Thank YOU for 15 Years of WrestleCrap.com!

38 Submitted by on Wed, 01 April 2015, 08:00

April 1, 2000.  That’s the day a silly little webpage hit the internet for the first time.

Looked something like this:

originalarchive

It’s been an incredible journey, I will say that.

Inspired by a Friend

Those of you who have been here for any length of time have probably heard the story behind the creation of the website, but hey, it’s the site’s 15th birthday, so you’re going to get it again.  The site was never meant to be anything, really.  It was an excuse to use a computer (Mac Quadra 840 to be exact!) for which I paid far too much.  See, I bought that computer knowing I needed to learn how to do web design because I kinda sensed that was the future.  The question was what topic would make for a good site.  I had it narrowed down to two, those being my primary hobbies: pro wrestling and video games.

I basically ruled out a video game site early on, as there were tons of them out there and I didn’t really know what I could bring to the table that wasn’t already available.  Pro wrestling sites were in their infancy, with the likes of Al Isaacs’ Scoops and I am pretty sure Dave was around as well with wrestlingobserver.com.  I think Bryan came along a year or two later, but I could be wrong on that.  I know that Figure Four Weekly dates back much later than WrestleCrap.com (I was a subscriber before I ever launched), but not sure about the online aspect.  Even if he hadn’t launched his online presence yet, there were so many sites out there with real backstage access that I felt I wasn’t going to add anything there either.  So I was stuck with a $3,000 computer and no good ideas.

But one day I got that idea; it came from my friend, Merle Vincent Griggs.

Merle was part of the Indianapolis wrestling group I hung out with, along with “Diamond Dan”, Trash (Casey) Losagain, Top Rope Troy Miller, and the rest of the folks who worked for places like Championship Wrestling of America and Pro Wrestling International.  Merle loved pro wrestling; in fact, he even ran a show in Indianapolis under the NWA banner featuring the likes of Dan Severn and New Jack.

Really; I was at ringside for a match involving NEW JACK.

(And when I say I was ‘at ringside’, I mean I was as far as humanly possible away from that ring.  Mama Deal didn’t raise no dummy.)

So Merle and I were talking on the phone about the previous night’s Nitro.  We were in the midst of the Monday Night Wars (sorry Steph, it will always be a plural to me), and Merle just had to tell me about something he saw on Nitro that was completely idiotic.  “It was the worst thing I’d ever seen in the history of pro wrestling,” he noted.

“Worse than the Gobbledy Gooker?” I scoffed.  “I don’t think so!”

We then spent the next hour laughing about the very worst of pro wrestling…and I knew what my site was going to be all about.

But it still didn’t have a name.

That came a couple weeks later.  I had a few in mind, like worstofwrestling.com and I think wrestlinghallofshame.com.  But I didn’t really like those.  I wanted something short, to the point, and something memorable.  Just kept trying things over and over, and would float them by my now-wife, Mrs. Deal.  She would generally kinda shrug when I laid out my suggestions.  Then I said, “What do you think of wrestleCRAP.com?”

She looked at me like she thought I was insane.

So I said it again.

“WRESTLECRAP.COM”

This time she kinda shook her head and looked at me like she KNEW I was insane.

And that’s when I knew I’d hit pay dirt.

Why On Earth Did Anyone Ever Read This Stuff?

So I started working on WrestleCrap.com, the Very Worst of Pro Wrestling.  I did some video captures, some sound grabs, wrote little blurbs of text, figured out some very basic HTML.  I believe it was about this time that I met the legendary Greg Ogorek formerly of GlobalInternet.net, and he got me going and I was set up for launch fifteen years ago today.  Fifteen years later, I still consider him a great friend…one of the very first I was blessed to meet on this incredible journey.

As sappy as it may sound, from day one, WrestleCrap has been about my friends. I’ve said this on a lot of interviews in the past, but it bears repeating here: this site was never about getting tons of traffic.  I don’t think I’ve looked at site stats, page views, Google analytics, or any of that stuff more than a handful of times.  I honestly just don’t care about it.  The only thing I’ve ever really cared about is making my friends laugh.  And in the early days of the site, I literally thought it would be just my local friends and no one else doing the laughing.  If I could even make them laugh, that is.

