Pick My Brain Interview: Alex Marvez

Syndicated Wrestling and Football Columnist

For longtime newsletter readers, the name Alex Marvez always tells us we’re reading commentary from someone who knows what he’s talking about.  You can count on your hand the number of people who write wrestling and legit sports columns for real, mainstream newspapers. Alex does both and is well respected for both, for good reason.

So sit back and enjoy picking the brain of… Alex Marvez.

1. Before we begin, please list any and all of your plugs here. If readers want to read your work, where can they go?

I cover the Dolphins and NFL for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Wrestling-wise, I write a syndicated column for the Scripps-Howard News Service that runs in roughly 30 newspapers across the country. I also do work for www.wrestlingobserver.com.

2. Somehow, some way, you’ve crossed over to the mainstream big-time by becoming a very well-known pro football writer. Did any “real” sports folks laugh you off, and do you still encounter that attitude today?

After I began writing the column in August 1989 at the Miami Herald, I would occasionally hear comments about why was it running in sports? But as time went on and wrestling became more “exposed,” I heard fewer and fewer comments about it. FYI — The column does run in the Sun-Sentinel’s weekend entertainment section on Friday’s.

3. You used to refer to the Ultimate Warrior as the “Ultimate Dingboat” in your columns. Yet it seems the real dingboats were the promoters who continued to book him knowing his shoddy reputation. On the contrary, who would you rank as the smartest wrestler of modern times and why?

Hulk Hogan is the best manipulator, although Kevin Nash has done more with less than anybody in the business.

4. Quite a few old-time football movers and shakers jumped ship to the XFL last year. In the football world, what was the reaction to them like after the XFL fell flat on its face?

My feeling is that the majority of media wanted the league to fail because of what Vince McMahon stands for. Those media members with an open mind were later turned off by inferior football.

5. On our website, we recently dissected your interview with Jeff Jarrett from WrestlingObserver.com. How hard was it for you to keep from laughing when Jeff told you all about the NWA’s marketing plans in that interview?

I wasn’t inclined to laugh, as I would love to see an alternative promotion surface to help the industry. But Jarrett’s group faces what are likely insurmountable obstacles in trying to fill that void.

6. What is your brief prediction on the outlook for each of these promotions over the next year?

XWF: Are they still in business?
NWA/WWA: Two months, tops.
WWE: The slump will continue.
New Japan: See WWE.
All Japan: Their recent upswing will be helped if they can land a television slot.
Ring of Honor: It’s hard for any independent promotion to flourish without strong financial backing.
Pro Wrestling NOAH: They will continue to survive as long as Misawa stays in one piece.

7. In your opinion, which pro wrestler had the most success on the pro football field?

Steve McMichael. Alright, maybe not.

8. If you’re Kurt Angle, do you go for the 2004 Olympics? If you’re Vince McMahon, do you let him?

It’s difficult to answer that question, as only Angle knows his health and whether he can handle the mental demands of such intensive training. If handled properly, WWE could do an excellent job chronicling Angle’s attempt to make the Olympics and parlay that into making him a bigger star upon his return.

9. How is it possible that some of the key WWE TV writers read the Observer, yet they still make some of the most blatant booking mistakes possible?

Vince has a heavy influence on booking, plus politics seemingly play a role in every WWE decision.

10. Please grade the following journalists/writers/personalities from F to A+, with any comments you’d like to add:

Dave Meltzer:
Wade Keller:
Mark Madden:
John Arezzi (where is he these days, by the way?):
Bruce Mitchell:
Michael Landsberg:
Bryan Alvarez:
Bill Apter:

(no response given)

11. Who has been your best interview subject so far?

A tie between Mick Foley and Bret Hart, both of whom strike me as honest when I speak to them.

12. Who was the most destructive booker WCW/NWA ever had, and why?

a) Dusty Rhodes
b) Kevin Nash
c) Ole Anderson
d) Bill Watts
e) Kevin Sullivan
f) Eric Bischoff
g) Vince Russo

G. While all the other bookers had their flaws, at least the wrestling was good. The Russo era featured bad wrestling and even worse booking.

13. Who was the best WCW/NWA booker ever had, and why?

a) Ric Flair
b) Terry Taylor
c) George Scott
d) Dusty Rhodes
e) Eric Bischoff

E: While he self-destructed at the end, Bischoff enjoyed quite a run in the mid-1990s.

14. Rank the following PPV’s from 1-6, 1 being first and 6 being last:

Great American Bash ’89:
WrestleMania 2001:
Great American Bash ’96:
WrestleWar ’89:
Canadian Stampede ’97
Halloween Havoc ’92:

(no response given)

15. You’re Bill Goldberg. Where do you go?

Japan to raise my market value even more, then see what WWE is willing to offer, including money and creative control.

16. How much respect did you lose for Bret Hart when he went on psychic George Anderson’s TV show and actually believed he might’ve been legit?

A good amount, but I don’t think that diminishes anything relating to Wrestling with Shadows.

17. You’re obviously a big Meltzer fan, as we all are. What is your all-time favorite issue of the Observer?

It’s hard to single out one issue after reading for more than 15 years, but I would say March 2, 1987, that opened my eyes to the inside world of wrestling.

18. What is the greatest match you’ve ever seen?

Flair vs. Steamboat, Clash of Champions in April 1989.

19. Which of these superstars would be the biggest star today if they were at their peak?

a) Michael Hayes
b) Superstar Billy Graham
c) Gorgeous George
d) Lou Thesz
e) Bruno Sammartino

B: The best combination of physique and ga-ga.

20. Finally, you’re Vince McMahon in the year 2003. Kurt Angle is training for the Olympics. Rock is a huge movie star. Steve Austin re-injured his neck. Undertaker is virtually immobile. Nobody is taking Hogan seriously anymore. HHH’s quad went out on him again. Whom do you build the promotion around?

I’d give Brock Lesnar a shot and see how it goes.

Many thanks go out to Marvez for this interview and for representing pro wrestling to the media in an intelligent manner. He did skip out on 2 questions, but I understand. As for #14, I think we’re all in agreement that Havoc ’92 was the pits. Everything else he said was dead on. If the WWE writing team had his foresight, wrestling wouldn’t be in the slump it’s in. Check out Marvez’s excellent interviews on www.wrestlingobserver.com once a week or so. His reputation gets him interviews with big names like Rock, Bill Goldberg, & Bret Hart.