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Dave Meltzer(born October 27, 1961) is the editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON). Sports Illustrated senior writer Frank Deford has praised Meltzer's work, saying that "Meltzer, I believe, is the most accomplished reporter in sports journalism." Meltzer has written for the Oakland Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and The National. He has also been interviewed in the wrestling documentaries Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows and Beyond the Mat.

Meltzer also has extensively covered mixed martial arts since UFC 1 in 1993. He has covered MMA for the LA Times and, and was one of the three ringside judges for UFC 18. He currently covers the sport for Yahoo! Sports, a UFC partner. He is often mistaken for Scott Keith, and vice versa.

Early life

Meltzer was born in upstate New Yorkmarker before eventually relocating to San Jose, Californiamarker. Meltzer earned a journalism degree from San José State Universitymarker. He showed an interest in professional wrestling early on in his life, starting out as a sports writer at the Turlock (CA) Journal. Dave wrote several publications that predate WON, dating back to 1971. Meltzer states that he was just a fan at first and started a tape trading newsletter. The Observer started from Dave wanting to keep his friends in college "in the loop" for his tape trading as well as the happenings in the business. He started writing the Observer full-time in 1987.

Wrestling Observer Newsletter

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter started off as a way to keep fans informed of various wrestling regions that readers may not have been aware of or had no access to. The Observer's earlier years were also marked by revealing insider news and various behind-the-scenes happenings in the industry, a groundbreaking approach in a kayfabe-heavy era. Meltzer states that this new approach to covering wrestling earned him scorn from virtually everyone within the wrestling business. As the business evolved along with the newsletter, he became more accepted.

Since major wrestling promotions would never acknowledge the existence of any dirt sheets, Meltzer had to find other ways to advertise his newsletter. Adverts were often posted in kayfabe and semi-kayfabe publications such as Wrestling Main Event magazine and Wrestling Eye magazine. Meltzer was also able to advertise his publication during various guest appearances on wrestling radio show and guest editorials in various national newspapers.

With the ubiquitous emergence of the Internet and wrestling web sites that are able to provide news in real time, today's Observer differs in the way it covers the wrestling scene in that it provides more of an editorial and analysis on the news and what impacts it could have on the business. Wrestlers have noted seeing copies of the Observer on Vince McMahon's office desk and it is believed many, if not most of the biggest stars in WWE and other major promotions are subscribers, although few would admit it publicly. Meltzer's newsletter has led to a loyal fan following, radio shows, and even a brief stint working for the WWF as a researcher in 1987.

In his first autobiography, Mick Foley claimed that even when he was just starting in the business, people as influential as Bill Watts would sometimes change the booking direction of an entire promotion based on the opinions expressed in the WON.


Rating system

Meltzer popularized the "star rating" system (originated by Jim Cornette and Norm Dooley), which rates matches on a scale of zero to five stars (sometimes going to negative five stars in the case of bad matches) in a similar manner to that used by many movie critics. As in the field of film, a rating is a largely subjective affair that may take into account the amount of action, as opposed to restholds ("workrate"), the difficulty and variety of moves used, the history of the workers and their feud, the development of an in-match storyline based on the wrestling moves and how they affect the wrestlers, and the overall reaction of the crowd.

Five star matches, as rated by Meltzer, are extremely rare. Before 2004, the last match rated five stars in the US was in 1997. There have been sixty-three matches that have received the honor since 1983, when Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask I had the first one ever. Mitsuharu Misawa has the most five star matches with 24 (including one match wrestling as Tiger Mask II).

Matches given five stars by Dave Meltzer

All Japan Pro Wrestling

  • Bruiser Brody & Stan Hansen vs. Dory Funk, Jr. & Terry Funk - December 8, 1984
  • Tiger Mask II vs. Kuniaki Kobayashi - March 9, 1985
  • Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Genichiro Tenryu - June 5, 1989
  • Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Jumbo Tsuruta - June 8, 1990
  • Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue, & Masanobu Fuchi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada, & Kenta Kobashi - October 19, 1990
  • Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada, & Kenta Kobashi vs. Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue, & Masanobu Fuchi - April 20, 1991
  • Jumbo Tsuruta, Masanobu Fuchi, & Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, & Toshiaki Kawada - May 22, 1992
  • Dan Kroffat & Doug Furnas vs. Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi - May 25, 1992
  • Masanobu Fuchi & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi - July 5, 1992
  • Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kenta Kobashi - April 14, 1993
  • Toshiaki Kawada, Akira Taue, & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, & Jun Akiyama- July 2, 1993
  • Stan Hansen vs. Kenta Kobashi - July 29, 1993
  • Steve Williams vs. Kenta Kobashi - August 31, 1993
  • Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi - December 3, 1993
  • Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, & Giant Baba vs. Masanobu Fuchi, Toshiaki Kawada, & Akira Taue - February 13, 1994
  • Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue - May 21, 1994
  • Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada - June 3, 1994
  • Kenta Kobashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada - January 19, 1995
  • Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue - January 24, 1995
  • Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs. Steve Williams & Johnny Ace - March 4, 1995
  • Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Akira Taue - April 15, 1995
  • Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue - June 9, 1995
  • Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi & Satoru Asako vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue & Tamon Honda - June 30, 1995
  • Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue - May 23, 1996
  • Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs. Steve Williams & Johnny Ace - June 7, 1996
  • Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama - December 6, 1996
  • Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada - June 6, 1997
  • Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama - December 5, 1997
  • Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Kenta Kobashi - October 31, 1998
  • Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Kenta Kobashi - June 11, 1999
  • Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa - October 23, 1999

