Yaz Presents: Unscripted Thoughts
(A Spike Lee Joint)
So I'm going to do something kind of different. I've long disliked how traditional feedback works, so I want to try something that may come off as a bit dickish, a bit like my opinion actually matters, but hopefully it helps people.
World Championship - Justin Cooper VS Constantine
So I'll start with the World Title. These were two very good RPs and whoever wins will have earned it and whoever loses shouldn't hang their head in shame. I have no issue with either guy winning here, but my vote was Constantine. I gave him the slight edge because I truly felt like Constantine is a defeated man, and not just because of the attack by Logan. After all the terror he caused in his career, he is finally looking back at all the mistakes he made and he feels human for it. He realizes that this is his last shot at glory, and the deck is stacked against him. The addition of Steven Holmes, to truly tell John that a few weeks of kissing babies and hugging fat girls isn't going to erase the years of bullshit he caused for those around him. He knows what Constantine is capable of, and refuses to let it die, because he knows a passive Constantine has no chance against someone of Cooper's status. He also refuses to let John make excuses, despite there being ample opportunity to do so. Above all, he paints Cooper as a true best in the world. So often when guys write RPs they do nothing but run down their opponent. There is a time and place for that, but by building up Cooper, Constantine really allows the reader to feel just how much of a mountain he has to climb. It was a very emotional and human piece.
Cooper on the other hand, played up his role to a tee. Few heels in WZCW have been better at finding the balance between coward and cunning like Cooper has in his rise to the top. He knows when to fight his battles and when to let the underlings go to battle. He knows he has VI and Banks at his disposal, but isn't afraid to show what he is truly capable of when the time is right. THe thing that separates the Cooper of today from the Cooper of yesterday, and most mid level heels in general, is that this Cooper has a clear goals in mind. The bully analogy in the RP was damn near perfect. The old Cooper, and most run of the mill bad guys, are just content to go out and pick on the weak. They desire no challenge, they just want to assert their badassness by knocking off those who won't fight back. Copper though isn't satisfied with that. He wants more and shows it by walking up to the top kids in the yard and not only punching them square in the face, but attacking their character as well. He sees through a lot of BS, the facades that people put up, and he rips into it. Anyone can beat up the asthmatic kid with glasses, but Cooper proves he wants more than that, and that is what makes him such a great character. This RP did such a great job in keeping with those qualities.
Elite Openweight Championship - Callie Clark VS Matt Tastic
I let Matrix in on what I thought about his RP and the RPs in general a bit in the discussion thread. This match also featured two very good RPs. The thing that gave Tastic the slight edge in my eyes was the bit about how Tastic hasn't won anything of note in a long time, and how Titus notes that some people may attribute Tastic's success not primarily to skill, but to longevity. Is Tastic done? Does he need to reinvent himself again? Did his best stuff just come at a low period in WZCW? How can he make the changes needed to buck the trend? He doesn't give a definitive answer himself, instead he lets his peers do the talking (side note, he captured them very well). Tastic, for everything he has accomplished, constantly reinvents himself, almost like he is trying to find his own voice. THat is why I loved the fact that Tastic got flustered at the proposition of losing. He let those around him be his voice this time, and I really liked how it played out. I don't want this to be the end though, I think Clark/Tastic still has legs and could provide a platform for both RPers.
Eurasian Championship - Titus Avison & Tyrone Blades VS Vis Imperium (Keaton/LeBelle)
So I personally think Titus and Tyrone are going to take this, but given the stipulations and rules, I'm not sure how creative will see it. We start with Titus, who managed to get a lot of content across in shortish RP for a PPV title match. There really was no filler, it was all thriller. Even the dream sequence, something almost cliche in RPs at this point, set up the next scene well. The thing I liked was how Lee got a bit introspective with Titus. He was able to turn the camera on himself and really show us what was going through the head of a true legend. Speaking of legend, his little nods to history were nice touches. It is something that only someone with a history like Lee could do, and he used it to full effect. Then the end, oh man that end. Titus can be a dick, but I've always wondered is it real venom or is Titus simply showing his fangs to scare off the lesser predators. This was real venom, directed towards a group of people that Titus has reason to hate. It wrapped up a complete tidy RP.
