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It is with a heavy heart that I present to you the second Wrestling Forum vintage newsletter PDF exclusiv
It is with a heavy heart that I present to you the second Wrestling Forum vintage newsletter PDF exclusively here at PWTorch VIP. I say with a heavy heart, because we received word that Wrestling Forum founder and editor Jon Gallagher died last month; in fact, just four days after we published the first Wrestling Forum PDF. He was 64 years old.
You’ll get to know a lot about what Jon was like as you read these vintage newsletters. In this issue, the July 30, 1987 issue, he writes about trying out for Jeopardy! and how it went. He also talks about his search for a full time job and overall a sense of his life and a look behind the scenes at producing the newsletter each week. His folksy tone was a real selling point for his newsletter as he felt like a pen pal friend talking directly to you, the reader.
You can read his obituary and see photos of him and his family HERE.
As I noted last month, this was the very first insider pro wrestling newsletter I ever received in the mail back in the summer of 1987. Within months, I started the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter. I knew this is something I wanted to be part of, and I was really excited when Jon gave me permission in an email conversation to share his work and passion with a whole new generation of PWTorch readers. We were friendly rivals back then and got to meet at a wrestling convention he coordinated iin Chicago in August 1989 (also attended by Greg Oliver, Sean Grande, Lance Levine, John McAdam, Harry White, and so many other well-known wrestling fans who could go to various writing and tape-trading and NBA/MMA announcing fame in coming years).
You can read the second issue we’ve converted to PDF here. It includes coverage of various territories including Jim Crockett Promotions in the midst of their Great American Bash stadium tour headlined by The Four Horsemen, Dusty Rhodes, and The Road Warriors, among other iconic acts, World Class, the UWF/Mid-South, Memphis, and more. There are also special features such as The Wrestling Barometer, Wrestlers Are People Too, and Jon’s first-person informal introductory page.
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SOME BACKGROUND ON 1980S WRESTLING NEWSLETTER BOOM PERIOD
In the 1980s, pro wrestling newsletters, or “bulletins” as they were often called, was the next stage of wrestling coverage, evolving out of fan club bulletins of the 1970s and early 1980s. Wrestling fans started fan clubs for wrestlers and put out semi-regular newsletters detailing what the wrestler was up to, and some of them grew into covering a wider range of topics from the territory the wrestler was in, with newspaper clippings of upcoming show advertisements, results, notes from TV shows, and other interesting items. Before the internet, following wrestling from other areas in a somewhat timely fashion required a paper copy newsletter of some sort sent through postal mail.
A few years ago I reconnected with Jon Gallagher recently, whom I had a friendly relationship with in my early years of publishing Pro Wrestling Torch. I asked if he’d like his work converted to digital media on the PWTorch VIP website, and he granted me permission to scan and republish his content.The first newsletter is the earliest copy I could find in my archives, cover-dated July 15, 1987. It was the 13th issue of his second year publishing.
Jon had a friendly, conversational approach to covering wrestling that a lot of pro wrestling fans really enjoyed, and you’ll pick up on that when reading his first-person, almost pen-pal approach to documenting the news in pro wrestling that week. The Wrestling Forum was published twice a month and featured a different colored cover each week. The format was 8.5-by-11 sheets of paper folded in half in booklet format.
The reader letters pages of the pro wrestling newsletters of that era were a precursor to the digital message boards and forums of the early internet years in the 1990s, which was a precursor to social media and newer formats such as Discord. The names in letters pages would often go on to become well-known semi-celebrities among pro wrestling fans at fan gatherings and wrestling conventions. Some would go on to become columnists with other pro wrestling newsletters. Even AEW owner and president Tony Khan, for instance, was published in the letters pages of the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter in the 1990s.
I hope you enjoy these newsletters. We’ll be presenting more in coming months. (If you have any copies, let me know as my collection is not complete and Jon lost his hard copies in a tornado many years ago.) It’s a cool glimpse into an earlier stage of pro wrestling journalism before the internet. They are only being presented in digital PDF format, but if anyone would be interested in doing a character recognition scan of these (with early access as we can scan more), that’d be great! Just drop me a message if that’s software you are familiar with and you think you could get a good text output from these PDFs.