Thursday, March 26, 2009

Writer vs. Wrestler vs. Wrestling Writer

Before we get to today's blog posting, a couple of quick hits.

- First, A1E has posted Sudden Death. It's actually been up for the better part of a week, but it's a good read. Three title switches, a rebranding of the one belt that didn't change hands and a shocking unmask. Go to the results section and read post haste!

- Second, some shilling. As you may or may not have figured out, I've created a second blog here on Blogspot. The Wrestling Blog will feature the same insight and wit (response from the peanut gallery on that comment: "lol") that you get here, only directed towards the WWE, TNA, puroresu, lucha libre, indies, WCW and other random wrestling-related things. Please check it out and bookmark it if you're a fan of the "real" thing.

Now, onto the post. Over at PTC, another discussion was started as to whether the handlers considered themselves as writers or wrestlers. This is an argument that seems like it's been beaten to death, and I know I've written about it here a lot, but some of the attitudes in that thread bear mentioning.

One of them is that eW is so different than wrestling, and if they were more of the same and the game wasn't so writing-oriented, then e-fedding would be "99% trash talk." My obvious predilection towards defending the art of the wrestling promo RP aside, it made me wonder whether this was actually true. Having watched wrestling for nearly my entire life and having seen the evolution and the OBVIOUS differences between the WWF in 1991 and the WWE in 2009, I can say beyond any shadow of a doubt that it's not.

If you discount the time on RAW, SmackDown and ECW dedicated to recapping what happened on the other shows, movie trailers or running down the card for the next PPV, here's the breakdown of what happens on a wrestling program: wrestling matches, promos, in-ring confrontation segments and segments where people are on camera but they act as if they're not on camera. Of these, there's probably a tie in time used between the confrontation segments and matches. Next is probably wrestling promos and after that are the backstage pseudo-shoot segments. Ever since the Monday Night Wars started, matches and multi-person in-rings have had the most time spent on them. There was a time during the late 90s when the pseudo-shoot segments were dominant over promos, thanks mainly to Vince Russo's "Crash-TV" style, but it seems equilibrium has been reached in that regard.

So what does all of that mean? Well, for one, it means that the "99% trash talk" number is way out of line. If you equate the number of RPs that happen per-week for the average FWC-styled fed to hours of camera time for cutting promos, you'd end up with HOURS of footage, more than what the "real" thing dedicates to single-entity unchallenged wrestling promos. In that regard, the FW/A1E-styled promo feds are wholly unrealistic to how a real wrestling fed works.

Secondly, all those "Crash-TV" style segments that were huge in the Attitude era and still pop up now albeit in more believable fashion to me equate more to PTC-styled RPs. The PTC RP is basically a writing exposition about the life outside of the ring for the character being portrayed. These things don't often times break character/kayfabe, but they're meant to show what the character is like when he/she is not in the ring or in front of a microphone. Isn't that exactly what a PTC RP is? It doesn't break character, but it's meant to get a glimpse into what that wrestler's life is when they're not at the arena? Sure, the "real" example hardly follows the person home or follows them around during their every day travails, but it's very similar in spirit.

Thirdly... whether a wrestling promo is meant to be written or spoken, for all intents and purposes of e-wrestling, it's written down. You still have to write it in order for you to imagine it being spoken. Matches still have to be written. Segments still have to be written. This game is 100% immersed in writing, so I fail to see how someone who is involved in a fed where very high percentages of content are wrestling promos is not a writer.

The fact is, everyone in the game is a writer, and I feel like everyone in the game should at least have some vestige of being a wrestling fan, whether you are one now or you used to be one and don't like the product anymore. In this game, you have to be both a writer and a wrestler. There's no way around it, and there's no real separation between the two. If there were, well, you'd be better off either trying to write short stories or essays for publication if you have no interest in the wrestling portion, or you'd be better off playing Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 over Wi-Fi if you have no interest in the writing portion.


Anonymous said...

nice sir.

you should comment on the return of ACW if you have the time ;)

GBJ said...

Tom -- hit me up on IM sometime.

Ryan Jessica Bubbles Aston Hart said...

Top stuff.. it's always interesting too compare and contrast the real thing with what we're doing. Also, is it totally wrong that I love Vine Russo and the crash tv style... despite my appreciation of old school even? LOL.