Pick My Brain Interview: Mike Aldren
Editor of the Wrestling Globe Newsletter
Look, you’re busy. You don’t have time to go on wrestling news sites all day and weed through all the crap and find out what’s credible and what’s not. And damnit, pop-up ads are annoying as all Hell.
So let Mike Aldren weed the crap out for you. Mike is the editor of Wrestling Globe, a free (yes free) email newsletter that comes to your inbox at least once a day, with all the day’s top wrestling news. It doesn’t get easier than that.
Wrestling Globe is the most widely read e-newsletter of its kind, which goes to show you how well-done it is. We subscribe to it, and we heartily endorse it.
We decided to pick Mike’s brain, to find out a little more about him. Mike is an Armpit fan, which right away makes him cool in our book. Enjoy.
1. Shill time. Please use this first question to list all your plugs. Websites, newsletters, books, whatever. Come on, hype us.
Wrestling Globe Newsletter – Send a blank email to email@example.com and we’ll de-shit the bullshit and provide you with accurate pro wrestling news and notes every day.
Also, visit my friends at www.wrestletalkradio.com, www.mondaynightmayhem.com and www.betweentheropes.com. Their websites aren’t very good but they put out great wrestling audio shows with superstar guests every other week.
2. I guess we should start by asking you who in the Hell you are. I know, you know, and your readers know. But for those people reading this who may not know who you are and what you do, now is your chance to tell them once and for all.
Mike Aldren, a wrestling fan/newsletter writer, a mark, a smark… whatever they call it these days. I like watching good wrestling and enjoy writing about it. I discovered the Internet in 1997 and started contributing to a few different websites… Before W365 there was Essential Wrestling Newsletter which I ran between 1998-2002 (R.I.P.)
3. We first heard about you when one of our readers said that your newsletter listed a bunch of our backstage fights without crediting us. Naturally, we were on the phone with Mark Geragos, Greta Van Susteren and Johnnie Cochrane within minutes, threatening legal action. Okay, not really. Then ex-Armpit correspondent Y. Bret Y. accused you of copyright infringement without hearing your side of the story, so we b*tch-slapped him and apologized to you. So now’s your chance to state your side of the story on this. Are you guilty or innocent? And be truthful, because we’re tight with the folks at Court TV. Well, not really.
Well we printed a Top 10 list of backstage fights in 2003 I think. Similar pieces but not the same… to be honest yours is far more detailed and probably better.
This is the actual email Y. Bret Y. sent me on December 17:
“Hi, one of your readers informed us that in October of 2003, your newsletter posted the text from our Backstage Fights page, but did not credit our website. This is a copyright infringement. Please post the link to the Backstage Fights page and credit ArmpitWrestling.com in your next issue. I’m a subscriber to your newsletter and enjoy it, but it’s only fair that you credit us for the material you posted.”
Y. Bret Y. you and I now officially have “heat” my boy!!
(Editor’s note: Y. Bret Y. is no longer involved with this website.)
4. We get your newsletter, and it’s very good. Sometimes, we just can’t make it to all the news sites during the day, and your newsletter pretty much does that for us. Good boy. Of all the news sites out there, which ones do you prefer?
Message boards are way better because people link to different tid-bits all the time. This is a good one: http://forums.thesmartmarks.com/index.php — if something is newsworthy it usually ends up being discussed over there.
WrestlingClassics.com has a good old school board too.
5. I’m up at 5am, and sometimes receive your email at that time. Are you nocturnal, or what? Or are you just on the East Coast?
No I do sleep sometimes. I cue up the newsletter to mail out automatically during the early hours, usually 5 or 6ish before I head out to work.
6. Okay, time for Number Association. Please give us a number for each of the following:
Number of subscribers you want to have by the end of this year: Don’t care
Best year you ever had in terms of newsletter subscriptions: 1998/2003
Your age: Wrestlemania 20 + Wrestlemania ?
Number of years you’ve been watching wrestling: Over 20…
Number of email messages you receive each day: 200-250 mostly junk
Number of years you’ve been getting the Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Zero, never subscribed…
Hours per week you spend watching wrestling: Enough to get me in trouble with the girlfriend.
Number of videotapes you own: Hundreds…
Number of bedrooms in Vince McMahon’s house: Depends which one of his houses your talking about 😉
(Number of world title reigns HHH has MINUS the number of world title reigns Dusty Rhodes has PLUS the number of world title reigns Brock Lesnar has) MULTIPLIED BY (the number of world title reigns Randy Mulkey has) = Zero
Weight, in pounds, Scott Hall has gained since 1996: 30?
