Five stars: Wrestling Observer Newsletter/Figure 4 Weekly now has an iPhone App


It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of mixed martial arts, also “known” as UFC. It’s less well-known that, back in my youth, I was a very big pro wrestling fan. (Pro wrestling today is largely unwatchable.) When I was 15 I subscribed to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, written by the hardest-working journalist in America, Dave Meltzer (the man doesn’t sleep), a weekly news and analysis publication that detailed, to an incredible degree, the goings-on of the two businesses, pro wrestling and MMA. A little more than a year ago the newsletter entered the online age (while merging with another, similar publication in Figure 4 Weekly, written by Bryan Alvarez), with newsletters being made available online (in addition to the dead trees version). Today the publication enters the next exciting age, the iPhone age. That’s right: there’s now a Wrestling Observer Newsletter/Figure 4 Weekly iPhone App~!

The App is fairly simple at this point, but that’s to be expected since it’s only version 1.0. You load up the App, then you can read the site’s news headlines or listen to the site’s radio shows. As you can see in the screenshots I’ve taken, the news section is specially formatted for the iPhone’s screen, and isn’t merely the Web site shoe-horned onto the screen.

The Radio Shows section could use some work. The site produces a number of different radio shows every week, and there’s no way to sort between any of them. It’d be like if your DVR didn’t group content together by TV show name. There’s also no way to search shows, so if I want to listen to episodes where the guys talk about UFC, I can’t just search “ufc.”

Another problem: you can only listen to the radio shows while connected to Wi-Fi. According to today’s Figure 4 Daily, Apple initially rejected the App because it was using too much bandwidth when used over 3G, so the guys had to move it over to Wi-Fi.

The App is free, so that’s nice. Of course, membership to the site is $10 per month, so you’ll want to factor that into the equation when checking the App out.

The fact is this App has a very small market—iPhone or iPod touch owners who happen to read the two newsletters—so this isn’t exactly a Google Voice-level story. Still, fans will get a kick out of it, which is all you can ask for.

Plus, the App’s home screen is a Dave’s Leather Jacket photo. *****