Here comes the second half of the YEAR-END EXTRAVAGANZA~! Of course, it comes about a week into the new year, but hey, who's counting? >=) Yep, it's predictions and advice, although the way I've been with predictions, you might not want to read too much into these :p
Anyway, before we get into the new year spirit, another blog gave out some year-end awards. The Beasties! are A1E-centric awards, so if you follow the fed, or if you'd like to follow the fed in 2007 and want to know the best of what happened last year, check 'em out.
- An old face will win the Best of A1E Tournament, and like Spoiler last year, he won't choose the A1E World Championship shot.
- A newer face will end the year as A1E Champion.
- There will be a surge in Tag Team Division activity.
Best Bet to Win the A1E World Championship - Dan Ryan (two years in a row... hopefully I'll be right this year!)
Best Darkhorse to Win the A1E World Championship - Rocko Daymon
There's a trend in A1E when it comes to building title programs. Outside of the World Championship, the formula is that the week after a PPV, you have a contenders match for Title X, and then the winner gets some combo of non-title match/random match against another title contender/tag match against opponent. It doesn't seem like much thought is put into the titles other than who deserves to be in the contender's match. I like that only because it puts something merit based into the title consideration, and I'm always a huge fan of the titles going on someone who deserves it through their work RPing or doing angles and segments on the show.
A1E is also known for strong angles and feuds too though. I mean, they took home Feud of the Year for IrishRed/Mr. Amazing! and they had two very strong Angle of the Year candidates (Anti-Cross and "Slambo"). This isn't just a recent trend either. A1E's had some of the best wrestling stories around since its inception. At times, these great feuds and angles center around the secondary titles. Even as recently as the aforementioned Beast/Cross actions. It's not like they forget about the secondary titles all the time.
However, this uninspired pattern of how title shots are doled out is still prevalent enough that when I notice it, I sigh to myself. It smacks of randomness, and too much random in your long or even short-term plans for your fed can spell trouble. Like I said, I love merit-based title shots. I don't want to see them get rid of that aspect of handing out title shots. However, I'd like the booking committee to step up and show some testicular fortitude. I want them, right after a PPV, to get together, confer and peg two guys they feel have been kicking ass in the fed enough to get a strong program for the Cyber or Triple Star Championship. Then, I want to see them work with that contender and get a base angle in place for them to head after the title. It doesn't have to be Anti-Cross levels of sophistication. Simple works. Even if it's just something as simple as a run-in or a backstage attack, run with it.
And while it might seem that A1E is loaded with people who are former World Champions or who should be on World Title level, it also has a strong history of former World Champs coming down and holding the Cyber Title after their World Title reign. Beast, Housefly and Cross are prime examples of this.
And as for the question of tag team bookings, right now, I know there's a dearth of tag teams. There really has been, outside of one spike in early 2006, one for the last two years, which explains why Torment and Haven and then Dog and Ryan got to have their mammoth title reigns with little to no competition. No offense to either team here; seeing that the former was my Tag Team of the Year for 2005 and the latter notched 4th place this year, I hold both in high regard. However, there were at times little to no competition for them. I don't think that's much of a debatable point here.
I think in this case, A1E has to institute a Lethal Lottery once a year. If you're going to slap a random team together, at least do it in the case where everyone at least seems gung-ho about it. Tag team wrestling may seem blah to some people, but once you say the words "Lethal Lottery," those same people seem to go agog. I don't know why, but they do.
A1E's secondary title situation is easy to fix. I just hope they take steps to fix it, because it would help them so much more.
- Troy Windham will win Gold Rush
- Over/Under on Gold Rush posting date/time - 11:59:59 PM, February 28th
- Over/Under on post Gold Rush shows - 2.5
Best Bet to Win the CSWA UNIFIED Championship - Mark Windham
Best Darkhorse to Win the CSWA UNIFIED Champioinship - Steve Radder
I won't say anything about the late cards, because I wouldn't be adding anything new. Everything that's been said about the lateness has been said and let's keep it at that.
What I will talk about is the influx of PTC-styled RPers coming into the Granddaddy. I think it's good that Chad and Steve are taking chances on these guys and bringing a new style of writing into the FW community. However, I think they need to be more careful in who they bring over.
FW has always been a wrestling-oriented community with a concentration in writing wrestling promo styled RPs. Two feds have reached out to other communities who've developed different styles different than what we have; NFW and CSWA. Katz initially hand-selected his roster, although he brought more people in through open apps. Still, he's had success in PTC-styled RPers adapting to the promo (like Nova), or narrative writers writing non-traditional RPs about their wrestlers in a wrestling light.
The CSWA has taken more of a sweeping, open-application approach. This isn't to say they weren't selective; there were some rejected apps, so it's not like Chad let in anyone with a pulse. However, in the Gold Rush, it seemed there were more than a few run-of-the-mill narrative guys in there. I could totally be off here due to misinterpretation of how the RPs went, but there were a lot of banal, non-wrestling related stories going on. I know this goes on a lot in PTC, but that's okay because it's their style over there, or at least it's the defined mediocrity in their style. Not everyone's going to be the best at what they do.
But we already have our own mediocre folks in our style over here. We have the folks who post the utterly uninspired "i r better than u" promos here, the kind that the snobbery of the narrative writing world try to frame all "trash-talk" RPs as. They're our mediocrity, and they wouldn't be accepted abroad. That's perfectly okay. Only what's considered really good should be able to fly anywhere. But why is it that non-wrestling banality is accepted in the wrestling fan-intensive side of this eW spectrum that's known to my blogging audience?
I think that if/when the CSWA gets back on track, they need to make it clear that regardless of what style you write in, it has to be about the wrestling product, about what's going on the company. No masturbatory character development that has nothing to do with them as wrestlers or the storylines contained within the company that affect them as wrestling characters.
- A darkhorse will win King of the Cage
- By the end of the year, both former EPW Champions will have made a return
- Richard Farnswirth will establish himself in EPW in 2007 much like he did in A1E in 2005-06
Best Bet to Win the EPW World Championship - Karl Brown
Best Darkhorse to Win the EPW World Championship - Kazuo Shizaki
What do you say to the fed that really has everything? I know, I know, we're still coming off the heels of a few pretty laggy cards, and it remains to be seen whether a) shortforming is the answer and b) whether PPVs will have the same lag problems. At least shortforming has worked for Aggression so far.
Still though, EPW has an enviable mix of handlers and characters (the recent addition of Sky/Silvio Fiore only enhances that diversity), perhaps the best angle mind in all of eW today and a gifted set of writing hands that put some of the best segments and matches up in the extended eW world. Really, the only thing EPW has to worry about is complacency (and of course, the whole matchwriting lag thing for PPVs, but that's already been beaten to death ever since the fed opened). It might be a cop-out, but I really can't think of a single, novel thing to harp on about EPW.
I hope that's taken as a complement.
- Dean will end up handling actively before the end of the year (whether he sticks or not is a different story! :p)
- Dan West will become as known in PTC as he is in FW/A1 land through his work in FUSE
- GTT7's Champion will come from FUSE
Best Bet to Win the FUSE Universal Championship - Clinton Sage
Best Darkhorse to Win the FUSE Universal - Steve Watson - CPA
I've said before that I was concerned with KillZone's wrestling topicality. This was only after reading one show, and I was impressed with other shows of theirs that I read, so I won't harp on that. I will give this advice.
