The first play-ins for GTT6, ie, two characters who lost in round 1-A who'll come back and compete in round 2 due to open slots through double-no-shows. Steve Watson, CPA (huzzah!) and Rich Rollins were given the spots, but Andrew Delling (Rollins' handler) refused the shot, sparking some debate on the boards over whether the spots should even be available. The main argument against them is that it's not fair to put someone who lost fairly back in the tournament, thus giving them a shot at new life. You lost, you're out. Simple as that, right?
Well, no, like most issues, it's not a black and white issue. Ask any fedhead to give his/her list of annoyances, and I'll bet you no-shows will be somewhere high on that list. I know the pain all too well, as I've seen more no-shows than I care to remember in the three tournaments I've run in relation to TEAM so far. Thankfully, I think the only two no-shows for the SuperShow were Lindz and Ed of SVJ fame, and they really weren't no-shows because Lindz told me in advance that neither she nor Ed were able to put up anything for the match, which I appreciate. What's really annoying though is when an entire match is washed out due to dueling no-shows, especially in a tournament setting. Now, you're setting up situations where guys get free passes into later rounds where other guys are busting their asses for them. Is this the fault of the person receiving the unintentional bye? Of course it isn't. I'm not going to sit here and pontificate on folks who are in the right place at the right time because it's all a game of chance.
However, chance or no chance, it's still a bum deal when a Watson, a Rollins, a Tchu or a Hunter Jones or anyone else who came with their A-game has to sit down because they ran into an opponent who was just on another level than they were for that one match while two other guys end up not showing for the tournament at all and cause a washout in a match. If there's a way we can rectify an unintentionally unfair situation, then I see no reason why we shouldn't do it. Pete Speer, an admin at PTC, said it best:
"...[H]ow would you feel about a champion of GTT that only wrestles 3 times the entire tournament, while others write 7 good rounds of stuff? Not very fair, is it?"
Besides, I'm not so sure if I would be proud of winning GTT6 if I only had to RP seriously for 3 rounds. I mean, in this hobby, there aren't many emptier feelings than winning a match just because your opponent no-showed.
Someone used the analogy of the Colts being readmitted into the playoffs after losing to the Steelers. That's an absurd comparison because in the NFL, it's very rare you see one team forfeit a game, let alone both. There is no counterpart for what happens here in major sports. We can't just assume there's an interchangeable situation for everything in our hobby. Some things are unique to us here, and I applaud Pete, Ross, RJ and anyone else involved in the decision making process to have this in place, for thinking on their feet and tailoring a solution to the annoying problem of X-TREEM NO-SHOWING!!!!1
Finally, it was commented that Andrew was classy in giving up his spot. I agree that he was doing the classy thing in that situation, but not for giving up the play-in altogether, as I felt some who were applauding him were only doing so out of their protestations of the system altogether. I thought Andrew did the right thing because he's done all he could have done in the GTT setting outside of being the first to repeat. Even without attaining that milestone, 48-0 is more than legendary, it's damn mythic. While the real life counterpart to our hobby sees so many people concerned with hanging onto their spots as long as possible, Andrew showed a great sensitivity for the longterm health and well-being of the hobby by passing along his spot to someone who had more to prove, someone who would be encouraged to improve him/herself and step into the elite, ensuring the life of PTC and the hobby in general long after the current guard has faded into the sunset. This is truly a case of someone putting another wrestler over, and for that reason, Andrew's actions should be applauded.