It’s a concept that is baffling to a lot of people.  I’ve had writers on the site why I don’t do this or that to increase traffic, and when I tell them I have no idea what the daily traffic is, they think I’m completely insane.  I’ve had offers to analyze the site so that we get more traffic, but I always turn them down because it’s something I have zero interesting in knowing.  All I care about is making someone laugh about pro wrestling.  And in the early days of the site, it was literally my handful of friends.

Quickly, though, I started getting emails from folks about things I’d post.  I believe since day one, I always tried to update the site on Friday mornings/Thursday nights.  I thought it would be a good way for people to waste time as they waited for the weekend to start, so that was the logic there.  Getting those early emails was cool; it meant that I was causing others to if nothing else remember stuff from days gone by. And yeah, a couple of them even noted that those early inductions made them laugh.

Which is pretty amazing to me when I look back at them.  Most of them were maybe 250 words tops, with 2-3 pictures.  But the internet wrestling scene isn’t what it is today, where there are countless websites and message boards where folks can post pics of these things. And YouTube either didn’t exist or no one knew about it.  All the images I found were captured via the magic of a VCR hooked into my computer, which was fairly rare back then.  It made doing those early inductions a real challenge, as I’d need to hunt through hours of footage just to find something that may be comical.  Today, you Google “Gobbledy Gooker”, back then you looked at a closet full of VHS tapes and hoped for the best.

The Loss of a Friend

So I started writing inductions, and Merle did a column called Menacing Thoughts, which was just whatever he felt like writing about that week.  And it was pretty much completely random; one week, I remember he was going off about a couple of young guys on WCW.com, and one of them got REALLY ticked off that Merle said he thought they were no good.  The guy’s name?  Jeremy Borash.  It wouldn’t be the last time that we got hate mail from those in the business, as over the years I’ve been called out by Oscar from Men on a Mission to Mark Madden to Vince Russo to everyone in between.  But we always laughed it off, because we were wanting to just entertain ourselves.

Sadly, the fun with Merle didn’t last, as he died within the first four months of the site.  That really hurt, and still does to this day.  Merle was a class act and a super funny guy, my tribute to him is here if you’ve never read it.  That was the first really tough time I went through during the time running the site.

Not sure I ever considered truly shutting down at that time, though – WrestleCrap was there to make people laugh, and honestly, it has made ME laugh over the years probably more than anyone.  It helped me get through a very rough period of my life, and that is something I’ve heard echoed from others.  In fact, on Facebook just last night, someone told me how just listening to WrestleCrap Radios of old helped him through some of life’s tough times.  It’s certainly something that keeps me going.

The Shutdown and Meeting a Legend Who “Got” The Site: The Amazing John Tenta

One of the early folks we discovered who ‘got’ WrestleCrap was John Tenta, whom you might know better as Earthquake.  A giant mountain of a man with a heart bigger than you can imagine.  I was so blessed to get to know him, and will never forget how kind he was to actually take my call at a time when no one did.  To be fair, it was tough to get interviews when you told people you worked for WrestleCRAP and you were writing about the worst in wrestling…so hey, we thought of YOU!  People didn’t respond to that.  In fact, no one did but John.  He did, because he knew it was ok to laugh at yourself.

I believe it was around this time that I actually talked to another guy who would be hugely influential in my life: Bryan Alvarez.  He was writing for a magazine you may have heard of called Penthouse.  Really, yes, THAT Penthouse.  At the time, wrestling was so hot that nudie mags were dedicating a couple pages a month to it, and Bryan was the guy penning them.  He actually interviewed me for the mag, and that exposure was gargantuan.  It also led to one of the darkest hours in the site’s history, as I had to shut down WrestleCrap.com because the bandwidth was costing me a fortune and the site wasn’t generating any real revenue.  Because, well, you just read about my business philosophy with it.

