Welcome to the High Spot, Place to Be Nation’s weekly pro wrestling update. Steve Wille (@SteveWille34) will take you through the biggest story of the week in the world of wrestling, adding in a unique view to help put the story in perspective. Glenn Butler (@Glenniebun) then takes a quick look at other important stories of the week. If you have any tips or story ideas, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
As sales associated with the print world sadly plummet, WWE, as part of their budget cuts, decided to shut down the magazine portion of its publication division, with its last issue being released on September 16th. In conjunction with its final edition, the magazine’s official Twitter feed is offering some appreciation to its supporters. Steve and former High Spot co-author, Justin Rozzero, offer our own memories of the magazine’s history:
Steve: Whenever I was sick, or on the two occasions that I had oral surgery, I remember my dad coming home with a stack of magazines to read while I recuperated. Though by no means was he a wrestling fan, he’d always throw a WWF or Apter magazine in the pile. I can’t remember who was on the cover of the first issue he bought me, but I do recall buying the sweet lavender Macho Man shirt and poster from the enclosed catalog, much to my mom’s chagrin. Later, after the Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI, the first images I saw from that match were in the WWF magazine. Even at 14, it fascinated me to see Warrior with both belts, face paint peeled away for the first time.
As I grew older, I’d always peruse the magazines at the local pharmacy, looking for the “Informer” columns that would tease upcoming storylines or talent coming into the organization. These were the pre-internet days, so it took a lot of research to find any information that took you “behind the curtain.” When the WWF launched Raw magazine, likely looking to reach the older fan like myself, I immediately started picking up the issues, later purchasing a subscription. I recall some of the great in-depth interviews in the magazine (a Brian Pillman article post-signing stands out), the “Ross Report,” and, of course, the centerfolds. Bret Hart infamously referred to Shawn Michaels’ cheesecake pinup when he posed naked with the championship belt as one of the major things that disgusted him about the product. My wife and I scanned that poster into our friend’s computer, where she kept it lovingly as her wallpaper for years.
Though I haven’t read the WWE magazine in years, I’m still saddened by its demise. When you have periodicals and books that match kids’ interests, it encourages them to read. Fans of this generation will no longer be able to grab the memories that Justin and I write about here. And as someone who still carries books, magazines, and comics wherever I go, it frightens me every time a magazine ceases to print.
Justin: I was a WWF magazine junkie. Right when i first got into wrestling, my brother came by and dropped off a big box of WWF Magazines ranging from 1986 through 1990. It was amazing, I was able to catch up on everything I had missed before I got into the sport. I devoured them over and over, scoured for things I may have missed and treated them like gold. I immediately signed up for my own subscription, one that I maintained from late 1990 through 1996. At that point, I subscribed to RAW Magazine, which I kept through 1998 when I left for school.
They played such a role in my fandom, checking the mail as soon as the new month started, hoping to see it bulging from my mailbox. My friend Jim was also a magazine fiend and we would read them together, over the phone and then discuss everything we read. Even though I hadn’t bought a WWF/E magazine in probably close to 14 years, I was pretty sad when I heard the news as another slice of my childhood was officially gone. A reminder of the old kingdoms of wrestling when the sport was magic, WWF Magazine will always hold a special place in the wrestling section of my heart.
- Eat, Sleep, Sign, Repeat: There have been some adjustments made to Brock Lesnar’s WWE deal, now that he’s the world champion and the company has experienced a yankering to put him on a show every now and then. The restructuring allows WWE to use Lesnar on more occasions on a pro-rated basis at an additional per-date cost. At the very least this means that if WWE wants to, they’ll be able to bring Lesnar in for pay-per-views; the handful of Raw appearances he typically puts in should actually do fairly well, since he’s not exactly going to have a verbal confrontation with someone and be put in a match later that night, and there’s no reason for Brock to be doing promos anyway. Ultimately, this means that a title reign stretching all the way to WrestleMania is now truly feasible. Whether this fills you with joy, or anger, or fury, depends on which contributor to PTBN’s Main Event you take after most. (I’m a total Carrie. Uh, I mean Jordan.)
- We Love Ya, Bobby: Speaking of those who’ve dared to breach the walls between wrestling and MMA, Bobby Lashley has a fight set for Bellator 123. While he’s the reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion, he does not appear to be defending. One company’s champion having a match in another company is rare enough, but to have it in an MMA environment, and to have the world champion doing it, seems a little high-risk. Lashley’s actually been doing a pretty good job as TNA Champion, so hopefully he doesn’t come back to the wrestling end of the wormhole injured or humiliated.
- *grumblemutter*: Jerry Springer will appear on Raw next week to try to broker a settlement between the Bella twins. In worse news, the Bella twins will appear on Raw next week.
- Corrections: The story relayed here on The High Spot last week about a vendor boondoggle during WrestleMania XXX turns out to have been internet-fueled lies and deceit. Also, Ryback’s video about how seriously he was injured and the troubles he’d been working through turns out to have been Ryback-fueled lies and deceit. Also, the idea that Shawne Merriman was actually under contract with the WWE turns out to have been Wrestling Observer-fueled lies and deceit. We have misled you, and you have been misled.
- Battle for Your Heart: In a continuing attempt at providing alternatives for those who grow tired of mainstream professional wrestling, the High Spot highlights other great organizations and their products. Recently, we looked at the lineup for PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles Tournament. By all accounts, the event was a rousing success, and PWG has the DVDs up for pre-order at http://prowrestlingguerrilla.com. Here’s their released preview for night one of the tournament: