Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Fedhead Report Card

A fed may not be only as good as its fedhead, but the man or woman heading the thing up definitely plays a huge role in your enjoyment of the fed. So, let's rate them, shall we? Once again, no ratings for TEAM (because I'd give myself an A+ and you'd all hate me for it) or EPW (because I'm so heavily involved, it wouldn't be objective). Also, I'm not rating CSWA or WFW in the active fed section, because they're clearly not active right now (that may change for WFW if Superbowl of Wrestling EVER gets posted). I'm also going to post their matchwriting grades again, and in a few cases, the grades will be changed (mainly for the incomplete ones, but there will be a change for at least one of the other feds too).

A1E Fedheads: The A1E Booking Committee (Roger Albrecht, Jarret Aubry, Phil Banet, Andrew Gilkison, Shane G.)

Ever since I've joined A1E, the fed has been run by at the very least two people (Rog and Jim "Kayafaber" Sirigos), but more than likely, it has been by committee of mostly five people. Several people have come and gone from that committee, including myself, Mat Harrell, Ryan Poole, Dave Euclid, Shane Carnes and even Bill Dempsey among others. The only member who's remained constant has been Roger. Because of that, the fed has always maintained the same basic character it has since the beginning, but the constant revolving door of BC members can make it hard to nail down a definitive direction for more than just a few months.

Honestly, I'm not a fan of the booking by committee approach anymore. That being said, however, A1E does it as well as anyone could hope for right now. Still, the obvious holes in the booking; nonsensical submission losses, misplaced run-ins and random matches; it still seems to me that there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Would A1E be better served with fewer committee members though, especially with the culture that has persisted for so long in the fed? That question may never be answered.

Grade: C+
Matchwriting Grade: C+ (improved from a C- originally... there has been a marked improvement since the original MWRC was posted)

ACW Fedheads: ...not really anyone, really

ACW really doesn't have a fedhead. Ever since Devin Woods quit the post a week into his tenure, ACW has been in "inmates running the asylum" mode. Devin, Cimon, Seth Silver, Roland (who may or may not be the headless Thompson gunner :p), Mike Renner, Michael Dupin and Oz have been doing alot of the administrative stuff, and really, everyone in the fed has an input into what's going on. They've reached a sort of happy equilibrium where everyone's at least somewhat happy, but there's also a lot of confusion and some sniping, especially when it comes to the posting of shows and clarification of deadlines.

Bottom line is, ACW running as well as it is right now is either some huge fluke of every personality there meshing in cosmic accordance or it's everyone working together, putting ego aside to get shit done. The optimist in me has me leaning towards the latter.

Grade: B-
Matchwriting Grade: B+ (Didn't grade them last time... I've actually gotten a hold of the writing style, both in reading and writing. A fine collection of writers, although the main drawback and the main thing keeping them from an A is the tendency to make matches a little too long, though not as bad as they did in tSC.)

AWC Fedhead: Pierre Hyde

I won't mince words here. Hyde is OUTSTANDING as a fedhead. He's a superb manager, but he doesn't make the fatal error of attempting to micromanage. AWC's punctual schedule is due to Hyde's work at writing matches and getting people to write matches. He's a fair judge, and he tries to make sure everyone who at least tries has a story. The only minus, if you can say that, is that he's barely ever on AIM, but that's negated since he always answers PMs and e-mails. AWC is in great hands with Hyde steering the ship.

Grade: A
Matchwriting Grade: B-

LVW Fedheads: Mike Stanton and Paul Kobylarz

In the same vein as Hyde, Mike and Ybok do a lot for LVW, and it shows, seeing that LVW right now is the hottest ticket on They've collected a great set of handlers, and they also do what not many other fedheads are willing to do in giving handlers ideas for characters. In a fed like LVW, you need to have that kind of guidance from the top guys seeing that there are certain types of characters who will and won't fly in the fed.

The only drawback I see is that there's a tendency sometimes to have Jack House steal the show. Even if House has never gone over a non-fedheaded character, it doesn't look good when he's the major focus of the non-match segments of the show. STill though, it's not that bad, and House is a damn good character who would get over huge in other feds.

Grade: B+
Matchwriting Grade: B+ (Incomplete last time... the matches are short, sweet and to the point, which is more than I can ask for. The only problem I have is that they lean on DQ finishes too often.)

NEW Fedhead: Sean Edmunds

Sean is a good people person, very personable and someone whose fed you certainly want to join. He's also got great ideas bookingwise, and he's certainly not afraid to be edgy yet not smart enough not to be edgy for being edgy's sake.

But his biggest drawback is the reason why NEW has lagged so much in the last 18 months. He takes on too much of a workload when it comes to matchwriting. It's fine to want to write all your fed's matches, but with Sean's real life workload, it's nrealistic for him and selfish for all of us to expect him to drop all of that and work on RAUCOUS non-stop. He has gotten a matchwriting aide, but he's proven to be unreliable, at least in my view. Hopefully, Sean can find some kind of solution.

