Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Guest Bloggings: Beast on A1E

Iiiit's Beast! Yep, even though he does have his own blog (Blog of the Beast!), I'm giving Jarret some space today for a defense of the home fed, A1E. Sit back, relax and enjoy. And yes, I will have some more goodness later today. I'm actually working on a huge entry about submission moves, but that's a long-term thing. Today... I don't like to do the preview thing because if I don't get around to doing it, I get Edmunds and Mat Waters leading the angry pitchfork mob looking to burn me at the stake for not blogging ;) But today, I'm gonna try to get some quickie reviews out of the way and pimp some new blogs and eW hubs.

But now, without further ado... The Blog of the Beast on RRoaEL!

By Jarret Aubry, Special Guest to RRoaEL

First off, I just wanted to thank Tom for giving me the space to post this. (Note to self: remind self to later sabotage Tom for having a more popular blog than everyone else. Wait, did I just say that out loud?)
But in reality, I wanted to post this here, because Tom is such an ambassador to the e-Wrestling community, and this message would reach the most people because of him and this blog.

Human perception is a pretty powerful thing. Especially when it's a negative experience. Whether you've been involved in something directly, or heard second-hand from someone else who has been, those experiences and that feedback play a pretty powerful role in shaping your perception about a particular subject.

So what brings this kind of a post on?

For those of you that don't know, I recently took over the reigns of A1E and am the head booker there. I have a booking committee of four others that work alongside me. A few nights ago, one of my staff members was approached by a major FW star about possibly joining A1E. Quite the conversation followed, and a number of points were raised as to why this person was hesitant about joining the federation. The following was brought up:

1. You have to be invited to join.
2. The voting system is screwy.
3. Only members of a certain "clique" gets pushed and put over.
4. New members are disregarded and screwed over in favor of established members.

In this post, I'd like to address each of these points, and hopefully put some minds at ease for those that have thought about joining A1E, but haven't for some reason or another. I'm not making anything up. I'm going to be brutally honest about both the good and the bad that have gone down in A1E. We've had challenges in the past, but I think that now, we've made a ton of improvements, and if you've ever wanted to be part of A1E, now is the time to join.

1. You have to be invited to join.

Simply not true. I don't know how this got started, but A1E is not a closed fed. Anyone can join at any time. Please read the F.A.Q. on the A1E web site. All you need to do is submit your profile, and post IN for a match in the provided In/Out thread that goes up before every card. That's it. We don't turn down anyone. All I suggest is contacting myself or a member of the BC to let us know you're coming, and we can cook something up to introduce you into the fed - if you like.

2. The voting system is screwy.

This has probably been one of the biggest "issues", for lack of a better word, that's been through A1E basically throughout it's history. The premise behind the voting system is that once the promo - RP - session ends, the federation membership sends in votes on who they thought had the better RPs, and that determines the winner of the match.

The knee-jerk reaction to this is that everyone thinks "Wow, there must be a lot of bloc-voting and everyone voting for their friends."

I'm not going to lie. Of course the potential is there. It's really easy to just write down your buddy's name, or if you've got a favorite character to consistently vote for them because you're a mark for them. People wonder why we even have a voting system in the first place.

Well, we do it for two reasons. One, to give each and every member that participates in A1E a voice in how the fed works. We never have been, and don't want to be, a fed that just dictates what happens and have everyone just play along. Voting is a feedback mechanism for everyone that participates to go "Hey, Wrestler A did a good job this week. I'd like him/her to win the match." And two, it's a mechanism for the voters to ensure that the Booking Committee (BC) simply isn't putting over their own buddies and characters that we're marks for.

We realize that there have been some discrepencies in voted results in the past - but firmly believe that these are no more common that the occasional "odd" result in owner or committee judged feds. Anyone with efedding experience will tell you that judges "taste" is a prevelant factor in any federation, and our voters are not immune from occasionally having different tastes that the players might have hoped.

Rest assured, we are constantly trying to refine and update our process to minimize "screwy" voting and it has been well over a year since we have recieved a formal complaint on the voted results.

So how does it all work? Everyone votes at the end of the promo period, and votes are tabulated. The BC members' votes are equal to the public votes. My vote as head booker is worth the same as anyone else's vote. But, after the votes are tabulated - including the BC votes, the BC talks about the match and how its result fits into the grand scheme of things as far as planned storylines and pushes go. If, for whatever reason, we think that a result should be different than what is voted, we approach BOTH competitors of a match (or however number of people are in the match for a three way dance, tag team, etc), tell them what the result is, and then ASK THEIR PERMISSION to change the result for storyline purposes. Everyone must agree before we change anything.

