Monday, September 24, 2007

The Hall of Fame Question, Part 2

I know I've come out hard against Halls of Fame in the past, and for good reason. Feds that don't really have a sense of longevity should tread lightly on how they're going to throw around an honor that should be reserved for the best of the best. I've somewhat mellowed on the issue over the years. Really, if you're going to institute a Hall for your fed, you'd better be damn sure that your fed's been around and active for at least five years and that you don't get into the habit of enshrining active characters or characters who come in, win every title and then quit the fed a week later because they have nothing left to prove.

As an aside, quitting because you have nothing left to prove is the biggest cop out. You always have something left to prove if you're truly great in this hobby. You're not just satisfied with winning the World Title, you want to defend it. You don't want to be great for a month, you want to be great for years. To me, a Hall of Fame worthy character is a character that proves time and time again why they're among the best in the hobby. The best recent example of a guy who should be a first ballot should his fed open a Hall is Big Dog. He went on a tear early on in his career, and then after he had his run with the title, he "settled into the back," focusing mainly on angles and stories. Then, he comes back and takes the World Championship again and on top of that, ventures into the interfed arena and places respectably there as well. That's greatness. It's not a one, two, or even six month run. It's sustained greatness, and it's even more magnified in this hobby, where characters can flame out in a matter of months.

Be that as it may, I'd still be hesitant to fully support any kind of character-based Hall of Fame. I mentioned it briefly in this thread at PTC, and yes Jay, your thread is the inspiration for this blog entry ;). I figured I'd explain it more here. It's not really all because of the temporal nature of characters either. Each character mentioned in that thread that I'm familiar with fits the mold of a true Hall of Fame character. They have longevity (Hell, Melton, along with Hornet and Mark Windham, is the most long-lived character in eW history, still going strong after two decades), they have their peaks and they have entrenched themselves in the history of their respective feds. Still though, it might come off as a slight to the handler behind the character, or in some cases, to the guys feeding ideas to the handler behind the character just to enshrine the person "on stage." Even though real wrestling Halls honor the character, usually, those characters are inextricably linked to the person playing it. Many of us have handled way more than one character, and a good amount of us have handled more than one character very successfully. On top of that, Joey Melton doesn't/didn't write matches. Steve Thomas does/did, and my criticisms about him handling the EPW crew notwithstanding, Steve Thomas has done an excellent job writing matches, ideating angles, giving personality to various NPCs, elevating other handlers by association and steering directions of entire feds. Just to honor what Joey Melton has done in character is a tip of the iceberg of what Steve has done both in and out of character over the years. In the grand scheme of things, which is more important?

That's why if I'd ever really get behind a Hall of Fame project, it'd have to be an across the board Handler Hall of Fame. That would pretty much solve a lot of problems. For one, it'd give people who were very good with several characters but never really had a defining character a place to be honored. It'd take into account things like fedheading, matchwriting, angle planning and the like. It'd also be a place for people who may not have had a great impact in a fed or via handling, but busted their asses to provide forums, host interfed events or mediate crises, forum guys who've had great impacts on the hobby but really don't have a character or fed attached to them.

Even though many of our best characters have a lot of us in them, when the character is honored, a lot of times, it feels like the person behind it isn't being honored as much. In the end, everyone just wants to feel pride, and I say there's more pride when someone is honored for the work they did, not just as the piece of work that they roleplayed as.


BigDaddy said...

Interesting thoughts. I would agree regarding being careful about a HOF for characters. There is a real need for some type of longevity, instead of just a hot streak.

I think there is room for both characters and handlers though. As long as the one for characters doesn't get carried away.

Jay said...

Not a problem on taking inspiration from my post :o)

I agree with a lot of what you said, actually. I am not always a fan of HoFs in feds simply because not many feds have the longevitiy nor the history (honestly, those ARE two different things) to support it.

There are some exceptions to that rule, of course. WWA, for example, has been going for ten years now and only has a ahndful of people in its HoF. You also have to have been inactive for two years (AFAIK) to even be considered for a place; obviously, you have to have earned it too ;o)

Fed specific HoFs are always going to be easier than a general EW HoF though simply because of the insular nature of the hobby. You are in the minority, my friend, in that you cross over many different 'Worlds' and get to see characters all over the place.

I woudl hazard a guess, however, that there are people out there who don't know who the Hornet is (or have never heard of CSWA even) just as some others won't know who Deville and Snow are.

... of course everyone knows the greatness that is Jay Phoenix GRIN