The state of wrestling journalism? It is pretty shit to be honest with you and I’m going to tell you why. But as Julie Chen would say, but first, what gives me the right to speak on this?

Let’s put it this way …. when I was a Gen X-er J-school student in college we were trained to develop photographs in a dark room. Because I was a techie, I also introduced the community newspaper we had to produce and work on as part of our course to scanning photos and the benefit of digital photography.

I was also a Canadian and World News Editor during the Gulf War, 9-11, the death of Princess Diana, the O.J. Simpson trial, numerous federal elections in Canada, etc, etc. I have also been an entertainment journalist going back to my college days having interviewed everyone from Jerry Seinfeld to Geddy Lee to Vin Diesel.

Greg Oliver and I founded Slam in late 1997 and have been wrestling fans our entire lives. “Bloodthirsty” Bob Kapur joined us soon after. We three now own an equal stake in Slam and are at liberty to invoke the Freebird Rule whenever it suits us. As far as pro wrestling goes, we have seen and experienced it all except that which was before our times and contrary to popular belief there was a lot of history before we even watched our first Flair and Steamboat match.

We are journalists who happen to be wrestling fans, so our approach in covering the industry has always been from a journalistic point of view and with that background guiding the way.

Prior to any of this, Greg published a wrestling newsletter and Bob was active on and transcribed Norm DaCosta’s rumours on the Star-Line in a regular weekly News post as an RSPW correspondent. I was on and ran bulletin boards before there was even an official internet. In some forums, we talked about sports, wrestling, comic books, video games and pop culture. I wrote my first pay-per-view and show reports there. In other forums, we downloaded and shared pirated video games that only took a week’s time to make their way all across Canada through a network of bulletin boards. Yes, I even used a standard hole punch to make a floppy disk double-sided.

So, I have come from sitting in the nose bleed 500 section of SkyDome during WrestleMania 6 to working in the press box during WrestleMania 18. But enough of all that self-aggrandizing bullshit. That’s my cred. You can take it or leave it. That is cool.

I was trained in the classroom and on the job to do what I do by some of the very best in the business past and present. That kind of knowledge and experience matters. When it really matters I want a certified lawyer to handle any legal matters. Shout out to Kapelos & Carlisi Law. I want a licensed accountant to handle Slam’s financial. Shout out to ‘Bloodythirsty’ Bob Kapur who has forgotten more about accounting than I will ever know. I want an accomplished veterinarian to take care of our dog Jax. Shout out to the exceptional Dr. Cummings.

Why all of this? Because these people know their shit inside and out. I trust them.

There is this mistaken belief that anyone can be a journalist. That’s like saying that because I did well in biology and can name the parts of a human body that I would make a phenomenal surgeon.

You may be a decent writer. You may be able to interview someone. That doesn’t make you a journalist. There are skill sets and then there is specific knowledge that is needed such as professional ethics, the law, a deep understanding of language and logic, basic knowledge of urban politics, economics and psychology, various communication skills, I could go on and on.

Can someone completely skip an education and learn on the job? Sure, but only if they have mentors who are willing to take the time to teach them and even then they still won’t have the expertise that others who spent years in a classroom or a lab do. Just like I took basic psychology as part of my journalism training but that doesn’t make me a qualified psychologist.

The internet and by default, the establishment of the home printing press, was an amazing thing. The good part is it allowed people to post news, their thoughts, reviews and opinions. The bad part was it allowed people to post news, their thoughts, reviews and opinions.

It did damage the journalism profession in the sense that anyone with access to the internet could claim to be a “reporter”. It was even hard at times for established reporters and public relations people to distinguish between who were the journalists and who were the basement bloggers because anyone can set up a site, a blog or a YouTube channel.

Many American outlets were quite happy to hire basement bloggers and pay them peanuts to churn out dumpster fire content until they became a liabilities. Just ask the staff of Deadspin who got laid off after they accused a young Chiefs fan of wearing “blackface” then the entire site was sold off.

This has all led to today.

There are three kinds of people covering pro wrestling nowadays:

Journalists: Educated, mentored, experienced individuals many of which have covered more than just wrestling and have worked for mainstream outlets. They utilize contacts, sources within the industry. They break and confirm stories. They have the inside track.

Industry Veterans: Their first-hand experience in the industry makes for enlightened and knowledgeable commentary. This includes people like Jim Cornette, Bubba Ray Dudley, Eric Bischoff, Konnan, etc.

YouTube, Podcast Commentators: Mostly news aggregators and analysts who don’t have sources and don’t break any news themselves. They crib from journalists or other established portals, media. Without those journalists they wouldn’t have much to talk about or “report” on. They must rely on their personalities for entertainment value and there is nothing wrong with that. People want to be entertained. Like some video game channels though, there are a group of them that lack basic professional, journalistic ethics and therefore are easily influenced and manipulated but don’t care as long as they get free tickets.

