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IS WADE KELLER OF THE TORCH A LIAR?

By Dave Scherer on 2013-04-21 09:59:00

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Note from Dave: The following came in as a Q and A question.  Honestly I have no interest in rehashing this 16 year old story but since the Torch's Wade Keller posted an item that he originally wrote in 2006 on his website a few days ago (and I have no real idea why he would all of this time later), I will be glad to answer his claims.  For the record, I had not seen this column until a few days ago since I don't follow his work so this is all new to me, seven years after Keller wrote it.  Also, I was sent some questions that didn't pertain specifically to me, so I won't address those.  The items in bold, with quotes, are things that Keller wrote in the story.  The items only in bold came from the reader.

On his website, Wade Keller posted a story he wrote in 2006 presenting his side of the ECW-Request TV story.  He wrote the following items that pertained to you so I wanted to get your response on them.  Is Wade Keller a liar or did this happen the way he states?

"Errors about the controversy and the Torch’s involvement in it have circulated for years on the Internet, with competitors to and critics of the Torch fanning the flames with misinformation and self–serving conjecture."

I can't speak about anyone other than myself.  All I have ever reported was the truth, and I did it when the situation actually happened in 1996.  I didn't do it ten years later when the "facts" were harder to challenge or corroborate properly. I wrote about what happened when it happened.  Elite members can read those stories in our Lariat archive if they care to. After reading Keller's piece that you sent, I do find it ironic that he uses the term "self-serving" because that is the tone that permeates what he wrote.

"In fact, even before the Torch reported this story, rival reporters with conflicts of interest were tipped off by people in ECW that the Torch had called the PPV companies and caused problems. Those reporters were quick to bite on the story, eager to try to make the Torch the target of the venom of angry ECW fans who were excited about ECW taking that next step.  Because the Torch wasn’t online yet, most people commenting on the Torch’s involvement hadn’t even received in the mail yet the cover story detailing the situation. Conjecture and speculation and outright falsehoods, fanned by competitors of the Torch who also worked for ECW, made the Torch the scapegoat, just as Heyman did ten years later in the recently published book. By the time the actual Torch cover story was in the hands of subscribers, the story had taken on a life of its own."

The real story got out online because the internet was in place and people were using the medium to report news as it broke, not days later.  As it turns out, that was the start of quite a trend wasn't it?

In 1996 my newsletter was not online either, but I was.  So was Wade, truth be told.  He was asked in the rspw Usenet group, which he monitored, to comment when the story broke.  He chose not to.  So it wasn't like he wasn't able to defend himself.  He chose not to do so.  I believe he chose not to do so for a reason.  He had the ability to address what was being reported head on and did not.  That is damning to me.

I have to assume he was referring to me as being on the ECW payroll (since while he mentioned me later he didn't do so there, which is a good way to imply someone is something and not get sued for it).  His reference is a lie, and I have addressed it before and I know he knows that.  But for the sake of clarity, here are the facts.

I never received one check from ECW, in any of its ownership capacities. Not one.  I would guess that ten years after the fact Wade got a bit confused about that.  Again.  But hey, why let the truth get in the way of a self-serving story right?

He is probably referring to the fact that I ran the ECW website.  I did, but here is the kicker: ECW didn't own it!  Bob Ryder started it on his dime.  I ran it for him and honestly, it didn't make much money at all the first few years.  We were people that believed in the concept of ECW and we wanted to help in any way that we could by offering services that ECW couldn't afford.  We weren't alone in doing that either.  A lot of people donated their talents, or gave them at a very discounted rate, because they believed in the company and the people that worked so hard for it.

So we ran the ECW website because WE, not THEY, felt they needed an online presence at the time when the net was taking off.  And, it was probably number 473,234 on Paul Heyman's list of things to do at that time.  When the site made money, YEARS after it started, Bob paid me.  When he sold his part of the site when ECW went on TNN in  1999, Joey Styles paid me.  LONG before that time I had divorced myself from writing about ECW to alleviate any conflict of interest.  But Paul Heyman or HHG Corp. (the parent company) never paid me a dime.  Or a penny.  To claim they did was a lie and Wade knows it. 

That isn't the kicker though!

The thing that makes Keller's lie laughable is that the situation with Request TV went down at the end of 1996.  At that time, ECW's website didn't even exist yet!  It was not there!  You can't work for something that doesn't exist Mr. Keller!

If Wade were a bit more thorough in his job, and done a simple WHOIS search, he would have found this:

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: ECWWRESTLING.COM
Created on: 03-Dec-97
Expires on: 31-Dec-13
Last Updated on: 30-Dec-12

Yes Wade had me "working" for an entity that wouldn't even exist for another year.  So either he is very poor at fact checking or he tried to besmirch my good name as way to make himself look like a victim. Obviously, this is a lie.

"A couple reporters (Bob Ryder and Dave Scherer, both of whom worked for ECW for years in various capacities—such as travel bookings and website reporting—while also reporting news on “independent websites” and before that newsletters) claimed that the Torch sent the tape of the incident to Request TV. "

I already told you about the lie above where the website is concerned.  Here is lie number two.  1Wrestling.com, where Bob and I first went on the web, was not born until the summer of 1997!  Bob ran the Prodigy wrestling board.  I owned and ran The Wrestling Lariat newsletter.  Wade lied again.

