Monday, February 23, 2009

Just Wrestling: eW results writing coming full-circle?

I often at times wonder why people would flock to e-fighting or e-MMA feds. I honestly couldn't imagine why people would prefer one of them over e-wrestling when the set-up would be the same. You'd still have to write RPs in order to get over and judge who'd win matches.

One day though, it hit me. I thought about the reasons why people liked MMA, pit fighting or even boxing and not professional wrestling. It's all about the "real" aspect, how those sports didn't really need the outlandish storylines that wrestling seems to need, or if they had those storylines, they were organic and dealt mostly with the competition inside of their arena. So that's what I thought would be the appeal. No segmental writing, maybe a promo interview here or there for the card, but the bulk of the action was the fighting going on in the Octagon.

But then I thought of something else. MMA and fighting really doesn't lend itself to the way we write and the way we as writers envision a "good" match going in terms of length. However, our little game we play is a lot more of a "shoot" than the real thing is, at least in RP feds, in that we compete to win matches instead of angling them for the advancement of a greater storyline.

Then I thought something completely different from what that was. What if the results writing process of wrestling was combined with the competitive spirit of MMA? Well, someone already did that. Hyde created Just Wrestling. Well, it's sort of like that. The results process isn't as detailed as other feds. It's more like an EPW short-form, which I think lends itself fine to e-MMA writeups, but still, it retains the panache and the versatility you can get with a wrestling moveset.

Why has it taken so long for something like this to come out? My guess is that people thought that flowery writing, tons of angles and long matches had to be there for fed quality. My own perception is that it's especially true of the angle-fed/PTC crowd. So I was surprised that only has JW taken hold here, but is really flourishing with the name talent it has scored thus far.

It made me think about two things. The first was whether we've actually come full-circle in eW now that we're all mostly older. In the early days, at least from what I've seen in archives and what I've been told, write-ups were fairly low-key. Then again, RPing was fairly low-key as well. From my time in the very early days of A1E, even the standard wrestling-promo styled RPs weren't all that sophisticated. A lot of times, it wouldn't be all that far-fetched to see matches go 10 RPs a person. Hell, the inaugural Tag Team Championship match between Beast/Necromancer vs. Mikey/Snake went something like 80 RPs with a 1-week RP session. That's unheard of nowadays. Still, the mantra of putting out something proportionate to what is put in was as in-effect then as it is now.

With the shorter write-ups both in JW and in TEAM though, there hasn't come a shortening in effort for individual RPs for the most part. The RPs aren't getting shorter by any means, at least the ones that are winning the matches. This, to me, that at least some folks are letting down their guards on wanting the fedheads to put as much out as they put in, if only for reasons of expediency. I've always been a firm believer in putting out what you get in, but I've also always liked having punctual results. The TEAM short-forms for me were always the happy medium, and for the most part, my guys didn't mind waiting for the extra special cards.

It's surprising that those among the angle/PTC crowd are also letting their guard down, but at the same time, maybe the perspective coming from growing up and empathizing with fedheads who have to juggle cardwriting with increasing real life responsibilities. Of course, the reasonable expectation is still there for other feds who have reliable matchwriters to fall back on, but I think we can all agree that places like PRIME and A1E have different structures than JW and are billed as differently. It's also safe to assume that people still like to write matches and big, long segments (more liking the latter than the former, I'd assume).

But playing off that last sentence, the second thing I thought about when thinking about JW is how long that structure will last. While it does take an inspired soul to actually like writing matches 24/7 (like that of Chris v. 2.2398423), segment writing seems to be a passion for most RPers, especially on the PTC side of things. I wonder how many times Hyde has gotten the request for a writer to put an embellished angle segment on the show, and if he hasn't, how long it's going to take. I'd hope that people lining up to join the fed realize that their commitments should be focused on RPing for the competition, since that's the niche that JW is seemingly providing.

I'm all for great storytelling, I really am. However, I do like to see some heterogeneity [sic] from time to time. When a niche fed comes up, I want to see it succeed. I didn't have such a hard-on for NFW back in the season format because Katz paid me. It was a great concept that I loved seeing and was sad to see go. NFW is still a great fed, one of the best in eW history, but for me, it was a little sad seeing the season format go away. Thus is life though, and Katz and JN had their reasons to switch over. Even now, their format is different enough from the other feds that it's still something unique in the game.

But back to JW, I really hope that people who join see the niche that the fed fills and want to work in context of that, not just because it happens to be the "hip" fed to join nowadays. I think Hyde is onto something here, and if he keeps going, he can have JW around for a long time with a varied roster of all-stars coming in and going out without any negative effect on the fed.

And it just goes to show that the more things change in this game, the more things tend to stay the same.


The Guy Who Wrote the DH Last Year said...

Has Chris v. 2.2398423 written the Dual Halo match? Nope! Forget him being known as the Matchwriting God and focus on me.

Kevin Healey said...

This fed hasn't been on my radar, but I'm glad to get a look at it. My favorite part of e-feds has always been the competition more than anything else. I'm not particularly fond of writing matches, but I think it makes the fed look good, keeps things moving, and hopefully keeps the other handlers excited, even after a loss.

I think your short-form was the best I've seen. I liked the commentary, the length and it still felt like there was a 'story' (for lack of a better word) to the match.

Ultimately though, its the competition that I truly enjoy. There's nothing better than a hard-fought rp battle where you're both looking for anything and everything to one-up the other character. That, and having a fedhead/judge(s) that you respect, as well as other handlers who are willing to give constructive feedback, makes or breaks a fed for me.

Anonymous said...

The aspect of an MMA fed that has always intrigued me, and still does, is the idea of squash matches and the idea that a match can end at any time. What I hate about eW matches is that even if a guy no-shows, his character will come in and put on a hell of a performance, and both wrestlers are put over. It leads to X number of pages of interchangable masturbation followed by a finish. Everyone knows those first few pin attempts aren't going anywhere. The part I love about an MMA fed is that a match can end in 20 seconds if one guy thrashes the other on the RP board. So as a reader, you never really know when the match is going to end. In eW, you know nothing's going to happen until both guys are put over, and it's pretty much meaningless.

- Jason Snow