Bill Apter on AEW: “I still think it’s a fantastic show”

May 14, 2020 - by Steve Gerweck

Legendary Pro Wrestling Journalist Bill Apter Talks to VOC Nation about the State of Wrestling During the Pandemic.

Bill Apter joined Ken Resnick and Bruce Wirt on VOC Nation’s Wrestling with History podcast. Bill talked about wrestling shows continuing during the pandemic, the evolution of the business, the rise of AEW, and more. Here is some of what Wonderful Willie had to say:

On the misconception that he owned the wrestling magazines: “I was one of the workers…I was the face of the magazines, but I was never on the level of publisher. Did I make decent money during those years that I was with the magazines? Yes. But I still have two full time jobs during the day: The wrestling work that I do, and I also work for a non profit company where I help people with disabilities to find jobs…I’ve always been somebody who loves to change people’s lives in a positive way.”

On whether he ever thought he’d see wrestling shows without fans: “No, I never did. Part of the lure of seeing these (PPV) shows is that there can’t be a spoiler because they’re being done live. WWE and AEW have been able to keep the spoilers from getting out of there because where they are taping or going live, it’s only their own people (in the building)…I never envisioned this. What’s interesting is for example when they did Boneyard match with the Undertaker and AJ Styles – – they came up a new premise of almost like a cinematic version of situations in pro wrestling and I think that it was done so well that when we get back to what’s considered normal, they may keep doing that.’

On the production value of the shows during the pandemic: “My surprise is that WWE has such a fantastic production team…the fact that they didn’t sweeten this up – like a sitcom with a laugh track – to put a virtual audience sound…I’m really surprised they haven’t done that.”

On whether the business can bounce back from the shutdown: “I think the independent audience is a different type of fan that when it comes back they’re going to come back. The independent fans, especially of the more hardcore based and community based independents, they’ll come back and support it. It’s the larger, like AEW and WWE and Impact Wrestling, that I think you’re going to have a problem getting people to be comfortable with sitting next to somebody.”

On AEW’s style: “I think initially the message was, ‘we’re going to be a wrestling show.’ In watching it, they are incorporating certain things that WWE, certain promos and skits that I didn’t think we were going to see. I still think it’s a fantastic show. They have a lot of young talent that a lot of people weren’t familiar with…and they also have some established talent. When you look at it, the face of that company in so many fans minds is the new version of Chris Jericho.”

On Cody Rhodes’ success: “(Dusty Rhodes) was a business man and a performer. And now Cody is a mixture of both. I think he studied his father. Their original vision was just going to be wrestling; now it’s wrestling and there are some aspects of sports entertainment in there as well.”

You can hear the entire interview here at

Wrestling with History streams live every Wednesday night at 930pm ET. Ken Resnick and Bruce Wirt talk to stars from the past and present, while taking listener calls and mixing in reviews of current programming.

VOC Nation offers live, interactive pro wrestling talk radio seven days a week. VOC Nation hosts include former WWE and AWA annoucer Ken Resnick, former WCW star the Maestro, former Impact Wrestling star Wes Brisco, and more. Featuring guests from wrestling personalities such as Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, AJ Styles, Tito Santana, and Mick Foley, to entertainers like Lou Ferrigno, The Insane Clown Posse, Roberta Flack, and Kristy Swanson, VOC Nation has given listeners insightful programming for nearly over 10 years.

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