"They claimed at the time that Bruce Mitchell bragged during a 900 audio update that he sent a tape of the Kulas incident to Request TV. Ryder days later retracted his claim and apologized for jumping the gun, and earlier this year, Scherer clarified his contention."

I never claimed Mitchell did anything.  I cited what Bob Ryder reported on Prodigy after he heard the hotline.  I would have listened to the hotline the next morning but Mitchell deleted it immediately (and I mean within minutes) after Ryder filed his report.  To me, the only reason for Mitchell to do so is because what he said was extremely damning and upon seeing it recapped, he was told by his boss to pull it.  Say what you want about Bob Ryder but he is honest.  He never, ever lied to me about anything.  Meanwhile, we just proved that Wade lied above.

“To me, the issue never was about IF they supplied a tape,” Scherer wrote on Feb. 17, 2006 on his current website’s message board. “It was about Mitchell gloating about how they got the PPV canceled on his hotline. I know he mentioned a tape, but I don’t remember exactly what he said. That isn’t the issue. The issue was that he gloated about getting the PPV canceled due to their call.”

That was ALWAYS the issue!  I will get into that more below.

"In fact, a week after Ryder and Scherer were inaccurately claiming that Mitchell bragged on a hotline report days before Christmas about sending a tape of the incident to Request TV which led to the PPV being cancelled, Panero told the Torch, on record (as quoted in the Jan. 7, 1997 Torch), that he still hadn’t received a copy of the tape as of Dec. 30. “No. We are actually trying to get a copy of it now.”"

Again, Bruce chose to delete the evidence of his hotline.  Wisely so because had he not, Wade would have never been able to write this bit of fiction.  The issue to me was always about Mitchell and Keller going to Panero and making him aware of the tape, which I believe they did out of having heat with Paul Heyman.  Again, had Bruce not deleted his hotline, his words would have been etched on the record.  It should also be noted that while Mitchell worked for Wade, he did his hotline reports on Dave Meltzer's hotline.  I never understood how that worked.

You can question whether Keller and Mitchell were doing their duty as journalists by bringing up the tape to Panero.  If that was the case however, why not own it?  Make your case when it happened.  Don't wait ten years to revise history. 

"(Mitchell re–recorded his hotline report a few hours after the first recording was made available to listen to. He re–recorded it because it was a sensitive and complex story. Within a few hours, Internet reports were misconstruing what he said. When that was brought to his attention, he felt it was prudent to re–record and be more clear and decisive regarding exactly what his role was in the controversy. That attempt at clarity and thoroughness fueled false claims that he bragged about sending a tape in the first recording, and then in essence retracted it a few hours later.)"

This is laughable to me.  It really is.  Bruce did the hotline late at night.  Bob Ryder listened to it shortly after it went up and reported on it.  Shortly after that, it was pulled and there wasn't a new report until the next day.  I don't buy that excuse.  Anyone that does please email me so I can sell you some lovely oceanfront property in Nevada.

"So let's be very clear. Anyone today who still says ECW's PPV clearance was cancelled because Bruce Mitchell sent ECW a tape of the Revere incident is ignoring these points:"

That was never the issue and Wade knows it.  He is basically saying, "Anyone who claims that I, Wade Keller, is the President of Mensa is wrong!"  Yes they are Wade but that isn't the issue.  Wade putting so much focus on a non-issue is telling to me, and it tells me he is confusing the reader.

"Two reporters who initially claimed that have since retracted that allegation or clarified their stance to exclude any accusation Bruce sent a tape."

That was never, ever this reporter's issue. and he knows it. "Receiving a tape" was never the issue.  Bragging about telling the head of the one PPV company that would air the show about the tape and precipitating its cancellation was the issue.  Bob Ryder heard Bruce brag that they "got" ECW on the hotline.  I know the rest of the story.  The actions of those two in their dealings with Hugh Panero got the show canceled. 

OK, now some questions.

1) If WWE let Paul Heyman lie so badly about Keller and Mitchell, why didn't they sue the company?

That is a good question.  If Wade felt the need to write such a long column ten years later, why wouldn't he sue a company with big pockets?  I guess you have to ask him.

2) Would you consider suing Wade?  What he wrote could be seen as libel or slander.  Especially when you consider it's been in the public domain for a decade. 

I have no desire to interact with him in any way.  I can post the truth here.  That is enough for me.

3) Did you respond at the time he wrote it and if not, why not?

I never saw it.  I don't read his work, for good reason.  I never even knew this existed until you sent me the link to what he posted on his site on 4/19/2013.

4) Why should I believe anything that Wade says in that piece or at all, if you prove he lied in this piece and he doesn't retract it?

That is something I would wonder too if I were you.

5) Do you think he will retract his lies, if they prove to be lies?

Considering that he knew the truth when he wrote it, my guess is he will silently fume that the truth got out, wonder why he was stupid enough to post the story on his free site and then ignore it.  Or spin it.

6) And finally, who is right Heyman or Keller?

We are, in the Lariat archives!  But honestly given what I saw in the entire column you sent me, go with Paul.  It's not even close.

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