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Nov 29, 2009 - 4:11:58 PM

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has been a leading wrestling reporter and analyst since launching the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter in 1987. He has covered pro wrestling full time via the newsletter, a pro wrestling radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s, a successful 900 wrestling news hotline in the 1990s, the PWTorch.com website, and the PWTorch Apps in the 2000s, now available for iPhone, iPad, and Droid.

He has interviewed dozens of pro wrestling's biggest names in their longest insider interviews, most often ranging from 2 to 7 hours in length. He has interviewed for the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter top wrestlers ("Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Bill Goldberg, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, among many others), top promoters and executives (Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, Eric Bischoff, Jerry Jarrett, Jim Cornette, Paul Heyman, Bill Watts, Jerry Lawler, several WCW vice presidents, and others), legends (Lou Thesz, Roy Shires, Nick Bockwinkel, Verne Gagne, and others), and dozens of other wrestlers in long-form historical interviews.

He hosted the "Ultimate Insiders DVD" series in the mid-2000s which was nationally distributed at major chain stores including expansive interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Matt & Jeff Hardy and Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara.

He has been quoted as an expert pro wrestling analyst by dozens of major newspapers, national cable channels, radio stations, and magazines over the last 23 years including MPR, Fox News, the Washington Post, ESPN Magazine, and many others.

PWTorch VIP members currently hear his analysis on a daily basis with the daily Wade Keller Hotline, featuring a 10-20 minute overview of the news, breaking news, and analysis of TV shows (and more-than-occasional rants).

He writes for PWTorch.com, MMATorch.com, and WadeKeller.com (his blog on Pro Wrestling and MMA launched in 2010).

He became a fan in the late 1970s, watching the AWA on KMSP Ch. 9 in Minnesota. He attended his first wrestling match in May of 1981 featuring a main event of Verne Gagne vs. Nick Bockwinkel in Verne's retirement from full-time wrestling. The event took place at the St. Paul Civic Center, which is pictured in the WadeKeller.com banner and splash page graphic. He has attended pro wrestling events in dozens of cities in the last 30 years including St. Paul, Minneapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Huntington Beach, Tijuana (Mexico), and many others.

Some of his favorite matches he witnessed in person before starting the Torch were the Jerry Blackwell vs. Bruiser Brody brawls, The High Flyers vs. Jesse Ventura & Adrian Adonis for the AWA Tag Team Titles, Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham for the NWA World Title, Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes for the NWA World Title, Mad Dog Vachon vs. Jerry Blackwell in a Death Match, and The Road Warriors vs. The Fabulous Ones for the AWA Tag Team Titles, Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana for the IC Title. Great crowd heat, great star power, great personalities, and great performances.

He has attended over 100 independent wrestling shows in front of crowds as small as 12, but also major events including the first advertised singles match between Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair in Los Angeles, Summerslam featuring Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna in the main event, the AWA WrestleRock event in 1985 at the Minneapolis Metrodome, an ECW PPV event in St. Paul, Minn., multiple original ECW Arena events in Philadelphia, Pa., the WCW Great American Bash in 1990 in Baltimore featuring Sting defeating Ric Flair to capture the WCW World Title, many live Raw and Nitro events, Rey Mysterio and Konnan wrestling at a bull ring in Tijuana, Mexico, the WCW Great American Bash headlined by Hulk Hogan vs. Vader outdoors in Huntington Beach, Calif., the first promotion Paul Heyman booked for Windy City Wrestling in Chicago at the old Ampitheater (next to the smelly stockyards), and many others.

He has seen world title defenses in person over the decades from Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, The Rock, Verne Gagne, Nick Bockwinkel, Larry Zbyszko, Randy Savage, Stan Hansen, Batista, John Cena, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Bryan Danielson, Nigel McGuinness, and many others. He's been nearly hit by Stan Hansen's cowbell and chased through the stands by Terry Funk and thrown against the wall of a locker room by an independent referee and held a bloody strip of tape from Dusty Rhodes and tip-toed through shards of broken glass at a hardcore indy show (and shared a cab home with a bloodied Ian Rotten who hadn't showered or changed yet after his bloody main event).

He has photographed pro wrestling at ringside for many wrestling events, big and small, but his favorite was shooting Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk for the NWA Title in Chicago, Ill. at the UIC Pavilion in 1989. Seeing Sean Waltman vs. Jerry Lynn revive their classic rivalry that began on the Minneapolis indy wrestling scene in 2009 at the famed First Avenue Nightclub was a special moment.