I would be very wary about volunteering to take on PTC matches for the time being. I don't suggest dropping out of the interfed, because enough feds have dropped/will be dropping within the future, and FUSE is definitely one of the top feds there. However, I feel that one-third of the admins at PTC (hint, there are only three) has a giant conflict of interest when it comes to handling of FUSE and its dealings. It's well-known the disdain that admin shows for FUSE's fedhead Max in public forums and in the way he handled the last time FUSE took on a PTC match (a match that his home fed was supposed to take on in the first place). It wouldn't be fair to the other two admins, for whom I have all the respect in the world for, for FUSE to drop completely or totally become totally sheltered member of the interfed (much like the WWA is right now), but I wouldn't feel right doing favors for people who treated me and my fed like shit. I wouldn't want the aggravation that comes when every move that is made gets microanalyzed for fault, even if it's by one person, however petty and small he is.
Wait for a shakeup, get some assurances from the other two, do something before you offer your neck out to be guillotine fodder again. FUSE administratively runs too tight a ship for it to be knocked off course by a blustery wind.
- Spoiler and Freakfish will have one last battle in an MBE ring before one (or both) of the characters is retired
- Whatever secondary title that is introduced, I see CFC being the first holder of it
- There will be a sex-toy themed PPV
Best Bet to Win the MBE World Championship - Andy Gilkison
Best Darkhorse to Win the MBE World Championship - Jeffery Roberts
Growing pains suck and recruitment is a pain in the ass. MBE has felt both of these truisms hard since reopening in August 2006. The once-proud landmark fed of the A1 world probably was never used to this, even in the beginning. I wasn't around for it, but the spontaneity [sic?] with which it began indicates to me that they had a healthy amount of handlers to begin with or they didn't have a lot, but they weren't keeping count.
If the latter was the case... then hey, why not take that route again? Sure, this restart might not be as spontaneous as the fed's original beginning, but it's got a great, great core of handlers that you can build around. If it takes a year to take off, and if you have to retread matches twice or thrice, so be it. You can build a nice history and some nice feuds that way. You can definitely build some original stars as well.
MBE may have suffered from the fact that the characters at times could seem larger than the fed. Often times, we associate Freakfish, Hida Yakamo, Maggot, PILE and of course, the Spoiler, as being MBE rather than being a part of it. Well, none of the above are involved in a super-active role, and Hida and FF are only there as support characters right now. If there was any time to establish your CFCs and your Ace Masons as the new breed of MBE homegrowns and your Andy Gilkisons and Justin Evitables as the next class of MBE legends, it's now. Having a smaller fed can be conducive to both of those, especially since you don't have as many needy mouths to feed. You can get a better sense of cohesion. And best of all, shows can be shorter and you can snag the attention deficit crowd with your writing so that when you do establish the fed, people can join and fill out the roster in time.
- New and Improved D-X will gain accolades as seperate single entities
- D! will be back by August
- At least one NAPW superstar will make a TEAM event final
Best Bet to Win the NAPW World Championship - Ravager
Best Darkhorse to Win the NAPW World Championship - Bruce Richards
Exposure can do a lot of great things for a fed. It gains it new fans, more respect from peers and increased interest in joining. In the last year, NAPW, through their strong interfed showings in both TEAM and MCW events, got a lot of exposure in the FW world. More people in our community know who NAPW is now than before.
The "e-fed indie" also doesn't seem to have much of a problem recruiting. However, I don't think that has anything to do with their exposure in the FW world. In fact, the only guy from our sphere who has ventured over to NAPW was Promo, and that was for a short stint. All in all though, I think that's a good thing. NAPW has its own flavor, its own handler identity, its own corner. To me, the reason why I always look forward to NAPWites participating in TEAM matches is that they're truly fresh matches, matches that are totally in the spirit of the interfed, matches you haven't seen before.
Now, with all that being said, I don't know if it's NAPW's intention to try and actively recruit more from the FW side, but I'd just like to say that would be a bad idea. Before anyone says anything about it, that's not a commentary on the bank of handlers/characters that we have over at FW. I think the extended FW/A1 community has the best set of handlers on the net in terms of ability and atmosphere. I just think that if there was a full-scale FW character invasion into NAPW, it would make that fed just another FW fed. While Brunk, Shane, Edmunds and Katz have done great jobs maintaining separate identities, but the feds still share more than a few characters amongst each other.
