One of my favorite wrestling blogs, Midnight Logic, had a sad post about the decision of the publishers to discontinue the combined magazines The Wrestler and Inside Wrestling.
It’s not surprising, given the general decline in print publications over the last two decades. I started my journalism career in newspapers before moving to the B2B trade press, and I can tell you just about anything print-related is part of a dying industry.
The Wrestler and Inside Wrestling used to be separate magazines, and along with Pro Wrestling Illustrated, they comprised what were known as the “Apter mags,” named after their most well-known writer at the time, Bill Apter.
It’s hard to explain now, but without the Internet and better communication, back in the 1980s, the Apter mags were the only way you could keep up with what happened outside your home territory, which for me here in the Boston was the WWF and World Class Championship Wrestling (which was based out of Dallas, but aired on what is now Fox 25 in Boston). I learned about the NWA, AWA, Florida Championship Wrestling, Memphis, Portland, and other territories from the Apter mags.
I found my first copy of The Wrestler stuffed into my stocking on Christmas morning in 1981. It featured a cover story about Ric Flair and Tommy Rich, guys who, at the time, I had never heard of.
The magazines did a good job keeping you up to date on title changes, and their rankings were cool, but a lot of their feature articles were complete fabrications designed to promote current programs the territories were pushing.
The Apter mags fell out of favor me after I started reading Dave Meltzer’s column in The National while in college in 1991, which reported on the real-life workings of wrestling. Shortly after, I started subscribing to the Wrestling Observer and never looked back.
But for a good 10 years, The Wrestler and Inside Wrestling were my prime pipeline for wrestling info, and I loved reading them.