Weight, in pounds, Dusty Rhodes has gained since you started answering these questions: Hmm… wouldn’t like to say…
Number of fingers your shop teacher had in high school (everyone’s shop teacher has lost at least one finger): 8
Your SAT score, if you remember: Erm average…1022 I think
Age when you learned Santa Claus isn’t real: 8, my older sister told me…bitch!
Age when you learned wrestling isn’t real: What do you mean?
Age when you learned Stephanie McMahon’s boobs aren’t real: Wrestlemania 20 + Wrestlemania?
Age you expect to retire at: Anytime after 50 hopefully.
Number of Transfomer and He-Man action figures you have: Two or three buried away somewhere.
7. What’s the most embarrassing WWE product you’ve ever purchased, and why (please check all that apply)?
A. 1987 WWF ice cream bars
B. The Hulkster bib
C. George “The Animal” Steele action figure Got it, don’t dis’ the animal!!
D. Replica title belt Got a few and one original, but not saying any more…
E. The Piledriver wrestling album
F. The Hulkamania workout set
G. WWF cereal
H. XFL shirt Check, it came free with a WWE DVD.
I. WWF trading cards Got some from the early-90’s
J. World Bodybuilding Federation ICOPRO
K. WrestleMania 4
L. WrestleMania 5
M. WWF Magazine Got almost every one since 1994, sad I know!
N. Other (please specify)
8. So what’s the story with some of your “Diva of the Day” links not always working? Do horny, pre-teen males email you in droves begging you to fix the problem?
All the time. I’m too cheap to host my own piccies so we end up crashing the websites that we link to.
9. In doing research on you, we came across an old story that might be of interest to our readers. Apparently there was heat at one time between you and those who run Honkytonk Man’s website? Oooh, give us the scoop!
I don’t remember the exact date this happened but anyway… The Honky Tonk Man posts one of his usual rants on Ric Flair or maybe it was Jerry Lawler. I can’t remember. You see, HTM likes to call them washed up has-beens, which might be true, but at least they’re washed-up has-beens earning a lot of money. And he’s well… wrestling in high school gyms isn’t he, when he can get booked. He’s just a bitter old man in my opinion.
So I printed part of his rant and encouraged our readers to let them know what they think of him. Apparently a few hundred did and he wasn’t too pleased about it. So his webmaster Ryan Smith wrote to topica.com who handle our bulk mailing list and told them that we were stealing their content. I had to explain to topica that I paraphrased his article and gave credit so there really wasn’t an issue. They were happy with that.
To cut a long story short HTM is one of those guys who likes to give it out but can’t take it back…
10. How long has your newsletter been around, and do you ever get the urge to just quit doing it? It must be a major pain to get that thing out in a timely manner every day. Hell, doing this website can be a pain in the ass sometimes. What keeps you going?
I really don’t have an answer to that question. It’s become routine in my life now. While I still enjoy wrestling I guess I’ll always be writing about it.
11. When the internet exploded, people predicted the death of print newsletters. Yet here we are in 2005, and the Observer, Torch, and Figure 4 Weekly are still going strong. Do you get the feeling that some people who print wrestling news for a living still view you as a threat?
I’ve exchanged emails with Meltzer and Keller before. Really can’t knock them, well I could easily knock Keller but what’s the point? He put out a story this week that The Rock wants to wrestle Sting at Wrestlemania 21 based on the fact Jim Ross referred to a Shelton Benjamin move as the ‘Stinger Splash’… go figure! I think most people can see past the bullshit. For now I’m comfortable doing my own little thing. Dave Scherer charges for the mediocre dribble he puts out. Maybe I’ll change my mind one day…
12. Two-part question.
a) Why do wrestling news sites insist on having pop-up ads?
Because they think an extra $20 a month in the coffers makes them businessmen. Others such as Dave Scherer use pop-ups as a ploy to get you to subscribe to their paysite… did I mention the pop-ups on PWInsider.com download spyware and diallers on to your computer without your knowledge?
b) Why would any sane wrestling fan visit a wrestling site that has pop-up ads?
They just don’t know any better yet or they’re too lazy to find an alternative.
13. Yes or No, has Mike Alden ever done the following:
Sent out a mass email by accident, before it was ready to be sent: Yes
Been sent a virus in the past 6 months: Yes
Told a woman you were the editor of W365 in hopes of impressing her: No
Been recognized in public as being the editor of W365: No
Spell-checked your daily update: Sometimes 😉 Yes
Called into a wrestling radio show (and if so, which one?): No
Gone to the grocery store and thumbed through an issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, and then put it back on the shelf: Yes
Gone to the grocery store and thumbed through car magazines to look at the scantily-clad women, and then put it back on the shelf: Yes
Gone to the grocery store and thumbed through a romance novel, and then bought it: No
Gone to the grocery store, broke something, and then walked away and pretended someone else did it: Yes, usually kick it under the shelf when nobody is looking.
