Wrestling mags!...been around for a good long time , and over the years Ive had a couple of favourites, starting out with the mags Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Inside Wrestling and The Wrestler, all brilliant and as we know now, unparalled, stunning works of fiction, but its what we had for our edification..
HELL...before that we had a short clipping in the Sunday papers in Sydney (and every other state I guess) that gave us a the show results from the Sydney Stadium the night before...so I wasnt complaining.
And so it went, I purchased PWI and its cousins and went on my merry way getting into wrestling deeper as the yonks raced by.
One day (and I cant remember how or when) I discovered a wrestling hotline in Australia that gave the O.S results a damn side quicker than the mags ever did, and Im fairly certain this is when I first heard about, quite possibly, the greatest wrestling mag ever, and it was a Aussie publication , called PILEDRIVER, and to quote Master Yoda "Stoked I was"...
I went to a newsagent at Wentworthville to get my first issue, which was the December #6 issue, the 1990 Annual with Hogan on the cover, and a story inside that gutted him to be fair, 40 BIG pages for only $6, it was from here that my Piledriver addiction started, sadly I missed a few issues , but I still ended up with about 15 or so...which I still have to this day.
The writers of the mag were outstanding, I dont think Ive ever met any of them, not that it matters, the list of journalistic greatness that provided content for PILEDRIVER were truly talented, and their nom de plumes were brilliant...
Ed Lock, Laz Dr D, Leapin Larry and Dennis Twilight, just to name a couple...the stories they pumped out were decidely bonza AND totally opposite to the tripe that Apter was selling as journalism, which is why they were so great, they didnt treat the punters like mugs AND they always saved space for aussie show reports
...this particular column was called "Harbor City Havoc" and had all the guys of the time who were working RSL clubs such as Liverpool and Ingleburn...guys like my longtime personal favourite, Ken "Dazzler" Dunlop and his longtime tag partner and occasional opponent Wayne "Lofty" Pickford, Ace Fenton, Rod "Stinger" Borthwick, Thunderbolt, "Dynamite" Danny Burns, Skyhawk and Blade Runner.
Piledriver also re-lived the glory days of Channel nine tv , storys about famous angles and workers were a staple of the mag , stories about Brusier Brody and Killer Kowalski jumping on Pepper Gomez's alledgedly indestructible stomach (he missed) were among my favourites ...they had interviews with Mike Hunt and Roy Heffernen and devoted many a page to the Classic days of Aussie wrestling.
The mag also gave detailed reports about OS tours , shows like Wrestleriot I & II (which I caught at Tweed Heads RLFC) that had talnt like Jushin Thunder Liger, The Malenkos, Hawk, Smash and Americas favourite jobber, Mr Pin Me, Pay Me, Bobby Blaze
They also did a whiz bang report in issue #9 about the IWA show that was held at Wonderland over a couple of weeks that starred Paul Orndorff , Kamala, The Terminator(one of the Lauranitis boys)and Jules Strongbow among others.
They also did a cracking series about Ric Flair over a couple of issues..it was a decided must read at the time, Piledriver covered the fued with Vader (which I still think is one of the best WCW title matches ever) , they touched on Flairs relationship (or lack there of ) with Dusty, they even delved into the how comes and why for's that the potential Super match between Flair and Hulk never came about at the WWF, Im still trying to figure that one out meself.
They told the tale of Bret Hart being bollocksed over at WWF and WCW, and whipped a cracking issue dedicated to Big Van Vader when he was at the peak of his powers , issue #22 covered Razor heading off to WCW and #24 had a comedy piece ( I think) about Sid ruling the WWF.....They had a couple of dedicated mini issues in 1995 and 96 for The Bulldogs, Macho Man, Benoit and HBK as well.
And like any great magazine they had a section for lunatics out there to vent thier respective spleens , or even to send in artwork ( some even by a fella called Greg Bownds...could it be?) this section was called Grunt & Groans and your faithful blogger even got a couple of letters printed ...mind you the mark factor was ridiculous...but you sorta knew it would be.....Sadly, I sort of lost track after about issue 33, you know The Rock on the cover one...BUT the pile of drivers, I do have, are still read through occasionally ...and Piledriver had some cousins from Blighty pick us the slack, with both Power Slam ( which only just stopped printing) and FSM keeping the curtain pulled back for all us wrasslin fans.
SO...too all the Wrestlers, reporters, illustrators and general wrestling fans that helped PILEDRIVER become what it did...Cudo's to you all ....TOP BLOODY JOB.
THE WIRLIF ARCHIVES
Seeya next time