Bill Apter, Editor, Total Wrestling: 14th
interview Bill Apter, king of the mainstream wrestling
magazines that many wrestling fans grew up with.
may not be comfortable to admit it, but Bill is probably
one of the most influential people in modern pro wrestling
discusses the wrestling business, how he broke into
the business, the business today, Total Wrestling
How did you get your break in
the wrestling industry?
was a fan since I was five years old. I started my
own wrestling newsletter while in High School and
then after graduating went to broadcasting school.
What that schooling ran its course, I bought time
on a New York City radio station and the first week
there was given some press tickets to a wrestling
show. I interviewed a few of the wrestlers and photographed
them and sent them to the publisher of a magazine
called Wrestling Revue.
After that was published, it opened a door for me
to meet Stanley Weston,
the man who was publisher of The
Wrestler and Inside Wrestling.
met, hit it off great, and he started teaching me
the wrestling publishing business (and I did some
boxing photography in those days too as he published
several boxing magazines). Stanley Weston was the
man who made it all happen for me and it was one of
the saddest days in my life when he died last year.
I miss him very much.
are you aims and objectives?
make the magazine I work for both informative, entertaining,
and graphically appealing.
have been the biggest changes in the wrestling business,
from both a fans and publishers perspective?
admission that wrestling is "staged." That
changed the entire world of wrestling. People looked
at it more as a sport before Vince
McMahon Jr. proclaimed what it really is, and
that is entertainment.
has the Internet been good and bad for the wrestling
in terms of being able to get the news very quickly.
Bad in the fact that most Internet writers mainly
hound on all the negative aspects when there are a
lot of positives out there too.
do you consider the highlights of your career?
easy. In 1985 I had the pleasure to CO-host, along
with the "Dean of wrestling broadcasters"
Gordon Solie, wrestling's
very first commercial video titled Lords
of the Ring. What a thrill to sit next to "the
man" and be able to work alongside him. He was
other highlights were hosting a weekly segment on
the old NWA Jim Crockett
promotions show on the worldwide Ted Turner network
WTBS. Fans from all over
the world got to know me because of those segments
as well as the syndicated "Pro
Wrestling This Week" where I had a segment
on that show hosted by Joe Pedicino.
top moment I can't ignore was introducing Jerry
Lawler to comedian Andy
Kaufman and helping set up that entire angle.
Lawler did a chapter in his book on that and didn't
forget to put me in it. It was quite flattering to
say the least!
publications have you edited (PHOTOGRAPHED) and written
for over the years?
PWI group of course for 28 years. I moved from
there to WOW (World of Wrestling) and now to Total
and why did you start covering more than the "big
2" wrestling promotions in the U.S?
I started in 1970 the magazines always covered more
than the "big 2." At one time of course
there were the "big 3!" That was the WWWF,
NWA, and AWA.
was ECW a good thing for the wrestling business?
had a more modern "hip" sensibility to it.
It helped bring the business to a new level that you
see the WWE has taken pieces of and uses it even to
did Total Wrestling Magazine come about?
the mother company of WOW went out of business the
company in England -- WVIP/Highbury House -- which
was doing the British version of WOW, began their
own publication called Power
of Wrestling. That magazine had a short run
and ceased publication. A month or so later we entered
into discussions again and the company decided to
launch a new wrestling title with me as Senior Editor
and that's how Total Wrestling was born. Publisher
Steve May and Editor
Steve Ganfield along
with me, veteran writer Steve
Anderson and others feel we have put together
the best independent wrestling magazine on the planet!
is the readership?
.. can't really pin that down.
did Pro Wrestling Illustrated and its associated "sister"
have not ceased. (that will
teach me - Greg Tingle, for being on the www, and
not in the news agents enough) - answer left in as
per Media Man Australia policy.
do you look for in a good writer?
who can tell a story in the same manner they can tell
it orally! It's also horrible when people send story
submissions with spelling errors! I cannot tell you
how often that happenzzz ... I mean hjappends....
up every day and knowing that I have one of the best
jobs in the world!
do you do on a day to day basis?
photographers and writers to their various duties.
Discuss upcoming plans with Steve May and Steve Ganfield.
Some days/nights I do interviews with wrestlers and
photo sessions. Some days I do things like this interview.
I also go to wrestling conventions when they are happening,
and anywhere where I can meet with and talk to the
"traditional" media been fair to the wrestling
business over the years?
really. They also mainly look at the negative side
of the business. It's rare that you'll read a "this
is great" story no matter how good the event
have been the best folks to work with over the years,
respect to the wrestlers, the "bad guys"
are the best. Many of the "good guys" have
primadonna attitudes and I run away from that. The
top five best folks that come to mind through the
years are "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Terry
Funk, Hulk Hogan, Bruno Sammartino, and Mr. Wrestling
II. The primadonnas, well I won't mention them this
time (and aren't you glad Billy Gunn)!
do you think and know about about the pro wrestling
scene in Australia?
lived for 3 years with Susan Sexton -- from Perth
-- as my roommate MANY years ago. She painted the
most beautiful picture of Australia with her words.
It's one of the few places I have never been so let's
get a Bill Apter to Oz movement going already!!! I
get a ton of email from Aussies (and they can write
to me at Farburn1@aol.com)
and it's time I met them already!
is the biggest misconception about you?
I am TOTALLY bald. I do have some hair on my head!
else should we know about you and your business activities?
that I love what I do and do it 24/7. More so than
taking photos or writing, my main job has always been
being the "connection" between the magazine
and the wrestlers. It's a dream come true for me.
also must do karaoke at least once a month!
THE MAGAZINE WEBSITE AT WWW.TOTALWRESTLING.CO.UK
note: A true professional who still makes time for
the fans. Bill has seen and done it all in wrestling,
and we wish him continued success.