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Bill Apter speaks on the current state of pro wrestling, AEW working with other companies [Exclusive]

Longtime writer and photojournalist Bill Apter has become known as the
Longtime writer and photojournalist Bill Apter has become known as the 'dean of pro wrestling reporters'
Ryan K Boman
Modified 19 Feb 2021

Legendary wrestling journalist Bill Apter grew up just outside the bright lights of Broadway, and often dreamed of becoming a famous performer himself.

Instead, the New York native became famous for covering performers. Along the way, Apter would become a star in his own right. The longtime writer and photographer recently entered his sixth decade covering professional wrestling, in a career that has seen his name become synonymous with not just writing about the mat game, but the publications he worked for.

Amid all the changes in wrestling and the course of his own career, Bill Apter recently spoke to about where the industry is today and where it could be headed in the future.

Bill Apter says pro wrestling has handled the COVID crisis as well as can be expected

"I'm concerned, periodically, when I see wrestlers in the ring without COVID masks, nose to nose," Apter said. "I really am."
"But I know that WWE, AEW, and Ring of Honor are doing the best they can during the COVID crisis to keep their business going and to keep everyone safe."
"So, how are they handling it? They're handing it the best they can. I hate to give a cliche answer, but that's the best I can do."
"They're moving forward with plans for later on this year, and hopefully we'll all be able to get back to sitting next to our friends and family at wrestling matches around the world."

Bill Apter expects to see more Cinematic Matches

With companies having to be innovative during the pandemic, they have resorted more and more to staging 'cinematic matches'

Bill Apter said he believes fans have caught on to the concept and expects to see it become more prevalent in wrestling in the future.

"It's going to change the way things are done," Apter said of the Hollywood-style battles. "There are a lot of current fans who, since they've been introduced to the cinematic matches, they're craving those over the regular matches."
"It's a different genre... It's a different genre of sports entertainment at this point," Apter continued. "They can have the wrestling in the ring, then they can also have a separate section for cinematic matches."
"So, it just expands the horizons of what the athletes can do."

Bill Apter weighed in on the current working relationships between AEW, IMPACT and New Japan

"I love it," Apter said about the partnerships. "I hope Ring of Honor gets involved. And NWA. They've done a little with the NWA with their girls' champion. I like it. The more the merrier. That's great!"
"I think it's fabulous. And when KENTA showed up recently? You could hear everyone watching AEW going like, 'Holy...' you-know-what."

Apter also said he feels like this has raised the competition level on Wednesday nights, and that's also been a positive for pro wrestling.

"It's amazing. I love Wednesday nights, because I love channel turning like I used to do with WCW and WWE."
"I think both (AEW and NXT) have a good and an exciting ring product."
"So, I'm a fan... I'm still a fan. I don't go out of my way, in my career, to criticize anything. Because I'm a wrestling fan. I like to watch it."

A brief history of Bill Apter

In the years that he worked for the Pro Wrestling Illustrated family of magazines, the titles themselves were often referred to as 'Apter mags' --- even though Bill Apter himself was never actually the Editor-in-Chief.

Instead, as the Senior Editor, he became the face of the franchise, often making national television appearances as a reporter and at high-profile events as a representative of the magazines. Along the way, he gained a reputation for being trustworthy and approachable.

Bill Apter would depart PWI at the start of the new millennium and make a huge jump by moving to a new wrestling publication, World of Wrestling. It would be a big departure from how he once covered the industry: He had always written about wrestling as a legitimate sport, and 'kept kayfabe'. Now, he would be doing shoot-style stories.

He adapted from there, and when W.O.W. folded, Bill Apter would assume his role as Editor for, the longtime website that recently ceased operations late last year, when owner Bob Ryder passed away.

Along the way, he also penned the story of his life in the business, Is Wrestling Fixed? I Didn't Know It Was Broken!

Published 19 Feb 2021, 18:38 IST
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