We can put all our thoughts into what were the most important stories of the year, what changed the sport of professional wrestling, or altered the trajectory of sports entertainment. But in the end, there are some stories that just get more page views than others here at SlamWrestling.net.
With the ease of reports / analytics these days, we figured, Hey, let’s see what the top stories of 2022 are! (Just like we did in 2021.) We have also offered up some insight into the how or why. And we picked 22 stories because, well, 20-22, eh?
It was not a surprise to the staff that the obituaries ranked high, as, through the years, people have come to expect good stories about people who have passed from SlamWrestling.
TOP TRAFFICKED STORIES FOR 2022
1. FAMED REFEREE DAVE HEBNER DIES — Since we were among the first to break the news of Hebner’s passing, it got shared a lot, including by some influential people, resulting in the top story of the year.
2. TYRUS LOOKING TO MAKE HISTORY AT NWA 74 –For everyone who wants to knock Tyrus / Brodus Clay / George Murdoch, we’ll point to this list where stories related to Tyrus, the current NWA World champion, made it onto our Top 20 for 2022. His appearances on FOX News and other outlets, including his bestselling book, have helped him become a bigger-than-wrestling figure. And this story, written by Alex Podgorski, continued to just chug along from its publication in late August, continuing to get page views.
3. INDIANA’S LOGAN LEGIT KILLED IN CAR ACCIDENT — As sad as this story is, a young man dying young in an accident, what I didn’t realize going in was his role as a hairdresser for a few years to many of the WWE/NXT women in Orlando. There’s a lot of depth to the obituary that isn’t always possible with the so-called indy wrestlers.
4. ‘ROYAL STUD’ ADAM WINDSOR DEAD AT 41 — Again, SlamWrestling.net was among the first to break this news, and more importantly, had one of the most complete stories of a wrestler who definitely fits into the What Could Have Been? category. I will confirm that a lot of rumor and innuendo was left out. His brother got in touch and we were going to touch base for a follow-up, but that never happened.
5. MICRO WRESTLER ‘COWBOY’ HANK DALTON DIES — The thought “Life of the Party” came to mind as I was compiling this piece, and from its high placement on this list, it’s pretty obvious that Dalton’s sudden passing had a lot of other people recalling their good times with him.
6. BAD BOY BUCK DIES — This piece had the most massive edit of all the stories on this list, as it was erroneous at publication. For years, Bad Boy Buck had told everyone he was one of the little people dressed up as a miniature Doink the Clown — Dink, Wink and Pink. Only problem was that it wasn’t true. The obituary was amended, the correction made and acknowledged. Though 1994, when the gimmick happened, wasn’t really that long ago, it pre-dates what we know as the Internet today, and not every detail was recorded and gone over a billion times. SlamWrestling.net still regrets the error.
7. MIKE MASTERS/ROCKY JONES DEAD AT 68 — Dying in August, this obit on Mike Masters / Rocky Jones did good traffic from the start. However, since he was included on the roundtable on VICE’s Tales from the Territories about the Portland territory, the hits just kept on coming. The one guy who probably should have been on that panel, historian / writer Mike Rodgers, was the one who had done the key interview used for the obit.
8. EXCLUSIVE: NEW RETRO FIGURE LINE HAS REMCO TIES TO GAGNE, ROSENTHAL — This scoop is a direct result of me writing about pro wrestling for 35 years, and knowing a lot of people. Initially, it was just a friend asking for contact info, in particular for family members of older wrestlers who have passed. Interest piqued, eventually I was let in on what was happening, and in exchange for the help I had already given, was allowed to break the story.
9. MAT MATTERS: SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON VIRGIL’S CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES — Trapper Tom Leturgey smartly decided that enough was enough with the Virgil (Mike Jones) stories and truly explained what he was up to, what his personal status was — living arrangements, health, finances. Truly a great piece that had to be a “Mat Matters” editorial if only because Trapper Tom was a figure in the story.
10. FORMER WOMEN’S CHAMPION CANDI DIVINE DIES — She’d been sick for a while, but this was still a sad story. Candi had a lot of heartache in her life, and much had to be left out of the story simply because it was rumor not fact.
11. WINNIPEG WWE PROMOTER ‘DOC’ HOLLIDAY DIES — When you know it’s coming, it doesn’t make it an easier. Bob “Doc” Holliday worked at the Winnipeg Sun newspaper for a time, too, and helped out the site on occasion when it came to wrestlers in trouble with the law. He was a beloved figure, and we had a gallery, a tribute column from a Sun colleague and even former WWE champion JBL sharing his memories of Doc, the promoter.