But I was able to salvage my finances thanks to many dedicated WrestleCrap readers, who purchased discs of the site’s archives on eBay.  (The archives continue to be accessible today via online archive access.  The only reason we do that is to try to cover the costs of the site, so if you want to help out, please do so here.)  That early auction allowed me to get out of the poor house and start rethinking the site.  Less than a year later, I was able to get it back online albeit in more limited form.  Over time, though, we were able to grow it back to a reasonable amount of content.  And then something pretty amazing happened, as a reader asked in the old Mailbag section if I’d ever consider writing a book.  One thing led to another, and lo and behold, I’d written the first ever WrestleCrap book.  I remember working so hard on that book, trying my best to bring the comedy of the site to the printed page.  I remember my old friend Jeff Cohen supplying me with photos from back when he used to shoot for the Apter mags.  And I remember Quake writing a foreword so amazing that it kinda put the rest of the book to shame.

Soon Quake would be gone…to this day when I think of the day he passed, I still cry.  He was such a good man, SUCH a good man, and he was taken far too soon.  And I will never forget what he did for me personally.  God bless you, John.  You’re going to be one of the first folks I search for when Jesus calls me home.

The Death of WCW

Writing the second book was brought upon by the first book doing shockingly well (because everyone thought it would tank).  But I didn’t want to write another WrestleCrap book, so I decided to write about the demise of World Championship Wrestling.  I knew I couldn’t do that by myself, I needed an insider…preferably one with a sense of humor such as myself.  So I rolled the dice and asked Bryan to write it with me.  And write it he did, as that dude just wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote.  He was simply an amazing co-author, and to this day, I consider myself very blessed to call him my friend.

The response to The Death of WCW was almost overwhelmingly positive.  I am proud of that book, as I feel we hit the nail on the head with what actually happened to a company that should have been successfully running to this day.  The fact we were able to release a 10th Anniversary Edition that was greatly expanded was also a lot of fun, and I am very grateful to Bryan and everyone at ECW Press for the opportunity to do so.

I also want to note that Bryan worked his butt off following the release of that book on his site, F4WOnline.com.  I believe it is now the number one non-WWE pro wrestling site on the planet.  If you’ve never done so, believe me, you need to subscribe.  The audio alone is well worth your money.

The Best Gift The Site Has Ever Given Me

I cannot talk about friends on this site without spending a good chunk of time talking about the one I met due to a contest I put up on the site.  He wound up not being just a friend, but one of the best friends I’ve ever had in my entire life.

Blade Braxton.

Seriously, we met due to an idiotic contest I put up on the site when I asked for videos of readers re-enacting WrestleCrap moments.  Blade did Revenge of the Scorpion, a parody of the Black Scorpion who turned out to be my uncle, Burt Reynolds.  It was the last tape we got.  I remember watching it with Mrs. Deal…and we were both in absolute tears watching this video.  ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.  I laughed so hard and rewound that tape so many times I am surprised it didn’t fall apart the first week.  Then I talked to the guy, met the guy behind it and you know what?

That tape didn’t do him justice.

He was way funnier in real life than on that video.  Over the next ten years, we worked on the site together, doing inductions, Jobbers of the Week, It Came From YouTubes, Someone Bought This.  We created all that stuff together.  We wrote the third WrestleCrap book, The WrestleCrap Book of Lists!, together.  But the thing I think a lot of folks will remember us for is creating the most absurd wrestling podcast ever, WrestleCrap Radio.

The idea behind that came up due to the fact that we made each other cry with laughter every time we talked on the phone.  So we created stupid segments, ridiculous characters, and tried to cram as much goofiness as possible into every show.  A lot of folks loved it, and some absolutely despised it.  We eventually burned ourselves out doing it, but at the end of the day, it made us laugh together, which I consider as a success.  We still talk on the phone at least twice a week, and trust me, all the funniest stuff doesn’t make the air.  That’s one reason we wanted to do The RD & Blade Show and record them as I was driving around to try and capture that.

