Thursday, September 18, 2014
WWE Magazine Bids Farewell
WWE Magazine officially considered their first issue to be the WWF Victory Magazine. Victory lasted two issues before it evolved into WWF Magazine. Despite the company not really wanting to acknowledge it, their first in-house publication was actually Wrestling Action. Five issues were produced in all in midst of the transition between WWWF and WWF. I was once offered an explanation as to why they did not consider it part of WWF/WWE Magazine, but it didn't amount to much. If you want to see the true evolution of WWE Magazine, you start with Wrestling Action. It captures an amazing time in the history of the company and the fifth and final issue features the first magazine cover of Hulk Hogan, or so The Hulkster himself told me.
As the WWF grew further and further away from anything aside of their own bubble, so did the magazine. In fact, the magazine began to almost directly reflect the formats of WWF television programming. These days, WWE pay-per-view lineups often don't seem settled upon until the weekend or day of. In the early days of the magazine, lineups for WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and other events were often included, in print, months in advance. In the instances where bits and pieces of shows were changed, those magazines offer an interesting glance at what could have been.
As the WWF steered more towards an adult slant, the magazine followed. Edgy covers and content eventually led to the spin-off of Raw Magazine. When the brand split and change to WWE occurred, the original WWF/WWE title was switched to Smackdown Magazine. In 2006, the title was finally amalgamated back to WWE Magazine. This version tried to be a cross between Maxim and a wrestling magazine. It included seemingly "shoot" interviews, "Best of" lists, and features on fans both male (even me!) and female.
Although Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns all have a great shot at making the cover of Pro Wrestling Illustrated in the future, the final issue of WWE Magazine is their cover debut. It's a great shot, and the issue itself makes no secret that it's the end. Budget cuts have been the reported reason as to why the title is ending. There were rumors that an outside company would pick up the publication, but that does not seem to be the case. With the great characters that continue to churn out of WWE, it's a shame that they will no longer have this sort of exposure that once meant so much to the warriors of the ring.
A 30 (or 37...depending on your belief) year run is nothing to sneeze at. Thanks for the covers, the articles, the merch catalogs, the Sunny centerfolds, The Informer, Scoop Sullivan, and...the memories.