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Bill Apter on How The Steiner Bros. Got Angry Over Getting Ranked Below The Road Warriors

February 6, 2021 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Steiner Bros. Rick Scott Steiner Brothers The Steiners Image Credit: WWE

– On this week’s episode of Wrestling With History on VOC Nation, Bill Apter and Resnick discussed the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Ranking system, how it was set up, and why it caused controversy. Apter also revealed how The Steiner Bros. once got upset that they were ranked below The Road Warriors. Below are some highlights from the podcast:

Ken Resnick on wrestlers paying attention to the rankings: “The wrestlers did…we would do our interview day in the AWA on Tuesdays. (When) guys were sitting around in the interview room during the breaks, invariably somebody would have the latest magazine with them and they’d start talking about the ratings. Sometimes they would say ‘ah this is (bogus) that guy’s not that good’, or other times the conversation would be, ‘Geez that guy must be better than I thought; have you ever seen him work or have you ever worked with him? Look how high they’ve got him.’ There was no Internet, there was no cable, the rankings were the horizon line that talent judge how good or not good that other talent was.”

Apter on joining the organization that later became Pro Wrestling Illustrated: “When I joined London publishing, Mr (Stanley) Weston was doing the rankings and he was not in touch with the business as much as (others). Of course he was the publisher and he did what he wanted. When I came on, and I started being sent to the various territories and started hand shaking and making friends with people, a lot of the wrestlers would come over to me and ask (who does the rankings)…that would follow me (through all the territories)…invariably there’d be a wrestler that would be upset that he would be fourth or fifth when the guy he’s wrestling would be number two.”

Apter on how Ivan Putski got angry about his ranking: “Ivan (Putski) looks at me and says ‘Hey Bill, I thought we were friends…you know you’ve got Chief Jay Strongbow here in the WWWF as number four, and I’m number 5. I’m better than Chief Jay Strongbow. Are you better friends with him?’ I said ‘that’s now how we’re doing this.’ His feelings were very hurt (but) we mended it over a period of time.”

Bill Apter on The Steiner Bros. getting upset about the rankings: “Rick and Scott Steiner were terrific. Ken knows that Scott can be very intimidating. I would go into a building during the prime days of WCW and Crockett Promotions…(Rick Steiner) would hold me and tell Scott, ‘Why don’t you pop him?’ I’m terrified there. I (asked), ‘What is this all about?’ (They said) ‘The (expletive) rankings! You had the Road Warriors above us?’ This (kind of thing) went regularly through every single territory.”

Apter on how they ranked the wrestlers: “The top 10 wrestlers (were rated) by what we believed were the right organizations to go in order. And that, back in the days – especially when we were banned by the WWF – was NWA, AWA, WWF. That’s how we rated the champions back then. Sometimes we switched AWA and WWF… I always had to tell them (that) nobody paid us. People thought I was in Jim Crockett’s pocket because I was on his TV. Then Vern put me on his TV and people thought I was in Vern’s pocket. The ratings were done on the top 10 guys in that (territory)…I did them technically like the programs that were on TV.”