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By Mike Johnson on 2017-12-01 09:59:00

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I wanted to ask a few questions, about you, Mike Johnson, the reporter.  What was the first article you had published?  What was your first paid gig?  When did it become a full-time job?

The first article I ever had published was back in 1992 for a newsletter run by a reporter named John Arezzi titled Pro Wrestling Spotlight, a piece on a gathering and live radio show he put together with Sean Waltman, Missy Hyatt, Alex Marvez and Jason Hervey.  My first paid gig came a few years later when I was asked to write about international wrestling on our old site, 1Wrestling before we came here and founded in 2004.  Since the day launched, writing about wrestling has been my only occupation and hopefully, that continues in the years to come!

 How did you first discover the "inside" of pro wrestling?

It's a weird story.  I came home from High School in 1991 and in the mail for me was the first issue of the aforementioned Pro Wrestling Spotlight.  I had no idea such a world existed and I was blown away.  To this day, I have no idea why it came to my home as it was addressed to a former address my family lived in and came with a bundle of forwarded mail.  The best theory I have is that years before, I left that address on the voicemail for Herb Abrams' UWF looking for information on their events in NYC.  My best guess is that either the late Georgiann Makropoulos or Arezzi were handling the mailing list and even though the UWF never sent me anything, they had my information.  When the UWF shut down, the mailing list was used to promote Arezzi's newsletter and as the song goes, a whole new world.  Had that newsletter not found its way to my new address, I doubt I'd have fallen back in love with pro wrestling as I was starting to inch away from it at that point in my life.

How did you end up working with Dave Scherer?

I was aware of who Dave was because of his writing in a Newsletter titled Chairshots and someone who read it told me I'd like his writing because he was funny.  Dave later started his own Newsletter, The Wrestling Lariat, which I subscribed to.  I knew him from ECW crowds and he knew me, at least my face, but we weren't friends by any means.  We just were aware of each other and I was paying him for his newsletter.  One day at the ECW Arena, we were on the same concession stand line.  ECW was going to be coming to NYC regularly and I arrogantly told him, "I'm a good writer.  I'm going to write for you" and started sending him reports.  I am sure he thought, "Yeah, OK, whatever" in that moment, but he also didn't know I had a big writing background.

I filed my first piece the next month in February 1996.  I kept sending pieces in.  Our personal and professional relationship grew and we are still working together now in 2017.  Why did I offer to write for him?  I always liked to write and wanted to do it, and I liked his stuff and him personally.  It was really just a spur of the moment decision, perhaps fueled by the beer I was drinking that night, that changed my life for the better in ways I can't even begin to explain here.

How many Wrestlemanias have you attended?

I was at Manias 10, 11, 15 and then from 17 on, I've attended every Wrestlemania weekend.  Once I realized there was a chance this could be my profession, I felt it was important to embed myself in Wrestlemania week live and in person, which turned out to be the right strategy as the insanity of that week really grew around me every year into what it is now.

I saw on Twitter that you used to work for Joey Styles?

I never worked for Joey Styles.  As a favor for him, I would do research on international talents that were coming into ECW and he would credit me on the air as a thank you.  Most of those mentions can be heard on the ECW PPV and TV on the WWE Network.  I would also volunteer my time on the original ECW website, but again, that was because I personally believed in ECW as a product and wanted to help it the best way I could, with my writing.  While Styles owned a piece of, he was never my boss.  Dave Scherer was.  I never answered to or was assigned any work by Styles.  To say I worked for him would be a lie.  I consider Joey a friend and I like him, but I was always a Dave Scherer guy and considered him my boss at 1Wrestling.  I was never hired by Joey.

What was the most biggest or most favoite story you ever broke?   Was it the Russo email story?

The Russo story isn't even a blip on the radar to me in terms of biggest or a favorite. 

I personally think (and this is just me) it was that Sting had signed a deal and was going to debut at the WWE Survivor Series a few years back.  No one else had an inkling that was going down.  There were no hints on social media.  I was lucky enough that a great source told me about it and within 12 hours, I was able to confirm it independently with another, unconnected source.  I was actually out at dinner and walked outside, typed the story up on my cell phone, posted it and boom.  I was very proud of that one. 

There are lots of other stories and articles that I am proud of, but this question is like picking your favorite kid.  We put up so much content in the span of a week, a month, a year that it's like driving at 100 miles an hour and then being asked to pick the best tree you liked whizzing past you.

Do you have a favorite interview you've ever done?  I see there are thousands in the Elite service since I've signed up.

I am going to take a page from John Cena here.  My favorite is the next one.  I have been very lucky to be in the position I am in and I love doing the interviews, especially with talents I feel should be spotlighted or legends I grew up watching.  It's something I had to work hard at improving on (I cringe at the first one I ever did, which believe it or not, was actually Sting) but once they are done and posted, my mind is on the next one.  I'm really blessed to be in the position I am. 

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