Interview: Chris Yandek, Wrestling & Sports Journalist
(via e-mail 31st August 2002)
Wrestles with Journalism"
Yandek, accomplished Sports and Wrestling Journalist
in the U.S, kindly granted Greg Tingle, NSW TAFE student,
and Director of the Australian Sports and Entertainment
Portal, (now Media Man Australia), this interview,
as part of his TAFE assessment.
Do you, or your interviews ever feel challenged when
they find out your only 16, although very experienced
(Laughs) "I do all my interviews via phone, and
usually everyone thinks I am in my 20s. Most of the
time I never tell them my age, and I really don't
make a friendship with most of the people I talk to.
In wrestling the wrestlers believe if you have the
outlets behind you, and your gonna tell me straight
up front what you want then I will be more then happy
to do it. I have only do one interview in person all
How did you get involved in the wrestling and journalism
"Back in October of 2000 there was the first
network ever of pre recorded audio shows, and I started
up my own little wrestling show. I sent out e-mails
to almost every wrestling personality. I got a reply
from Sharmell Sullivan's agent, and said she would
do the show. On October 26th 2000, I interviewed Sharmell
Sullivan when she was Paisley currently in WCW. I
basically learned the contact system from there, and
I decided to take it to journalism outlets like the
Miami Herald, and later 1wrestling.com and the St.
Petersburg Times Wrestling Section. I have basically
just researched, and I have found so many contacts
over the year. I am only 23 months in, and I certainly
earned it all by giving up a total social life."
What's are your biggest successes to date?
"There truly isn't one big success that separates
others. I think my interview Rey, Jr. (wrestler) before
him going to the WWE giving his thoughts on the business,
and that he was in negotiations with the WWE is worth
something. It was his 4th interview ever, and he isn't
one of the easiest guys to get for an interview. I
also of course think of my tracking down story of
Jake Roberts (wrestler) from when he left the USA
to the UK where he now resides, and finding a personal
friend of his agent's that actually had a contact
to them which was a success story in itself. I also
think about my very in-depth 15 minute interview with
Trish Stratus (sports model and wrestler) on Thanks
Giving Day of 2001, and the WWE does all their interviews
on Thursday's, and even though she doesn't celebrate
Thanksgiving because she is Canadian it sure was worth
the time. There are not many interviews with Trish
where she gives the thoughts on the business that
in-depth. I also think about the new radio show on
the Pal Talk Radio Network, but I am just getting
to enjoy that. That is a few of my success, but I
don't have one again that stands out from the rest."
Who would you like to interview, that you haven't
"I have been trying to get Ric Flair (wrestler)
through the WWE, but honestly after their media ban
a little while ago it has been tough to get someone
for a story. Also Bret Hart's (wrestler and actor)
people said they would give me one since I did some
publicity for him in the past. There are others for
sure, but those are the ones I really want at the
Are your interviews face to face, telephone, e-mail,
other form, or a combination?
"As I say this again all interviews are recorded
via telephone. E-mail interviews I don't believe are
true interviews, and half the wrestlers in the industry
are not big computer people to start with. It is good
to have a good technology studio of sorts on my computer
to record the interviews, and basically go back and
transcribe. I also give the fans the option of listening,
but more people want to skim then listen to 20 minutes."
How would you describe your interview style?
"I describe my interview style as not afraid
to ask anything. The people in the industry like people
who don't ask Bs mark questions. Like for instance
what is your favorite food? I honestly think that
doesn't matter. People want to hear about the scandals,
drugs, ups and downs of the business, way they were
treated, and so fourth. That is what makes an interview
not holding anything back. That is one reason people
like Barbra Walters (journalist) are so respected
because they hold nothing back, and they have the
outlets to get the important stories."
What is the most difficult situation you have ever
"There truly really aren't many. I just think
of it this way if you want a good outlet for the story
then great, and if you don't oh well. The interviews
it times can take months to get done, but that's all
part of the patience period."
What is the biggest non-wresting scoop interview you
"I interviewed 1998 Olympic Figure Skating Gold
Medallist Tara Lipinski in a very in-depth interview
a few weeks ago. She is truly an amazing person."
Name all of the other sports people and celebrities
you have interviewed?
"They are all listed on my website www.neweraofwrestling
on the superstars interviewed page." (Dr. Robert
Durant, Kristen (actor in "Murder in small town
X"), Gary Capetta (ring announcer and author
of "BodySlams"), "Iron Sheik"
(1972 Olympian and bodyguard for the Iran Government),
and George Anderson (journalist).
Was Jake Roberts even more "out-there" than
he gives the impression of, or is that impossible?