Grade: B-
Matchwriting Grade: B-

NFW Fedheads Jon Katz (major), Mike McNichols, Jamar Nicholas

I know I've cooled on the NFW praise on here in the last few months, but it's not because they weren't doing a good job. I didn't want there to be a backlash :p

Seriously though, it begins again right now. Katz seriously deserves a medal for overseeing the huge project that is Season Two. I'm convinced anyone else would have quit by now. Yes, there may be a lag between shows, but it's not because of Katz; unlike NEW or WFW, NFW is written largely by committee.

The only other problem is that the fedheads' characters, mainly Craig Miles, Mike Randalls and Eddie Mayfield, are visible on the show, but they rarely ever go over other folks without either their consent (remember, NFW West is the angle fed part) or without good reason. Plus, there are so many other folks who are contributing stuff to shows that their characters don't overshadow the non-fedheaded characters.

This NFW project could have fallen flat on its face with other leadership, but it hasn't, and that's because of Katz. I don't think there's a better fed-manager out there.

Grade: A
Matchwriting Grades: B+ (East) A- (West)

UCW Fedheads: Dan Scifo, Shane Carnes

Current lag due to the ENN server thingy aside, Dan and Shane have done a great job getting their startup off the ground. In the recruiting department, they've gotten a great mix of fed originals (like The First and BG Bruce), midcarders being elevated (IrishRed, Cameron Cruise) and main event level guys who are putting over the originals and midcard guys (Dan Ryan). They've also stepped it up with the matchwriting, and I like what they're doing in regards to their angles.

Of course, they do have some problems with lag even without server issue and while the matchwriting has improved, it still seems a bit choppy in places.

Grade: B
Matchwriting Grade: B+ (huge improvement since the original report card)

Now that concludes the active feds. Here are grades for three "classic" or inactive feds that I think are pertinent here.

CSWA Fedheads: Chad Merritt, Steve Thomas

When they're open, they run good stuff. Chad and Steve are also both very attentive to their handlers. However, if the fed's never putting out cards then we can't get a glimpse into how well they do things. There are very few feds that generate the interest that the CSWA does on name alone, but it's on the fedheads to justify that interest with cards.

I've advocated before for the VPs to step up, and they do need to. I know I dropped the ball myself since I was named a VP, so part of the blame goes to me.

Grade: C+
Matchwriting Grade: B

MBE Fedheads: Dan West, Bill Dempsey, Jeff Paternostro, Bobby Rodriguez, several others

This may be unmitigated nostalgia speaking, but I can't think of a better-run fed than MBE in their golden period. They were the exception to the committee rule, as they really had at least two great minds in Dan and Bill and one person who knew how to deal with people and was able to be a spokesperson for the fed in Bobby on the committee all the time. They were the fairest in booking, and there really wasn't a single thing that they did that I disagreed with.

They knew how to play to everyone's strengths, including their own. And while the best, mythic characters in the fed were fedheaded characters (side note: I don't have a problem with fedheads having characters in vote-feds because everyone decides who wins, not just the fedheads... just in case you missed that the last time I mentioned it here :p), but they never hesitated to get into programs that led to them putting other folks over. I can honestly say that Maggs wouldn't be the character he is if it weren't for Bill playing his foil as Freakfish. Freakfish made Maggot, and for that I'm always going to be grateful.

And they did that for a host of other characters as well. Andrew Gilkison, Webweaver, Mr. CableAccessTV, PacoTheWetback, Duchess, AussieB, Rat, and even in the MBE Cup with IrishRed... the list goes on.

Once again, this might be more glowing than it should be because of unmitigated nostalgia, but I think you can ask most people who were involved in MBE and they'll at least somewhat echo what I said here.

Grade: A+
Matchwriting Grade: B+ (Short, sweet and to the point, although at times, they could be too short.)

WFW Fedhead: Paul Miller

Paul has a great following of handlers in WFW, and that counts for something. Having handler loyalty speaks to you as a fedhead, and that's a huge plus.

However, I can't ignore the sometimes screwy booking, the choppy matchwriting or the way he posts the card, which is conducive to lag and breaks up the continuity of the shows.

Grade: C
Matchwriting Grade: C-

Finally, I'm going to write blurbs on two new feds who haven't run their first shows yet and are still in the recruiting phase. No grades for these guys, just a rundown of their fedheads based on what I know about them.

FMLL Fedhead: Ryan Aston

When looking at Ryan's positives alone, you can't help but expect great things for FMLL. A lucha fed is something that hasn't been tried in a long time (if you don't count Ryan's and Angel's first attempt at starting up FMLL in 2004), and Ryan has a good ear for booking traditionally with a flair for the bizzare.

However, I can't ignore the times Ryan has disappeared completely from the FW world, and that concerns me in regards to him being a fedhead. That could also hurt his recruiting, but I would hope that people at least give him and FMLL a chance instead of not joining just because they're afraid of him disappearing.

