Dave Meltzer
Meltzer in 2018
Meltzer in 2018
BornDavid Allen Meltzer
(1959-10-24) October 24, 1959 (age 64)
New York City, U.S.
OccupationAuthor, journalist, historian
Alma materSan Jose State
Notable worksWrestling Observer Newsletter
Notable awardsMelby Award[1]

David Allen Meltzer[2] (born October 24, 1959) is an American journalist who reports on professional wrestling and mixed martial arts. Since 1983, Meltzer has been the publisher and editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON), a dirtsheet primarily addressing professional wrestling. He has also written for the Oakland Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Yahoo! Sports, SI.com,[3] and The National Sports Daily. He has extensively covered mixed martial arts since UFC 1 in 1993 and also covers the sport for SB Nation. He has been called "the most accomplished reporter in sports journalism" by Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated.[4]

Early life

Meltzer was born in upstate New York to a Jewish family.[5] He later moved with his family to San Jose, California.

Meltzer earned a journalism degree from San Jose State University and started out as a sportswriter for the Wichita Falls Times Record News and the Turlock Journal. He demonstrated an interest in professional wrestling and a journalistic approach to it early in life. Meltzer wrote several wrestling-related publications that predate WON, dating back to 1971. The most notable of these was the California Wrestling Report, ca. 1973–1974, which reported on the still-extant National Wrestling Alliance territories operating out of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Wrestling Observer

Main article: Wrestling Observer Newsletter

The beginnings of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter date back to 1980, when Meltzer began an annual poll amongst those with whom he corresponded regarding professional wrestling. According to Meltzer, he was just a fan at first. A short time later, he began maintaining a tape-trading list, and would occasionally send match results and news updates along with tape updates. Meltzer stated that he wanted to keep his friends in college "in the loop" for his tape trading and the happenings in the business, as the mainstream wrestling magazines catered to a somewhat younger demographic.[6]

PWInsider Dave Scherer has criticized Meltzer's work. After a collaboration between them during the 90s, Scherer pointed that he gave him first-hand information, but Meltzer published something different.[7] Former WWE wrestler John Bradshaw Layfield also pointed that WWE gave Meltzer false information, which he published.[8]

Star rating system and impact

Main article: List of professional wrestling matches rated 5 or more stars by Dave Meltzer

Meltzer popularized the star rating system (devised by Jim Cornette and his childhood friend Norm M. "Weasel" Dooley),[9][10][11] which rates matches on a scale of zero to five stars (sometimes going into negative stars in the case of very bad matches) in a similar manner to that used by many movie critics.[5] Meltzer has also given ratings that have exceeded five stars. The first 6 and 6.5 star matches took place in 1981 (as rated by Dooley, not Meltzer).[12] The highest he has ever rated a match was seven stars, given to Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega for their match at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall in June 2018. Wrestlers such as Bret Hart have written how proud they were when their performances were praised in the WON.[13] Others, such as Cornette himself, PWInsider's Dave Scherer[14] and Seth Rollins[15] have criticized Meltzer's system. John Cena pointed out that, while he respects the star system, he prefers his wrestling to be enjoyed by the most people possible, not just one person.[16]

Awards and accomplishments



  1. ^ a b Laprade, Patric (July 18, 2016). "Melby Award for Meltzer proper recognition for pioneering work". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Archived from the original on September 22, 2023. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  2. ^ Wrestling Observer Newsletter trademark Archived August 4, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Trademarkia, Accessed August 12, 2010
  3. ^ Observer, Dave Meltzer, Wrestling (September 27, 2021). "AEW's Battle With WWE Is Heating Up". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on November 9, 2021. Retrieved September 27, 2021.((cite magazine)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Rossen, Jake (May 15, 2013). "In World of Wrestling, Trying to Keep It Real". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 24, 2020. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Dean S. Planet's Celeb Interviews". Dean S. Planet's. Archived from the original on August 3, 2003. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  6. ^ Benaka, Lee (1991). "The Lee Benaka Interviews – Dave Meltzer". Benaka, Lee. Death Valley Driver Video Review. Archived from the original on July 30, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2007.
  7. ^ "TONY KHAN'S COPOUT ON PUNK SHOWS WHO HE REALLY IS, WHY SOME FEEL THE WAY THAT THEY DO ABOUT CM PUNK, MELTZER AND ME AND MORE | PWInsider.com". www.pwinsider.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2023. Retrieved February 25, 2024.
  8. ^ "JBL critica a los medios especializados y a Dave Meltzer". Archived from the original on March 5, 2023. Retrieved December 4, 2023.
  9. ^ Cornette, Jim. "Stars in Their Eyes – FSM#138". JimCornette.com. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  10. ^ Cornette, Jim. "Stars in Their Eyes". Archived from the original on August 15, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  11. ^ Bixenspan, David (June 16, 2017). "Rating Pro Wrestling's New "Best Match Ever" Is Way More Contentious Than It Needs To Be". Deadspin. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  12. ^ @davemeltzerWON (March 24, 2019). "The first 6 star and 6 1/2 star..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  13. ^ Hart, Bret (2009). Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling. Grand Central Publishing. p. 214. ISBN 978-0-446-54528-0.
  14. ^ "Where Have the AEW Fans Gone, HHH Booking, Drew Mac is a Stud and More | PWInsider.com". www.pwinsider.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2023. Retrieved April 6, 2023.
  15. ^ "Seth Rollins Praises Dave Meltzer, But Calls His Star-Ratings 'Silly'". itrwrestling.com. July 18, 2023. Archived from the original on November 18, 2023. Retrieved February 25, 2024.
  16. ^ "John Cena no presta atención a las calificaciones de la prensa de la lucha libre". solowrestling.mundodeportivo.com. March 8, 2024. Archived from the original on March 8, 2024. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  17. ^ "Congratulation to Dave Meltzer, the 2017 James Melby Historian Award Winner". Cauliflower Alley Club. December 20, 2016. Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. Retrieved November 21, 2017.

Further reading