The Dirty Sheets’ Billi Bhatti on Dave Meltzer – ‘His news is 10% accurate these days’
We spoke to Sportskeeda’s chief WWE writer and co-host of The Dirty Sheets podcast, the passionate and often controversial Billi Bhatti. In one of our most insightful interviews, Billi spoke about his opinions on current storylines, how being a contestant on Big Brother led to unrivalled access to inside information in WWE, and gave his reasons on why Dave Meltzer is no longer a reliable source of information.
Listen to the full interview below
On getting access to WWE:
Through being in Big Brother 10 years ago, there was a company called Outside PR who managed the Big Brother House. They also managed WWE at the time when WWE were doing less here. So we had easy connections to WWE there – I was actually able to do a couple of bits on house shows with WWE at the end of 2007. And from there I made a contact and I was able to get my hands on some news. Over the years I’ve made friends with ex-writers and other people through doing the podcast, but I had some access to some news and whilst I was on The Steel Cage we used to continually say “I’ve got some news” and then it would be out on another dirt sheet or something because we would only record every Tuesday. And it would become a source of frustration to be aligned with this podcast.
On being ahead of the dirt sheets:
My breaking news is always ahead of the dirt sheets – it’s not something you’ll read up about in an audio format after you’ve already read it on The Observer, or No DQ, or Wrestling Inc. It’s brand new, to the point where we’ve had various offers from people to buy the news from us. But obviously we’re trying to grow a podcast here, and we’re not a website – we’re doing news audio bits, so our breaking news will be only five or six minutes, even less sometimes depending on what it is. We knew Goldberg was winning the belt, we knew it was Goldberg and Lesnar, we knew the Hardys were winning the belts, we knew Jinder was going to be number one contender, we knew Jinder was going to win the belt.
On Dave Meltzer:
Meltzer is out on a world of his own. He doesn’t get any information now – that’s the bottom line. He used to be a good source of info but he’s now cut off from the WWE, especially since the Chris Benoit scandal and the ways that he covered it. I think WWE expected for some reason that he would cover it more favourably towards them but since then, from what I’ve been told, there is nobody there. At times he’s had road agents, or he’s had people that have gone into the company that he’s known from the independents but pretty quickly people put their careers first. There is no lee-way going to talk to Dave Meltzer and there is no forgiveness if you’re caught.
So, I believe that nobody is talking to him anymore and I believe it’s been a long time since anybody has. His news is primarily from a secondary source or its just pure guesswork which you can do with WWE and sometimes be accurate. But the guy has built his base and is not going away and he’s got all the history there. He’s a great historian in terms of, people will refer to stuff he’s written in the past and they’ll use his star rating as gospel and I think that’s utterly ridiculous but people seem to go by it and I can’t change the face of wrestling overnight and people will continue to use that star system like it’s the Bible and it really isn’t when you think about what he’s trying to do. One of the things he’s trying to do is lean you towards the places where he has access. The guy can walk in and out of Japan freely – he can walk in and out of any independent show and be treated like the most important man in the room and obviously, is that not going to sway any human being to give five stars or even the ridiculous six-star that he gave to Okada and Omega.
On offers from WWE:
They did come in recently with an offer for booking ideas and basically offered me an outlet for us to discuss storylines with them in terms of what we would suggest. One of the things that was laid out to us was that they were really trying to engage the ‘casuals’ and if we came up with any ideas that involved engaging the casual watcher then they would be interested in using them, but none of this is monetary and the podcast is.