Saturday, April 07, 2007

Paranoia runs deep

Yeah, I haven't been too active in the last couple of weeks, but that's because I've been a mite busy lately. That also means that I'm probably not going to catch up back fed happenings enough to actually sit down and write reviews for shows, even if they're quickie reviews. It just wouldn't be timely for me to write a Cold Snap or Revolution or even a Culture Shock review in the middle to end of April. I still plan on reading everything, but just to make things clear, so that when you don't see your fed's show reviewed here, don't take it personally.

Anyway, now that that's out of the way, ze post!

By our own admissions, most of our main characters are extensions of ourselves. So many times I've heard in IMs or seen in profiles that so-and-so is an extension of the handler or is that handler's real-life personality "turned up to eleven." (Just one of Spinal Tap's many gifts to our fair society!) Because of that, it can sometimes be very, very hard to keep our OOC feelings from spilling over into promos. As natural as that is for characters who are extensions of ourselves, we should also keep in mind that there is a fine line between spillage and shootage. We don't want to get too chippy, or else things aren't fun anymore.

However, there are people out there who feel that the line isn't as fine as it really is. As much as you can have people who freely cross the line and shoot on folks as part of their promo style (put the gun down, Gerlach, I'm not ripping you :p), the opposite perspective is true, i.e., there are those out there who think that the slightest comment that could be taken as a shoot is a shoot. I'm talking about the paranoid, the hypersensitive, those who could literally take the teenage-FW "i r better than u lol" style in today's game and think that the kid is shooting on them.

Let's take the most recent example of this, which is in truth the impetus for this entry. On the latest FUSE card, Ryan and Craig thought it would be a larf to promote their PTC Global/Extreme Title Unification Match. In doing so, Craig's character Dusk, a member of PRIME, came onto the show and cut an in-ring promo. In that promo, he put down several members of FUSE, including the World Champion. To many people, to most sane people, this would be a non-issue. However, there was a vocal contingient on the FUSE roster who screamed bloody murder at the fact an outsider came onto the show and buried their Universal Champion. They complained that it made their fed look bushleague and said that things like this wouldn't happen between the WWE and TNA. Let me take this apart one by one.

First off, the whole basis of at least 75% of wrestling promos is to badmouth someone. A past opponent, present opponent, future opponent, someone who isn't you, I mean, watch any wrestling program in the last 20 years and you will see big, sweaty guys talking smack about people they're not supposed to like in character. It's a huge part of the game. So what if Dusk came in and ran down John Covel? He's a member of another promotion, trying to build heat for an upcoming match with a member of that promotion. What do you expect him to do, come in and give Covel an verbal blowjob, just so people's feelings won't get hurt? Christ, where have these people been for the last forever? Since when has a wrestling promo been the measure for OOC or off-camera respect? When Shawn Michaels feuded with Diesel and Razor Ramon, I can bet you any amount of money that at the end of the day, Michael Hickenbottom was going to be hanging out, probably throwing back brews or just relaxing with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, no matter what kind of words were being thrown around on-camera, and do you know why? Because they understood that everything on-camera was SCRIPTED!

Diverging off-track for a moment here, it's interesting to note that this happened on the PTC side of things, where some people admittedly don't RP about wrestling related things. I've never read a FUSE RP, and to be fair, I really don't read RPs in general, not for PRIME, the PTC interfed, even in FW feds most of the time unless it's TEAM. I can't tell you from firsthand experience whether this is true for FUSE or not, but the fact that people have admitted that they don't RP about wrestling and the fact that people who do read RPs complain about this points to a problem that could have lead to this blowup. People may have become so out of touch with how wrestling works (since there are many in this hobby who don't watch the real thing anymore... I was one of those people until WrestleMania and Raw the night after sucked me back in) that they don't know what a wrestling promo is anymore. They're more concerned with getting their writing out for feedback that anything negative is construed as an attack, even if the giver of that negativity clearly doesn't mean in out-of-character. (And isn't it funny that one guy who is the most blatant about not including wrestling in his RPs has the best grasp of this idea?)

Back on track now, for whatever reason, people couldn't grasp that. Their reasoning was "hey, it never happens in real life!" Well, it actually does. ROH, indie feds and puro feds often have talent going back and forth among each other. Of course, those are on a level here below consciousness (i.e., the national major promotions), so I have to agree, it doesn't happen up there. But let me ask you this question... where at in America can you find a construct such as PTC? Major, national promotions in cooperation with each other... that's unheard of, it's something we have unique to us, so who's to say we have to apply artificial rules that correspond to the real world for us? The facts are these; FUSE and PRIME are in a loose relationship where there are Championships and tournaments involved. To me, they'd be silly not to cooperate if it meant that both companies could benefit from this. I believe they'd benefit from it financially if they were both real companies, and there's no question that they're benefitting now. I mean, when you get activity like this, you get people who wouldn't normally read FUSE checking in to find out the latest dealings with the interfed or checking on one of their own from PRIME. Then you may have someone who reads the whole show and likes it. Then, people who were for, against or even unaware that something like that was going down benefitting from it because more people are paying attention to their writing. How is that a bad situation?

The answer is that it's only as bad as people let themselves make it out to be. This whole ordeal could have been avoided had the people crying about everything took a few steps back and realized that everything was in character. No one was shooting, and Criag has said on many occasions after that he's had nothing but respect for FUSE. Still, people want to be up in arms about it. Well, it's their loss for taking everything so damn seriously. If you keep a light air about you and you keep everything in perspective, then you'll do fine in this game. However, the moment you start thinking that everyone's out to get you, even if they're just playing the game themselves, you're going to cause a lot of problems for you and for everyone else.


Anonymous said...

It doesn't happen in the big two?

When WWe recently revived their DX label for the reunited HHH+HBK tag team, TNA played off it with the former "DX" members on their roster becoming the "Voodoo Kin Mafia" taking pseudo-shoot cheap shots at "Hickenbottom" and "Levisque." They took the angle so far as to record promos outside WWe events with WWe fans.

On a smaller scale, transitory performers on TNA tend to make (often derogatory) reference to those they faced in the other company regularly. Seems to be their way of leeching some of the bigger company's heat.

Back when it was WWF, WCW and ECW the situation was even more overt. Steve Austin practically built his career on interfed trash talk in the mid 90s.

So... yeah.

Tom Holzerman said...

The difference is that the real life feds weren't bound by a greater governing body that had its own interfed titles. All that trash talk was done in a destructive manner, not to build towards a payoff match, like the stuff between Dusk and Sage.

IE, when dX invaded WCW events in 99/00, they did so as a publicity stunt, not in cooperation with WCW. Big difference.