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Home arrow Interviews arrow Interviews (2003) arrow RD Reynolds
RD Reynolds

On the eve of the release of WrestleCrap: The Book, Internet personality and webmaster of WrestleCrap.com "Real Deal" RD Reynolds conducted an interview with NZPWI writer James Cardno.

It is described as covering "such entertainment catastrophes as an evil one-eyed midget, George Ringo the Wrestling Beatle, and Goobledy Gooker, the wrestler who emerged in the arena from an egg", and it serves as a "merciless evaluation of such organizations as World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation (that) will leave wrestling fans and critics alike in stitches."

Many thanks to RD for his time in taking this interview.

 

James Cardno: Tell me a bit about yourself.

RD Reynolds: I'm RD Reynolds, co-creator of WrestleCrap.com and author of the upcoming book, WrestleCrap: The Very Worst of Pro Wrestling.

 

You're probably best known for the site WrestleCrap. Do you have a particular interest with the Internet as a medium for communication?

I have a degree in Journalism that has been, quite frankly, worthless in my professional life. About five years ago, I decided to buy a computer, with the thought being I would teach myself how to do web pages. I had a tough time coming up with an idea, because I wanted to do a site that had never been done; something unique and funny for me and my friends to laugh at. I came up with (the idea of) doing a site dedicated to horrible wrestling angles. There were a few sites at the time kind of like it, but I figured if WCW and WWF could co-exist, surely we could too. Now WrestleCrap is kind of the Internet's de facto standard for stupid wrestling sites.

 

Explain your past with wrestling; what interested you in it, the highlights and low points that you recall etc

I became a fan in the mid 80's, during the Rock & Wrestling boom. I saw a match with the Hart Foundation vs. the British Bulldogs, and thought "damn, this kicks ass!" There have been many great feuds over the years I have enjoyed, such as Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart, Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon, the nWo vs. WCW, Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart, and lots of others. I love wrestling, even now, when I think it sucks.

The worst periods? Hey, that's what the site is all about!

 

What wrestling personalities have you met? What feedback have you received about people 'in the know' frequenting your site?

Chris Jericho has been to the site - we shared a couple of emails, and he said he busted on the Hardyz when I posted the Jynx Brothers update. I thought that was incredibly cool.

John Tenta, of course, is a great friend of the site. He has even gone so far as to write the foreword for the book. That foreword is so awesome - it's very funny, but touching too, as he talks about his dreams, and what became of his career. This will sound really sappy, but I almost started crying as I read over it.

Mike Awesome I have talked to just once or twice, but he's a great guy with a good sense of humor.

 

I read of your involvement in the indy wrestling scene. How did you get involved in it, and who were some of the personalities that you worked with while you were there?

I got involved originally with Championship Wrestling of America, which was Jeff Cohen's old promotion in Indianapolis. My friend Casey (Stephon) and I would go to the shows every week, and heckle Jeff (who we'd never met before) with chants like "Nice suit Jeff - is it a rental?! Nice suit Jeff- is it a rental?!" We also hassled the hell out of his sponsor Junior Carr, who ran a chain of pizza places in town and sold pizzas at the shows. One night, we had Domino's deliver to the building, and threw the delivery driver on our shoulders, like he had won a championship or something. Cohen thought that was incredibly clever, and asked us to help with his promotion. He eventually got out of the business, but he and I are still good friends - in fact, he contributed a lot of the photos for the book (he was a photographer for WCW magazine and Pro Wrestling Illustrated for years).

After that, I wound up with "Diamond" Dan Garza in a handful of different promotions. VERY different guy than Cohen, but nonetheless one of my best friends too. He let me book some shows, and his promotion went right into the toilet. I am a HORRIBLE booker.

I have worked with Flash Flannigan (was in OVW forever, not sure what he is up to now), Mad Man Pondo (great guy), Chris Harris (TNA guy, super, SUPER nice - will go very far in this business), Ian Rotten (biggest jerk in the history of man, makes HHH seem downright humble), and many others. Names have been Men on a Mission, Dan Severn, New Jack, Buddy Landell, and others...

 

You're not a short chap - you're quoted on your personal website as being "6'5, 250 lbs" (195cm, 115kgs). Did you ever see yourself having a career as a "hands-on" wrestler?

At one time, yes. In fact, I trained for all of an hour once. I am about the least athletically gifted person on the planet, though, so I decided to stick with commentating and managing. Once I started the website, that was when I think I found my calling.

I tried one last time to go someplace when Garza got me a one-time shot with OVW at a house show. I managed Mark Henry against the Big Show. I sucked - Big Show chokeslammed me, and I landed wrong. I thought for sure I broke my hip. That was it. I was completely out of my league, and "retired" after that.

 

Manager, commentator, in-ring... your roles have been many and varied. What particular aspects of the craft appeal to you and why?

When performing, I LOVE being the dickhead that everyone wants to see get pummelled. And I would always make sure I got completely humiliated by the end of the night, so the fans got what they wanted.

 

Explain, if you will, the "Crybaby Challenge Match" and the "Roselyn Bakery Death Match"?

