David Bixenspan

Freelance Writer

Location icon United States of America

David Bixenspan has been writing professionally about WWE, UFC, and more since 2009.

Portfolio
Deadspin
03/25/2019
Why Does WWE Honor The Ultimate Warrior?

Few relationships in professional wrestling's history have been more bizarre than the long-running and extremely fraught one between The Ultimate Warrior and Vince McMahon and McMahon's wrestling promotion. Over the course of decades, the relationship featured multiple splits and just as many lawsuits, WWE producing a...

Deadspin
06/17/2019
The Ultimate Warrior Is Not A Gay Pride Mascot

On Thursday afternoon, WWE ambassador and creative team member Dana Warrior, tweeted a pro-LGBTQ+ pride message, stressing that she "believe[s] in equality, education, awareness, and this simple fact: love wins... Always!!" In and of themselves, the words would be fine, but because Warrior is best known as the widow...

Reported Features

Business Insider
WWE cofounder Linda McMahon, who runs Trump's biggest super PAC, once hired a suspected child...

Linda McMahon, the former Trump administration official who now runs President Donald Trump's biggest super PAC, presided over a child-sexual-abuse scandal in the 1990s, an Insider investigation has found. In 1992, WWE, the wrestling behemoth that McMahon cofounded with her husband, Vince, faced allegations that a ring announcer sexually abused the teen boys who helped him set up for matches.

MEL Magazine
05/08/2020
Who Failed Nancy Argentino?

The DA's office and the media certainly failed to do their jobs following Snuka's first horrific assault. But according to newly uncovered police records, Vince McMahon himself may have played a larger role in the events that led to Argentino's later death.

MEL Magazine
03/18/2021
The Strange Saga of Lauren Boebert's Pro Wrestler Paternity Case

If you're not in Colorado and have heard of Boebert, you may know her as the freshman congresswoman who's been lumped in with Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia as the "QAnon congresswomen." (Boebert's mother is an open ; Boebert has denied being a follower but has said that she hopes the conspiracy theory is real .)

Vice
WWE Hid a Pre-Show Rehearsal on YouTube. A Glitch Exposed It

Most entertaining is each run-through of the wrestlers getting physical, if just because they look more like kids play fighting than adults in a wrestling match. That's understandable: It's a performance, but a very physically punishing and demanding one, so there's no need to take unnecessary risks or waste energy when the main goal is lining up shots for later.

SBNation.com
01/20/2016
The Great Wight Hope

Note: All quotations are either from original interviews or from deposition testimony in SoBe Entertainment International, LLC v. Paul Wight, Bess Wight, and World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., an ongoing civil lawsuit in Miami-Dade County, Florida. One day in late October 2007, professional wrestling superstar Paul "The Big Show" Wight found himself growing increasingly terrified by the second.

Vice
WWE Referee, Wrestler-Turned-Mayor Fundraise For QAnon-Adjacent Charity

World Wrestling Entertainment referee/talent liaison Drake Wuertz and Matt Morgan, WWE wrestler-turned-mayor of Longwood, Florida, have been coordinating to raise money for a QAnon-adjacent anti-child trafficking charity on company and city time, emails obtained by Motherboard show.

Substack
WWE appears to have a Drake Wuertz problem

Enjoy? Want to support this work and get exclusive content, like source materials and notes from the Babyface v. Heel podcast that finally debuts in the next week or so? Then please subscribe for just $5/month or $50/year.

Deadspin
06/05/2017
How Frank Deford Helped Pro Wrestling Journalism Become Very Real

To understand what Frank Deford, who died at 78 this past week, did for professional wrestling, you need to go back to one of his most famous articles, one which profiled what was, at the time, the other most popular entertainment sport in America.

MEL Magazine
01/20/2020
The True History of Sgt. Slaughter's Stolen Valor

It probably won't surprise you to learn that Sgt. Slaughter - well, Robert Remus, the man behind the wrestling gimmick - never served in the military. After all, it just a wrestling gimmick... right? Well, yes. And no. But mostly yes.

Deadspin
12/21/2018
How Did $5 Million Of Vince McMahon's Money Wind Up In The Trump Foundation?

On Tuesday, the New York State Attorney General's Office announced that they had reached a settlement in their suit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation over its (prolific) self-dealing and other assorted misdeeds. Beyond the usual Trump-scented malfeasance in which the foundation engaged, one detail especially...

