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Wading Into The Depths

When last we left off, I had given pause to my compulsivity, and was considering whether my decision to join PWInsider Elite had been made with too much haste. Their signup page had left me confused, suspicious and annoyed.

But this, dear reader, is an important assignment. And I am a rational man.

I had given myself several days of worth of pondering, and had come to the conclusion that were I not to take this next step into a dark, well-established pit of pretension and click bait, that I would be unduly cheating the reader out of a useful glimpse into an underbelly of wrestling insider news so few dare venture, and even fewer risk speaking of.

And so it was that I readied myself to continue on this journey—myself and a well poured three fingers of scotch ambled down to my office, sat at the computer and flipped on the screen where, still facing me, tormenting me with its hackneyed simplicity, was the PWInsider signup page.

I skimmed quickly through it, daring not linger too long on its language for fear I might somehow be reminded of the sham-like nature of this entire venture.

Subscription plans are presented in a rudimentary, linear fashion ranging from their most expensive, longest-lasting membership plans—two years for $109.99 (which immediately has me wondering if there are really those willing to sign up to this site for so long at such a price) all the way down to one month, $7.99 recurring, with a three-day free trial.

I wonder how many signups have been made, in haste, for 2 years
How many signups have been made, in haste, for 2 years?

Pragmatist that I am, I choose one month, none recurring; a timespan that is both sensible and reasonable for this endeavor, and with an out. I click the PayPal link, relieved to know they weren’t using their “secure” credit agency. I know PayPal; I trust it.

The sign up process from here, with PayPal, is standard fare. Click, sign in, verify, pay, confirm. It is one to which I am accustomed.

Upon completion I am thanked for my order, which has been paid to Dave & Louise Inc.

Dave thanks you. Louise thanks you. Who is Louise?
Dave thanks you. Louise thanks you. Who is Louise?

Dave and Louise.

I paused. This was Dave Scherer, no doubt. PWInsider site proprietor, and former writer at 1Wrestling.com before leading an exodus of writers away from that site and Bob Ryder to form their new site—a ripoff of Ryder’s basically. Editor of something called the Wrestling Lariat. Notorious former usenet troll and ECW sycophant

This is the Dave Scherer who, just under a year ago, was in a highly publicized internet flame war with some of his twitter followers over a disagreement with former wrestling writer Scott Keith over email exchanges Scherer wanted kept out of the public eye.

Scherer is notoriously litigious, prone to threatening law suits more frequently than Bryan Alvarez threatens to close down his message board at F4W, and—last I knew—was keen on making restrictive rules that stifle opinion, particularly the voices of his detractors.

I envision the PWInsider community as a wrestling insider forum version of 1984.

Wincing at the notion, I think back to that 2-year membership offer, and wonder again who would be so eager to pay that premium for a service like PWInsider… Immediately I wonder again if I’m doing the right thing. One of my goals on this assignment, I remind myself, is to learn and understand the PWInsider community. Now, faced with the thought of those eager enough to sign up two years at a time, I wonder what horror might await me there… people so willing to give Dave Scherer a two year commitment… I shake my head, toss back the remainder of my scotch, and press on.

Per the poorly written information presented on their awful sign up page, I recall the caveat that it could take as much as 24 hours, but usually not more than a few hours at most (still makes no sense) for the site to email me my login credentials.

Remember, this is the site that, at BEST, doesn’t have the technical ability to allow its customers to pick their own usernames and passwords. A WORST, this is a site that doesn’t trust its members enough to choose their own username and password.

Neither of these fill me with good, confident feelings about joining.

I check my email, receive my receipt… and wait.

To my surprise, the wait is relatively short. 1:04 after receiving my receipt, I get an email from Dave Scherer welcoming me to the site, and providing me with my login information.

Welcome back my friend to the show that never ends, we're so glad you could attend; come inside, come inside...
Welcome back my friend to the show that never ends, we’re so glad you could attend; come inside, come inside…

I click through the link, and log in to PWInsiderElite for the first time.

At first glance, I see a site that looks exactly like the normal version of the site from a layout perspective, but with no ads. I knew this was a membership benefit, but you really can’t appreciate how beneficial this really is until you’ve experienced it first hand.

No ads! Sanity and order prevail?
No ads! Sanity and order prevail?

It’s a remarkable improvement.