Then you have Tyrone, who has turned The Hollow Ones into one of the best anti establishment groups ever. Not just in WZCW, but wrestling period. They make make the nWo look like Aces and Eights, and that is due to Ty's brilliant vision. The transformation of Ty Burna to Tyrone Blades was a big change, but with how natural Tyrone feels, you sometimes forget what he used to be. I give Ty a huge credit because he nails Tyrone's mannerisms and speech patterns. It really makes the transformation believable. It helps that Jones fits in so well, but Tyrone feels like a man fighting for his life. The assault on Banks' property was a great opening and set the tone for the rest of the RP, which including some great lines from Tyrone and Titus, as well as some solid humor from Jones when used. That's one thing I really liked about this, and a fair number of recent Hollow Ones RPs is that they use humor in a good way. I wrote a lot of humor in my RPs, sometimes too much, but they keep it to a very acceptable level. Like when they were mocking Xander, it felt like something Tyrone and Titus would do naturally. It never felt forced. The best part of the RP though was the letter to Banks. Honestly, you could have just posted that letter as the RP and I still think I would have voted for it.
On the other side of the ring, I had mixed feelings about VI. Xander, as always, was captured well, but given his recent time off and the tone of this piece, it almost feels too on the nose as a goodbye. I would have liked to see more cohesion from VI other than, there was a funeral in one and the other mentioned a funeral. The focus on ending Tyrone was a nice little touch over craving a title, and it makes up for the formatting mistakes, but I feel like this was goodbye from TBK and that makes me sad. Keaton was typical Keaton. It was a mix of good and bad. Of solid laughs, over the top antics that fit the character, while also containing a lot of filler that made it a longer read. Turning his father's funeral into a promo on The Hallow Ones is a very Mark Keaton thing to do, it would have worked much better though if Keaton hadn't flipped the switch from grieving son to flamboyant wrestler in an instant.
Mayhem Championship - Randy Studd VS Vox
After some solid outings, this one brought things down. Both RPs were average at best. They both included some funny moments, which you have come to expect from each character, I think in the end Studd had more funny moments, but the lack of formatting will kill him. Kinda shitty we tend to feel that way honestly. The Bono scene felt like something we have been waiting for, and the references to the title on a pole match being stupid were funny stuff. The interview at the end felt completely tacked on in an effort to shoehorn in a wrestling reference.
I would have liked to see formatting from Studd, the lack of it makes an RP feel rushed. The opening few lines were solid. The bit about Studd and a big pole was chuckle worthy. The entire opening bit with Randy running down the possible stipulations was funny. My issue, aside from the formatting, was that as soon as they got to the hotel, all mentions of wrestling and Vox were dropped. In a way, I get it, because Studd tried to turn on the charm, but I worry people will dock points for that. It was still smile worthy levels of comedy, and the Hollywood line was topical and in just enough bad taste to fit with Studd, but I think Vox is going to steal this one.
Kagura VS Batti
These were two pretty fine RPs from two pretty fine ladies. In the end, I think Batti is going to edge it because I think her RP stayed true to her character. Kagura was a fun read, for some reason anytime Ech write an RP with a drunk main character they are fun, but it felt a bit out of character for Kagura. I appreciate taking the chance he took by trying to put Kagura in Batti's realm, but it was too much of a culture clash for me.
