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Pro Wrestling Illustrated January 2021

Published every other month, the magazine’s mission is to bring our readers right to the ringside with brilliant, high-impact photography and to inform and entertain readers about the Pro Wrestling world. Get Pro Wrestling Illustrated digital magazine subscription today to get unbiased coverage of every major promotion and wrestling news.

United States
Kappa Publishing Group, Inc.
9 Issues

in this issue

3 min
from the desk of …

AS I’M WRITING this column, the first signs of autumn are visiting themselves upon PWI’s office in the Philadelphia suburbs. There’s a noticeable chill in the air, and the leaves are beginning to fall. I swear spring was just here! And yet, here we are with another change. Speaking of changes, I have a pair of announcements that should be exciting for our longtime readers. The first is something you may have already heard about. Beginning with our December 2020 issue, we have switched over from a bi-monthly release schedule to nine issues per year. That means you’ll see Pro Wrestling Illustrated in your mailbox—or on your local magazine racks—more often (roughly every six weeks). It also means we’ll be plenty busy producing those extra three issues. But, given all the…

10 min
before the bell

ORANGE CRUSH The question of what exactly constitutes “art” is undoubtedly one of the great sociopolitical conundrums of the modern era. While the most common forms of expression—from theater to canvas and from concert to screen—remain the subjects of spirited debate and robust discussion regarding their respective roles in the zeitgeist, professional wrestling still draws a proverbial short straw in the search for mainstream recognition as a legitimate art form. After all, Jean-Michel Basquiat didn’t paint headlocks, and Gustav Mahler didn’t compose Symphony No. 6 from inside a steel cage (we think). Fortunately, aficionados and connoisseurs of every stripe can finally move on to pondering other topics of merit, as editor Adam Abdalla and a talented bullpen of contributors have effectively reconciled the worlds of professional wrestling and fine art through…

11 min

ROAD WARRIOR ANIMAL, one-half of the most influential tag team of all-time, died of natural causes on September 22 at a resort in Osage Beach, Missouri. He was 60 years old. Born Joseph Laurinaitis in Philadelphia on September 12, 1960, the future Hall of Famer grew up in Minnesota. His life changed at age 20 while he was working out in the gym. He had just finished his 10th rep of incline presses and racked the 315-pound barbell when a big hand slapped him across the chest. “So, you’re Laurinaitis, huh?” rasped a burly voice. “You’re sick in the head. Nobody should be able to do that many reps at your age.” Laurinaitis’ eyes rested upon Mike Hegstrand for the first time. A friendship was born, and history was made. In 1982, Laurinaitis…

5 min
quick count

ALTHOUGH I GREW up in the ’80s, the ultimate figure of executive authority from my childhood was not Ronald Reagan. It was World Wrestling Federation figurehead, “President” Jack Tunney. If I heard the words “after much deliberation” come out of Tunney’s mouth, I knew something downright cataclysmic was about to happen. It was never clear to me how Tunney became the WWF’s commander-in-chief, but the path to that other presidency has been documented on the big screen many a time. As we prepare to turn the page on another presidential election, here’s my homage to some of Hollywood’s best films depicting the road to the White House. It’s a shame the Canadian-born Tunney was never eligible to reside in it. WAG THE DOG It finally happened. WWE made its “Big Dog” into its…

5 min
the lockup

THEY SAY IF it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you’ve been watching Raw and SmackDown for the past several years, you might think that NXT is completely broken. As most fans know, it isn’t. But WWE’s approach to developing talent may be. Late this summer, we got an unfortunate reminder of this phenomenon thanks to Keith Lee’s abrupt jump from NXT to Raw. Lee, a trainee of the late “Killer” Tim Brooks who achieved unparalleled success on the black-and-gold brand, simultaneously holding the NXT and North American titles and capturing the hearts of fans in the process, has been pegged for great things for a while now. There’s a reason he’s usually described as “Limitless”—because that’s the extent of his potential. Yet his Raw debut the night after SummerSlam, in which…

6 min
win lose or draw

BY NOW YOU’VE read Editor-in-Chief Kevin McElvaney’s announcement in his “From the Desk Of …” column and learned that PWI is expanding to nine issues per year. I’m hard-pressed to think of another magazine in any genre that has increased its frequency in the internet era. Thanks to a renewed appreciation on social media—and you, our loyal readers—PWI has gone from surviving to thriving. Before the internet, magazines were the only wide-reaching forum where wrestling was analyzed and critiqued. And, before cable television, print was the only vehicle by which regional draws could become national stars. Why would a New Yorker get excited about Dusty Rhodes challenging “Superstar” Graham in Madison Square Garden? He had already read about the “American Dream’s” exploits in Florida and around the world. Why was NWA…