"Jake Roberts is not the easiest person to understand,
but he does understand that I tell him straight up
front what I want, and if everything goes by him then
he is truly happy to do it. You just have to understand
it takes time to earn his trust, and I was truly the
first person that has covered Jake Roberts like I
have, and tried to put him out there as positive as
possible. He is just like everyone else who makes
mistakes, and you can't criticize him on that one
because he still is one of the greatest ever, and
he always will be. It took 8 months from the time
he moved to the UK before he said ok I will do the
interview with you, and ever since we have done 3
Have you ever been interviewed before in any way,
especially via Internet / e-mail? Please elaborate.
"I have done many radio show interviews, and
Internet interviews for sure yes."
When your not running websites, and doing interviews,
what other things do you do? Hobbies etc?
"Well, I have school of course. I do the sports
segment for the TV morning announcements program to
3600 kid's everyday. I have also won 3 district awards
for film pieces down here in Miami, Florida. I am
also a teen relationships counselor, and am a published
love poet. I won the dedication to peace award at
my school last year. I also try to be a role model
for girls as I feel they deserve all the respect and
compliments in the world, and it is just sad what
some of these teenage girls go through in High School.
I am also in the conflict resolution program at my
school, and was Historian last year. I basically watch
a lot of sports and that is about it. I have good
morals, and am proud to be a virgin for sure. I am
waiting for real love and a commitment from an amazing
girl of course, and one day later that will come.
I also respond to many e-mails from fans as well,
and chat with them. I am the most open journalist
you will find that will talk to anyone in the world
What film pieces did you work on in Miami?
"I have worked in my TV Production classes for
6 years now. I really have never done any movies,
but I would be up to it. I do the sports segment for
my TV school morning show, but that is about it."
What kind of conflicts have you assisted, in your
role with the Conflict Resolution Program?
"I have helped kids stay out of fights, away
from drugs, and helped people boost their esteem.
I love to be a role model for girls, and show them
that there really is a such thing as prince charming,
and don't take any shit from any jerk who wants to
rape you or any of them. I always tell people to think
What is your favorite love poem? Please forward me
a few examples. (Our Teacher and the female students
are very much looking forward to these). It will also
help me achieve a higher pass.
"I have attached the love poetry via attachment
word document. Just download the file. Tell your female
classmates that they are sweet and beautiful people
for wanting to read my love poetry. I feel honored
Who do you look up to from a historical and sports
"I look up to Barbara Walters very much. Howard
Cossel was one of the greatest sports journalists
ever, and I think he knew how to be a friend with
the sports personality, but as well an interviewer
in the process with the likes of Muhammad Ali."
Explain the process where the wrestlers become friends
with you, rather than just contacts?
"When I interview someone or call and leave a
message I am very professional, but at the same time
I treat the guest as a normal person. Honestly a lot
of the wrestlers, and people read my work. I usually
try to make regular conversation, and I can usually
relate to the guest about the business itself. The
stars who love the media or like to do it I usually
keep in contact with, and on some occasions they let
me into their lives or at least I can always count
Would any future book deal, ever possibly alter your
"no holds barred" and open and honest approach
"I have always thought about writing a book like
A Teen Two Years in Sports Entertainment or something
like that, but honestly I just don't have the time
right now. I know one day soon I will share my life
story, and I would love to talk about the wrestling
media for sure as well. I know sooner or later it
What are your medium and long-term goals in journalism?
"My long term goal is to use my career in entertainment
journalism to be a role model for young kids and teens
alike. My long-term goal is to be somewhere on TV
investigating and getting the exclusive interviews
and stories. I plan to go to broadcasting school as
well after High School."
What other information can you tell me about yourself
this will likely impress me, our TAFE teacher and
"(Laughs) Honestly I am a teachers pet, and I
enjoy honestly hanging with the adults, and people
in the wrestling industry. I am usually around adults
honestly, and it is great to be friends with the likes
of Jake Roberts, Kamala, Trish Stratus, (all 3 names
mentioned are wrestlers) and so many others. I also
signed Kamala's book deal to look at the story of
the way he was discriminated in the world of wrestling
as well. I am just proud to have earned all my success,
and I didn't get a hook up like some of those kids
on that WWE Tough Enough show, which total Bs in my
opinion. I honestly never took a journalism class,
and I learned everything myself on how to get a story.
When I look at my school paper I laugh at times, and
honestly I just wish more had the motivation like
me." You can check out all my stuff at www.neweraofwresting.com
and feel free to e-mail me at Lyandek@aol.com
as I do respond to every e-mail.
Tingle interviews Chris Yandek - 14th July 2003
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