I had the great privilege of interviewing the one and only R.D. Reynolds Thursday night. Let me just say that he is truly one of the nicest people I have ever talked to. Everyone should order his book right now if you havenít already. You can pre-order it from Amazon, High Spots, and for the Canadian fans, Chapters. If you have no means to pre-order it then youíd better be at the book store on October 1st to pick it up. Iíve been a fan of WrestleCrap.com for a long time. Itís nice to see R.D. have so much success. So without further adieu, I present for your viewing pleasure: The R.D. Reynolds Interview.
Jun Bakon (lethalwrestling.com): Who is R.D. Reynolds?
R.D. Reynolds (WrestleCrap.com): RD Reynolds is the webmaster of WrestleCrap.com, and the author of the upcoming WrestleCrap book, which will be available in finer bookstores everywhere October 1.
JB: When did you start up WrestleCrap.com?
RD: WrestleCrap.com was launched on April 1, 2000. It was originally run by myself and the late, great "Worldwide Menace", Merle Vincent.
JB: Can you tell us a little more about Merle Vincent? Aside from WrestleCrap co-founder, what type of person was Merle?
RD: Merle was a great guy. He was incredibly funny, and a good friend. No matter what was going on in life, Merle could make you laugh. When I think about Merle, I think about how fun it was to always be around him.
He loved wrestling. He even promoted an NWA show in Indy, and brought in all kinds of names, like New Jack, Dan Severn, Buddy Landell. He drew about 200 or so to that show, and I pulled him aside afterwards, and said, "Man, I am so sorry. You must have lost a fortune." He just looked at me and laughed. "Who cares? It was a great time!"
I still miss Merle. I think of him all the time.
JB: I think it's pretty widely known that Merle tragically ended his own life.
What message do you have for anyone who might be thinking of committing suicide?
RD: Don't do it. I think, to this day, Merle had no idea how many lives he touched. It's kind of like in "It's a Wonderful Life" where he impacted so many people, and he just never knew it.
That wouldn't just be true of Merle, but really, everyone. No one lives in a cocoon.
JB: In your wildest dreams did you ever think that WrestleCrap would be as big as it is?
RD: I never thought about it. When I first launched it, it was to amuse myself and my friends before watching Nitro or Raw. Even today, I really don't look at the numbers closely. I have a vague idea of how many people visit the site, but it's not something I look at and think, "WOW!" At the end of the day, if I make people laugh, even just one person...that means more to me than any numbers.
JB: Why is the site scaled back from the monstrosity that it once was?
RD: Money, moolah, jack. It was costing a small fortune to host the site. The bandwidth was just insane. Even now, in its limited form, I have had to put the site on its own dedicated server, just to handle the traffic. There are two parts to the equation - traffic (how many people hit the site at any one time) and bandwidth (how much information is downloaded during a given month). The server handles the traffic, but the bandwidth varies month to month. It's been piling up lately, but I am hoping the upcoming book will help pay for some of the bigger months.
JB: I can think of no better way to contribute to the site than buying the book. Where might one be able to purchase said book?
RD: Well, it's not available quite yet. It will release on October 1, and will be available pretty much everywhere in the US and Canada. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Chapters in Canada are all taking pre-orders right now, and I guess it's doing pretty well. It should hit the brick & mortars like Waldenís, Borders, etc., when it releases. I think folks are excited, and I think they will be very pleased with the end result. I know I am. 8)
JB: Were you at all surprised by the number of people that pre-ordered the book when that option became available?
RD: I remember someone emailed me that they were taking preorders on Amazon, and I thought that was incredibly cool. I posted a link on the site, and thought a few people might order it. I woke up the next morning, and I just had to see the book listing on Amazon again. I try to be very humble, but that was something that I thought was just too cool, and I had an ego rush thing going. I saw the ranking for the book was at #106. I had no idea what that even meant. I had a GUESS as to what it meant, and I found out that it meant for the previous 24 hours it was the 106th best selling book on Amazon. At that point, I was no longer egotistical about the book, I was actually humbled, because I was in awe that so many people thought enough of the site to buy a book basically sight unseen.
The book has remained in the top three or four best selling wrestling books since it began taking pre-orders. I am just humbled by that. It's an honor. I thank my readers, because without them, the book wouldn't exist.
JB: How did the book deal come about?
RD: Again, because of my readers. Actually, one reader in particular - Kevin Flynn. He emailed and asked if I would be interested in doing a book. I said, sure, sounds fun, but I have no idea who to talk to or what to say. He guided me through the entire process. ECW Press (oh, the irony) out of Montreal and I came to a deal about 9 months ago, and I finished the manuscript on April 1. That seemed fitting.
OH, and Kevin wound up editing the book as well. Did a fantastic job.
