For all the feds I follow, some predictions and advice for the coming year.
- At least two key names from the past will come back
- At some point in 2006, Dan West will at least flirt with the idea of dropping out
- The tag division will grow at least a little in the beginning of the year
- There will be some unrest to ditch the vote system altogether and put the booking into the hands of three people maximum
Best bet to win the A1E World Championship: Dan Ryan
Advice: I would probably say sit back and think about how you're booking matches in the future. A lot of the booking seems to be random and outside of a few feuds, nothing mid-term is planned out. The perfect example of this was when Slambo and Chip were slated to get turn at the Tag Titles, but Slambo was put in the Survivor Title match, which even if Nemesys did show for it, there was a good chance he'd come out with the title. More care needs to be taken to have everyone feel like they are or at least can be on equal footing. I think part of this randomness is the reason why Steve and Jeff didn't want to keep Melton and Hida in the fed respectively. We did gain The Sergeant out of this, but more needs to be done to not only retain superstars, but also bring in new blood.
- Somewhere down the line, Keith Scott Zimmerman and Lowell Dot Com will get into it, and small countries in Europe will be destroyed as a result
- Andy Sharp... kid's gonna make some noise
- The weekly cardwriting promise will last until the summer, when e-fedding naturally starts to lag
- Zezu will be back, even if it's towards the end of the year
Best bet to win the ACW World Heavyweight Championship: (aside from Almasy, who's almost guaranteed it at Legends) Lowell Dot Com
Advice: I would say to adapt to a matchwriting style more wrestling friendly, but I'm guessing that most everyone in the fed enjoys narrative matchwriting. I'm getting used to it myself. But as for matchwriting and cardwriting, I would try to abstain from becoming tSC v. 2.0. Try not to make it so you're getting half a match full of restholds for restholds' sake and try to get into sequence. I also think that if you're going down the narrative route, that random interjections from Lipton and Ried should be avoided except for seminal, seminal calls (kinda on the level of Al Michaels going "Do you believe in miracles?")
- Chainz will start a mid-level riot with a segment for an upcoming Fresh!... seriously, his track record only points into a controversial direction
- Members of the Unfuckables will end up winning at least one PTC event and holding one PTC title, and break out as huge stars in the interfed
- There will be an AWC vs. PRIME special event
- An unknown will win Zero to Hero
Best bet to win the AWC Transatlantic Championship: Mike Wade, although there are a lot of close ones in here
Advice: There seems to be two schools of thought regarding storylines. One which favors grandiose, bordering-on-pretentious scenarios you find in movies, where suspension of disbelief is unlikely. The other favors wrestling storylines with an edgy, real-world twist. The latter is what I feel AWC needs to strive for. Reading Winter Warfare, there was a lot of wrestling-related stuff that really, really worked (the FFoG/security angle, Aimz' anti-PCW campaign, Chainz and his leanings towards mysogyny and sexual deviancy), but they seemed to take a backseat to the MAMMOTH Shipley/Aliso segment that seemed right out of an action movie and the almost absurd idea that a doctor would let someone with a poorly atteneded to bullet wound wrestle a match. I think that AWC has a great dynamic already set up with the bi-continental flavor, and I think there is a world of potential to develop wrestling storylines around this.
A lot of times, we can get lost in the writing aspect and forget that we're in this hobby because we like wrestling and like to write, not solely because we like to write.
- Over/under on total cards in 2006: 3.5
- Troy Windham will not survive the year as World Heavyweight Championship
- I don't think we've seen the last of Chad Merritt...
- The Hacker will be revealed at Fish Fund
Best bet to win the UNIFIED Championship: Ruben Ross
Advice: The CSWA doesn't need my advice on how to gain membership, add prestige or even book correctly. When it's active, it is among the elite in the e-fed world. However, they do need to be much, MUCH more active than they are now. We cannot be mercy to Chad's business schedule, but Chad's business schedule comes first for him. We have no right to be angry at Chad for making a living. What needs to happen though is a way for the CSWA to survive without needing Chad to be around. If this means Steve and GreggG need to take a more active role in booking, s be it. If this means the handlers in the fed take a more active role in putting cards together, so be it. But the e-fedding world is richer for the CSWA being around. So it needs to find a way to be around even when Chad goes away on business for months on end.