NAPW though? Their roster is almost wholly unique. I would hate to see them have the same sort of homogeneity issues that FW has. If an FW guy comes over there on his own will, then by all means, he should be accepted. I don't think any fed should adopt exclusionary tactics. However... I wouldn't go recruiting FW guys, unless they're doing all new characters. Then that's okay :)
- Team Baked will be the first NEW Tag Champions
- Larry Tact will end up sending VP Juliet Marceau to the nuthouse
- HAL wins BattleBRAWL III
Best Bet to Win the NEW World Championship - Larry Tact
Best Darkhorse to Win the NEW World Championship - Chaos
Best Bet to Win the VENUS World Championship - Foxx
Much ado has been made of the new offshoot of NEW, the VENUS Wrestling Alliance. While I've long not been a fan of NEW's women's division (because I feel eW should be totally gender integrated), I feel this new fed could be something different for the community. Just for the fact that it's all women makes some of the dynamics different. Despite my feelings on segregated characters, I think this could be a good idea.
However, the second it starts to detract from NEW, it has to go. NEW has gone from a niche fed for mid-carders in FW to being one of the elite starmakers in all of eW. Edmunds has done a fantastic job building it up despite the periods of lag that befell it last year. Despite the fact that Edmunds, as well as Shane C. and Brunk, are on the shortforming bandwagon, his law degree takes precedence and another lag is possible. As it stands right now, he's got three shows on his plate to worry about getting out; Raucous, Rapture and now, Bitchin'. If the last one holds up the former two, you're going to have a lot of people unhappy in the main fed about the new niche fed in FW holding up their progress.
Like I said earlier, I really hope VENUS makes it, and I really hope Sean can juggle both of them at the same time. But he needs to be careful in his juggling and there's no denying that NEW has to be his first priority.
- Yes, we will see WrestleBowl before 1/1/08
- Somehow, Kooter will end up ending Felix's ULTRATITLE dreams
- We haven't seen the last of Mike Randalls
Best Bet to Win the NFW World Championship - Kin Hiroshi
Best Darkhorse to Win the NFW World Championship - Beau Michaels-Cruise
Best Bet to Win UWA World Championship - Eli Flair
ULTRATITLE Final Prediction - Nova over Doc Silver
If everything goes to plan this year, we'll see a period of coronation, split and transition in NFW. The coronation is quite simple; someone is going to become the second holder of the NFW ULTRATITLE (or if you weeell, the CSWA ULTRATITLE as presented by NFW :p). As for the split and transition? For the latter, it's been well-documented that after these playoffs are over, NFW is going back to the traditional fed format. No more seasons, no more standings, no more ULTRATITLE. The split comes when JAAAMARRRR~! *shakes fist* opens the UWA as its own fed separate of NFW.
Going from one fed with an innovative format to two traditional feds seems like it's a disappointment in terms of style and a doubling in workload with a split in the staff (from my understanding, Katz isn't involved in UWA proceedings... it's all JN baby). Neither of those things sounds better than what NFW has now on paper, but I still think it can work. Katz will have help in McNichols on the staff. It's the UWA I'm more worried about seeing that Jamar has had trouble getting matches in on time before, and if he's the sole fedhead... well he's going to need to step up, or find a reliable matchwriting monkey :p.
But as for NFW itself, their atmosphere might be enough to continue their differentiation from the other FW feds, but I think there's one thing that they should do to keep themselves somewhat unique. I think they should keep the ULTRATITLE and a bastardized form of the standings. Katz will probably shirk reading that sentence, but I think I need to be heard out here.
I don't mind the season format being scrapped, but I also think that they should keep the idea of standings and tabulated win/loss records. Keep a running record of the standings and at the end of the year PPV event, in say, December or even January, take the top 8 wrestlers in terms of their winning percentage (provided they've had a minimum amount of matches in that year) and have them duke it out in a one night ULTRATITLE tournament. It would be a good way to keep the "sports league" spirit of NFW alive without taking away from the traditional fed side of things. In this set-up, the NFW World Champion would still be held above everyone else, but the ULTRATITLE winner would still have substantial honor upon them.
