Welcome to a special installment of Ask WNW. On Facebook, WWE legend BG James, better known as Road Dogg, submitted a question to me. Because of who he is and the lengthy response that followed, I'm dedicating this installment completely to the one question. As always, I appreciate your support and you can send in questions for future installments of Ask WNW at this link or to AskWNW@wrestlingnewsworld.com.
The following question comes from BG James (a/k/a Road Dogg) on Facebook… Why would I ask you anything about Sports Entertainment? What are you credentials? What expertise do you possess? And I'm not being sarcastic, I'm totally serious.
There is a very long answer to this question but I'm going to do my best to keep it as abbreviated as possible. First, I want to state that you have forgotten more about the wrestling (or Sports Entertainment) business than I'll ever know. You've taken the bumps and paid your dues, kicked addiction's ass and put together a career most can only dream about. A 5-time WWF Tag Team Champion, WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWF Hardcore Champion and 1-time WWE Tag Team Champion, to say you're accomplished would be understating it. That doesn't even take into account surviving a disastrous gimmick (The Real Double J) or getting a backstage job in WWE after the Voodoo Kin Mafia (TNA Wrestling). Your story is a story that is to be revered and respected and I admire you as a performer and as a person. The last thing I would ever want to do is come off as a pretentious Internet warrior that is going to teach someone of your caliber anything. I learn daily from you and people like you that have shed their blood, sweat and tears for this business and it's an absolute honor to include you in Ask WNW.
My identical twin brother Ryan and I started our journey in November 1999 as teenagers with a dream of writing something on the Internet someone on the other side of the world could read. It was unfathomable to us that from a small town in West Virginia someone on another continent could read something we wrote. From 4CornersWrestling.com to WCWWWF.com to WrestlingUnlimited.com to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, it's been quite the journey. I never planned a career as a pro wrestling journalist. In fact, I always thought I would work in the family business at a hardware store/lumber yard that my grandfather started in the 1950s.
In the early 2000s, while in high school, my brother and I found success on the Internet when tens of thousands of people started visiting WCWWWF.com. The website just "took off" and got more visitors than we could have ever envisioned. We monetized it with banner advertisements and it did so well that we tried to talk our parents into letting us drop out of high school. It's a good thing they were adamant we get our education because the success was short-lived. The dot com bubble burst and the revenue faded, while the expenses were astronomical. I ended up scaling back and bought WrestlingNewsWorld.com from a guy named George Patton in February 2003. From February 2003 to early 2007, WrestlingNewsWorld.com was a hobby as I finished high school and attended West Virginia University. While there, I still planned to join the family business so I pursued a Bachelor's Degree in Business with Minors in Communication and Advertising.
In January 2007, my brother I started to discuss what it would look like if we took WrestlingNewsWorld.com from a hobby to a full-time career. The family business wasn't exactly booming as the housing market was on the brink of collapse (people weren't building houses/so they weren't purchasing lumber and hardware) and big chains like Lowes and Home Depot dominated the business that was there.
We decided to give it a try after graduating in May 2007. Little did we know, the first story we would have to cover would be the Benoit family tragedy, which I'll admit, was a very challenging thing to have to do out of the gate. Let's face it, we're here to talk wrestling and all the fun things that go with it. Suicide/double murder isn't exactly uplifting or what I signed up to cover.
As the website transitioned from part-time hobby to a full-time occupation, I developed a vision for Wrestling News World. I wanted a place where the reader could go to get accurate pro wrestling news and in-depth analysis. There is no shortage of pro wrestling websites on the Internet. It seems a new one pops up every day with the same content, just a different logo and design. There were some reputable publications that I felt did a good job but I felt my brother and I had an opportunity to create something different. The first thing I knew that we needed to stand out was unique content. This is when I got in touch with some of the people I met in the late 90s/early 2000s that went on to work in the wrestling business. Some friends made it as far as WWE, working as creative consultants directly under Stephanie McMahon. Others went on to be successful independent promoters, wrestlers and referees.
I began getting my name out there and developing connections where I would have credible sources underneath me. As you know, this business is tricky because it's secretive. It's hard to get a foot in the door because no matter how many words I write, I will always be perceived as an outsider. That's why I went to friends that had taken bumps or promoted shows or set up and taken down the ring. We created a collective effort where I would be able to report the story behind the wall; a peek behind the curtain, while doing so with respect and passion for the business.
Our first big break came in January 2008 when Bobby Lashley, still under WWE contract, called our office and said that he was finished. It went from tip-toeing around to Bobby Lashley on the telephone!
I'll never forget when one of my sources provided me with the phone call that The Rock would be returning to WWE to guest host Wrestlemania XXVII. I had the privilege of interviewing WWE Hall of Famer Edge, meeting Mick Foley backstage, sitting side by side Jeff Jarrett and joking with Kofi Kingston.
It's been an incredible ride that all started with that dream in November 1999. I don't claim to be a pro wrestling (or Sports Entertainment) expert; I've never taken my first bump in the ring. My hat is off to anyone that dedicates his or her life to being on the road 300 days out of the year and sheds blood, sweat and tears for the business we all love. I never planned to do this, it just happened. I used my dream and passion for pro wrestling, along with an Internet connection, to pursue the business from a different angle. That angle is working independently as a journalist that spends the majority of my life typing. As with any profession, there are ups and downs but when I see the names I grew up idolizing, reading, commenting and asking questions, I'm still blown away.
In Ask WNW, I don't aim to provide definitive answers. Sure, I can let someone know what I've heard (like plans for Ryback before he comes back) or give my thoughts (like how Rusev won me over) but more than anything else, I try to start the conversation. It's not so much questions and answers as it is questions and responses. The comment area is full of brilliant minds, people that love pro wrestling just looking for a place to give their thoughts or submit their ideas. It's always easier to sit behind a computer and play Monday morning quarterback, so I always try to caution the Internet makes the WWE creative process seem much easier than it truly is.
It's my vision to cover the wrestling business with a humble attitude, giving it the respect it deserves. My qualifications and credentials don't include multiple title reigns. I've never applied for job with WWE and like our buddy Josh Mathews, I wouldn't be interested. I don't even have a degree in journalism. What I do have is a passion for the business, a record of aiming for accuracy and a dream of impacting an industry I grew up on.
I appreciate the opportunity to tell my story but more than anything else, I appreciate your participation in our website's most popular feature. I look forward to the day I can cover your WWE Hall of Fame induction where you can take your rightful place as a member of the one of the greatest tag teams of all time.
The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Wednesday, October 29, 2014.