- Beast will not succeed on his first title shot, and it will drive him nuts
- The tag division will blow up and cause a renaissance for tag divisions in 2006 on FW
- Joey Melton will continue to be the most entertaining wrestler on the roster with the worst winning percentage
- Mike Evers, The Sergeant and Frankie Scott will anchor the midcard, which, along with the Tag Division, will move EPW into rarified NFW/CSWA territory on FW.com
Best bet to win the EPW World Championship: Beast (notice I said first title shot) ;)
Advice: When Clapper made his ill-advised shoot earlier this year about how only A1E talents got over, his case was flimsier than a wet tissue. Only Beast and JA could have been considered A1E originals; Troy and Cross cut their teeth on the FW circuit before they even heard of A1E. But as time pressed on, more and more folks came over. First, it was Ken Cloverleaf, Steven Shane and AJ Cirrus. Cirrus bowed out, but he was replaced by the HPSC, IrishRed and a little birdy on my shoulder told me I should look out for another career A1Eer to debut very soon. Event though the HPSC and now, Sensationally Perfect are confined to the tag division, this does nothing to help rectify the misportrayed image of EPW being A1E South. So what EPW needs to do is not accept any more A1E, or even MBE guys in the future. Now, I mean A1E/MBE characters, not handlers. EPW should encourage these handlers to create new characters so as to lessen the association.
- Over/under on fully written shows: 13.5
- Alex Creed and Ragnarok will tear down the house as the sub-main event at Cyberslam
- fWo will get at least two new recruits from the FW.com RP feds
- Much like A1E, fWo will get some key comebacks by the end of 2006
Best bet to win the fWo World Championship: Graphic Violence
Advice: I think this might be similar to what I gave the CSWA, although the fWo was far from as inactive as Greensboro's finest was this past year. Still, the lag at the end of 2005 as well as the talk that a hiatus should be in order is discomforting to say the least. Hiatuses should never be in order because you can never really fully recover from them. Good thing that they decided not to go that route. Still, there should be a contingency plan to keep going when Travis goes on extended leaves for business. Now might be a tough time, seeing that some key handlers are leaving, ostensibly for good, but new handlers can come in and breathe life into the fed. Some may doubt that the fWo can have as good a year in 2006 as they had in 2005, but it all depends on effort.
- Carmine Esposito and Jimmy Two Times will have a falling out
- Miss Ann will end up cheating on Hans Nowak, with whom, I don't know
- I expect a card from the Bunny Ranch
- LVW will be the hottest fed on the circuit in 2006
Best bet to win the LVW World Championship: Hans Nowak
Advice: As a fellow fedhead, I know it's rough starting up from scratch and trying to get guys to come in. It's a trying process, and I know that the LVW guys can be persistent. But I hope they're patient too and aren't looking to accept just any old characters. No offense to Siegel or Miller, but I would hate to see Cameron Cruise or Jonathan Marx come into LVW, not because they're bad characters, because they're not, but because LVW already has a roster with new and different characters. Honestly, of all the rosters right now, LVW has the best fitting one. Honestly, by this time next year, I fully expect there to be a healthy roster of 15-20 guys for LVW, especially with the "elegant booking," lucid cardwriting and the edge factor that LVW has.
No predictions, only Advice: The MBE Cup was great for nostalgia, and it turned out to be a mild success. That mild success could have been a lot better if the cards were up on time and we had a Cup winner by March instead of by August. I think they should definitely do the Cup annually, but I also think they'd be wise to adopt the TEAM approach to it, and do recaps for all but the best early round matches.
