“Goodbye Ric” was the title of an article from Issue 5 of Power Slam – The Wrestling Magazine (follow on twitter at @powerslammag), and is my earliest memory of this outstanding publication.
Why do I write about this now? Because one of my all-time favourite “WH Smith” magazines has closed. You can read about it here: http://www.psmag.co.uk/updates/37/Power-Slam-closes.htm
Issue 5 was not the first of the series that I bought, but it is the one I remember, mainly for the aforementioned column. I do not own Issue 5, in fact I own precious few of the 237 issues published since 1994. However, I wish to write about a few treasured memories and pay tribute to Findlay Martin (@FindlayMartin), Editor and primary writer, and others.
I was a subscriber of Power Slam every issue from the time I was 13 years old, right through the 1990s. I had grown up a wrestling fan, and was a committed Hulkamaniac in my youth. I must confess that my interest in wrestling has waned over the last ten – fifteen years. Not, as I was always patronisingly told in my youth, because I “would grow out of it”. It is more because of what it has become. Nowadays, the WWE et al present themselves as “entertainment”, with a nod and a wink to the audience (sometimes more blatantly than that) that the occurences in and around the wrestling ring are fictitious. This deeply troubled me in my early twenties. Apparently, it meant that the wrestling audience was no longer being condescended too. However, as Power Slam so memorably put it – non-wrestling fans just didn’t get it. “We already know it’s scripted!”. The joy for me was in the pretence that professional wrestling was a real sport. With bow-tie wearing referees and announcers. The audience was simply not to believe that wrestling was “just a show”.
With the dawn of the millennium, the bloom was off the rose for me, and wrestling became “just a show”.
Still, I kept purchasing Power Slam, admittedly less so in the 2000s. However, that was probably more to do with my lifestyle than anything else. Yes, wrestling had changed. But that was also largely because of the advent of the internet. Whereas between 1994 – 1998 I got all of my “insider” news once per month from Power Slam, from the late 90s onwards, such news was available to me (and no doubt countless others) at the click of a button from websites such as PWTorch and the Wrestling Observer.
In the mid-1990s, I recall joyously reading such breaking news as the latest WWF signings (Mick Foley, Vader) and WCW imports (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Bret Hart). Fin Martin and the gang informed me that Shawn Michaels’s mid-ring collapse in November 1995 was “a work”, a stunt. And not as real as I had thought! Equally memorable was Fin Martin’s opinion on the famous Montreal Screwjob of 1997: he informed readers of the background to Bret Hart’s controversial departure from the WWF for WCW and WWF owner Vince McMahon’s claims as to why he did what he did, and then wrote “I shall now endeavour to translate this claptrap”. (Note: I don’t have the issue to hand, so I fear that I am at best paraphrasing. But I believe the essence of his comment is in tact.)
I also vividly remember the “Let’s Talk” interviews. Who can forget Steve Austin discussing his early career in Texas, living off potatoes? Or Shane Douglas proclaiming that Mick Foley’s WWF career would be over before it started?
And who can forget “Stateside” with Ian Robinson (what happened to him?). His 1995 declaration that Shawn Michaels must succeed Diesel as WWF Champion as “only then would the WWF have their ‘Batman Forever'” resonated with me. Although, he did predict the wrong Texan, did he not? Not can we forget “Colour Commentary” with Rob Butcher? Not to mention John Lister’s (@johnlister) contribution, or Stately Wayne Manor’s heelish output each month.
In the 2000s, with the internet dominating insider gossip, my joy of reading Power Slam (sadly, occasionally) became focused upon the historical articles. In recent times, I have been engrossed in reading about the History of the WWWF/WWF/WWE Championship, especially the Bruno Sammartino years in the 1970s.
Reading the occasional issue of Power Slam is what remained of me as a wrestling fan, I am afraid. The current business is lost on me, for the most part. But the last link has gone, it seems…
Power Slam did not always get it right. For example, the aforementioned “Goodbye RIc” article in Issue 5, following Ric Flair’s Career Match loss to Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc in October 1994, was way too premature. As any fan knows, Flair is no stranger to a wrestling ring, even in 2014! However, it was an article vivid in its historical portrait of Flair’s career – an example of Power Slam at it’s finest.
So it is “Goodbye Power Slam“. And I, for one, hope that is premature too.