Deadspin
02/07/2018
Witness: Vince McMahon Stared Down Groping Accuser For 45 Minutes From His Car

A week and a half ago, The Daily Beast ran an article, missed by some because it dropped on a Friday evening, reporting on the largely forgotten 2006 groping allegations against Vince McMahon. What made the case newsworthy again was that while McMahon was never charged with assaulting the Florida tanning salon...

Medium
08/09/2016
Without the VCR There Would Be No YouTube - MEL Magazine

With the VCR being discontinued this year, what happens to the tape collectors who have populated the internet? While you may not know Japanese manufacturer Funai Electric by name, you surely know its products: Funai holds the rights to marketing electronics under the Magnavox, Emerson, Sanyo and Kodak brands.

Deadspin
05/02/2019
Today's WWE Began With A Tragic Injury And A Devastating Legal Defeat

It's a cross between a family value and a corporate one, but WWE is notorious for not settling lawsuits. They will when they have to, as in the fight over the rights to the gimmick of the Demolition tag team, but even then they dragged it out for just over a decade before finally making the call.

Deadspin
04/07/2017
Ex-WWEer On Announcer JBL's Bullying: "This Stuff Is Encouraged"

When former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts started writing his new book, Best Seat in the House, he had no idea what part of his autobiography would end up getting attention and coverage from wrestling fans. After all, the Instagram teaser post he put up in November is almost unwaveringly positive, even if it does hint at some potential issues beneath the surface.

Deadspin
02/15/2019
Thirty Years Ago, WWE Admitted It Wasn't A Sport To Try And Dodge Regulation

It's never been a secret that pro wrestling isn't on the level, with plenty of stories on the subject going back all the way to the 1850s. The true reason it was a prearranged exhibition may have changed from fleecing gamblers to increasing entertainment value and maximizing box office revenue with more compelling...

Deadspin
07/19/2019
Transit Records Show How 12,000 WWE Fans Got Stranded After WrestleMania

The biggest story of WrestleMania 35 might have been just how damn long the show was, a whopping seven and a half hours, including the "kickoff" show. The card ran until just before 12:30 a.m., which impacted everyone watching both live and at home, but it caused a very specific set of problems for those relying on...

Motherboard
06/24/2016
The Next Trick for IBM's Watson? Composing Music

More than anything else, IBM's Watson supercomputer is probably best known for one thing: Appearing on Jeopardy!, the legendary TV game show, in 2011. With an internet connection and the ability the buzz in quicker than a human opponent could, Watson destroyed Jeopardy!'s longest-tenured champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, in devastating fashion throughout a week of games at the IBM campus.

Deadspin
04/18/2018
How Joey Janela's Spring Break Became Pro Wrestling's Biggest Viral Success Story

WrestleMania weekend, in its current form, only dates back to 2014. That was when, after having tried to work together the prior year, the Wrestlecon autograph show and the WWN family of independent promotions began running competing sets of shows in WrestleMania's host city. One building would host the all-star...

Motherboard
People Watching at the Galaxy S8 Event Was More Fun Than Playing With the Phones

On Wednesday morning, I trekked from my apartment in Brooklyn to Lincoln Center for Samsung's Galaxy S8 launch event at David Geffen Hall. The opulent concert hall was packed except for the balcony, which was full of journalists from all of over the world who were there to take in the second biggest mobile phone manufacturer event of the year.

Deadspin
02/13/2018
Jerry Lawler Wrote A Really Dumb Letter To Prosecutors In His 1993 Rape Case

Jerry Lawler is one of the most legendary figures in professional wrestling history, an all-around talent who is not just a local legend in Memphis and the surrounding areas, but also beloved by wrestling fans around the world. He's worn various hats during his decades in the sport and has done most everything he's...

Deadspin
03/27/2017
FBI Records Show Vince McMahon's Dad Caught On Tape Bragging About Threatening A Wrestler

It's officially WrestleMania week, the biggest of the year in professional wrestling. The major events really get going on Friday night with the annual WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony. A mix of mainstream-sports hall of fame ceremony, Kennedy Center honors, and crass branding exercise, it's one of the most anticipated nights of the year in pro wrestling.

Gizmodo
11/28/2018
When the Internet Archive Forgets

On the internet, there are certain institutions we have come to rely on daily to keep truth from becoming nebulous or elastic. Not necessarily in the way that something stupid like Verrit aspired to, but at least in confirming that you aren't losing your mind, that an old post or article you remember reading did, in...

