A Mark’s Eye View‘ is a weekly look at some of the things that made me a huge fan of professional wrestling.
Pro Wrestling Illustrated was the premiere wrestling magazine on the newsstand and in my life, but it wasn’t the only one. In order to stay on top of current wrestling news and beef up my knowledge of the sport’s history, I had to use other sources. Still, I wanted what I read to be well written and accurate. To that end, I would seek out the other Apter Mags.
PWI may have been the crown jewel, but other magazines in the Victory Sports family were just as entertaining. Long before the other magazines went to color, Wrestling 88 (or 87 or 89 or whatever year you bought it) was the only place to offer full color in the Apter Mags. I was always more into the articles and columns than the pictures, but I still couldn’t deny how awesome it was to see full color photos of my favorites.
Though the magazines saw several writers cross over, the columns were very different. Eddie Ellner had a stream of consciousness column within the pages of Inside Wrestling that was just as funny as Off the Top Rope. Other writers also seemed to use the opportunity to try different styles of writing. It kept the different magazines fresh. (And yes, I have heard that the majority of the writers were Bill Apter under various pseudonyms.)
The Apter Mags were filled with memorable columns. One saw the editors get two people who were feuding to talk over the phone. The column started with a brief rundown of the dispute and always ended with the always amusing line “the edited transcript is below“. Another magazine saw a question from the editors (Have the Road Warriors lost their killer edge?) posed to four wrestlers who would provide distinct answers. Sports Review Wrestling had the always Point/Counterpoint. I had a favorite column in each magazine.
It was also fun when the magazines ran angles between the writers. One of the most memorable was when David Rosenbaum’s column was moved to the Wrestler while Andy Rodriguez saw his brought to the pages of PWI, Rosebaum made it a point to complain every month. This included insults at Rodriguez and anyone who read his column. Rodriguez devoted one column explaining why he would not attack his fellow writer. It was always fun when the Apter Mags used face/heel alignments for their writers.
Much like PWI, the other Apter Mags fought hard to protect kayfabe. Sometimes, they would go to ridiculous lengths. When the Ultimate Warrior returned at WrestleMania VIII it was big news. Inside Wrestling featured yet another story about this. It was a fun attempt to explain the WWF’s writing. The best part was when the magazine explain Warrior’s music suddenly playing even though his return was a surprise. The answer? A quick thinking sound tech queued up his music as he ran by in the hallway. (In all fairness, that is a better explanation than fans receive many times today.)
I loved the Apter Mags when I was growing up. They played as much a part of my fandom as any match I watched. The columns were funny and insightful while the articles taught me much about professional wrestling. The internet may provide more information and opinions, but it will never be as fun as an issue of a good wrestling magazine.
Next week: Looking back on Clash of THE Champions.