- Over/under on shows in 2006: 5.5
- There will be at least one angle involving gay sex
- I smell another MWG segment with an annoying celebrity doing unspeakable things to either himself or to his valet
- The Masked Man will turn out to be a familiar face to NEW
Best bet to win the NEW World Championship: MWG
Advice: NEW went out of its way to recruit guys from X-net and other places off the FW/EWN/PTC radar in the past. While they provided the most diverse and different roster on FW.com at the time, a lot of those guys were unreliable and were the ones who no-showed, while it was folks like myself, Barry T, Siegel, Miller and Jason Payne who were the ones RPing. NEW got discouraged and I was told that they were going to stop recruiting so hard from those places. Well, I'd say that's a bad idea, if just because you need to get talent from wherever you can get it, especially in times like these, where the stagnant pro wrestling stage is causing stagnation in e-fedding. I'd just say be more careful about screening these folks instead of letting them in wholesale.
And, oh yeah, get more active :p
- Anne Mystic will shock the world and end up with... Troy Windham??!?!
- New South Enterprises will be to NFW West what the East was to the North last season
- Kooter Michaels-Cruise will be an ULTRATITLE competitor by week 8
- By this time next year, we will at least have our ULTRATITLE finalists in tow
Best bet to win the NFW World Championship: Kin Hiroshi
Best bet to win the UWA World Championship: Tom Adler
Best bet to win the ULTRATITLE: Felix Red
Advice: A lot of the choices for the ULTRATITLE chase in the West, both originally and as replacements, have been salivating to say the least. Angelo Deville, Donaven Winters, Jeff Garvin, Deacon... but they all seemed to flake out after awhile. But if you look at it, it's really not suprising. Deville's in PRIME, where they write novels for RPs. Garvin's handler is in ACW and writes a lot of stuff for his characters there. Winters and Deacon, I guess either had "outgrown" e-fedding, or had some real life stuff going on. I think NFW has seen this and are going with more unknown quantities who seem more reliable (like N. Quiry and Guy Boudreaux). Which leads to my advice being not to chase after the biggest names for the West, go for guys who will write for you. Right now, the West has enough big guns who are reliable to take them through the rest of the season. KVC, Almasy, Rook, Windham, Miles, Mayfield and Randalls... you can count on them. So I don't see any problems getting lesser known guys involved, even if the West was supposed to be the "dream" roster.
- The First won't lose his title until he channels the spirit of Steve Lombardi
- Big Gay Bruce and Beau Michaels will form a tag team sooner or later
- Craig Miles will make at least one guest appearance
- UCW will help ENN's growth out and make it another hub by the end of the year
Best bet to win the UCW World Championship: IrishRed
Advice: I guess it's similar advice I gave to LVW. They need to be patient and build a rep on word of mouth, especially when their fed's growth is intertwined with the growth of the site it's on. Still, with the group of handlers they have (Brunk, West, Jenkins), they can make a big impact on the A1/FW.com world of e-feds. To do this, they need to keep up with the solid writing and logical booking.
- Over/Under on cards in 2006: 6.5
- Say hello to President Manson
- LOVE will break up unceremoniously
- WFW will continue to build a tag division on the heels of crowing Tag Champions at SuperBowl of Wrestling
Best bet to win the WFW World Championship: Jared Wells
Advice: A fed should never have to hinge on the health of its fedhead to keep going. Paul Miller getting the flu destroyed any momentum WFW had from 2004 going into 2005. Much like I said about other feds, WFW needs to have a contingency plan for when Miller can't write matches himself, and that contingency plan can't consist of other fedheads with issues writing cards themselves taking on the duties. WFW has a unique roster and a unique feel to it, and it would be deadly to it if they went through another rough year like they did this past year.
One general prediction
A lot of people bemoan the fact that barely any new handlers come into the game now. I honestly feel that this is because of the stagnant state of professional wrestling in America, especially at the highest levels. There needs to be another boom, or at least semi-boom for more handlers to come in. And I think that boom will happen when TNA gets prime-time television early in 2006. When TNA does get prime-time, I feel they can become a threat to the WWE and light a fire under their asses. And when a fire is lit under Vince's ass, he tends to do his best business.
This may be wishful thinking, but the success of TNA is the lynchpin for new handlers coming in and making the e-fedding world rock and roll again.