Deadspin
07/26/2019
Vince McMahon's Defiant Paranoia Was Shaped By His Steroid Trial

Twenty-five years ago this week, at the now-shuttered federal courthouse in Uniondale for the Eastern District of New York, WWE chief Vincent Kennedy McMahon was acquitted on charges of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute anabolic steroids. It was a pivotal moment in wrestling history, and the...

Deadspin
02/16/2018
Hank Aaron Sparked Pro Wrestling's First Major Racism Story 25 Years Ago

25 years ago this week, the top story in pro wrestling was, in many ways, also the biggest pro wrestling story in the history of the business's insider press. "Cowboy" Bill Watts, a veteran pro wrestler turned matchmaker and promoter, had been running Turner Broadcasting's World Championship Wrestling since late Spring 1992.

Dailydot
The last wrestling hotline still worth calling

If you were a fan of WCW, there's a phone number likely burned into your memory: 1 (900) 909-9900. For a price, usually something like $1.99 for the first minute and 99 cents for each additional minute, fans could call WCW's hotline, which, depending on the era, featured everything from legitimate wrestling news to special messages from stars who had their own segments.

Deadspin
12/14/2017
How Nicole Bass Was Slut-Shamed By WWE During Her Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

On Friday, former WWE, WCW, and Impact wrestling writer Vince Russo, pro wrestling's favorite pariah, relayed a story on his podcast that piqued a lot of interest. "I never talk about this, because this is a touchy one, I can tell you one of the female wrestlers came up to me [and] told me that she was raped by...

Fightingspiritmagazine
Training Ground with Ricky Steamboat (FSM 122; Aug 2015)

FSM: What are some good ways for wrestlers to become more expressive with their selling?Ricky Steamboat: When I went to the WWF [to coach] around 2005, I taught Rey Mysterio a little secret, and that's using your hands because you're wearing a mask.

Deadspin
08/30/2019
For Better And Worse, Starrcast Isn't Like Any Other Wrestling Fan Convention

It wasn't even late on Thursday morning during Memorial Day weekend when things got weird. I was unable to sleep on my overnight flight from New York to Las Vegas, passed out for several hours of desperate sleep, then met England's Maffew Gregg, the mastermind behind long-running online wrestling video series...

Deadspin
03/30/2018
How Many People Were Actually At WrestleMania III? A Deadspin Investigation

Thirty-one years ago, WWE (then the WWF) held the third and still the most legendary WrestleMania at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan, headlined by Hulk Hogan successfully defending the WWE Championship against Andre The Giant. While the two had faced off numerous times across the country from about 1979 to 1981,...

Deadspin
10/03/2017
Lance Russell, The Greatest Pro Wrestling Announcer Of All Time, Dies At 91

Lance Russell, the professional wrestling announcer best known as the voice of the sport in the territory surrounding Memphis, Tenn. for decades, as well as for his stint in WCW, died Tuesday morning at the age of 91. He had broken his hip in a fall on Friday shortly after his daughter, Valerie, died in a Memphis...

Motherboard
08/18/2016
Why Developers Are Flocking to Amazon's Alexa

Image: Amazon One of the best things about the internet is the sense of community that exists around your niche interests. Hobbies and fandoms are uniting forces, bringing together people from across the world who wouldn't have otherwise known each other.

Motherboard
08/19/2016
Why US Greco Roman Wrestling Turned to an 'Audio Brain Stimulation' App

The United States Olympic Wrestling Team deserves some time to chill. Just look at what it's been through. Three years ago, there was a brief period where it looked like this year's games would be the last to feature wrestling, one of the original ancient Olympic sports.

Deadspin
02/07/2019
40 Years Ago, Antonio Inoki Maybe Possibly Almost Wrestled Against Idi Amin

As a mainstream athlete, Antonio Inoki is probably best known for battling Muhammad Ali to a draw in an actual on-the-level fight-albeit one restricted by last-minute rule changes-after The Greatest backed out of plans to lose a traditional entertainment wrestling match. But Antonio Inoki is not a mainstream athlete....

MEL Magazine
10/07/2016
Vinyl's Back, But Vinyl Presses Are Scarce

It's not a secret that for the last several years, vinyl record sales have been trending upward - with sales in 2016 reaching their highest point since 1988. Estimates vary a bit, but at bare minimum, the number of records manufactured annually is well into eight figures.

Motherboard
10/03/2016
How One Visual Search Startup Plans to One-Up TinEye

Clarifai's UI. Image: Clarifai When you have a photo and want to find a higher resolution copy online, you can use tools like Google Image Search and TinEye. They work in a very specific way extracting specific patterns and how they contrast with their surroundings.

