Just when you thought that the guest bloggings stopped... they haven't! (a reminder to everyone who promised a blog and haven't delivered yet.... there's still time :p) This week, we get yet another PRIMEate (although he's a recent one... he made his PTC bones in GCW) in the from of Andrew Delling, handler of GTT5 Champion "The Renegade" Rich Rollins and Iblis. Here goes...
The Tale of the Tape
by Andrew Delling, special guest to RRoaEL
Somebody once said "… no chance in hell," and suddenly, I was hooked.
If you're reading this entry, I'm going to assume two things; a). your childhood was spent watching the likes of Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold Steve Austin suplex your television on a weekly basis, and b). you couldn't get enough of it, no matter how much crap you had to swallow from family and friends. In short, if you're reading this now, you almost certainly learned to appreciate the theater of professional wrestling (not this new-fangled sports entertainment bullshit, but that good old fashioned professional wrastlin') before falling in love with the athletic, almost poetic, and undeniably hypnotic nature of the business. On a side note, aren't "real" professional sports entertaining, too? What makes pro wrestling so spectacular?
The short answer: storytelling. It isn't a dirty word, folks. It's the magic word.
Every single conceivable storyline, whether original or otherwise, has in some way been represented on Monday night television courtesy of Vincent K. McMahon. Angry protagonist looking for revenge? Check. Jealous lover looking for retribution? Check. Ambitious newcomer looking to climb the corporate ladder, regardless the cost or condition? Ditto. Lesbian adultery? Yup. Devious villains looking for new and creative ways to defile the corpse of Katie Vick? Done and double-checked.
Most people dismiss these stories as testosterone-infused flights of operatic fiction, carried out on a canvas stage surrounded by the lowest of brow and whitest of trash, but seriously… when did "opera" become synonymous with "oppression?" Fuck the critics. I'm not ashamed of my fascination with so-called low-brow entertainment. After all, if we all started condemning our baser instincts, strip clubs wouldn't be far behind on the endangered species list; tittie bars might make good company with the manatee, but wouldn't that just make us all a bunch of dumbasses?
Okay, I know what you're thinking. What the hell does all this have to do with e-wrestling? It's simple; this hobby strives to celebrate and emulate our (once) preferred form of entertainment through writing stories. Some people act it out with mattresses in their backyard, others in hotly-contested video game re-enactments, and some like to live it out through message boards and AIM conversations on the internet. Hell, for anyone reading this, at some point or another it was probably all three. I've been there, done that, and have the embarrassing backyard videos to prove it.
Our emulation of the "real" pro wrestling is so spot-on, in fact, that we've taken not only the muscles-and-spandex spectacle of Monday night television and made it our own, but we've adopted a far less endearing aspect of the business: the bullshit. The drama. The backstage bickering. The "politics."
This is a statement on the hobby as a whole: unless your name is Jesse Ventura, you have no business as a backstage politician. Feeling like you have to walk on eggshells simply so you can maintain friendships is stupid, but believe me, it happens. Don't get me wrong; a good eighty percent of the time I've devoted to e-wrestling over the past seven years has been fantastic. Without a doubt, this hobby has changed my life in ways that I'd have never thought possible. It cultivates a healthy, hands-on approach to creative writing, and whether or not you actually consider yourself a writer is irrelevant. We don't do this for money, we do this because it's passionate and sincere, and we do it on our terms. That's the very definition of art, and I'm damn proud to be part of it.
This isn't World of Warcraft (thank god). The irony of it is, it's people like us and communities like this that were the foundation of massively successful games like Everquest and its bastard spawn. Remember when online roleplaying was in its infancy, when it gave pimply D&D fans a chat room or email service to conduct their campaigns through? I remember simming, personally. "Simulation" rooms were all the rave back when AOL was actually a monthly service provider and not just a free instant messenger. This new MMO craze is just the next step on the ladder of roleplaying evolution, where big software companies are injecting our imaginations with formaldehyde and providing us with a flashy, graphics-oriented alternative. There's a huge difference between an (overly-indulged, goddamn life-sucking) MMO and e-wrestling. We create something new every time we sit down at the keyboard, because we build our own world. Blizzard fans are just playing in someone else's sandbox, and personally, they can keep their crusty catshit surprises all to themselves.
I'm not segueing any of this very well, am I? I apologize for the erratic changes of topics here, but hell, I'm just saying some things "out loud" that I've been mulling over for awhile now. Anyway, I'll cut to the chase.
E-wrestling as a whole is kinda like a Baskin Robins ice cream parlor. Our true appeal is in the variety of our styles, our flavors. The old-school script-style trash talkers are like the amaretto chocolate next to the fledgling novelist's strawberry pecan. You want a more traditional, grassroots grasp that focuses on the entertainment value instead of the writing? Try the vanilla. It's the staple of any decent sundae.
Just remember that at the end of the day, you can't make a banana split without the chocolate and strawberry, too.
On the whole, the majority of e-wrestling has been the same solid core groups of people who are the cornerstone of any given e-wrestling community. Most of us have known one another for years. We've grown up together, matured together (well…), and become a voice together. The hobby is healthier than it's ever been, and you want to know why? It isn't about playing some numbers game, about the steady decline of our "real" alternative, or even the lack of fresh meat trickling in from the digital void; it's about the evolution of the game itself, and from looking around at how far we've come, once again, I'm proud to have been around to watch it happen.
Now, watch me eat my words when the world's first eW MMO hits store shelves next Fall.