertainment”.
“Well, if you watch the WWE Network special that debuted a few days ago, the Broken Skull Sessions with Stone Cold, they had Jerry Lawler on, and Jerry does mention that I was the catalyst who got him together with Andy Kaufman,” Apter revealed. “I introduced them, … and then, it was the brilliance of Andy, Jerry Lawler, Jerry Jarrett, Jimmy Hart, Dutch Mantell and the people that put that whole thing together. It was the first shot, in my opinion, it was the first shot of sports entertainment ever.”
Bill Apter can now be read every month as part of the new Inside The Ropes Magazine. For more information please click HERE. Apter’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.