Gone to the grocery store, unloaded the groceries into your car, and then left the shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot instead of putting it back where it belongs: Yes
Overheard casual wrestling fans talking about wrestling, butted in with your knowledge, and introduced yourself as a editor of W365: No
Made up business cards with your name on them to promote your newsletter: No, great idea though.
Billed your newsletter as the most widely read wrestling newsletter on the internet, without doing any research to substantiate your claim: No, there is another newsletter, some guy called Colin that claims to bigger. He’s had the same subscription number for 4 years. What does that tell you? People change their email address very frequently. About 95% of the email addys on our list are opt-in and verified.
Daydreamed about being WWE or WCW booker and what you’d do differently: Yes
Had trouble sleeping at night because you were thinking about a wrestling angle: Yes
Had trouble staying awake during the day because you were up all night finishing your newsletter: Yes
14. You emailed us stating that you spent so much time at our site that your girlfriend was yelling at you because she wanted to go out. You really know how to boost our egos. Please tell us the following:
a) What exactly on the site were you looking at Reading all the other interviews…
b) How long did you guys argue, and did it escalate into anything serious Well I got laid eventually
c) Is this the first time you’ve argued about something wrestling-related No, she hates wrestling.
d) Does your girlfriend like wrestling too No
e) Have you ever yelled at her for ogling over someone good-looking like the Rock, Randy Orton, or Edge? No
f) Has she ever yelled at you for ogling over a WWE Diva like Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson, or Dawn Marie? Yes
15. Which do you prefer:
Raw or SmackDown: Raw
Nova or Simon Dean: Nova
Evolution or DX: Evolution
The Observer or The Torch: Never read either enough to give a good answer
Between the Ropes or Get in the Ring: BTR
MTV or VH1: MTV
Wargames or Ultimate X: Wargames
Royal Rumbles or Battle Royals: Royal Rumble
WrestleMania III or WrestleMania XVII: Mania III
Ted Arcidi or Bill Kazmaeir: Who?
The Steiner Brothers or Guerrero Brothers: Guerrero’s
Vince Russo or Ed Ferrara: Who?
Jim Cornette or Paul Heyman: Cornette
Steamboat vs. Savage or Steamboat vs. Flair: Steamboat vs. Flair
Rise & Fall of ECW or The Monday Night Wars: Rise & Fall of ECW
Doing an email newsletter or doing a print newsletter: At the moment an email
16. Please give us your favorite wrestling-related memory for each of the following years:
[No answer given.]
17. Please fill in the blanks for each of the following:
The next wrestler HHH will bury is: Batista
My reaction when watching the Raw Diva Search segments was: Mmmm Wings
When I hear Big Show’s music, I think to myself: I’m going for a pee
The person I wish was booking TNA is: Does it really matter?
Randy Savage looks _____ years old. 50?
AJ Styles looks ______ inches tall standing next to Kevin Nash. 20
My favorite shoot interview ever is with: RF’s Jim Cornette 2001
My opinion of ROH is: Less is more
Missy Hyatt stopped looking sexy about _____ years ago. 10
If I were in charge of WWE, the first 3 free agents I’d hire would be: In an ideal world, Jake Roberts, Steve Austin, Sid Eudy
My favorite members of the nWo were: Could never really get into it
My favorite members of the 4 Horsemen were: Flair and Tully
My favorite members of DX were: New Age Outlaws
My favorite version of the Midnight Express is: Eaton-Lane
The greatest manager of all-time is: Jim Cornette
The greatest entrance music of all-time is: Shawn Michaels’ Sexy Boy
18. Let’s say Vince McMahon passes away tomorrow of a heart attack. In your opinion, how would this affect the wrestling business?
Could get a lot better or a lot worse. Who could say…
19. Name 3 things WWE can do this year to make their business more profitable.
Stop insulting the fans by doing stupid angles that get forgotten about and don’t sell tickets.
Spend more time overseas where house show business is stronger and the fans are starved for wrestling.
Give someone a chance to run with the belt and tell Triple H to sit at home for a few months.
20. Finally, please use this last question to say anything to your subscribers, and to say something to anyone reading this right now who is thinking of subscribing. Thanks for doing this interview and thank you for your time!
What are you waiting for? If you like your wrestling news down loaded and not loaded down send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please stop IM’ing me on AOL unless you have something interesting to say. “Are you Mike Aldren?” 20 times a day gets really annoying after a while…
Mike did a great job with these questions, and got his answers back to us in a timely manner. He’s a class act, and is a good guy for helping us out even after we threatened him with legal action.
Thanks to Mike Aldren for keeping us up to date on all the latest news… so that we can goof on it.