I look over at the right-hand column where the Elite articles are presented.

“The 5/9 Funnest Mailbag is Now Online” by Dave Scherer and Mike Epsenhart. Upon clicking, I learn this is an audio show.

But something is off…

There are… instructions?

And, more astonishingly, a warning.

“Warning: There is a very small bit of swearing on this show.”

Also, reprinted here for anyone who had forgotten during their sign-up process, an Important Notice about not stealing their content, or suspensions will be doled out and monies forfeited to the pirates of PWInsider.

I checked... all the links work, regardless of how you're streaming.
No swearing. No stealing. Listen three ways.

Following that, though, I’m stunned to learn that there are multiple links and suggestions for how to stream, download or play the file… Confused, I briefly look for the button alerting me that i need to download the latest version of RealPlayer in order to partake of this Elite Audio Content.

Thankfully, there was none.

I click on the file to play it, ignoring the whole Apple device thing, and the show begins to play…

A voice, loud, clear, unoffensive begins to speak. It’s a voice I do not recognize, so I know this must be Mr. Espenhart. The quality appears decent, and I settle in to listen.

Espenhart begins:

“Hi everybody, and welcome to the Audio Section of PWInsiderElite.com. The weekend’s come, it’s time for fun, and we’re bringing our As to you. These Qs are ah, ah, ah, ah ah. I’m Mike, he’s Dave…”

It’s mildly sung to the tune of the Happy Days theme, and my mouth is agape.

I’ve seen enough for now, and snap my browser window closed.

To be continued…

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The Author

Les Moore

Les Moore

Les Moore is a veteran ex-journalist, columnist and content marketing strategist. With more than 15 years spent subscribing to pay wrestling newsletters or websites, and at one time boasting a subscription to every reputable pay wrestling news service available, from Wrestling Observer, Pro Wrestling Torch, plus 1Wrestling.com and, later, PWInsider, Moore provides a unique perspective on how wrestling writers ply their trade.

6 Comments

  1. Shawn
    May 11, 2015 at 8:41 pm — Reply

    I am the reason for the pirate warning on PWInsider 🙂

    Just look how PWInsider treats its customers. There are still no podcast feed for its subscribers. For 3-4 years they did not even offer downloadable audio, only streaming audio. “to battle piracy”.
    I simply used AudioHijack and grabbed the feed of every show I wanted to listen too.
    2005 when ECW had their OneNightStand PPV, PWI had some nice ECW round table audio. Ton of people wanted to listen to it and they would not sign up for a subscription. So I posted the audio on USENET where Sherer used to post early/mid 1990.
    The warning about posting audio is a result of that posting :).

    Here is the funny double standard.
    Dave Sherer was a “tape trader”. Somehow tape trading is not piracy, but audio trading/or streaming is piracy. I even bought some of Dave’s compilation tapes! (I dont think it was DaveS who sold them, but when I grabbed my VHS tapes to DVD I finally understood who DaveS was. IWA Death matches and stuff)

    BTW. I am a retard signing up for 2 years on PWInsider.

  2. Cleavy
    May 13, 2015 at 1:30 am — Reply

    Is Louise the name of Scherer’s wife or his (infamous?) dog?

    • Les Moore
      May 13, 2015 at 2:18 am — Reply

      Your guess is as good as mine.

  3. Drew
    May 15, 2015 at 4:19 pm — Reply

    I am getting a major kick out these features and this site as a whole… keep up the awesome work!

    PS – You’re doing the Lord’s work by signing up for PWInsider. The only subscription I have is to the Observer, mainly for the newsletter and the Meltzer/Alvarez shows. Figure Four Weekly is terrible now that Bix is writing it, but it is what it is. I still don’t mind shelling out 10.99 per month.

  4. Jb
    May 30, 2015 at 10:37 pm — Reply

    This website is a new favorite. I’ve been a subscriber to the Torch and Observer for fifteen years and an observer of the odd community surrounding. I look forward to the rest of your content. As an aside I discovered that Online Onslaught still exists by accident yesterday. I haven’t visited it in a decade and it continues in the same format to some unknown audience. Like a numbers station…

  5. Jeremy Gordon
    September 21, 2015 at 3:00 pm — Reply

    How rich that Dave ” I steal from Meltzer all the time” Scherer is going after people who steal from him, pot meet kettle.

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