Steve Cook “sits down” with legendary satirical wrestling reporter Matt Brock!
Throughout my years of writing about pro wrestling on the Internet, I’ve been lucky to make some good friends. Most of you know about my long association with the man behind The Chairshot, Greg DeMarco. He’s been a good friend for many years. Greg is one of many people I’ve met through 411mania and maintain contact with to this day. Most of them you can figure out through my posts on social media & their mentions in my various columns, but there’s one high-profile name who I’ve been in contact with through the years that I’ve kept quiet. Until now.
We’re talking about one of wrestling’s literary giants here.
A man that’s been writing columns for magazines for at least six decades. Maybe more. This guy has seen it all. For whatever reason, he sees a lot of him in me. Possibly it’s the knowledge of professional wrestling. Maybe it’s the heavy drinking. Whatever it is, whenever Matt Brock comes to town, we will meet up in an establishment and talk about the pro wrestling. It’s one of my favorite parts of my life, to be honest. Unfortunately, with the world being in the state that it is, we haven’t been able to meet up in an establishment for awhile. Even if establishments here in Kentucky are open, neither of us would venture to one because THERE’S A PANDEMIC. And there’s the fact that Matt Brock must be at least 100 years old, and old people should be especially staying at home these days.
I love to rip on his age. It’s how we relate. We recently got to catch up via Skype, and I will transcribe it here as best as I can. Matt’s a private person, he likes to fly under the radar. I’m shocked he agreed to be part of that Cody/Jack Swagger press conference on AEW Dynamite. He might not be happy I posted this, to be honest. But I think that an important part of everything that’s going on now is to gather up what actual journalists think of it all. There is not a more grizzled wrestling writer than Matt Brock, so I’m honored to present his opinions to you here.
Until I get sued, because this is satire.
SC: I’m honored to be joined here by the incomparable Matt Brock. Matt, tell us how you got started by sitting ringside for Hackenschmidt vs. Gotch.
MB: You son of a bitch. For God’s sake, I’m not quite that old. It was the 1960s! Bruno at the Garden! How could anybody not get wrapped into the show by Bruno Sammartino? The man was an absolute hero, a role model that today’s pro wrestlers can only hope to be a second-rate version of. I went to Madison Square Garden every month for two decades, and everytime Bruno appeared, the crowd went wild. I haven’t seen a better environment since.
SC: I believe it. You got into writing at that time, and ended up writing for Stanley Weston’s magazines. Pro Wrestling Illustrated, The Wrestler, Inside Wrestling, to name a few. That’s my dream job, and it had to be a dream for you as well.
MB: Absolutely. Weston sent me out on the road to cover pro wrestling. What’s better than that? I’d attend shows, write a couple of paragraphs about something, and about four of those made a column. It was amazing. That’s one of the things that I think you Internet guys are missing.
SC: Oh don’t get me started.
MB: We’ve talked about this before, you know I’m right. I can’t imagine how anybody can just sit at home in front of their computer and write about wrestling & be taken seriously. That’s my main knock against you Internet guys. I know it’s a lot easier to get published there, and the standards are much lower…
SC: WILL YOU STOP
MB: But if you’re somebody like me that’s been everywhere and has seen everything, you have a hard time taking an “internet writer” or a “podcaster” or a “YouTube reviewer” seriously. Sorry! I know it’s a sensitive subject for you.
SC: It is. You know my dream job would be to travel the country attending wrestling shows and writing about them, as you have for the past several decades. That’s never been an option for me. I’ve been allowed to sit at home and comment on things. I can’t get anything beyond that, believe me, I’ve tried.
MB: You were born six decades too late.
SC: OK, some old soul jokes. Nice. Anyway, let’s talk about the here & now. We both know about the #SpeakingOut movement and how it’s affected things for certain people & it hasn’t affected things for certain people. You were around back in those old days, can you give us some perspective from then, and what’s your personal feeling on the issue?
MB: I have to be honest with you. The stuff that David Starr, Joey Ryan, Mike Quackenbush and others are confessing to? They pale in comparison to what went on back in the day. That’s part of the disconnect between the old generation & the young. You guys get all worked up over these things, and frankly, I wish I had done that. I was taught a different way, and when I saw these things in pro wrestling I didn’t think anything of it. I saw a lot of stuff that people your age would question, and I didn’t think to question it. That’s a failure on my part. I’m not sure my acting back then would have made a difference, but on the off chance that it would have, I do feel bad about it. I know my colleague Liz Hunter faced plenty of shit back in the day.
SC: It must have been tough for her. It looks tough enough being a female in the Internet Wrestling Community now, I can’t imagine what it must have been like back in your day.
MB: Liz was able to get stories that people like me wouldn’t have been able to get. But that entailed a lot of nonsense that people like me wouldn’t have been able to deal with. I’ve always respected her, she’s a badass.
SC: Liz is one of two female writers in your magazines I remember well. What about your niece, Brandi Mankiewicz? She followed in the footsteps of rulebreaker followers like Eddie Ellner & Dan Shocket.
MB: I wasn’t surprised by that. Brandi’s always had a dark side. I always said that you & her would get along well.
SC: Because she had a pulse?
MB: It was funnier ten years ago, honestly.
SC: If we’re going down that road, I gotta ask you about your past. Plenty of speculation out there about you & the Fabulous Moolah.
MB: Nah, I was a Mae Young guy if you get my drift.
SC: I don’t.
MB: It’s all right. I’ve been a single guy forever, as my true mistress is professional wrestling. Never met “the one” that could get me away from all that.
SC: I can identify. So how did you get into that AEW press conference?
MB: I’ve covered Dusty, Dustin & Cody Rhodes. Cody respects me because of that. He knows I’ll be fair with him, just like I was with his father & brother.
SC: So you’re telling me I need to write for 50 years to attain any sort of credibility with these wrestling people?
MB: Well, you could use an editor too.
SC: Oh! Speaking of which! There’s a lot of speculation out there about you not being an actual person. People saying that Bill Apter, Craig Peters & others wrote for you. Any thoughts on that?
MB: Well, they actually did occasionally. I had a tough time meeting some deadlines. When you’re on the road covering pro wrestling and meeting up with wrestlers, sometimes you lose track of time & everything else.
SC: See, this is why you’re selling the Internet short. I know you’re a big fan of the printing press & newspaper ink & all that. But the Internet? They’ll post whatever you want. I’m just saying.
MB: Yeah, I know. You told me those bastards will post whatever you turn in.
SC: I didn’t call them bastards!
MB: Not recently.
SC: Fair point.
MB: The thing is, the experiences you & I both have as wrestling writers are completely different. I got to live a life on the road while reporting on the business. I never exposed the business because it wasn’t in my best interest. I probably should have at some point, but I didn’t, and I do apologize for that. As for you, well, have you experienced anything outside of a basement?
SC: We’d like to thank Matt Brock for speaking with us as part of the Cook Interview Series.
MB: So your answer is no.
SC: WILL YOU STOP!