Other Original Reporting

Death and Taxes
04/14/2016
LISTEN: Audio of Hulk Hogan's N-word rant

In the months after The National Enquirer broke the story that one of two Hulk Hogan/Heather Clem sex tapes not sent to Gawker revealed the Hulkster going on a bizarre, racist tirade, I often wondered: Why did Hogan continue to be so protective of the FBI records of the investigation into the people who tried to extort him for said tapes?

Substack
Debunking a Matt Riddle-Candy Cartwright conspiracy theory

The other day, when I tweeted about how I found Dave Meltzer's coverage of the Matt Riddle-Samantha "Candy Cartwright" Tavel case to be somewhat frustrating, I got multiple replies saying that Tavel had been caught fabricating text message screenshots.

SEScoops
11/02/2016
EXCLUSIVE: TNA Owes Yet Another Debt, This Time To Merchandise Designer/Importer

Just when you thought there might be some stability to TNA-related stories for the time being, we've discovered yet another lawsuit filed against the company over an unpaid debt. While this one, which dates back to June, was filed in the same court as Billy Corgan's lawsuit, quirks in the court's online search system made it difficult to find.

Substack
Email shows WWE cancelled Candy Cartwright 'extra' booking in January

WWE's NXT logo. (Image source: WWE.com) On Thursday, via a press conference in Chicago, news broke that Samantha "Candy Cartwright" Tavel was suing Matt Riddle, WWE, Evolve Wrestling Inc., and Evolve/NXT staffer Gabe Sapolsky in local Cook County Court over violations of the Gender Violence Act.

SEScoops
11/09/2016
Exclusive: New Investment Into Anthem is Funding TNA Deal, Other Expansion Efforts

Yesterday, we broke the news that on Monday, as part of a "town hall" meeting among staff at TNA investor/financier Anthem Sports and Entertainment, CEO Leonard Asper had some advice for employees. That advice was to be careful what they tell some co-workers about business matters, because those who work for the company's news arm might be obligated to report it.

Deadspin
10/27/2017
The Pro Wrestling Fan Who Wasted The FBI's Time Claiming He Paid Oswald to Kill JFK

Thursday night's release of a trove of raw JFK assassination intelligence by the National Archives seems as if it was deliberately released in such a way as to comply with the law while ensuring that it's as difficult to use as possible. The PDFs of the documents have not been made searchable, their metadata are...

Death and Taxes
06/28/2016
BET Awards needed special permission from judge for Prince tribute

This past weekend, the annual BET Awards were highlighted by an all-star tribute to the recently departed Prince, featuring Sheila E., Janelle Monáe, Wonder and Tori Kelly, Jennifer Hudson,The Roots, Erykah Badu, Bilal, and Maxwell. It was the talk of the event and was, other than the "Game of Thrones" finale, pop culture's weekend highlight.

Deadspin
10/17/2017
Triple H's Nutritionist Makes, Walks Back Candid Steroid Comments

That bodybuilder Dave Palumbo was a nutritionist for Paul "Triple H" Levesque-the wrestler-turned-WWE exec who only performs occasionally now-has never been a secret. They talk about their work together all the time, whether it's Palumbo interviewing Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon, the two tweeting at each...

SEScoops
10/14/2016
Exclusive: Tennessee Strikes Back At TNA to Collect Unpaid Taxes

TNA's financial issues are even more dire than previously thought, as unlikely as that may sound. We already knew that there are multiple lawsuits pending, a restraining order believed to be designed to stop the company from selling shares again, a dispute over music rights, and debt owed to various entities who funded the recent tapings.

Substack
Matt Morgan deleted a tweet that showed him socializing with Matt Gaetz

On Tuesday afternoon, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Matt Morgan, the mostly-retired professional wrestler turned member of the City Commission in Longwood, Florida, was one of the latest politicians to be wrapped up in the scandal involving Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and former Seminole County, Florida Tax Collector Joel Greenberg.

Death and Taxes
06/02/2016
TMZ founder calls Hulk Hogan sex tape 'invasive,' forgets he paid for it

On Thursday, Harvey Levin, the founder of TMZ, was one of many guests at Code Conference, which is Recode's "invitation-only event where top industry influencers gather for in-depth conversations about the current and future impact of digital technology on our lives - at home, at work, in our communities and the world."