Oh dear GOD, where did you find out about that? (Hahaha, we have our sources) Still, this is what I am talking about. On each show I was on, I would run my mouth, run my mouth, run my mouth. By the end of the night, I wound wind up losing a match, and would have to do some ridiculous stipulation, like wearing a diaper, getting hit in the face with a pie, or getting my mouth washed out with soap. The fans, I think, liked it because here's this annoying idiot, and he got what was coming to him.

 

Moving on, what is your history with Internet journalism? What's the story with your work on popular gaming site Tiptonium?

I used to write some game reviews for Compuserve. That kind of fizzled out, and my good friend Larry Tipton went off to do Tiptonium at about the same time I did WrestleCrap. We're just really good friends, which is funny, because we've never actually met. That's the neat thing about the Internet, though.

 

How does your journalism degree, other qualifications and life experience in general help to produce a site?

I've always been a pretty good writer, so the degree, which is technically in broadcast journalism (oooh, with a Sociology double major, can't forget that), did help. Mostly, though, I have just always been a total smart ass and I love wrestling. That helped more than any ol' piece of paper.

 

On to WrestleCrap itself... What was the original inspiration behind the site? Was there any one event that you can remember that really drove you to actually MAKE the site?

There wasn't one event, but rather, a whole slew of bad angles and characters. Remember, I lived through everything ever posted on the site. I saw it all, because I am such a huge fan. The worst, though, was probably the Gobbledy Gooker. That or Cheatum the evil midget blowing up Sting's boat, which, ironically, I had not seen before I started work on the site. I think I somehow repressed that memory.

 

When you started, what were your goals, ambitions and expectations with it?

My goal was to learn how to do a website and make my friends laugh. That was it.

Little did I know how many friends I would wind up with!

 

Your original "partner-in-crime", Merle Vincent Griggs, committed suicide at the age of 27. If he were alive today, what do you believe he would think of the book deal and the notoriety that the site has acquired?

It's funny, because Merle was around when the site first started getting noticed. I remember one month we had 2,000 hits. I called him up and we were laughing at how "big" the site had become. I laugh now because that is so incredibly dinky.

Merle would have loved the book deal. He would have loved that. I think if he had any idea just how huge this whole thing was to become, it might have changed his mind about what he did. I don't think he ever realized just how many people we were making laugh.

The book is naturally dedicated to Merle.

 

Can you recall the first gimmick that you put up?

I'm sure I did the Gooker first. Then Ludvig Borga, who Casey, Merle, and I absolutely despised.

 

What distinguished the early posts?

The early posts were really quite lame. I hate them all, just because I feel I have done much better work since then. Now when I repost those early ones, I try to clean them up quite a bit. Some of them were very amateur.

 

In your opinion, what angle/angles sum up WrestleCrap? In other words, what were the pinnacle of pure shiteness?

The Gobbledy Gooker, anything with Cheatum, Dink the Clown (Yes Dink, not Doink - not only did the have an evil clown, they also had an evil clown midget. You can call him... Mini-Me). Those all just stunk.

 


What gimmicks do you regret have never made it into Wrestlecrap?

There are a few, but I like to keep them up my sleeve. They'll be posted in due time.

 

Are there any gimmicks that you feel, in hindsight, weren't deserving of the WrestleCrap nod?

It was tough. I think that the IRS thing was a tough call, and in the original review, I kinda snuck around that by saying it was due to a couple bad angles he was in. The Snake Pit probably shouldn't have been posted, either. It was really tough when I was doing two new updates every week, because eventually you don't have time to really do research, so I just threw something up there.

 

Are there any plans to bring back the site on a full-time basis?

If the book sells 100,000 copies, I could probably afford it. Right now, even with as little as is up at a time, I am paying a lot just to have it posted. It's all out of my own pocket, which pretty much makes it impossible to repost everything at once. I know that's what everyone wants, but I just hope that people understand why it has been scaled back so much.

Every month, I cringe when I see the bill from my provider, and he gives me a HELL of a deal.

 

You were always quite devout that Wrestlecrap had become, basically, a one man exercise. Why did you never want to take on more staff?

Because I wanted it to be MY site. When it was with Merle, that was cool, because we were great friends. It made sense. With Merle gone, I just never saw the need to add anyone else. I guess I'm just a control freak.

 

You're getting older... married... Do you ever feel like you're getting too "serious" for the WWE product?

*looks around room, sees Chris Benoit & custom made Gobbeldy Gooker figure, Simpsons toys, pinball machine, and every video game known to man*

No. I'm just a kid. And even when WWE is horrible, there's always something to laugh at.

The thing that stinks, though, is that WWE has become so repetitive that my wife will no longer watch it. We used to watch together, but she hates Hunter and Steph, so she doesn't watch at all anymore.

 

What would it take for you to stop updating the site completely?

Tough question. I really don't know. I really enjoy doing it. I love hearing from my readers. The mailbag actually takes a LOT more time than the new posts these days. It isn't uncommon to get 200-300 emails a day.

 

What was the reasoning behind the decision to reopen the site in its new, limited format?

