Apter Magz: How We Got Our Wrestling Information
By Bill Littlewood
Nothing was more exciting in the 80s and 90s for me than to walk into a variety store every month and see what new wrestling magazines were on the rack to buy. Where you had so many to choose from you really had no idea what to do? Do you buy the WWF Magazine with Hulk Hogan on the cover? Do you buy the WCW Magazine with Sting and Lex Luger on the cover? Or do you buy the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Magazine with… Hulk Hogan, Sting, and Lex Luger on the cover?!
Wait, how can that be? For Hulk Hogan is in the WWF, and Sting and Lex Luger are in the WCW, for this makes no sense at all?! But it didn’t stop there, did it? The Wrestler, Inside Wrestling, Wrestle America, Main Event Wrestling, Sports Review Wrestling, Wrestle Eye, Wrestle Fury, Wrestling USA, and many others that were the fad at the time to choose from.
As a child with $10 in your hand, you quickly looked at your options. You knew you could only get two magazines for sure, but what two do you grab? So you do what you think is best, you automatically go by your favourites.
“I don’t like Ted DiBiase,” is the first thought that enters your head. “But he is on the cover of this month’s WWF Magazine and I have the rest already,” is your next thought…decisions, decisions. This was an every month occurrence for me as a child and even into my teenage years. Though as time went on, I found I did enjoy certain wrestling magazines over others.
The PWI is easily the greatest Apter magazine you can buy. Reason why it was called that is because Bill Apter was the man behind 80% of those magazines in the 80s and 90s, until he chose to go work with the WOW Magazine, which gave non-kayfabe wrestling news to the fans, but in an era of the internet, we didn’t need that. I still wanted to read about if Buff Bagwell really did put a pass on Kimberly Page behind DDP’s back, not if Buff Bagwell is negotiating a new contract or in talks with the WWF.
At the time, those Apter Magazines were the only real way you could read what was happening in territories that you didn’t get access to on your TV channels. If you didn’t get USWA or Smoky Mountain Wrestling to watch, you got your information from these magazines on the likes of Jerry Lawler, Eddie Gilbert, Tracy Smothers, and the Heavenly Bodies. The internet almost killed those kayfabe magazines though. Over time, every one died off. Even the WWE Magazine itself is no longer in existence. But one survived. The PWI Magazine is still making its way onto our magazine shelves, but instead of every month, it’s now every other month.
There is good news though! For with the addition of such wrestling programs like AEW, the popularity of NJPW, the hardcore fan base of ROH, and the never-say-die attitude of Impact Wrestling, the PWI writers and publishers have stated that they will be adding additional PWI Magazines throughout the year. Meaning, magazines won’t be every other month anymore.
So if you are in the mood for a throwback feeling of good memories and fun times, do what I do, and go to your local variety store, grocery store or drug mart, hit that magazine rack and find the latest PWI Magazine and purchase it, because when reading it you will remember those days as a kid sitting in your basement with your friends, trading back and forth all thewrestling magazines to read. It will, as the kids say, “give you the feels.”