Sunday, December 11, 2005

The matchwriting report card

Matchwriting: many people think it's the most important part of any fed. I'd be hard pressed to disagree, although I do think booking and your RPing staff play large roles (in an angle fed, bar none, matchwriting is most important)

But has anyone really stepped back and examined the matchwriting for various feds? I don't believe so. Most of the time I see matchwriting discussed on forums, it's platitudes for feds. No one really critiques them outside of IMs, where I've heard and dispensed many criticisms.

SO here we go with some matchwriting criticism for all the feds I'm familiar with, outside of Empire Pro Wrestling, where I'm the matchwriting assistant. I really can't look at them objectively, seeing that I've virtually written entire cards for them before, and I can honestly say that I think I've influenced most of the matchwriters for the fed.

So without further ado...


Honestly, I think matchwriting for A1E is subpar, and it has been for quite some time. I really can't put my finger on it. I think it's gone through periods where it was too self-indulgent (and trust me, when I was on the BC/matchwriting staff, I was DEFINITELY guilty of that). Right now, many matches seem rushed. I also don't really like how they implement their style of alternating declarative narrative/PBP. I think the PBP parts that come in seem out of place. I do understand why it might seem like that, seeing that the staff is dedicated to getting cards out on time. Sometimes they get good matches, like JA/Farnswirth or Maggot/Big Dog, but a lot of times, they seem dry. Another problem is their continunity between segments. A lot of times, you'll see a match, then one or two segments, and then the next match will pick up like they were going seamlessly from match to match instead of having the segments in between. I think A1E could use some work to get to higher levels where they could balance timeliness, which they're great at, and quality.

Grade C-

NFW East

I really can't do NFW as a whole, because each conference is intrinsically different. I do write for NFW, but I usually stick to my own matches. If anyone writes the bulk of the matches for the East, it's Mike McNichols. Stanton and a few others contribute from time to time, and for the most part, it's a solid crew. THey also suffer from the self-indulgence strain at times, especially McNichols. They tread a fine line. I think Ryan/Manson was a little over the top. Ryan/Red was really good though in a clever way. I like when they throw off-kilter stuff in there. BUt I think if they have it in their mind to make a match an instant classic, it suffers a bit from overkill.

Grade B+

NFW West

If Jamar wrote every NFW West match, there'd be one card a year cuz he'd burn himself out too quickly or not have the time ;). But if he had the inspiration and time, every NFW West card would be immaculate. If Jamar and Katz split the NFW West cards, they'd still be an A at the very least. But they don't. Jamar writes one match a card tops, but you cna't blame him. Katz writes a lot, and I mean A LOT for the West. When he writes PBP, the matches are good... rill good. But when he writes them prose narrative, or when we get Pants getting in on the prose narrative match train the result is more confusion than entertainment. It's not necessarily a bad thing that Pants' style is so different. I mean, he's got balls, posting matches in flashback, but it doesn't gel with me. Same with a lot of the PTC/angle circuit writers who came over. I mean, I don't doubt that the Almasy/Rook Black match was packed with psychology and mind numbing high spots that would have translated more than perfectly into the ring. It's just I can't get into the style. When I read a wrestling match, I can't read it as book style and envision what's going on. I need to see it done PBP, like I'm imagining the guys calling the the match, hearing Kerry and Hollywood in my head calling the match. But I will admit that they put a lot of time and effort into the matches.

And thankfully, Katz is the one writing the majority of the matches ;)

Grade A-


A lot of people praise WFW for solid matchwriting... I'll put it bluntly, I don't see it. For one, I think there's too much CAPSLOCK going on. There's definite overselling to the point where 85% of the match is the announce team screaming at the top of their lungs. The writing is also too choppy and doesn't flow as well as it should. The sequences in the ring are solid at times, and there's good psychology, but you can't tell that at times because the actual writing doesn't convey it as well as it should. Another strike against them is the way the cards are posted. Sometimes they go like days between posting matches. You don't get a good flow for the card. Even if you post the card without a match, you get a better flow than if you have matches go up over the course of a week. WFW's definitely on the overrated side when it comes to matchwriting.

Grade C-


I think Edmunds takes some hints from WFW when writing NEW matches. There's definitely a penchant for overselling. I think a lot of this is shown through the way that no-showers are written, ie, given any more than a token kick or punch. But I think the writing mechanics are alot better. I like the NEW announce team for RAUCOUS. I also think there's enough creativity going with some of these finishes that I think NEW can become a leader on FWC for matchwriting quality. As it stands right now, they're still behind NFW and probably the CSWA, but that's not a bad place to be.

Grade B-


Ah yes, the grand ol' fed. I almost went incomplete, but I thought back to the cards during the UNIFIED tournament and Anniversary, and there was a lot of good stuff going on. I think the matches are prone to ramble sometimes, but it's never too too bad. I think what hurts CS the most is the inactivity of the fed. Once they get a good push going, it skids to a halt because Chad has to go on business trips. Chad says he hopes to rectify this with the new restart, and we can only hope it does.

Grade B


They've only had one card, which is far too few to judge objectively. But the first card was a good card, and if they build from that, we may have a leader in the clubhouse when NFW Season 2 ends and if Katz/JN decide not to do a third season.

Grade Incomplete


Shane and Dan show a lot of promise with their cardwriting, but there lacks a certain panache with the matches. I can't really put my finger on it, because the effort is definitely there, as is the psychology. Maybe it's the announce crew, I don't know. But these guys are getting better rather than worse at their craft, which is always good.

Grade C+


AWC has a ton of talented writers, but most of them seem to excel at character building segments rather than matches. Not to say the matches aren't good, but they seem a little dry. I have a lot of trouble getting through them sometimes and this is due to the style used, which like A1E, is a hybrid of declarative prose and PBP. the PBP portions are easier to palate; I rather enjoy the Kern/Marx/Smith announce team, especially Smith. However, when they switch to the block paragraphs describing the ring action, it gets a bit tedious. I would suggest switching to straight PBP if they think their writers can give the announcers that much personality.

Grade B-


Once again, the prose narrative style doesn't quite wet my palate as much as PBP does, but this is not to say that the ACW matchwriters don't take care to make each match as action packed as possible. I think though, that the way the matches are written, it makes it easier to miss plot developments and miss out on some details, which may take away from the out-of-match segments, something ACW writers excel at.

Grade Incomplete, because I'd rather not grade them on their matchwriting style if I haven't mastered reading it yet


See ACW, only I think their matches are easier to read sometimes.

Grade Incomplete, because I'd rather not grade them on their matchwriting style if I haven't mastered reading it yet


Anonymous said...

Good reviews, but I've gotta disagree with you on the NEW matches overselling when people no-show. I know I'm guilty of this as a matchwriter, but when someone no-shows and gets squashed, it's done in such a way they lose any heat they had going into the match. I actually like the way Sean does it - people get to keep their heat and it makes the cards a better read because you don't know what's going to happen, whereas with cards where peopel who no-show get totally squashed, it's a real let down.

Anonymous said...

LOL -- me and JN, the teacher's pets!

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrreat. I'm sure this'll endear us to most of your readers.