Q&A: Bill Apter Talks New Book And More

The legendary wrasslin' journalist's one-man show comes to Philly on December 19.

The Tom Wolfe of pro wrestling reporting performs his one man show during Ring of Honor’s “Final Battle” weekend at PhilaMOCA on December 19 at 2 p.m.

“An Afternoon with Bill Apter” will consist of singing, jokes, and stories from his legendary career, recently chronicled in his autobiography “” available on .

For information on the show, click here.

I was scheduled to visit the famous Apter’s Alley for an interview; however, Mr. Apter came under the weather, but graciously agreed to a Q&A via email.

John Corrigan: What did you learn, if anything, by writing the book?

Bill Apter: “I learned that it’s a totally different method than writing columns or stories for the wrestling magazines I used to work for most of my career. Writing a book about your own experiences rather than a four-page-piece about a wrestler or story angle is much more demanding. It took me more time to research me than I had ever expected. Thank goodness for editor Greg Oliver who remembered a lot of my past from the wrestling business as well as a special thumbs up to Google! That search engine helped kick start so many memories that turned into stories for the book.”

JC: You’ve attributed your longevity in the business to the legitimate sport mentality you covered pro wrestling with. Why did you take that approach?

BA: “It was the way we did business at the magazines. It was also the way I viewed pro wrestling when I was a fan. I didn’t follow baseball or football when I was a kid. Wrestling was my sport and I always treated it that way and still write about it on 1wrestling.com in that fashion.”

JC: Do you think that approach is missing today?

BA: “Yes. It is sold as entertainment today.”

JC: What do you like about pro wrestling today?

BA: “Everything from the athletic work in the ring and the fact that you can watch it virtually any night of the week on TV or the WWE Network (only $9.99 folks)!

I love the NXT product and also enjoy going to the independent shows and seeing the enthusiasm of hopeful talents who eventually want to break into the highest rung of the ladder in the business—WWE. Also Ring Of Honor has such an exciting product and I know so many indie workers aspire to go there as well.”


JC: One of my favorite chapters is Apartment Wrestling. From everything you’ve covered over the past fifty years, would the wrestlers’ reaction to Apartment Wrestling be the biggest change of all?

BA: “No. The biggest change is the acceptance of the wrestling product by the masses. When I was a kid, if you watched pro wrestling you were considered a bit unusual. Today, if you don’t watch it or know the names of a few wrestlers, it’s a bit unusual in my opinion. The other huge change of course is the way the business is marketed. It’s video games, action figures, merchandise abounding. I wish I could have had that when I was in my prime fan years!”

JC: Do you regret leaving PWI for WOW?

BA: “That is a very tough question. Leaving PWI meant leaving home — a family I was so dearly close to — meaning my co-workers of course. I was the figurehead since I started with the company in 1970, nine years before the creation of PWI. Going to WOW opened a new world for me as the magazine was not as storyline based as PWI. It had a harder edge to it. It took a bit of time to get into that mode and become comfortable with it. To be honest and direct, there were days I regretted the move, yet other days I was glad to be on a new path of my career.”

JC: Another of my favorite parts was when you worked at the front desk of a Days Inn. What was that like?

BA: “Imagine Jerry Lewis as a front-desk clerk. That was me. It was social, but not a great fit for me. I put one person in something like nine rooms one night. I saw a married man check in to the hotel — someone I knew — with his girlfriend and never said a thing. No, there won’t be an expose book from me about my few weeks there!”

JC: Did you ever fear you’d never be back covering wrestling?

BA: “Yes, when the UK’s Total Wrestling magazine ended, but 1Wrestling.com came to my rescue and hired me. I wrote, brought them new content, and became the first person to actually put my own wrestling video interviews on a wrestling website.”

JC: Besides your Chris Benoit theory, was there any other content excluded from publication?

BA: “No. There are more stories that didn’t make it due to space but does anyone really want to read about my torrid affair with a well-known promoter’s girfriend? lol”

JC: Were you more shocked to witness Bruno lose to Koloff or see The Streak broken?

BA: “The Streak — only because I didn’t know it was coming!”


JC: As a lifelong fan of comedy, who are some of the funniest wrestlers on screen that you’ve ever seen?

BA: “The one that comes to mind is Gillberg. His ‘takeoff’ on Bill Goldberg was perfect and hilarious. Currently the ‘New Day’ made up of Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods is the top comedy presentation in the business. Add in the trombone used by Woods as an extra comedic point!”

JC: How about funniest off screen?

BA: “Jerry Lawler wins best joker award. He’s a one liner guy and I love that kind of humor.”

JC: Any advice for aspiring wrestling writers, with there being so many online?

BA: “Simple — don’t tick people off. There is a way to write and get your point across without being offensive. Too many people think they are “cool” by knocking everything in the business. Know your role and be intelligent with what you put out there. Also, this will sound “old school,” but watch your language. People won’t take you seriously if you rant and use four-letter-words. You will only succeed in making people angry and that is failure in my eyes. Controversy is fine if it’s done in a professional way.”

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    19 January 2016 at 3:33 PM
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    […] until a jacked version of himself exploded onto the scene in WCW. Then, what Bill Apter calls the funniest takeoff in wrestling history, Gillberg, […]

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