JB: Will the book be the same as the website, or will it be in a different format?
RD: No, it's completely different. The book is set up as a completely different entity. It has some information from the site, but is really its own beast. Whereas the site is one entry, then another entry, the book is a complete story from beginning to end, with those entries intertwined to tell a story. So while there is some of the site in the book, the book isn't the site in printed form, if that makes sense.
JB: I understand. How hard is it to write a book? Does having a degree in journalism make it any easier?
RD: It's not easy to write an entire book. I was helped in the fact that I had already done most of the research for the book by doing the site. The J-degree didn't really help me out that much, I don't think. My writing style isn't what would probably be "accepted" by university types, and I am pretty sure that the material I'm covering wouldn't be either. Still, it was fun to do. And again, if I can make people laugh with it, then I'll consider it a success.
JB: Have any wrestlers (WWE or otherwise) ever contacted you about the site?
RD: Yes, a few have. My favorite was Chris Jericho, who said that he used to make fun of the Hardy Boys after I posted an entry on their early career as the Jynx Bros.
JB: What is the weirdest email that you have ever gotten in regards to the site?
RD: I have had a few. I've had some where people are wanting to start fights with me. Whatever. There has been a recent slew of emails about RVD's buttsweat, which I find very bizarre. One girl then said his butt was an apple or something. It doesn't get much stranger than that (I hope!).
JB: What are the most asked questions by people that visit the site?
RD: Where's all the old stuff? 8)
JB: Speaking of the old stuff. When WrestleCrap was forced to shut down due to excessive cost, you offered a WrestleCrap CD as a premium included with some other items you were selling. Will you ever offer the CD again, or was that just a one-time thing?
RD: That's the other question I always get! 8)
Right now, it's way on the back burner. Maybe some day I'll offer them up again.
JB: With all of the negative (albeit humorous) aspects of wrestling that you display, does it make it easier to enjoy it when something actually good does happen?
RD: I think so. I like GOOD wrestling, honest to God I do. Obviously, I have sat through both good and bad stuff, and I prefer the good stuff. It's just not as funny to write about.
JB: Speaking of the bad; did you ever think that WWE would stoop as low as they have recently? The Katie Vick storyline, for example.
RD: Absolutely. I expect them to stoop even lower. When the chips are down, they think they need to SHOCK people back into watching. I wouldn't be stunned by anything they do these days, unless it were to suddenly remove Hunter and Steph completely from TV forever.
JB: Assume that Vince gave you the book. How would you fix the current state that wrestling is in?
RD: Immediately call in Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman, hand it over to them, and get the hell out of there. I'm the worst booker in the history of the world. I did some booking for indy promotions, and they immediately went under, because I have a penchant for doing really bad comedy. Katie Vick would be Flair-Steamboat compared to the crap I would book.
JB: Who do you feel is the person that has done the most to hurt professional wrestling?
RD: I hate to single anyone out, but if I had to, it would be Vince Russo. I say that not because I think he's an idiot or anything. I think, from time to time, he has some really good ideas. It's just that when he came into WCW, I think he and Ferrara could have saved the company. However, by turning it into WWF-lite, it just killed it completely dead. If he could have saved WCW, I think the wrestling world would be a much better place. You can argue that Jamie Kellner killed WCW, but had Russo rebounded the company, he probably wouldn't have cancelled their shows, and it would be a moot point.
JB: Do you think that wrestling is truly cyclical, or was it just crappy gimmicks and angles that made people stop watching in the early-mid nineties and today?
RD: I don't believe in the cyclical thing. That's an excuse for when a promoter won't listen to what the fans want, and just continues to push the same old thing. Or push completely idiotic things that NO ONE wants, like both WWF and WCW did in the mid 90's.
JB: I just have a few more unrelated questions to wrap this up.
JB: First: What is the worst song you have ever heard?
RD: The American Males theme song. That or Pour Some Sugar on Me. Depends on the day.
JB: Just how many games and/or game consoles do you have?
RD: Oh geez...I think I have about ten consoles, probably a couple hundred games. I lost count a looong time ago.
JB: What was the worst gimmick of all time?
RD: Probably the Gobbeldy Gooker, but again, my opinion on that varies by the day. Ask me tomorrow, and I would likely say Cheatum, the EVIL ONE EYED MIDGET. Saturday would be Gary Spivey day, and Sunday we'll move it over to Beaver Cleavage. Every day is a crappy day when you live the life of RD Reynolds. 8)
JB: What is it like to be chokeslammed by the Big Show?
RD: Very painful. But to be fair, I had no business being in that ring with him. I had no training, and I got what I deserved. In fact, I am lucky that I didn't wind up in FAR worse condition than I did that night!
JB: Finally: Do you know the Muffin Man?
RD: Wasn't that one of Ed Leslie's old personas?