All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling

  • Manami Toyota vs. Kyoko Inoue - May 18, 1992
  • Manami Toyota vs. Toshiyo Yamada - August 15, 1992
  • Akira Hokuto vs. Shinobu Kandori - April 2, 1993
  • Kyoko Inoue & Takako Inoue vs. Cutie Suzuki & Mayumi Ozaki - April 2, 1993
  • Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki - April 11, 1993
  • Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki - December 6, 1993
  • Manami Toyota vs. Kyoko Inoue - August 24, 1994
  • Manami Toyota vs. Aja Kong - November 20, 1994

Asistencia Asesoría y Administración

Japan Women's Pro Wrestling

  • Dynamite Kansai, Cutie Suzuki, Mayumi Ozaki, & Hikari Fukuoka vs. Aja Kong, Sakie Hasegawa, Kyoko Inoue, & Takako Inoue - July 31, 1993

National Wrestling Alliance/World Championship Wrestling

New Japan Pro Wrestling

Pro Wrestling Noah

  • Kenta Kobashi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa - March 1, 2003
  • Kenta Kobashi vs. Jun Akiyama - July 10, 2004

Ring of Honor

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling

Universal Wrestling Federation

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment

Matches given negative five stars by Dave Meltzer

World Wrestling Federation

Heroes of Wrestling

World Championship Wrestling

Impact on wrestlers

Mick Foley credits a writeup in WON for boosting him from a "no-name independent" wrestler to one whom a national federation would consider.

WON Hall of Fame

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame is not a physical place. Nonetheless, it is a respected honor in the world of wrestling. Every year, Meltzer conducts a poll of selected "insiders" and wrestlers to determine new inductees into the WON Hall of Fame.

Wrestling Observer Live

Dave Meltzer is the former host of Wrestling Observer Live, a popular wrestling radio show. Co-hosting the show with Dave was Bryan Alvarez, editor of the Figure Four Weekly newsletter. Dave and Bryan hosted the show every Sunday night from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. EST on the Sports Byline Radio Network. Due to the show airing on Sunday nights, replays were played on nights there were WWE pay-per-views. The show debuted in October 1999 and aired five days a week on the internet radio channel, eYada closed its doors on July 9, 2001, with Wrestling Observer Live, its highest rated show, being the last show to broadcast on the station. Wrestling Observer Live was picked up by Sports Byline on March 17, 2002, and had stayed in its current position ever since. The WWE does not allow its talent or employees on Wrestling Observer Live as a guest.

As of September 30, 2007, Bryan Alvarez became the host of Wrestling Observer Live as Meltzer's workload increased covering UFC for Yahoo Sports. Thus, he was no longer able to host the show full-time. With the change, the radio show will go on during WWE pay-per-views which it had never done before. Meltzer still frequently appears to co-host the show as time allows.

In September 2008, the time was moved to 6pm to 8pm EST, eliminating the conflict on PPV nights.

Online transition

On June 12, 2008, the Wrestling Observer website merged with Bryan Alvarez's Figure Four Weekly website. After being a print-only newsletter for over 25 years (other than a brief period where it was also available via e-mail), the Observer became available to subscribers online through the website.


  • Tributes: Remembering Some of the World's Greatest Wrestlers (Winding Stair Press, 2001, Hardcover) ISBN 1553660854 ISBN 978-1553660859
  • Tributes II: Remembering More of the Worlds Greatest Wrestlers (Sports Publishing, 2004, Hardcover) ISBN 1582618178 ISBN 978-1582618173

Notes and references

  1. In this article, Deford also states "...wrestling is a sport. No, not legitimate in the competitive sense, but it is certainly legitimate athletic exercise."

See also

External links

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