But you guys never get the absolute best stuff.  That’s because we simply crack each other up whenever we talk just by being friends.

And Let’s Not Forget…

I could go on and on about our friendship, but I will simply say this and I mean it more than anything I’ve ever written on this site: Blade, you are one of the best friends God has ever blessed me with, and I am so thankful you are in my life.

And there are so many other friends I’ve made over the years due to this site: amazing writers like Triple Kelly, Justin Henry, Harry Simon…what on earth did I ever do to deserve to work with you guys?  You’re far more talented than I am.  Jed Shafer!  Emerson Whitner! Premier Blah!  The amazingly talented CURRENT writers, Jordan Mishkin and Art 0’Donnell, who smoke me by a great distance.  And let’s not forget the guy who works harder for this site than anyone could ever dream, The Big Cheese himself, Paul Kraft.  You sir, are another amazing friend.

And I know I am forgetting other great people that have worked on this site.  (Folks like Derek Burgan (who had the awesome Gimmick Table back in the day, as well as Sean Carless, who has created so many unbelievable Photoshop images…those Gorilla Monsoon Valentines?  All his!)

I apologize for that…hard to remember everything as you are just overcome with the emotion of looking back over the last 15 years.

But it’s not just them.  It’s also all the folks who have simply emailed or messaged me on Facebook or Twitter.  THAT is amazing.  And I am forever thankful for it.

I cannot believe this stupid site has given me so many friends!

I’m waxing nostalgic here, but I can’t help it.  WrestleCrap.com may just be a dumb website to the rest of the world, but to me, it’s way more than that.

So I say THANK YOU to everyone who’s ever even just visited here.  It’s been a great 15 years.  Here’s to many, many more years of laughter and friendship to come.

Sincerely,

Randy Baer
aka RD Reynolds

 

 

 

 

Written by

Yeah, you know...the WrestleCrap guy. Been here since before day 1, I have. You can hang out with me on Facebook. (I'm on there quite a bit) or follow my exploits on Twitter (I'm on there not quite so often). Thanks, and Keep on Crappin'!
38 Responses to "Thank YOU for 15 Years of WrestleCrap.com!"
  1. JSH says:

    Thank YOU, Deal. And everyone else involved with the site and radio shows (especially Blade).

  2. Mark Burgat says:

    This site means a lot to me. I remember my freshman year of high school wasn’t the best year for me. Wrestlecrap helped me laugh through it, and the rest of the high school years that I had. Every week in college, I’d drive home and back. Wrestlecrap Radio made the 90 minute commute less boring.

    Thank you for this site RD, thank you for making me laugh. I’ve been a loyal crapper since day…30(?) and intend to be with it to the end.

  3. Tony Garnett says:

    I think i found this site in 2002, and it has brought me and a lot of my mates here in Australia a lot of laughter and helped through some depressing times also the books are amazing thank you so much for the good times you have brought to so many people

  4. Soul Tsukino says:

    I still remember making it to the second round of the Co-host contest. I did that after only having maybe 30 minutes of sleep in over 24 hours. Good times Deal, good times.

  5. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    I found the site a few months after the launch- sometime around October or November of 2000 and knew from the moment I found it that it was one of the best things going today.

    Thanks to all the staff members past and present and especially to R.D, Blade, and the late, great Merle Griggs for the endless hours of work you all have put into the site. You all have given me more laughs than a Tee-Hee Tickle Party!

  6. Shockwave says:

    Wrestlecrap is still real to me, dammit!

    Thanks for the laughs RD 🙂

  7. Scrooge McSuck says:

    Thank you for 15 years of fun. This is no lie… when I bought the original Wrestlecrap book, I would, no joke, read it out loud (with pride!) to people to share the laughter with them. People who either didn’t care that much about wrestling, and especially when the site was in a more “limited” content period.

