Bill Apter (born October 22, 1945) is an American journalist specializing in professional wrestling and best known for the fan magazines which he was part of the editorial staff and photographed matches from the 1970s to the present. The magazine he became most prominently known for was Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Apter was so closely associated with these popular magazines that they were often known as Apter Mags.
Apter was a successful reporter-writer-photographer for several wrestling and boxing magazines published by Stanley Weston, including The Wrestler and Inside Wrestling. He eventually moved up to the Senior Editor spot at Weston's wrestling properties. When wrestling boomed in popularity in the 1980s, Apter's (actually Weston's) magazines rode the wave, commenting and expanding on the storylines of the World Wrestling Federation, Jim Crockett Promotions and the American Wrestling Association in addition to a multitude of smaller companies, plus providing readers with a wealth of exclusive interviews and photographs.
The publications Apter worked for were directed at the common fan and usually operated under the premise that professional wrestling was not in any way scripted or predetermined. The editors of the magazines had the mentality that they were covering wrestling just like Sports Illustrated covers other sports. Despite Apter's reluctance to let his readers in on wrestling's "big secret" (both Apter and his mentor Stanley Weston were trusted by wrestlers and promoters, and were given information about match outcomes ahead of time), fans who bought the so-called "Apter mags" became more informed about the business than most casual wrestling viewers, especially if they were fans of the dominant WWF, which tended to act as if other promotions did not exist.
Apter also hosted a TV segment, the PWI Scouting Report, on Best of World Championship Wrestling, Jim Crockett's NWA TV show broadcast weekly on Ted Turner's WTBS, as well as a stint with the nationally syndicated Pro Wrestling This Week TV news magazine, and segments on dozens of other televised wrestling shows. He was also the co-host of Pro Wrestling's very first commercial video (distributed by Vestron) called "Lords Of The Ring". His co-host was the "Walter Cronkite of Pro Wrestling" Gordon Solie.
In 1991, Apter helped compile the PWI 500, a detailed ranking of the top 500 wrestlers in the world (according to Pro Wrestling Illustrated). PWI has published the list every year since its inception, and it has been and remains quite influential. Although Apter never wrote the actual list, he was one of the members of the staff who influenced the rankings.
Eventually he left his kayfabe magazines and accepted the editorship of WOW Magazine, a new glossy publication that assumed its readers knew the truth about wrestling. He also was a regular contributor on 'Sunday Night Slam', a wrestling talkshow on WCKG in Chicago from 1999 to 2000.
Apter is now a feature columnist for Fighting Spirit magazine. Apter also contributes to the Italian wrestling magazine called "Tutto Wrestling Magazine" in a section called "Apter's Alley." He is the main face of wrestling website 1wrestling.com and has recently signed on with The Wrestling Federation (TWF), a league about to launch an internet-based show. Apter is also the Commissioner of Hawaii Championship Wrestling and several other International promotions.
In April 2011 Apter began working as a monthly columnist for Germany's Power Wrestling magazine.
Return to PWI
Apter made his return (freelance) to the Pro Wrestling Illustrated family of magazines in Volume 20, 2008 of The Wrestler with a 90-minute question and answer session with Tammy Sytch. Apter has also done an interview with Nick Bockwinkle for another edition of "The Wrestler" magazine. He was a periodic contributor only and not an employee of the PWI family of magazines. Bill has not done any further work for the PWI family since the Bockwinkle interview. He maintains a friendly relationship with the magazine editors but no longer does any freelance work for them.
Apter works for www.1wrestling.com as an Editor, writer, and video-interviewer. He is also a columnist for the UK's Fighting Spirit Magazine. In addition Bill does award presentations and broadcasting (play-by-play and color commentary) for many promotions (including overseas for groups such as German Stampede Wrestling).
In 2012 Bill did a guest spot on a few shows that were produced for the upcoming WWE Network. He returned in late 2013 to do the same. He has also been quoted in several stories on WWE.com. In January 2014, Apter put out his first article on WWE.com about the day Bruno Sammartino lost his WWE Championship. Apter also appeared at the afternoon show of the inaugural National Pro Wrestling Day event on February 2, 2013, where he presented the 2013 Ambassador of Independent Wrestling award to Colt Cabana.
Despite the changes in the industry, Apter is still passionate about the business and has no plans to retire. The story of his journey in the wrestling business (and beyond) is being published by Canada's ECW Press. The book, due for release early October 2015 is titled Is Wrestling Fixed? I Didn't Know It Was Broken!
Along with former wrestler "Concrete Cowboy" Paul Swanger (aka "Paul Big Bear") Apter sings and does comedic work in an "old school" nightclub act. Apter also works for a non-profit company, AHEDD in Pennsylvania as an Employment Specialist. The company helps find jobs for people with disabilities and job coaching.
In recent years Bill Apter has become a regular face as a host of pro wrestling fan conventions both in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The most prominent of these being WrestleReunion.