- One of the AWC Orphans will win Dual Halo
- Facey will definitely end up making the eW community go "Wha?" at least twice
- Jewel in the Crown 2007 winner... Pierce Lavelle
Best Bet to Win the PRIME Universal Championship - Sonny Silver
Best Darkhorse to Win the PRIME Universal Championship - Lindsay Troy
The story in PRIME since AWC closed is the size that the roster has ballooned to. They took in many of the AWC orphans (myself being one of them) in addition to some of the other new guys who've come in since (Bastille, Asa Fountain). This size roster may not be unprecedented; it's my understanding that PCW before them had close to 60, and even right now, the reopening Legacy of Champions has a giant roster. The difference between LoC and PRIME though is that the Legacy has two different "brands" so to speak; Classic (which I assume is where the Legacy Championship is) and Underground.
PRIME doesn't have a brand split, and in my not so humble opinion, it should NEVER have a brand split. Despite the roster size being as large as it is, I feel that they should stay the course and go on with one unified brand, for a few reasons.
One, brand splits are overdone. You have or have had them in LoC, AWC and even NFW to a degree (although the "conference" monikers are so much cooler). PRIME is supposedly the leader amongst all PTC (and it could be argued all of eW) feds, so why should they have to follow what other feds have done in the past?
Two, there's no telling how long the roster will be at this size. People drop all the time for whatever reason. Whether it's real life, burnout, quitting or being fired for being annoying or disruptive, it happens. There's no guarantee that the roster will be this size in March let alone December. If you go with a brand split, then when those who will drop do drop, instead of taking it in stride, you have to go into hardcore recruiting mode to fill those spots. It's not fun.
Thirdly, there's already one fedwide angle going on (FUCK YOU!). No need to disrupt that with another one.
So what should PRIME do? I think they should ride this out for a few months with one show. If the roster size stays massive after Culture Shock, then add a secondary show without disrupting the weekly pace of ReV. I also think that it would be more than wise to reinstate and push the tag team division. There's no better way to utilize more wrestlers with fewer segments than with a healthy tag team division. Of course, the hardest part here would be to change reinforced images in people's heads that being in a tag team doesn't equal personal glory and they only want personal glory. Still though, I think it can work. PRIME has a lot of people on the roster with collaborative spirits (Joe Schmidt, Joe Steppel, Lindz, Seth and Ferg just to name a few). I really do think a tag division can work now, and if it does work, it'll help out the roster size question immensely.
- Team MCW will pull out some new reinforcements in their battle with UCW
- Commissioner Cloverleaf will drop the title and return full-time in the ring
- There will be enough characters in UCW by the fall for a tag division
Best Bet to Win the UCW World Championship - Big Gay Bruce
Best Darkhorse to Win the UCW World Championship - Dakota Smith
Right now, it seems UCW is dominated by authority figure angles. Be it the several segments a show featuring Commissioner Ken Cloverleaf or the Team MCW happenings with Jalen Latham as the mouthpiece, it seems to be overkill to me. Even IrishRed's current run is happening due to him being pissed at management for misusing him. Authority figure angles are good when they're done sparingly, no matter how well-done they are.
Right now, UCW has a good enough roster that it can carry several feuds without management interference. The addition of Beast recently only reinforces the locker room. Authority figure angles often rely on guys who aren't competing in the ring getting heat, and you really need all your heat spread around amongst the characters that are active. To suck heat from a strong roster such as this is counterproductive in my opinion.
I feel the best way to do this is to somehow convince Scifo to handle Cloverleaf full-time and install a faceless, behind the scenes sort of commissioner. Use the Jack Tunney mold. He comes out to make announcements, and that's about it. Don't make him out to screw anyone or meddle. I think that would help things out that much more.