Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Festivus: The Airing of Grievances

It's late December again, and you know what that means... Christmas Festivus for the rest of us! Yes, for a second year, I will air a grievance in the manner that Jerry Stiller's character on Seinfeld has laid out, and this year, that grievance is the shoddy treatment of the wrestling promo RP, specifically in the PTC community.

It seems that there's a condescending air and this insidious undercurrent of venom when it comes to the traditional wrestling promo. It's like that if you do that kind of thing, or if you're in a fed where that's the common practice, you're not as evolved as other e-fedders are, and those places should be looked down upon. To tap into themes that my guest bloggers have been exploring, it's like there are two different games nowadays. The PTC game has been hijacked by writers, while wrestling fans still have control of FW. The writers believe that "trash talk" is uncivilized and better left to special events, fun things that have no bearing on fed matters, like what's going on here.

Because it's now all about the writing, about crafting these fine stories, the art of the promo, at least in RP form, isn't really considered as much an art as it is something you do on the side. If you ask most people where "trash talk" or a wrestling promo belongs, it's on a show write-up. That's where wrestlers cut their promos in real life, right?

But if you look at some of these show write-ups, you aren't going to find a whole lot of promos. Outside of a few people (the lads in Fuck You, Darcy Crisis and Jack Murphy for example... all of them cut in-ring promos and are damn good at it, if you ask me), no one really uses segment work to cut promos on people. They're for the most part backstage segments used to futher storylines.

So if promos have no place in RPs, and people feel compelled not to do them on write-ups, where do they belong? Surely, you're not going to cut out the time-honored tradition of laying the verbal smackdown on your opponents completely, right? I mean, that's half of what wrestling is about. Half the time, you're talking smack on your opponent and the other half, you're in the ring beating up on your opponent. Okay, maybe those numbers are a bit skewed nowadays, seeing that there are plenty of backstage segments, skits and angles that populate wrestling television. Still though, the art of the promo has not been lost. I caught the last hour of Smackdown this past Friday and I saw JBL deliver a fine promo against Teddy Long. People still do it in real life.

Plus... if something is undeniably more fun, why stop doing it? I hear from people all the time that "I wish there was more of a harkening back to the old-school" or "that trash talk thread is the most fun I've had in awhile." This is a hobby... shouldn't it be fun? Why should we turn our noses up to the promo when you can get into it so much? Who cares if the writing isn't as good as if you're doing a zomg important story?

Once again, I can't stress enough that I don't think what most of PTC does for RPs is bad. I like that style and I think it has a place. I was talking to Dave Cook, Jason Snow's handler, last night, and he said that the PTC style of RPing helps people with their writing. I agree with that. I'm very interested in reading stories about wrestlers outside of the arena setting. I like writing those kinds of things too. It has a place.

I also don't think all of PTC thinks the way I described above. I mean, why else would Nova compete in NFW, and why would Pete grade a Lindsay Troy wrestling promo on the same grade as something such as a VJ masterful story epic? There isn't a total disdain for the promo. But it's there in an enclave of the community, and it's present enough to rear its ugly head.

Look, I'm not saying that wrestling promos should be instituted in place of backstage segments and non-traditional RPs. I'm just saying that non-traditional RPs shouldn't be done in lieu of wrestling promos either. There has to be a balance. This hobby has to have some kind of connection to wrestling, and it can't just be through wrestling matches. The spirit of the promo is the thing that gives eW its soul, in my opinion. To take it away is to strip the hobby of its essence.

And stripping the hobby of its essence is a major grievance to me.

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