We will NEVER, EVER, EVER, change a match result without talking to all parties involved in the match.

I can imagine some people might think "Well, you can tell me all that, but how do I know that you're not changing results and just not telling anyone?" The honest truth is that when it all comes down to it, voting is subjective. There's no way to change that. Someone might vote differently today than they did yesterday.

That all being said, at the core of this, a two-way trust system must be built between the Booking Committe (which I represent, and I am really ultimately responsible for everything that goes on) and each individual handler.

Each individual handler must trust myself and the BC that we're not going to commit any improprieties on you. But before you say that we're just expecting you to blindly trust us and that's a crock, please remember that in exchange for that trust, I'm also basically blindly trusting you, as the handler, to show up and participate when you say you're going to. It's frustrating as a booker to build all these plans, and then have them fail because someone doesn't show. Also remember that I'm blindly trusting you, as a handler, that you're going to respect the system by voting honestly, and not participate in bloc-voting, or just voting for your friends.

The thing to keep in mind - and keep an open mind about - is that this whole thing works both ways.

You have to trust me, and I have to trust you. This is no different than myself participating in a non-voted fed like EPW, UCW, or TEAM, where Dave, Shane, and Tom are trusting me, as a handler, to show up and put an effort in to make their fed as great as possible, and as a handler, I'm trusting them as a booker to treat me with respect and not kill me in angles and results.

I don't want to make the mistake of saying that this trust should be there by default, however, I believe that this should be implied when someone joins a fed - any fed - until I, the fed owner, give you sound reason to distrust me. Remember, that as the fed owner, it does nothing to benefit me personally, nor does it do anything to benefit A1E by screwing anyone over. As the fed owner, I want the absolute best for my federation, and what good is it going to do me if people are leaving my federation because they're not being treated properly?

I hope that explains how the voting process works, and how we treat it. It's treated very seriously, and is not just there as a way to mess with anyone.

For those of you concerned with "bloc-voting" or "simply voting for our friends"... the honest truth is, in the entire six-and-a-half-year history of A1E, there has been ONLY ONE proven, documented case of outright block voting, which was years ago - and that person was summarily removed from A1E. I would say that given the circumstances and potential, that's a pretty decent track record. Please know that we treat this process VERY seriously and there is ZERO TOLERANCE if we were to discover these activities going on.

3. Only members of a certain "clique" gets pushed and put over.

I fully understand how this one came about. A1E's been around for six and a half years, and there are those that have been around for the entire lifetime of the fed. During the halfway point of A1E's life, we started an angle involving "The Empire", a heel super-faction. The angle was huge, and because most of the members of this angle were on the BC, a lot of attention was paid to it. There was tons of discussions around it. My character was World Champion. Roger - then head of the BC, known as Housefly - was the leader of the Empire. Another member of the Empire was on the BC. The two main faces in the feud were my other character, my main character Beast, and Big Dog, another member of the BC. Lindsay Troy was involved, and she was on the BC - although I can't remember how much time of her in the angle and her service on the BC overlapped. We worked super hard on this angle, and it did rise to prominence, mostly because Gladiator held the World Title, and the angle dominated the fed for a long time, so I can fully understand how people took that, and I can understand how that perception came to be. I'm not going to try and deny it or work it at all. It happened.

However, all that being said, things have changed greatly since that time. Yes, in hindsight, we allowed that to happen.

Was it a mistake? I'd like to say no, but in reality, we ended up turning people off because of it, so although I, and a lot of others, thought it was a fantastic story, we could have probably handled it differently.

But rather than focus on that, I'd like to ask people, while taking all that into consideration, think of what's gone down in the fed since that time. Even during that time, Cross won the A1E World Championship. Since then, I've won it, and people may take that any way you want to, but the reality is I went on a year long tear as Survivor Champion, and I like to think I earned that shot. It took me four years to earn a shot and get there. JA's won the Championship. Cross is the Cyber Champion, and has been put over as a machine in the last few months. Spoiler, a MBE legend, has been made to look superhuman in the past little while. Daymon has been Triple Star Champion, and is now in a feud with the Cyber Champion. He's been in A1E for a short time, but has already made waves, and he's being rewarded for it. Troy Douglas is another guy that's looked on favorably in A1E. Dan Ryan has been Tag Champion for a year, and is now poised as number one contender to the World Championship. James Irish has had a good run as World Champion, and who knows how long he can hold the title for? Duchess, a female character, has a World Title shot this week. That's an awful lot of people outside the "core" of A1E people that are getting all kinds of pushes and seeing all kinds of success.

