Source: New York Times
It’s official: wrestling is more than just a fake sport. It’s a lifestyle.
World Wrestling Entertainment is introducing a new lifestyle magazine this month aimed at the same young, male readership currently served by FHM and Maxim. In addition to the soap-operalike storylines of professional wrestling, the new WWE Magazine, will also offer movie reviews, grooming tips and critical assessments of new gadgets.
Shane McMahon, an executive vice president at W.W.E. and the son of Vincent McMahon, the company’s chairman, said the company had thought seriously about partnering with one of the existing young-male-oriented magazines, but in the end opted to start its own publication. “If we are going to pull the curtain back and share the magic,” he said, the company wanted to own the product. He said he could imagine wrestlers fighting with each other over comments printed in the magazine, with each outlet fueling interest in the other.
WWE’s editor, Tony Romando, said that past W.W.E. publications had an intense following, but “were like a zine,” fanatically devoted to what happened in the ring, and printed on less-attractive paper stock. In the new magazine (which will carry a pumped up newsstand price of $5.99), rather than simply review “the greatest razors for the season,” he said, “we have a wrestler who dresses in drag, why not have him test the razors and serve two masters at the same time?”
Mark Edmiston, managing director of AdMedia Partners, financial advisers to magazines, struck a note of caution. While he said he understood why W.W.E. would want to expand its fan base, “the more they broaden and try to compete with FHM and Maxim the more they are competing with people who are established, and do it really well.”
Still, W.W.E. knows its fan base well. A column, Abuse, shows an editor being hit by a cane, with welts on his back to prove it. In later issues, Mr. Romando says, the editor will demonstrate what it is like to be hit by a folding chair or slapped across the face by a wrestler. “That’s the stuff the readers want to know,” he said.