  8. Christopher Olsen says:

    Thanks to R. D. and everyone who’s written here. I’ve looked at this site at least once a week for 15 years now. I can’t think of one other site that I visited 15 years ago that I still visit today. Thanks for all the laughs, memories and entertainment.

  9. JNB says:

    Thanks for the laughs, RD. I’ve been visiting the site since 2000, longer than any other site. I stopped watching wrestling years ago, but still get a laugh from the site and podcast.

  10. Jamal says:

    Man, I still have an email from someone named “Randy Baer” sitting in my inbox from 7/13/2000. Thankfully, I became a much better speller as I got older. Thanks for being a down to Earth guy, Deal! You’re awesome!:

    Hi Jamal-

    > Great Job on the page! It was kinda good and bad looking at those
    > HORRIFYING gimmics.. but it did give me a good laugh.. <I don’t know if you have these in the works.. but I do remember some
    >of the ASSEST gimmics and Angles in wrestling.. and here are a few I’d
    >like to see in the future…

    Let’s see…Waylon Mercy is requested all the time, so we’ll definitely be adding him. Ditto for Sal Sincere, King Mabel (I’m actually thinking of doing a whole section on ‘kings’), the Drunk Hawk deal with the Titantron bump is definitely going up as soon as we get footage.

    > I hope I atleast gave you a few good suggestions.. if not.. sorry for
    > waisting your time 🙁 bye!

    Reading mail from our readers is NEVER wasting time! 8) It lets us know what you guys want to see.

    –Randy–

  11. Andy says:

    I found this site a few years ago, and absolutely loved it. It’s everything right with the internet. I read the books & consider them definitive accounts on their subjects. I feel WWE’s monday night wars’ last few episodes are like a visual companion to the book, almost like they used it as the template. Great stuff and creativity on this site. Much respect!

  12. Big says:

    Thanks RD for fifteen great years. And thanks to you and your great crew, for enduring so much of this awfulness for us and turning it into gold here.

  13. Autrach Sejanoz says:

    I remember finding this site via a flash movie on Newgrounds. I went to check it out, only to find that it had shut down & was offering email newsletters instead. I balked at the time, but months later, I came across that same flash movie & thought “maybe I’ll subscribe after all.”

    Imagine my delight to find that the site had gone back up. I’ll never forget the image I first saw on the homepage – ‘”Queering don’t make the world work.” Warrior goes nuts on college campus!’

    Been a fan ever since. Thanks for everything, everyone!

  14. Mister Forth says:

    Thank you for 15 years, and I hope we get much more than 15 more years.

  15. Vealchop says:

    I’ll still never forget the day I was at work listening to WCR on my MP3 player at work and breaking down in hysterical laughter after hearing the “Hungry Hungry Ken Patera” jingle.

    Thank you to RD, Blade, and everyone else that keeps the site running.

  16. Dude says:

    Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for all their work on this website over the last 15 years. Before I had discovered this website, I thought my brother and I were the only ones that laughed at the stupidity that can be pro wrestling. It was cool to find a whole website dedicated to that stuff, and to realize there were others out there who had the same sense of humor. Thank you guys for everything.

  17. The Angry Jobber says:

    Happy 15th Wrestlecrap!!! Thanks for all the laughter!!

  18. John C says:

    My ode to Wrestlecrap: You’ve celebrated a Yeti dry hump to Big Show taking a dump while listening to Big Poppa Pump. We’ve seen Shockmaster taking a big bump, people kissing Vince’s rump and Boogeyman eating Jillian Hall’s lump. Thank you all for never going into a slump even after seeing Hawk take that big jump.

  19. Ze Frenchie says:

    Thank you so much guys for all the hard work you’ve put into this! I stopped watching wrestling a long time ago but this site really made me enjoy it all over again. Here’s to another 15 years!

    Santé et prospérité, as we say 😉

  20. Jigga says:

    I don’t watch wrestling much these days but I still love your site and read it every week. I make a point of taking a coffee break at work to read it.

