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The True Story Behind Inside The Ropes

I've been asked this question numerous times, so I figured I might as well write this down once and for all:
Picture it: The suburbs of Toronto, 1989. I was as big a wrestling fan as they came and snapped up pretty much anything related to the product (as opposed to now, where I, uhhh.... well, never mind). The local Mac's Milk (think 7-Eleven for my American readers) was stocked with tons of wrestling magazines, such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Inside Wrestling and... Wrestling Eye.
For those of you who've never heard of Wrestling Eye, it was the red-headed stepchild of wrestling magazines. Not only did it feature cheesy photos, typos-a-plenty and inaccurate information, but it wasn't from the same "family" of publications as PWI, etc., so they couldn't really compete with their glossier rivals. So naturally, this became one of my favorite magazines, just because it was SO bad, it was good. Welcome to my world.
The other thing I would buy at Mac's Milk was a series of cards known as Wrestling Stars, which were featured in both English and some form of Arabic language. The cards, printed quite literally on small squares of cheap, highly-bendable cardboard, are easily the crappiest wrestling-item I've ever owned (and keep in mind, I DID have the Jimmy Hart album at one point). This was WrestleCrap to the nth degree.
How bad were these cards? To give you an example, one card had a screenshot of Hulk Hogan choking Sly Stallone from Rocky II. The caption was "Hulk Hogan vs. Muhammed Ali". HUH? Others would just be photos from wrestling posters (complete with text in the background that hadn't been quite cropped off), while others would have inappropriate captions, horrible pictures , etc. And there were NUMEROUS spelling mistakes, such as "Juneyard Dog" and "Jin Cornette".
When collecting these cheap cards, I became a man inspired. One night, my brother and I decided to create a faux magazine that combined the elements of Wrestling Eye and Wrestling Stars -- thus, Wrestling Stars Magazine. We had ratings; we had "pin-up posters" that a four-year old could have drawn better. We had Q & A that invariably included the phrase "Thanks For The Compliment!!!" and other elements that would later become hallmarks of Inside The Ropes.
Fast forward to more than 10 years later. I had (finally) discovered the IWC after thinking that the WWF's AOL site was as good as it got on the Internet. I knew that I HAD to write something. Partly because of my lifelong love affair with wrestling, partly because it was different than the monotony of what I write about in real life.
I knew I wanted to do a column version of Wrestling Stars Magazine, but the concept needed a bit of shaping. I looked to two additional sources for inspiration. First, was Jackie Harvey's "The Outside Scoop" column on The Onion. I figured, it would be great to have someone who THINKS he's an insider in the business but really isn't. I also read "Hot Newz" on (and later The W), who had a great concept, playing the 10-year-old mark.
In May of 2003, I began submitting my columns on The W (then known as The Wienerboard) and several months later, I was invited to also write for Online Onslaught. The rest, as they say, is history.

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