Like I said in the previous entry, it's the end of the year and people are going awards happy, and rightfully so, I might add. Recognition spurs discussion, and discussion is always good. Of course, I have my own year-end awards that I present on my blog. I don't know how prestigious the Blog Awards are. I know there are some among you who hold this silly little thing as gospel, and I also know that a majority of the handlers of the world either don't know of this blog's existence or don't give a flipping fuck about it. That's okay, really. I'm not in it for the recognition or to be this almighty bestower of honor and prestige. For one, I don't follow nearly enough feds for me to have that claim. I mean, there are several PTC feds, a circle that I'm a member of, that I don't follow as much as I'd like (and I feel bad about it too, since I feel like I haven't given GCW a fair shake and I hear nothing but rave reviews about Global and XUW).
Two, well, I am biased to an extent, but really, we all are... we praise what we like. There is no universal objective standard to how good an RP is, but I'm sure if there were, people would still gush over what they liked over what was objectively "good." Kinda like in the way that Yngwie Malmsteen might be the most technically proficient guitar player in the world, but I'd take listening to Kurt Cobain's silly little three-chord riffs over his OMG SHRED any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Therefore, we're probably never going to see completely eye to eye about who should get what awards.
For example, I'm 99.999% sure that when I post my top 5 list for Wrestler of the Year in the awards post, The Illustrious Face-Eater/Adam Dick is going to be on there. (Where? I'm not giving awards spoilers out, bitches :p) However, there are going to be some people who would refuse to put him on a top 20 for this year. There are still others who are going to rank him #1 on their lists. Does that mean some people are more "wrong" than others? Of course not. In a hobby where how good you do is based entirely on the subjective nature of some kind of judging panel (in A1E, it's the voting populace, in GTT6, it's a panel of judges, in most feds, it's a single booker), there is no such thing as objectivity.
However, it's more than fair to ask and see what people use as their criteria for selecting awards? I open the following questions up to everyone, whether you have your own set of awards, or whether you're just nominating/voting in a process such as the MARK Awards or the ENNies, who would like to answer, even as I provide my answers underneath.
What do you look for when you name your Wrestler of the Year, or really any kind of in character award?
Basically, I look at a character, and I use the following two criteria:
1. Did I enjoy that character's body of work?
2. How much positive impact did the character have on the fed(s) he/she was in?
Of course, it gets broken down so much more than that, two especially. I look at things like major feuds, angles, segment participation, titles won, tournament work, impact across multiple feds and overall heat (the most subjective criterion there is in this hobby where the fans don't pile into the arena and chant for the guys they feel are most over!).
When you break down reason one though... well, that may sound like I'm some raving lunatic and that it gives me carte blanche to honor/discredit whomever I want. In a way, that's correct, and I don't need anyone telling me I can't do otherwise on this little space on the Internet that I call my own. Conversely though, I do feel somewhat of a responsibility to try and inject some kind of objectivity into things. Then again... I've been known to enjoy most anything, so I won't (or at least I hope I never will) throw out a character's accomplishments just because I don't enjoy it at all. Well, unless it's a character that I'm diametrically opposed to, like, say a legit vampire who insists on doing people in in the middle of the ring, or a business-exposing character who breaks kayfabe at will but gets praise and titles heaped upon him/her... but even then, characters like that are virtually non-existant. (note about the vampires... from my understanding, most vampiric characters don't really show that side in the ring even though they are acknowledged as such... so with my predilections against them, I can at least tolerate them).
I guess what I mean with reason one is that my enjoyment tends to be a tiebreaker, like in the case of, say, Garbage Bag Johnny vs. Felix Red. Their accomplishments will merit them both a lot of talk for WotY, but I'd tend to rank GBJ higher. Why? I derived more enjoyment from the character. I thought his segs were engaging and entertaining, whereas with Felix... I thought he had his share of entertaining segments, but there were also times where I didn't understand where he was going and got confused with what he was saying. No knock on the character or Barry himself. I still think he deserves recognition, but here's a case where I feel GBJ's enjoyment factor pushes him higher.
What do you look for when deciding Handler of the Year?
Basically, it's a mix of the above in-character stuff and a healthy dose of OOC stuff too. Intangibles as I like to call them. Stuff like matchwriting, feedback participation, backstage demeanor, promotion, management skills as a fedhead and assistance to the fedhead as a rank-and-file member of the fed. It boils down to dedication. I'd be more than happy to give WotY to a character and snub the handler if all he/she does is RP and maybe give consent for the character to be in an angle here or there. Conversely, I'd have no problem giving HotY to someone whose characters do dick in-character, but that person writes matches, gives feedback, offers encouraging words to fellow fedmates and helps hold together feds that might otherwise fall apart.
How much stock should you put in awards?
Only as much as you want to. If you think that winning the ENNie for Wrestler of the Year is a huge deal, then it's a huge deal. If it doesn't mean much to you, that's alright too (although the many who nominated and voted would be disappointed in the lack of enthusiasm for the award). At the end of the day, any award, be it MARK, ENNie, Blog Award or even the C. Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence, is only there for fun and to spur discussion. That's all. If you take pride in the awards you win, then that's great and you're doing a great thing for the hobby and for yourself.
However, when you start throwing those accomplishments around, like a certain William Morgan does here with his cIm Wrestler of the Week Awards, it becomes cheap, tawdry and plain pathetic. As an aside, it's such a joke when he criticizes Devin for talking up his MARK Award as some phantom accomplishment. I mean, last time I checked, Russel Harder is not some phantom alias that Devin uses to give himself stupid awards; he's a respected member across all three major communities that are covered here. Morgan's cIm WotW awards all came because the Rev-Pro fanboys flooded the ballot boxes. Pot. Kettle.
Anyway... getting back on topic, awards are only what you make of them. Don't let your ego get too inflated, and don't let them get you down if you don't win them either.
And as a bonus, I throw in another question that totally contradicts the advice I gave in the previous sentence. :)
In a moment of total selfishness, what awards would you nominate your own work in the hobby for if you were so bold?
One WotY nod for The Phantom Republican, a Heel of the Year nod for Suleimon and a Tag Team of the Year nod for The 'Billies would be nice enough for me to be bold in that hypothetical situation. But awards aren't for puffing yourself up; they're for honoring others. So I would not be so bold :)