Dave Meltzer: Wikis


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Dave Meltzer (born October 27, 1961) is the editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON). Sports Illustrated senior writer Frank Deford has praised Meltzer's work, saying that "Meltzer, I believe, is the most accomplished reporter in sports journalism."[1] Meltzer has written for the Oakland Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and The National. He has also been interviewed in the wrestling documentaries Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows and Beyond the Mat.

Meltzer also has extensively covered mixed martial arts since UFC 1 in 1993. He has covered MMA for the LA Times and FoxSports.com, and was one of the three ringside judges for UFC 18. He currently covers the sport for Yahoo! Sports, a UFC partner.


Early life

Meltzer was born in upstate New York before eventually relocating to San Jose, California.[2] Meltzer earned a journalism degree from San José State University. He showed an interest in professional wrestling early on in his life, starting out as a sports writer at the Turlock (CA) Journal. Dave wrote several publications that predate WON, dating back to 1971. Meltzer states that he was just a fan at first and started a tape trading newsletter. The Observer started from Dave wanting to keep his friends in college "in the loop" for his tape trading as well as the happenings in the business.[3] He started writing the Observer full-time in 1987.[2]

Wrestling Observer Newsletter

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter started off as a way to keep fans informed of various wrestling regions that readers may not have been aware of or had no access to. The Observer's earlier years were also marked by revealing insider news and various behind-the-scenes happenings in the industry, a groundbreaking approach in a kayfabe-heavy era.[4] Meltzer states that this new approach to covering wrestling earned him scorn from virtually everyone within the wrestling business. As the business evolved along with the newsletter, he became more accepted.[5]

Since major wrestling promotions would never acknowledge the existence of any dirt sheets,[4] Meltzer had to find other ways to advertise his newsletter. Adverts were often posted in kayfabe and semi-kayfabe publications such as Wrestling Main Event magazine and Wrestling Eye magazine. Meltzer was also able to advertise his publication during various guest appearances on wrestling radio shows and guest editorials in various national newspapers.

With the ubiquitous emergence of the Internet and wrestling web sites that are able to provide news in real time, today's Observer differs in the way it covers the wrestling scene in that it provides more of an editorial and analysis on the news and what impacts it could have on the business.[5] Wrestlers have noted seeing copies of the Observer on Vince McMahon's office desk and it is believed many, if not most of the biggest stars in WWE and other major promotions are subscribers, although few would admit it publicly. Meltzer's newsletter has led to a loyal fan following, radio shows, and even a brief stint working for the WWF as a researcher in 1987.[6]

In his first autobiography, Mick Foley claimed that even when he was just starting in the business, people as influential as Bill Watts would sometimes change the booking direction of an entire promotion based on the opinions expressed in the WON.[7]


Rating system

Meltzer popularized the "star rating" system (originated by Jim Cornette and Norm Dooley), which rates matches on a scale of zero to five stars (sometimes going to negative five stars in the case of bad matches) in a similar manner to that used by many movie critics.[2] As in the field of film, a rating is a largely subjective affair that may take into account the amount of action, as opposed to restholds ("workrate"), the difficulty and variety of moves used, the history of the workers and their feud, the development of an in-match storyline based on the wrestling moves and how they affect the wrestlers, and the overall reaction of the crowd.

Five star matches, as rated by Meltzer, are extremely rare. Before 2004, the last match rated five stars in the US was in 1997. There have been sixty-three matches that have received the honor since 1983, when Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask I had the first one ever. Mitsuharu Misawa has the most five star matches with 24 (including one match wrestling as Tiger Mask II).

WON Hall of Fame

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame is not a physical place. Nonetheless, it is a respected honor in the world of wrestling. Every year, Meltzer conducts a poll of selected "insiders" and wrestlers to determine new inductees into the WON Hall of Fame.