He's talked his way into a sold out WWF TV taping in Bushkill, Va. after skipping out on a Conan O'Brien taping and driving to see the WWE show instead. He's made Brock Lesnar laugh during a post-UFC press conference. He's been lied to in person and lied about in his book by Paul Heyman. He's been threatened with death by gunshot over the phone by Jim Cornette more than once and felt the wrath of others.

Vince McMahon once nearly choked on a bite of pizza when he walked in on him eating it at a bar since he didn't want word out that he "ate such garbage." Bobby Heenan, his favorite performer ever, had never heard of him when he finally met him in person and introduced himself (many years ago). Roddy Piper once called him out on a local radio show and had the host call what he thought was his home number but actually woke up his mom at her house instead. He was also called a "geek" by C.M. Punk on color commentary once as he shot photos at ringside.

He has had dinner and/or drinks in person with Harley Race, The Hardys, Jesse Ventura, Vince Russo, Tony Schiavone, Eddie Gilbert & Brian Christopher, Sean Waltman, Tank Abbott, and many others "who shall not be named" over the years. Only Tank Abbott scared him, although Brian Christopher just glared at him the whole time and looked like he wanted to kill him. He's been friends and enemies (and friends again, in many cases) with Eddie Gilbert, Paul Heyman, Jim Cornette, Taz, Sabu, Kevin Nash, Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan, among others. He once saved Gorilla Monsoon from having a dead battery, alerting him that he left his headlights on when he parked outside his hotel room. He gave Mark Madden his "big break" in wrestling. (He'll love that!)

He has more wrestling VHS tapes than he knows what to do with or will ever have time to watch. He has never purchased a wrestling action figure, but somehow ended up being gifted or sent a dozen or more over the years. He grew up reading newsstand wrestling magazines and nagged the editors in his early teenage years about how they could improve their magazines before finally starting his own at age 16. He used to call the AWA headquarters in his pre-teen years and ask Kathy Gagne (or was it Donna Gagne who answered the phones?) if Scott Hall was really as tall as Hulk Hogan when Hall arrived and got a huge push shortly after Hogan left.

He attended as credentialed media the first-ever UFC event in Las Vegas in 2001 featuring Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Jens Pulver, and many others in top fights. He has covered UFC PPVs from the very beginning for the Torch Newsletter and his websites.

He has been given an exclusive tour of WWE Headquarters and was part of a small wrestling media conference with Vince McMahon at the WWE headquarters after a tour of the entire WWE facility including Vince McMahon's office, the WWE workout gym, the cafeteria where the DX skit in 2009 was filmed, and the production studios (where he met Sean Mooney and Lord Alfred Hayes, and even sat at the old Events Center desk).

He also covered Vince McMahon's 1994 steroid trial in Long Island, N.Y. in person from jury selection to closing arguments. He was the only media member present for every minute of testimony during the nearly three week trial. He couldn't believe that Vince McMahon showed up on day one with a neck brace, just like that guy did in the Brady Bunch episode when he was trying to garner sympathy.

He attended Macalester College in St. Paul, graduating with degrees in Journalism, Economics, and Pre-Law. He also took journalism course in broadcast media at the University of St. Thomas and interned as KMSP-Ch. 9 news (the same station that was home to the AWA when he was a kid, although that was a coincidence as his professor picked the internship for him).

He lives in the Twin Cities with his family and enjoys movies, great TV dramas and comedies (Mad Men, Walking Dead, The Shield, The Office, 30 Rock, Modern Family) and classics (I Love Lucy, Twlight Zone), and music (Oasis, Travis, Blur, Placebo, Bad Lieutenant, Animal Kingdom, Stereophonics, DeVision, Keane, Scissors Sisters, Melody Club, Fischerspooner, Radiohead, Beatles, Hall & Oates), and recreation (especially biking). He holds a double-black stripe belt in karate with National Karate (in Bloomington, Burnsville, Apple Valley, and Eagan with various instructors over the course of 15 years including Mike Kotasek, James Quinn, and Jim Albertson) and has also trained in judo and jiu jitsu at the North Star Martial Arts academy in the mid-1990s (now North Star Judo) with Michelle Holtz and Tom Crone. He switched to a 99.9 percent vegan diet in May 2007 (full disclosure: he had Wild Alaskan Salmon or Walleye at formal restaurant dinners a few times, but no other exceptions).


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KELLER BLOG: Paul Heyman alliance with C.M. Punk - where does it go from here?
KELLER'S WWE SUMMERSLAM PPV BLOG: Results and analysis throughout the show including Lesnar vs. Triple H, Cena vs. Punk vs. Show
KELLER: C.M. Punk is not best utilized as a tweener, despite a recent reader poll; he should be all out heel

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