    For the Gorilla Monsoon valentines day cards was the best ever, I laugh every time I think of it

  21. The Doctor of Style says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Deal!

    And it’s nice reading these comments with everyone sharing their experiences. I’m another one who doesn’t watch wrestling anymore — in fact, I’ve read this site for more years than I watched wrestling!

  22. Gabe Benson says:

    Not sure when I started coming here on Friday’s, but it wasn’t long after you started up the site. You have made my Friday mornings fun and funny. I still out of habit visit every Friday morning. Good times. Thanks to all.

  23. KatieVictoriasSecret says:

    Thank YOU RD!

  24. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    I just couldn’t Baer it without WrestleCrap. 🙂

  25. Luke Breckenridge says:

    Congratulations and thanks for 15 years RD!

    Most of the previous comments echo my sentiments exactly, so I don’t want to be repetitive.

    I suppose the one unique take I can offer is this:
    As much joy and laughter this site has brought me, I often laugh hardest when I realize “man, such a small percentage of humanity would even understand why this is so funny!!”
    I guess that’s part of what makes it so special.

    Thanks again, I appreciate all the hard work that goes into this.

  26. Adam says:

    I still love the site, but I miss the old archaic turn of the century design.

  27. Nick Nutter says:

    Thank You De-al!!! [CLAP-CLAP-CLAPCLAPCLAP!]

  28. Mike M. says:

    Congrtulations, RD and crew! So, my happiest moment in your fifteen years was when I won some wisecracking contest on your old message boards and you sent me a DVD chronicling the birth of RD Reynolds and your attempts, at the behest of your uncle, Burt Reynolds, to take over a wrestling promotion using Trash Loseagain as muscle.

    Deep down, I still believe that Burt Reynolds really wrote and sent you that note you read in the arena. Burt Reynolds, man. What a heel.

  29. MistaMaddog says:

    The first time I came across Wrestlecrap in 2000 was a Google search for Shockmaster due to a mention on a wrestling newsgroup. But clicking on the link to the Black Scorpian just made me a fan 4 Life, I’ve always wanted to read about the goofy silly stuff in wrestling before it really took off in the late 90’s. Even though I stopped watching WWE I still come here for a tl;dr version of what stupid storylines that will end up being inducted. So thanks for 15 years of true sports entertainment…

  30. Stephen says:

    Reading this gave me chills. So much history that I hadn’t heard discussed in such detail. Didn’t even know your real name, RD. I assumed your surname was actually “Reynolds”.

    I miss all the writers you wrote about (Triple Kelly, Harry Simon, et al). Any chance of them making a return like DX and the NWO at Wrestlemania 31?

  31. Chris V says:

    Congratulations of a decade and a half of WrestleCrap, RD! Here’s to hoping pro wrestling sticks around long enough for you to give us another 15 years.

  32. Casey says:

    I found the website a few months after it launched.

    I sat down and started reading one day and kind of “forgot” to go to class.

    I have a very absurdist type of sense of humor so WrestleCrap.com was right up my alley. Then I remember the shutdown and how much that sucked. I just happened to check one day what would happen if I went back to Wrestlecrap.com and saw that a bare bones version had returned but that was better than nothing.

    So many good memories, thanks for a wonderful 15 years!

  33. hobu0 says:

    I’ve said it before….this is literally my favorite website of all time.

  34. Dave Roman says:

    Wow, 15 years! I discovered your site around August of 2000 and I still remember the day when you updated it to let the fans of Wrestlecrap know Merle died. Even though I didn’t know him personally I was very saddened by the news.

    I loved this site back then. Over the years I’ve moved away from watching wrestling but just like RAW on TV I find myself coming to Wrestlecrap at least once or twice a year. Man, the Monday Night Wars was truly a special time in Wrestling. This is the first time I’ve visited hoping you were still in operation and sure enough you are. I think my favorite feature you guys ever did was “The Shockmaster”. I was in tears laughing for about five minutes and I shared the link with my friends.

    I hope you enjoy another 15 years of success and then some!

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