November 19, 2004

If Oxblog Can Cover Wrestling…

And still be taken seriously as a blog, then I guess so can I.

A magazine that I grew up reading, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The most prominent of the “Apter mags” (named after former editor Bill Apter), PWI was always fascinating to me, because it read like Sports Illustrated, except that it covered wrestling as though it were real- the articles all treated the wrestlers and matches as though they were on the level, and all wrestler interviews were conducted “in character.”

From a journalistic standpoint, is this defensible, or is it fraudulent and unethical? The PWI writers and editors were putting together these stories full of information that they knew to be false, yet perhaps you could call it a mutual suspension of disbelief- after all, it’s to be assumed that, like wrestling itself, most non-children consuming the product were completely aware that wrestling was fixed. Indeed, writing such “fake stories” didn’t stop such PWI alumni as SI writer Kostya Kennedy and New York Post columnist Gersh Kuntzman from succeeding in “real life” journalism.

The rise of the internet and “wrestling spoilers” sites sort of forced PWI out of the closet, and now the magazine will even use such words as “angles” and “storylines”- and here’s an interview with publisher Stu Saks, explaining how things worked. They may have abdicated their authority to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, but PWI remains alive and successful. Congrats on 25.

Posted by Stephen Silver at November 19, 2004 07:29 PM

One of the best birthday presents I was ever given was a subscription to PWI, given to me by my grandfather, who was also a wrestling fan.

Unfortunately, my folks weren't wrestling fans.

And even more unfortunately, some transgression on my part led to my losing PWI reading rights for a good portion of my subscription.

On the other hand, the PWI Almanac is still required reading around my house....

Posted by: BSTommy at November 19, 2004 08:20 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?