My biggest take away from Batti, aside from Spidey writing better sexy time scenes than me, is that Ram has evolved into an interesting character. I've given Spidey a lot of comments about how I never really got Ramparty back in the day because he is smarter than me, but for the first time since Ram debuted and got his butler's dick sucked, he feels human. The scene with Tyrone got off to a fun start with the drink orders, the characters were captured well. The speech Batti gave was good stuff as well, but the bang bang fun time scene put any dirty thing every written in this fed to shame, and I once wrote a sex scene so graphic the guys made me edit it. The musical interludes, the descriptions, the cuts to Ram. Hot damn this was one hell of a piece.
The opening paragraphs of Kagura's piece painted a nice mental picture. Ech has always been good at setting a scene. With Kagura, I've always struggled when reading the dialogue a bit due to the language barriers between characters, but this go round it wasn't that bad. The scene where they discussed Taco Bell was my favorite part, because the part about taking a shit during sex was both funny and relateable....don't ask. The promo, I guess you can call it a promo, that Kagura cut on Batti was solid stuff. Talking how they seemed to be intertwined and how Kagura could never get ahead really hit high marks for me because it addressed the topic of Kagura constantly coming out ahead of Batti in matches, but never gaining a foothold over her in the company pecking order despite be QFAD. Overall, a solid piece that I won't at all be shocked or upset over if it pulls out a W.
Eve Taylor VS Logan McAllister
I'll start with Logan, who I felt had a bit of a return to that old form that got a lot of people talking. One of Logan's most appealing traits is that his love and drive for his family felt very real. Once Goldman entered the picture, that took a backseat and the RPs suffered due to it. Often times, and it was still a bit of an issue here, Logan was a bit player in his own RPs. Goldman became the star, and if I am being completely honest, the fact that Goldman, repped by Paul Heyman, did the talking for Logam, repped by Brock Lesnar, really threw me off. Having Brittany trying to force her way back into Logan's life could really make for a compelling story, and I liked that the seeds were planted here. I also like the topical references to Boston sports, as well as the little bits about the bell tolling for a match at the end. It helps paint the picture in your head. This isn't a bad RP, it isn't a winner, but it helps point you back in the right direction.
Before I start, I want to say that Eve and her friendship with Stacey and Selena is arguably the best use of NPCs in the fed. Even in the RPs where Eve loses, the friendship is always well done. Now, onto what I thought of the RP.
Seriously, that was hot fire.
In a way, this match had arguably the least build of any of the matches on the card (which Eve and Stacey talked about), save the four way, but the two characters recent journeys are parallel to each other. Both were rising up the ladder, then hit a snag and fell off. It represents an interesting dynamic, and I think Eve captured her fall and potential rise back up better than Logan. Eve has really been addressing the choker moniker hard lately, and I think this was the RP where she was ready to buck the trend, to put it all behind her in a big way. The dialogue was well written and original. The clever bits with Selena, arguably the lowest non referee or Bob NPC, were great. The real meat of the RP was the fire Eve displayed when talking about being a choker. That raw emotion and honesty is something you don't often see in RPs, not that well done anyway.
Lynx VS Triple X
Few people are as happy as me to see Triple X back. BK was always a good read and it made me mark when he showed back up. His return has shown he hasn't missed a step. Then this RP happened. Full disclosure, I think the RP is good. The opening was fine, if not cliche. The interludes of X being an asshole were good for character development. The part where Triple X took the megaphone and basked in the hatred of the crowd was fun. It really shows just how far X has turned his back on the fans. The problem I had, and I think a lot will have, is this RP was just so long. It had some solid content throughout, but there was a lot of stuff that could have been taken out and saved for later RPs. I feel like you jumped straight into the deep end on your first PPV RP back. If you scale it back and cut this by half, it's a great RP. As it stands, it's a solid but lengthy read. I really think that will hurt you.
Lynx, felt very basic here. One thing that was done well was making Lynx feel like Lynx. I think often times, guys get away from what makes their characters feel original, but Dagger usually does a good job of making his characters retain that uniqueness. I didn't really like that the RP was Lynx having a flashback to a bully who just so happened to pick three contrived stipulations in a fight and those stipulations just so happened to be the stips for the match. It felt very ham fisted and the easy way out. I still think Lynx will win based on the length of the Triple X RP though.