MCW Fedhead: Jeff Bolichowski

Teh Bolich has experience as a fedhead, as he was a co-head with Brunk in EPW for awhile. In my humble opinion, he did a good job, and I think when he's motivated, he can provide great direction for any fed.

My main concerns are that Jeff also has a tendency to burn out very quickly and he can sometimes be abrasive with folks he doesn't see eye-to-eye with. Once again, these are legitimate concerns, but hopefully, they're not concerns that will keep people away. I think that just like with Ryan, Jeff's positives highly outweigh the negatives.


Hyde said...

Maybe I'm biased, but I think this was a great idea.

And I rock :D

paul k. said...

Addressing the LVW drawbacks before addressing the positives...

LVW's had all of... 3 DQs in 5 cards. Two of which were neccessitated by angles and stuff.

"lean on DQ finishes too often" is a bit much.

As for Jack House, well, no one's been sending in any non-match stuff at all (thankfully that's changed for the Supershow - which will be up by Thursday!), so his non-match stuff will look like it's sticking out, and I wanted to keep House out of the fray as much as possible (unfortunately I had to stick him into the World Title Tourney which wasn't in the original plans) for the first run of cards to let everyone get their feet wet. He'll be getting more involved in matches and with the active roster after SotS I.

paul k. said...

Now for the good stuff... thanks for the kudos. We've "collected", as you said, a great set of guys and our active roster coming out of the Supershow will be at 18.

Mike's and I goal was to get the roster to 22 (as that's the most we think we can handle without things getting obtuse)... so yes, for those of you reading, we still have openings!

And Mike's still hunting people down and kindly asking them to join.

We still have a list of gimmicks... (counting the list)... 10 deep for anyone wanting to join and needing ideas.

If only someone would go for the lounge singer.

Jeffrey Paternostro said...

Man, you were great. Should we just leave the twenty on the dresser?

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the grading alot, but I'd like to speak up and say that NFW would've fallen flat on its face if we didn't have McNichols and yourself writing for the East. McNichols definitely deserves an A just for putting up with my crap and still putting all the East goodness together.

Thanks alot Tommy, it means alot to me that you think we're that good. :)


Anonymous said...

Ooh. And Stanton matchwrites alot too. Give him the purple heart or something for us. heh heh :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Holzer. :)

And its not selfish of people in NEW to expect me to write everything .. its selfish of me to want to write everything because I want to make sure I have a tight rein on everything. ;)

But maybe I'll loosen my grip in order to get things moving. ;)

Tom Holzerman said...

Jeff.... that was worth more than a Jackson. I'm thinking US Grant at least, bucko.

Katz... I actually agree wholeheartedly about McNic. I should have included him in there too because he's the straw that stirs the East's drink.

¡Phenomenal RYAN! said...

I must say, writing a column or posting a blog with content like this can be a risky endeavor, people can be very sensative about things and stuff like this sometimes pushes people's buttons, but I must say... you did a great job with it, Mr. H. It was interesting to see your thoughts on everything and it was clear that you made every effort to be an impartial judge... something that is easier said than done.

As relates to FMLL, I hope people give it a chance as well. Heh, after probably never missing a match, a card, and RP session, anything for probably the first 4 or 5 years that I did this stuff, the last year or two have been alot less productive for me. Not as bad as some, but it seems like the couple times I have been out of action for whatever reason, it's happened with the same people, or friends of those people, then word spreads and now I'm the guy who disappears. Hehe, not saying it's right or wrong, and I think Tom was fair in his assessment, but it still sucks as it unquestionably is hurting my recruiting process on an already tough sell. Hopefully, a few of the guys on the fence haveachange of heart, because I need all the help I can get (plus the guys I DO have aren't RPing.. grumble, grumble...)

At any rate, good job mang. It's good to see somebody else's FAIR perspective on the different feds out there.

MrDanWest said...

I am absolutely certain that MBE does benefit somewhat from a positive nostalgia effect.

{Absense makes the heart grw fonder, and all}

That said, I am really proud of most of the work we did there and am touched that it is remembered so fondly by a lot of people.


Anonymous said...

Screwy booking in WFW? What are you talking about?


Anonymous said...

Tommy I hope that you see a marked improvement in A1E's booking and angles. I hope you see some cohesiveness with the cards the last couple months and the actual flow of the cards themselves.

I know personally (since I was part of the problem) that there were a couple cards were matches were thrown up on the BC Board at the last minute. Real life came into play and matches were put up just as the card was about to be posted or even after the card was posted. But in the interest of getting the card up when we advertise things weren't edited as well as they probably should have been.

Let me give a few for instances...the Anarchy Big Dog story has been gonig on for a year. Ryan and Haven continue their feud and that is always shown in the write ups. Jeff gave us ideas for Hida and we went with them. Josh wants a battle with the HPSC and we are accomadating him. If an angle is presented we work it into the card even if it changes a way we were thinking. Ultimately we are there to serve the handlers as best we can.

Any criticism or ideas are greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to comment on our work.

-Shane (Irishred)