In 1997 while attending Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, I was taking a New Media class and given the assignment of creating a simple Internet website. Now keep in mind this was 1997; this Internet thing was pretty new to me, and the concept of creating a site sounded about as simple as making plutonium in my kitchen. But I signed up for a free Geocities site and presto chango, the WWF (before they “got the F out”) Wrestle Wire was born. I was a life-long wrestling fan and figured if I have to make a site about something, why not the WWF?
Over time, the Wrestle Wire transformed to JimmyVan.com, then KnowYourNews.com, and eventually back to JV.com. I expanded on the content too, deciding to cover all of wrestling, not to mention boxing, mixed martial arts and anything else where people punched or kicked each other (scripted or not). Before I knew it, my horrible looking, image-heavy little website started to develop a following, peaking at around 40,000-60,000 unique visitors a day around 2000. I did some research on web advertising, cut myself a few banner deals, and eventually managed to quit my day job and make the site a full-time venture before the dot-com bubble burst in 2001 and my income crashed along with oh, at least a few other people from what I’ve heard.
By the time 2004 rolled around, I was broke from bottomed-out site revenues, plus I’d decided to try my hand at promoting on the independent wrestling scene in Canada and as much fun as that was, I’d taken a hit to the wallet there as well. I even attempted to go the “paid subscription” route but that didn’t pan out either (but thank you Alistair for your regular donations and subscriptions, I was your biggest fan!). Combine all of that with the sour taste left in my mouth by brief dealings with WWE over a television writing job, and I knew it was time for me to say “good-bye” to JimmyVan.com and “hello” to real employment. At least the experience culminated in a published book (*cheap plug*), Wrestling’s Underbelly: From Bingo Halls to Shopping Malls, which sold around 2,000 units and I believe is now out of print.
Fast forward several years, and I’m now a businessman in Toronto with a regular, happy life who still follows wrestling, boxing and MMA; not necessarily something to boast about, especially given the quality of the product that WWE in particular claims is “entertainment” these days. But I missed the days of watching a horrible, vomit-inducing program and not having a place to ramble about it, so I decided to bring back a very scaled down (i.e. free WordPress blog) version of JimmyVan.com for the handful of people that might still find my thoughts of some kind of interest. I might even warp you back a few years from time to time by posting old images and interview audio clips from the glory days.
And as always, I will welcome your feedback, whether you love my writing and want to throw roses at my feet, or whether you hate my opinion and want to throw eggs at my head.