Wrestling Observer Live

Dave Meltzer is the former host of Wrestling Observer Live, a popular wrestling radio show. Co-hosting the show with Dave was Bryan Alvarez, editor of the Figure Four Weekly newsletter. Dave and Bryan hosted the show every Sunday night from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. EST on the Sports Byline Radio Network. Due to the show airing on Sunday nights, replays were played on nights there were WWE pay-per-views. The show debuted in October 1999 and aired five days a week on the internet radio channel, eYada.com. eYada closed its doors on July 9, 2001, with Wrestling Observer Live, its highest rated show, being the last show to broadcast on the station. Wrestling Observer Live was picked up by Sports Byline on March 17, 2002, and had stayed in its current position ever since. The WWE does not allow its talent or employees on Wrestling Observer Live as a guest.

As of September 30, 2007, Bryan Alvarez became the host of Wrestling Observer Live as Meltzer's workload increased covering UFC for Yahoo Sports. Thus, he was no longer able to host the show full-time. With the change, the radio show will go on during WWE pay-per-views which it had never done before. Meltzer still frequently appears to co-host the show as time allows.

In September 2008, the time was moved to 6pm to 8pm EST, eliminating the conflict on PPV nights.

Online transition

On June 12, 2008, the Wrestling Observer website merged with Bryan Alvarez's Figure Four Weekly website. After being a print-only newsletter for over 25 years (other than a brief period where it was also available via e-mail), the Observer became available to subscribers online through the website.


  • Tributes: Remembering Some of the World's Greatest Wrestlers (Winding Stair Press, 2001, Hardcover) ISBN 1553660854 ISBN 978-1553660859
  • Tributes II: Remembering More of the Worlds Greatest Wrestlers (Sports Publishing, 2004, Hardcover) ISBN 1582618178 ISBN 978-1582618173

Notes and references

  1. ^ Deford, Frank (2007-08-22). "A deadly phenomenon". Sports Illustrated. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/frank_deford/08/21/wrestling/index.html. Retrieved 2007-08-25.   In this article, Deford also states "...wrestling is a sport. No, not legitimate in the competitive sense, but it is certainly legitimate athletic exercise."
  2. ^ a b c "Dean S. Planet's Celeb Interviews.". Dean S. Planet's. http://deansplanet.com/interviews_dave_meltzer.html. Retrieved 2007-07-11.  
  3. ^ Benaka, Lee (1991). "The Lee Benaka Interviews - Dave Meltzer.". Benaka, Lee (reprinted on the Death Valley Driver Video Review website). http://www.deathvalleydriver.com/Benaka/Meltzer.html. Retrieved 2007-07-11.  
  4. ^ a b Funk, Terry; Williams, Scott (2005). Terry Funk: The Hardcore Legend (1st ed. paperback ed.). Champaign IL: Sports Publishing. p. 125. ISBN 1582619913.  
  5. ^ a b Eisenberg, Joel (2004) (1st ed. Paperback ed.). Northridge CA: Topos Books. pp. 103–106. ISBN 0976757508.  
  6. ^ Johnson, Mike; Dave Sherer (2000-05-05). "Wrestling Observer Live 5/04 recap with Jim Thomas of New York State Senator Tom Libous' office regarding legislation of Drug Testing of Wrestlers.". Daily Lariat. http://www.1wrestling.com/columns/lariat/default.asp?articleid=1829&page=4. Retrieved 2006-05-19.  
  7. ^ Foley, Mick (2000). Have a Nice Day (1st ed. paperback ed.). New York: Avon Books. p. 155. ISBN 0-06-103101-1.  

See also

External links

Simple English

Dave Meltzer (born in 1961) is a man who writes about professional wrestling for his magazine, and also on the internet. Meltzer's website is called the Wrestling Observer. It is special, because before Meltzer most writers wrote that professional wrestling was real. But Meltzer writes that it is not. He has also written two books called Tributes and Tributes II. Other writers for Wrestling Observer are Todd Martin and Vince Verhei.

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