You might point at me and say "Well, the fed owner is the Triple Star Champion." If so, you don't have all the facts. Daymon decided that storyline-wise, his character needed to drop the title, and in all honesty, that decision was made *before* I took over A1E - even before Roger approached me about it. Even with that, two brand new guys are getting a shot at it.

So yes, again, I'm not going to gloss over what's happened in the past. I'm just hoping that A1E's efforts over the past several months - and especially my most recent efforts, as well as my ongoing efforts - to get new people pushed will speak some volumes. We've learned from the past. We have a face/heel faction war going on right now - but it's not dominating the main event scene. We're trying to do things right, and will continue to do so.

Point is, ANYONE can get over. If you show up, work hard, and promo well, you WILL move up the card, and you WILL get your shots. No one is held back for who they are, the style they work in, or anything like that at all.

4. New members are disregarded and screwed over in favor of established members.

I don't really know how to describe this, other than it's all really a case-by-case basis. When someone - anyone - joins a new federation, it's a brand new environment. What works in one federation for one person may not work in another federation. But, A1E is unique in this instance, because we are, quite simply put, an old-school promo fed. When you join A1E, it's not quite the same as joining EPW (which I keep using as an example because that's where else I participate). In A1E, you're not trying to just win me over as head booker. You're not just trying to win over the BC. You're trying to win over 20 other people, because everyone votes. It's not like going to EPW, where you just have Dave to worry about. Now, Dave is a great guy, and he's very fair, but Dave is one person. In A1E, you've got to win over the majority.

First off, the rule is that I don't care who you are. Whether you're John Q. Public and this is your first fed, or your name is Dan Ryan and you've won a million world titles. Everyone - and I mean everyone - starts at the very bottom in A1E and then must work their way up. There are no pushes given to a "name" just because that's what your name is.

And because A1E tends to be a fed with an old-school feel, people who aren't part of the fed may have a hard time meshing into that feel. You may be the most fantastic narrative writer in the world, but honestly, I don't think that's going to go over in A1E. If you have a quirky style of any kind, or if you do something totally out of the norm, you can't expect to walk into the fed and tear it up right away. People have to be able to take some time to read you, to get to know you, and learn about you. I think that's the majority of what the problem is. People who do well elsewhere expect to be able to go anywhere and win the World Title right away, because either they think they're that good, or that their name deserves it.

So when these kinds of people come in to A1E, and they don't do as well as they thought they would, or as well as they'd EXPECTED to, they leave after two or three matches and tell the world that "I can't get over in A1E." I don't think it's fair to expect to get over in two or three matches ANYWHERE, let alone just A1E. People have taken this to mean that "In A1E, you've gotta pay your dues" before you get shots at titles, or can get a push. That's just simply not true. I'll use Daymon as a prime example. I think the guy's been in less than a dozen matches in A1E, and already he's held the Triple Star Championship, and is lining up to challenge for the federation's number two title at our next PPV.

When it all comes down to it, it's not about your "name" value. It's not about anyone holding you down. It's not about paying your dues. It's not about getting in close with the bookers. It doesn't matter who your friends are.

Because A1E is a voted fed, the ONLY thing that matters is connecting with the voters, and writing well enough to get them to vote for you.

If you think that people from outside can't have success in A1E, then again, let me point out to you some of the success stories...

*Cross - Triple Star Champion. One of only two men to hold the Cyber Title THREE times. Former World Heavyweight Champion.
*Daymon - Triple Star Champion and challenger for the Cyber title - all in under a dozen matches.
*Lindsay Troy - Triple Star Champion, Tag Team Champion, Cyber Champion.
*Dan Ryan - Tag Team Champion. Current Number One Contender for the World Title.

There's been a few cases where people came in and didn't connect with the voters. GUNS, Jared Justice, and Shawn Hart all came and left because they were names elsewhere, but weren't winning matches in A1E. Doc Silver, who, at the time he joined, was one of the more controversial characters A1E had ever seen, and it was that simply his shooty style didn't go over with the public. It's not a knock against him, or his writing, or anything, because the guy's obviously a talented writer, but felt so strongly about needing to do well that he felt the need to start rigging votes to get ahead, when in reality, it was just his style that wasn't connecting with the voters. Is it truly fair that when new people come in to A1E, that we expect them to conform to our "style"? Of course it's not fair, but with a voted fed, it's a reality. If you can't connect with the voters, then you're not going to have a ton of success.

