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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Kayfabing Wrestling Online
March 1, 2005 by David Frederick


Just like pro-wrestling itself was elevated by Vince McMahon from one state to network TV to pay-per-view, wrestling news, results and information online expanded a great deal between 1994-2005. The internet itself was only a few companies originally (although it actually existed since 1969) such as AOL, Prodigy and CompuServe.

I remember pro-wrestling online began with a few message boards. Then with the discovery of chat rooms, Bob Ryder began promoting his play-by-play live from the ECW Arena. It was unbelievable how he typed every single move through an entire show. With the addition of webcams and audio pick-up, people were able to cheat both McMahon and Turner out of pay-per-view cost. Jason Campbell began one of the first websites sub-domains showing results throughout WWE, WCW, Japan history. Bob Ryder opened one of the first major websites for news, interviews and results.

I myself collected and started a sub-domain website; the History of Philadelphia Wrestling. Between 1996-1999 pro-wrestling became a major part of the information super highway. When I first learned about other wrestling promotions in late 1986 through PWI Magazine, the information was 4-6 months backdated. In late 1989 PWI created the Weekly newsletter. The weekly newsletter possibly gave birth to what is now infamously known as "the spoiler". But by 1995 with internet chat rooms, message boards and websites the PWI weekly was no longer needed. You could get results within 1-6 hours after live shows and pay-per-views.

In 1999 with WCW and WWE pay-per-views being shown through webcams and audio mics, I heard the most tragic news in pro wrestling that I consider the 9/11 of wrestling itself. May 23, 1999 I entered a chat room for a WWE pay-per-view between 8-9pm when all I saw was "Owen Hart" repeated hundreds of times. Then I went offline and returned just before 11pm, I saw the words "Owen Hart" and "dead" on the screen. I still did not understand what people were talking about. At 11pm, Philadelphia news stations aired the tragic news. It probably was pre-started but a few websites began carrying obituary listings, this followed with archives of all sorts.

Wrestling Information Archive and Kayfabe Memories followed Prowrestlinghistory.com as the largest information archives online. Many more websites began covering wrestling history from around the world. Puroresu was the first to cover wrestling title history. Though the website was named to cover Japanese wrestling title history, it was originally based on a book Wrestling Title Histories by Royal Duncan and Gary Will. Ironically the internet expanded in a way pro-wrestling should have. There is a shared competition for information, results, promotion websites and a lot more. Where McMahon wanted to run the world of wrestling and eliminate competition. There are probably hundreds to possibly thousands of websites based for pro-wrestling.

by David Frederick..


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