12. ROCKY KING, WRESTLER TURNED HOMELESS ADVOCATE, PASSES — This obituary is proof that pro wrestling can be a stepping stone to much more out of life, giving yourself for the betterment of others.
13. SHOOTER STORM, DEAD AT 39, MADE OTHERS LAUGH — There are times when I start working on an obituary and the angle arises beyond just “they wrestled in this area.” This is one of those times.
14. RISING STAR NICK WAYNE ON BOMB SCARE PLANE — While I have never met Nick Wayne in person, I feel like I know him. I first interviewed his father, the late Buddy Wayne, when he was touring the Maritimes for Emile Dupre in 1989. I have met his mother, Shayna, at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion, which is also where I got to know Moondog Ed Moretti and his wife, Dale, who raised Shayna and are Nick’s grandparents. I was tipped off about the story, and, thanks to social media, it was easy to have a quick scoop — one that had a happy ending, fortunately.
15. FORMER WWE & WCW REFEREE MICKIE JAY HENSON DIES — Mickie was a great guy, always fun to hang out with at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunions, where I got to know him. We had often joked about doing a story, and finally did when he was set to get the Charlie Smith Referee Award from the CAC: Mickie Henson’s career — and life — hardly a quick 1-2-3. He shared that feature often.
16. WWE REFEREE TIM WHITE DIES — I regret not ever really sitting down with Tim for an interview, but I did have dinner with him two nights in a row at the 2021 Cauliflower Alley Club reunion.
17. THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF THE RENEGADE — Jonathan Plombon is one of those writers who loves to dig, hunt, explore and come up with something unique and lasting. This is one of those stories, well worth a read, as it explores one of those forgotten names from the 1990s wrestling scene.
18. STU GRAYSON CHOOSES INDY LIFE OVER AEW — This was Grayson’s first interview after leaving AEW and that helped traffic, for sure. But what I remember about it was a bit of a battle with writer Domenic Marinelli as we molded it into more of a SlamWrestling.net story. It wasn’t ugly or anything, just more of a matter of how easy it is to write and publish things online now (and in other forms), where it never actually gets to the eyes of skilled editors who know what they want and have high expectations. For that matter, we cut a good 3,000+ words from the above-mentioned Renegade piece.
19. TYRUS AND TREVOR MURDOCH GO TOE TO TOE ON NIGHT TWO OF NWA 74 — This is our highest ranking pay-per-view report — and a real PPV, not a Premium Live Event. Again, we’ll credit Tyrus’ reach outside of wrestling for much of the traffic.
20. ‘ANGEL’ FROM ORIGINAL GLOW SERIES DIES — Through the years, I’d met many of the GLOW girls at various events, especially the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion, but never Angel.
21. FIRST SIX POWERTOWN FIGURES REVEALED — This is a follow-up quickie to #8 on the list, but fast stories get traffic too!
22. MAT MATTERS: HARD TRUTHS ON ROCKY JOHNSON — Though it isn’t number one on our list, let’s make a pretty good assumption that my story on Rocky Johnson’s unacknowledged children, which ran on Sports Illustrated‘s website on June 30, was the runaway traffic winner even if it wasn’t on SlamWrestling.net. This editorial which we ran was meant to both be complimentary to the SI.com feature, but also to be honest and upfront about any and all potential conflicts of interest or perceived biases. The real story is that “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson has never acknowledged any of his new siblings publicly either.
Top TV show report? It was a Young Rock recap from May 2022 — ‘Young Rock’ cooks up a well-told, sort-of-true story in this week’s episode, and second was a TV recap of NWA POWERRR: Odinson brings the thunder to Tyrus from August … proving once again Tyrus’ appeal, we guess.
Top photo gallery? George Tahinos’ George Tahinos’ 80s Wrestling Con gallery May 2022
Top archival pieces? When you think about keywords and search engines … should we be surprised that Bob Kapur’s January 2021 interview ranks as the top archival piece? April Hunter bares all about Naked Women’s Wrestling show is a return to one of Bloodthirsty Bob’s greatest-ever reviews, Turned off by naked women wrestling. We do want to mention the second one on the list of archival pieces, Scott Hall documentary gets remarkable access, from Oct. 2011, where Greg Oliver talked with Ben Houser about his E:60 film on Hall, who died in March 2022.
The takeaway from the above list?
People come to SlamWrestling.net for the quality of its writing, especially its obituaries and features, and the photos.
For that, we say thank you! We are looking forward to more great content in 2023!