But, I don't mean to say all this and place all the blame on others. People have their own style, and whether people take to it or not is their own personal preference. This is not to say that it is just the handlers that are the source of the issue. That's entirely not it at all. We in A1E have made mistakes with new people in the past as well. We're not perfect.

One particular character that stands out is Pharaoh. When he joined, he set A1E on fire, and was doing very well. In one match against Housefly, Pharoah won the votes. This was huge, and beating Housefly at that time was a monster acheivement. This match took place at the time that the Beast/Housefly monster feud was going on, and I wrote the match as Beast interfering and taking out Housefly, before placing Pharaoh on Fly for the pinfall. People didn't like that very much, and I took a lot of heat for that. People felt that I took away a huge win from Pharaoh, and once again, what seemed like a good idea in the context of the feud was proven as being a big mistake by hindsight. So, in that particular case, we made a mistake.

All that being said, that happened years ago, and that mistake has never been repeated since. It's all about learning and moving on. The whole point of this post is not to come out and shout to the world that "What's wrong with you people? A1E is perfect, and you should all be here!"

No, that's not the point at all. The point of this post is to reach out to everyone out there, and say that "Yes, because of some things that have happened in the past, we realize that in the e-Wrestling community, we have a bit of a reputation out there." We realize that in the past, some mistakes have been made, and that has caused a perception of us out in the greater community. We also want this post to educate people about how A1E truly operates, and we hope to provide some insight as to why things happened the way they did, and what we've done to correct those mistakes and learn from them. A1E has truly evolved, and we're truly not the fed we seemed to have been.

Quite frankly, that was the "old" A1E, and we are definitely in a new era.

A1E puts out a card regularly every two weeks. Like clockwork. We don't miss. Some people don't believe that, and if you don't, just go take a look at our results page on the web site, and look at the dates of the shows. Clockwork. If you like to be active in RP'ing, and don't want to wait a month or more for a card to come out, then A1E is the place for you.

Since I've taken over A1E, I've introduced a new method of planning for the fed. Gone is the week-to-week planning of everything else except for the major feuds. Now, feuds and PPV's are planned at the very least one month in advance, with every match on every show being planned to build towards that PPV. This guarantees that EVERYONE will be involved in a program. Also, I'm not the only one that handles all the details. Each feud is assigned a BC Staff Member who communicates directly with the participants, and they become your own personal booker for that feud, and the staff in turn reports to me. This ensures that every program is given the utmost attention, and nothing will fall through the cracks. We don't want you to be disappointed in A1E because we got details wrong or even missed something altogether.

The talent in A1E is unbelievable. Everyone in the fed is a quality writer and participant. Every fed has their superstars, but A1E is full of them. Coming to A1E will give you a chance to meet up and work with some of the very best in the e-Wrestling community, and at the very least, that can only serve to make you a better writer and give you an opportunity to tell stories with some of the best minds in the business.

We've just opened up our tag team tournament. You want a shot to come in and quickly win a title, while being able to establish yourself before diving into the singles ranks? It's perfect for you.

I don't want this to be a huge shill for A1E - I explained the point of this post earlier. I really want to open people's eyes, and try and inform people that have these perceptions of A1E that we're not this evil corporation that we're sometimes made out to be.

If at any time, you've ever thought of joining A1E, but didn't for any of the reasons talked about in this post... if you ever came to A1E and then left because things weren't as you expected... I invite you to please come talk to me. If not me, then talk to one of the members of the BC - Dan, Phil, Shane, or Andy. Tell us what you've been thinking, and why, and hopefully we can explain some things to you and put your mind at ease.

Quite simply, we believe that A1E is just as good as any other fed out there - timely cards with fantastic writers and roleplayers, solid storylines and a fun atmospehere. All we're trying to do is make the federation bigger and better, and we'd be honored if you'd think about making A1E one of your efed homes.

Thanks again to Tom for giving me this platform, and thanks to everyone for taking the time to read it. I hope we can all look forward to working together in the future.


James Irish said...

Nobody has anything to say or respond to on this?! Jeez...

Anonymous said...

most everyone probably stopped at the first mention of a1e

Anonymous said...

Mr Anonymous...would you care to expand on that? The post is there to inform people of the changes in A1E and if there are issues you or others feel should be addressed please expound.

Shane (irishred)

james irish said...

Yeah, don't hide behind annonyminity... or whatever it is. A lot of us really care about A1E, and would like to know what we need to improve on. What you posted was neither funny nor constructive.