Veteran wrestling journalist Bill Apter sat down with Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman on The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast to discuss Apter’s career in the industry and his interactions with Vince McMahon Jr. Apter recalled a story about trying to get press credentials from a young McMahon for an Evel Knievel event.
“Vince was working for Bob Arum at Top Rank. They were running the Evel Knievel Snake Canyon jump, and I asked Bob Arum, because we also did boxing magazines, how I can get to see that on closed circuit without paying for it, of course, to cover it,” Apter said. “We weren’t going to cover it. He said, ‘well, talk to my new right-hand guy.’ I said, ‘who’s that? He says, ‘Vince McMahon Jr. Ever heard of him?’ So I called Vince. (Apter does a Vince McMahon impression) ‘Well, what can I do for you Bill? Can I get you free tickets to the the PPV?’ I said, ‘yeah,’ and he took care of it for me.”
Apter also told a story about his magazine having heat with WWE. He recalled a tense encounter where he met up with McMahon at a hotel.
“Well one one of them was when I was in Chicago, your hometown, and the WWF was in Chicago, and all the magazines, at that point, the Newsstand magazines had been banned. And I understood it,” Apter stated. “It was a decision by Vince McMahon that they had a magazine. They offered me a job. I didn’t want to be part of it. I was loyal to the company.
“When they were first doing it, it was called ‘Victory Magazine.’ Now I’m in Chicago during the height of the ban, and I’m working for ‘WOW Magazine.’ So we figured Tim Towe, who was one of the other editors said, ‘let’s go hang out at the hotel.’ So we go hang out at the hotel. All the wrestlers are in the dining room there, and somebody said Vince is in the banquet room with Linda, his wife, and a couple of other people just hanging out. So I think, don’t come with me. Just leave me alone. So I waited outside the banquet room, and I didn’t want to knock on the door or anything. Vince comes out. Looked huge.
“I said, ‘hello Vince, Bill Apter.’ He said, (Apter does an angry McMahon impression) ‘oh Bill, what the hell are you doing here?’ I said, ‘well, I don’t have a camera,’ and he looked at me very seriously. He said, ‘what are you doing here?’ I said, ‘well, I work for a magazine company here in Chicago, even though I’m still living in New York. ‘What, what, why are you here?’ [I said,] ‘I heard you in the ballroom here, and I wanted to say hello.’ [He said,] ‘OK, hello, have a nice evening,’ and strutted away. That was it.”
Apter said there wasn’t any heat between himself and WWE when it came to turning down two job offers to work for WWE’s magazine. Apter admitted that he would have taken the job with WWE if he had not been working for another magazine.
“No, not at all. He wanted me as the editor of the original magazine,” Apter said. “I told him I was loyal, and then there was another offer several years later that I also turned down because I was also working for Stanley Westin. Had I not been working for Stanley Westin, I probably would have taken the job.”
Apter’s career working for various magazines have earned those magazines the name of an “Apter Mag” due to Apter’s involvement with the magazine. Apter is back in the wrestling magazine world with Inside The Ropes Magazine, but he made clear that this is not an “Apter Mag” as he is not in charge of putting the magazine together. Apter talked about his original goals in the industry and credits his editors for doing a job that he did not envy.
“It’s not an ‘Apter Mag’. I am part of it,” Apter noted. “I’ll be in charge of Special Operations management there, but I’m not putting the magazine together or anything. I’m not really running it. When I was with Fighting Spirit magazine, I had a lot of say in that and Total Wrestling as well and WOW magazine and ‘Tutto Wrestling Magazine’ from Italy, and of course the PWI family, I had quite a bit of say in that as well, but I was never the publisher and was never the main guy at any of those magazines because that’s not what I wanted to do. I bless people like Stu Saks who just retired, who was the editor of all our magazines for so many years, and Peter King before that, who could sit there and write words, the wrong words and edit us all. And I never wanted to do that.
“I wanted to be the guy out there. I’m going to say something that I don’t think I’ve said on any show is that I started off as you know wanting to be an entertainer, and I was a huge wrestling fan. The way that I got into entertainment is that the wrestling promoters back in the ’70s and ’80s and ’90s started putting me on TV. So I got that satisfaction out of being a performer, and then I opened up to, well, I can sing. I can do this and all that.”
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.