Motherboard
05/26/2016
The 'Robots Replacing Foxconn Workers' Story Is Less Sexy Than You Think

On Sunday, the South China Morning Post reported that Foxconn is "culling" 60,000 workers from its factory in Kunshan, with robots taking over much of the workload. Other outlets, like , characterized the move as layoffs in preparation for the reign of our new robot overlords, but the truth is that the reality is less sexy, much less an indictment of Foxconn.

Breaking News & Media

Mediaite
02/16/2017
Donald Trump Claims 'Some' Racist Supporters Are Democratic Agitators

The next to last question at Thursday's wild news conference from President Donald Trump dealt with racism and anti-Semitism from Trump supporters, moments after Trump had brushed off a previous inquiry about the topic by calling himself "the least anti-Semitic person" one could find.

Mediaite
02/01/2017
Al Franken Calls Out Ted Cruz During Jeff Sessions' Confirmation Vote

WATCH: Tensions flare between Sen. Franken and Sen. Cornyn during hearing on AG nominee Sessions - @MSNBC https://t.co/RHjwMGLW7P - NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) February 1, 2017 On Wednesday, as the confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General was ongoing, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) took some of his time speaking to make a point.

Misc. Sports & Entertainment

Death and Taxes
04/21/2016
Prince gave us the last great Super Bowl halftime show

One of the hottest topics coming out of 2016's Super Bowl was how the halftime show, featuring Coldplay and special guests like Beyonce, completely sucked. The halftime show has always featured the most sanitized possible acts that could justifiably perform for a stadium crowd on the biggest television event of the year, but that got more pronounced after 2004.

MEL Magazine
09/08/2016
The Funniest FCC Complaints About Pro Wrestling

In the United States of America, there's a time-honored tradition for crotchety television viewers and radio listeners to voice their dissatisfaction over what they deem excessive sex and violence: complaining to the Federal Communications Commission. Between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., the public airwaves cannot be used to broadcast "indecent" and "profane" material.

Death and Taxes
06/07/2016
RIP, Kimbo Slice: The brawling sensation who made his mark on porn sites

Before YouTube, internet videos generally couldn't go viral overnight. They had to have something special to pick up steam. They needed a transformative figure, someone like backyard brawler Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson, who, on Monday night, passed away at 42 years of age of an apparent heart attack.

Death and Taxes
06/02/2016
Judge rules remastered songs are actually completely new recordings

Music buffs are intimately familiar with "remastered" versions of their favorite artists' catalogs being released time and time again. The implication is that the sounds are much improved (even if it's not said outright), and they're often bolstered by the inclusion of bonus tracks, whether non-album tracks or previously unreleased recordings.

Bleacher Report
Joe Manganiello on Being WWE Fan, Sabotage

Hunk. Beefcake. That actor who always gets groped when he does interviews. These are all common descriptions of Sabotage actor Joe Manganiello. Even though he's a serious performer who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA in acting and even directed a documentary about Pittsburgh Steelers fans, he's rarely given the respect he deserves.

Death and Taxes
07/19/2016
UFC president addresses Republican National Convention: 'WHAT'S UP GOP!?!?'

I've been a fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championship since almost the beginning, going back to the evening in 1994 when my dad came home from work with a screener copy of the UFC II pay-per-view event from a few months earlier. I was immediately transfixed, and while occasionally my fandom would dip, I'd always come back.

Meme & Video Explainers

Motherboard
06/16/2016
Magic Leap Enlists Star Wars to Show Off Its Mixed Reality Prowess

For a while now, one of the most secretive projects in tech has been the work of Magic Leap, the Florida-based augmented reality startup. They haven't shipped anything: there's no dev kit, no nothing... but it's raised $1.4 billion. There was clearly something special being worked on, but it hadn't been seen publicly until today.

Motherboard
06/13/2016
MIT Researchers Taught An Algorithm to Generate Sound Based on Silent Videos

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) announced quite the impressive invention on Monday: Artificial intelligence that can generate the appropriate sound when fed a silent video. While there are limitations to the software, the results indicate yet another advance in the rapidly developing field.

Motherboard
06/24/2016
Snake Gets Stuck In Its Shed Skin for Three Hours, Is Kind of Mesmerizing

Everyone loves videos of animals being wacky. Especially kittens. The latest viral video of an animal being wacky is completely unlike any you've seen before, though. The Alice Springs Reptile Center in Australia's Northern Territory posted a video that the staff felt "deserves to go viral" in the form of a snake shedding its skin, "accidentally enter[ing] its sloughed skin," and getting stuck, repeatedly going around and around in a perfect circle.