Jericho welcomes Dave Meltzer to the show.
Meltzer informs that there was no such thing as wrestling writers when he was young. He wanted to be a sports writer but somewhere along the way he happened to find a niche in professional wrestling. He considers himself lucky that he was able to build the Wrestling Observer into the successful business that it is today.
He admits that it’s a pretty amazing feeling to be recognized by fans when he attends wrestling events today. Jericho notes that Meltzer would probably have longer lines than a lot of wrestlers if he were to ever do a meet and greet at an event such as WrestleCon.
Meltzer says it’s interesting to him that a lot of today’s generation of performers seem to like him, since he spent many years being hated by the majority of wrestling promoters and performers.
He notes that the business has changed dramatically from the time he started writing. Nowadays there is all kinds of information right at our fingertips, but when he started it was incredibly tough to find out certain information. He points out that finding out the real names of wrestlers was nearly impossible during those days because the wrestlers were so focused on protecting their characters.
He adds that today’s performers are so focused on the physical, in-ring side of the business, but he considers the ability to talk to be just as important as the in-ring work. Jericho says that he considers a performer’s promo ability to be even more important than their in-ring work. Meltzer notes that over-the-top characters have always carried the wrestling business, and the ability to talk people into seats is very important.
Meltzer informs that he started writing a wrestling newsletter in college as a pastime. He soon began working as a sports writer and this job made him much more money than the wrestling newsletter, but he was beginning to make a name for himself in the wrestling world and he saw a lot of potential for growth.
Meltzer started the Wrestling Observer Newsletter in 1982 and he was almost immediately hated by promoters and performers alike. He learned fairly early on that Vince McMahon was reading his newsletter. Howard Finkel’s girlfriend was a subscriber to the newsletter, and Finkel would pass it along to Vince McMahon.
He informs that WWE was pretty good to him early on, and he even had a direct line to Vince McMahon. Often times there would be a secretary that he could talk to who would answer most of his questions. He points out that during the company’s tough times his relationship with McMahon would improve, and during McMahon’s steroid trial they became quite close. Their relationship would eventually fall off during the Monday Night Wars.
He says that he still emails WWE with questions multiple times per day, but he hasn’t spoken to Vince McMahon in a couple of years. He has the approval of the company to talk to certain people regarding questions, and McMahon and Triple H are okay with this. However, sometimes there are certain questions that he can’t get answers to and in those cases he has unnamed sources who he can turn to in an attempt to get answers.
Meltzer notes that he had an okay relationship with Eric Bischoff during the Monday Night Wars, but he often communicated with other officials within WCW. He remembers warning them that things were eventually going to go south if WCW didn’t start investing in younger talent, but they didn’t heed his warnings. He thought it was horrible when WCW went under because that company provided a place for a lot of performers to work.
Jericho asks Meltzer who he considers to be the most “over” talent of all time. In terms of reaction, Meltzer thinks Hogan is still the top guy, especially because of his post-match “Hulk-ups”. He considers John Cena to be a superstar, but he doesn’t think Cena’s at the level of guys like Austin, Hogan or The Rock.
Financially, Meltzer considers the wrestling business to be bigger today than it has ever been. People are willing to spend more money on the business now than ever before and there are lots of places for wrestlers to work. He also points out that guys like The Young Bucks are making a great living outside of WWE, and performers like Cody Rhodes, and even Jericho as of late, have made a bigger name for themselves outside of WWE.
He always tells wrestlers that if they have kids they should stay in WWE where they have security, but if they’re single he urges them to go have fun elsewhere. He notes that WWE will always be there, and if a talent is good they’ll always be welcomed back in some capacity.
That sums up this week’s episode of Talk is Jericho. You can listen to the show yourself anytime here, and I’ll catch ya next week for another recap!