I just kept getting emails from my readers. They wanted it, so I came up with an idea to bring it back. I know it's not what it was, but I think everyone is adjusting to that.

 

On top of the site, you've landed yourself a book deal. I understand it's due for release quite soon, and is taking pre-orders on Amazon. What can you tell us about it?

The book is, I think, an extension of the site. The site used its medium to the fullest, with images and sounds. I didn't have those abilities with the book, so I made it more of a story. The book is much more in depth on things than the site, and I also draw business conclusions as well. For example, there is a chapter on WCW during the nWo boom period. I look at the bad characters and gimmicks throughout the chapter, then I review the end result.

I have tried very hard to make it accessible to the non-fan. I have had several non-wrestling fans read the book, and they loved it. They thought it was very funny. I have also had a few fans of the site read it, and they thought it was even funnier than the site, and much more informative.

The book has a lot more meat to it than the site. There's more info. There's new photos that have never been published. Characters and angles I've never written about on the site. There's a certain movie that I think is the most hilarious thing in the book, and it's never been on the site. It's not something that even the hardest of hardcore fans probably knows about. But it's in there, and it's really funny.

In short, I think fans of the site will love the book. And I really hope that non fans can pick it up and laugh. As I write in the book, "After all, stupidity is a universal language."

 

For New Zealand fans - is there any chance of a local "in-store" release?

I know for fact it will be released in the US, Canada, and the UK. With as well as it is pre-selling on Amazon, I would not be surprised to see it released elsewhere as well.

I'm just hoping for a book on tape, read by Dusty Rhodes.

 

But it's going to be released physically in stores in the US?

Oh yes, definitely. (They should) ask for it by name, if for no other reason than to see puzzled looks on the clerk's face!

 

Speaking of WrestleCrap - it's widely acknowledged by, at the very least, the Internet "smark" community that the WWE is in its biggest slump since the pre-Attitude "Gang War" era. Do you personally believe the situation now is better or worse than it was during that slump, and why?

I believe things are probably a bit worse than the pre-Attitude era, but that's just my take. See, I loved the pre-Attitude, because Vince had no idea what to do and he threw out idiotic characters like Who, The Goon, Abe "Knuckleball" Schwarz and others. WCW countered with the Dungeon of Doom and the Giant falling off the roof of Cobo Hall. That was a GOLDEN ERA of WrestleCrap, which always made for very funny television.

Now when shows are bad, I just find them boring, too centered on the same people I was sick of two years ago.

 

Most prominent members of the IWC, I suppose yourself included, have offered suggestions about how the WWE product could be improved. What would be your top three things to do to freshen up the WWE brand?

1) Push new stars. They made Brock Lesnar a star by doing all the right things - wins over everyone on the roster, including big names like Rock and Hogan. This can be done, when they want to do it.

2) Stretch things out. Don't rush through programs between wrestlers. Let things cook and simmer a bit. Build things up over time so people really want to see it. Remember when Sting just hung out in the rafters for 18 months? Remember how bad fans wanted Sting vs. Hogan? It drew the biggest buyrate in WCW history. Do more stuff like that.

3) Let wrestlers wrestle. Everyone doesn't need to be a funny promo guy like the Rock. Let Benoit wrestle his way to people's hearts, not stick him out there with a "Toothless Agression" shirt and think that's clever. That's stupid. Let him get over by chopping someone's chest until it bleeds.

 

If, through some twist of fate, a gestalt collective of Internet writers (say you and Scott Keith, Eric Szulcewski and Chris Hyatte from 411wrestling for argument's sake) were given control of booking for RAW and SmackDown... How do you reckon that would go?

Oh man, if we all took over WWE, that company would be out of business so fast it would be frightening. I'd book idiotic stuff like I did in the indies. Scott has a really good mind for the business, but I think his product would probably wind up being too technically minded for the casual fan. I know I would greatly enjoy what he booked, though.

I don't know the other two enough to comment on them.

 

To end, let's hit a bit of word association, the hallmark of all Internet 'journalism'. In a few words, what are your thoughts on the following people/things.

ECW
Great wrestling, bad book keeping.

 

WCW
Always one step from failure.

 

Vince Russo
Must be a mark to be the WrestleCrap definition of the week.

 

HHH
Overplayed. It's not so much that I hate him, I am just sick of him always being the center of attention.

 

Stephanie McMahon (charmingly nicknamed "Nipple H" by 'Crap readers)
Chyna Jr.

 

Scott Keith (411wrestling recap guy)
Hypercritical, but always interesting.

 

1wrestling.com
Pop ups.

 

NWA/TNA
Needs one big name. BIG name.

 

RAW
Used to be great, now dull.

 

SmackDown
Lots of great young talent, too much Vince.

 

Backyard wrestlers
Don't try this at home.

 

Zach Gowan
The one armed bandit. No, wait...

 

Mr America
Midnight Rider without the splotch

 

Teddy Long's "black oppression" angle
Needs the BIG GOLD KEY

 

Hurricane
Could be something

 

Jeff Hardy
His own man

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