Basement Bloggers: No experience. No mentoring. No education. No sources. Because of that they have no professional standards, no professional ethics and no professional approach to what they do. They don’t understand or appreciate how accuracy, responsibility and even good grammar and spelling matters.

They may not even be fans of the topic or beat they are covering, but instead see their current job as a stepping stone to perhaps something better. Because they have no training or education they aren’t objective. A lot of them treat news like editorials using the platform to push their political and personal ideologies which have nothing to do with the subject at hand. Easily manipulated by not only sources but the editors they work for as well, which explains why they pump out so much worthless fluff pieces, listicles, click bait bullshit and don’t fact check anything, ever.

This is why the pro wrestling media landscape is the way it is at present. With so many outlets shuttering or folding channels into their bigger portals some of the basement bloggers are thankfully being shown the door never to return.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve our immediate problem which is credibility and professionalism. While Paul Levesque may have singled out the wrong people at the Backlash press conference his core argument or complaint is legit. With some there is a fundamental lack of professionalism.

CM Punk and Tony Khan at the now infamous AEW All Out Media Scrum in 2022.

You can see this in any of the AEW and WWE press conferences where only a few people (and it is usually the same people) who ask questions of any relevance or weight at all. You shouldn’t approach an interview as an interrogation but you shouldn’t be afraid ever to ask the questions that need to be asked. If you are unwilling to do so, you should get out the f—k out of our business because you don’t belong in it. Why? Because you are a shameless puppet who isn’t willing to ruffle a few feathers to do your job and represent your readers. One of your roles in the privileged position you have is to stand in the place of the general public who cannot be there to ask the interesting or important questions. You are serving them first and foremost not yourself. You are their avatar, their eyes, ears and their voice.

It isn’t about YOU. It is about YOUR readers, viewers or listeners.

Almost every presser is 85 per cent embarrassing, awkward and perplexing, with mostly softball questions asked by the usual suspects. You know who you are. What is worse than a mockery these clowns make of such an open forum is that they accept anything they are spoon-fed to be facts, never question anything and don’t follow up when a question is dodged or isn’t even answered at all. They just sit there like public school students afraid to raise their hands, speak their minds or perhaps make someone the slightest bit uncomfortable.

Again, I am not saying you should enter a presser or participate in a media call with a combative attitude or a chip on your shoulder ready to pull the subject’s fingernails out one by one until they answer you or make them sit through any Nia Jax match until they submit to your inquires. At the same time, to let a person in authority or a public figure to avoid questioning, criticism or responsibility for their decisions, words or actions when you have the opportunity to speak for your readers is irresponsible and unprofessional even when you are covering something that can be downright silly at times like professional wrestling.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to pick up the phone or send an email to someone to confirm something or ask for that interview. Even if there is no reply, you tried and did your job to the best of your ability. Unfortunately, there are those in our business who put pageviews and hits above being accurate. While that is understandable when it comes to the latest soap opera angle or speculation around which city will be hosting WrestleMania, or which superstar might be jumping promotions, it isn’t responsible at all when it comes to something that is as sensitive and important as someone’s job, someone’s legal circumstances or someone’s life. Everyone has to start somewhere. You begin at the bottom, bang on door after door, send email after email and grind it out. Eventually, if you are good at what you do, have determination and work hard, doors will open for you. It is a tale as old as time. If you don’t want to do the work but want all those goes along with it, I refer you once again to paragraph 24 of this editorial. You should get out the f—k out of our business.

What are the majority of these imposters afraid of though besides hard work, rejection and being professional? They are afraid of losing their access, their freebies and/or they don’t have the testicles or the ovaries to do their jobs. Yes, if you constantly and purposely avoid any kind of confrontation in your daily life or prefer to hide behind your keyboard, microphone or camera, again, you should get out the f—k out of our business because you don’t belong in it. You aren’t doing the public good and are in this business for all the wrong reasons.

We here at have been blacklisted many times throughout the years because of our stands on certain issues or because we have been unwilling to play ball with people who didn’t have our or our readers’ best interests at heart. We carried on and eventually worked things out. Sometimes that took days or weeks. Sometimes that took months or even years. Sometimes that came with a change of personnel on the source’s side of things. We never went out of way to deliberately burn bridges or antagonize people but at the same time we aren’t willing to sacrifice our personal ethics or credibility or the responsibility we have towards our readers who we proudly represent day in and day out. If we did, we would be no better than those wooden marionettes at wrestling press conferences who mindless dance on strings pulled by those behind the curtain.

Right now, the cat is out of the bag and can never be put back in. For good and for bad, the public printing press is available for anyone to crank, even if they all they are doing is cranking out bullshit. There will always be a market for tabloid or echo chamber trash. We journalists may have to live with that fact but we don’t have to fall in line or put up with it and neither do you, the audience and ultimately the consumer. F–k that and f–k them.