Anthony Mancini VS Wren
Neither RP here wowed me. Mancini was the better of the two for a couple of reasons. One, he looks to finally be ditching Xaitlyn. No one is happier than me, because I never felt like they clicked and it just seemed to kill a lot of the RPs she was in. The return to the family has potential for Tony as well. While I'm not crazy about the idea, Tony getting involved with the feds also has potential. If Milenko can wash off the stink of some of his flops in recent RPs, then he can break into new heights with Tony, and this RP did a decent enough job of setting that up. Not a great piece, but it does enough for the future to peak my interest.
The Wren piece was also pretty basic. I like that the last part did set up something for the future, but the rest of the RP was just so blah. I've always had a hard time with Wren not speaking. Sometimes the NPCs make up for it, sometimes they don't, but this entire RP was just Allison going "You lose a lot, you need to win more." I mean that is all it was. I hope the future sets up something better.
Milenko VS Ace Stevens VS Yemrez Reqonic VS War Zone
Due to a combination of lack of build, average RPs, and my unfamiliarity with some of the characters, this was my least favorite match to read. There were some positives though, so not all was lost.
Going in, Milenko was my biggest question mark. This is really my first foray into the character. I know a tiny bit about his history, but its all second hand knowledge. This RP did a decent job of painting who he is. The touching on potential challengers was decent as well, and the bit about the Mayhem champ and Milenko's history was a plus. Just too short to really cover much, probably down to the double duty he pulled.
Ace was the best of the lot with something that felt like the rust was still being shaken off. One thing that I think that people forget or miss about Ace is that while he is a comedian, he was never a successful or popular one. Due to that, his jokes often fall flat and it can be confusing. The Faygo stuff was a decent swipe at Milenko, the bear bit was a decent shot at War Zone, and the snake bit a decent play at Yemrez. It wasn't groundbreaking nor did they tear down the character's psyche, but it worked here. The end was sudden and pretty flat, but the animal bits were enough to pull this to the finish line a winner.
War Zone was short, but the content was decent. After a string of failures, War zone starts to look inward and question himself. A lot of big monster characters have done the whole soul searching bit, but it has a tendency to be successful when done right. I know you want to leave, and I would never stop someone who truly needs a break, but this was arguably the best War Zone piece yet. It wasn't great and there is work to be done, but this pointed the character in the right direction. There is ample opportunity to build not only War Zone's background, but his assimilation into the modern world as well, and like I said, this piece helps that.
Yemrez felt like more of a transitional piece, but so often you transition your characters that they rarely have an impact when you write these types of pieces. I try to find something unique above Yemrez, and before this piece the entire character was nothing but generic babyface to me. She repped her country and fought against evil, that is about as white meat babyface as it gets. Yeah, it worked for Hulk Hogan, but outside of Cena, can you name a successful wrestler with a similar gimmick since? This type of character is dying out for a reason. The good news with this RP is that adding a supernatural/spiritual element to her could work. If she has a divine calling to conquer evil, then it adds some depth to her character. She will need to be fleshed out in future RPs and I think you are capable of doing that after the first half of this piece. The promo at the end though, was pretty awful. I do like that you took to an official WZCW platform and had Yemrez cut a promo instead of just doing the generic interview with Leon. I like when people mix that up. The actual meat of the promo wasn't good though. Yemrez is close to the bottom rung of the WZCW ladder, yet she called out Justin Cooper. I don't buy it. Try to picture it like this, if Tuesday rolls around and Aiden English cuts a promo and calls out AJ Styles, would you accept that? The calling out of the actual opponents was very generic. It felt like you literally opened their roster page, looked at their gimmick, and said why Yemrez will beat that gimmick. The line about The Calling being made was the best part, as it ties into setting up future RPs with that element in it.