Emerald Specter 16: Random History Column

Image

Welcome to one of those columns where I write about the history of something. Some of you may not know I do this from time to time because I have blasted my sites so often that some of them get wiped out. This wonderful column will be about the history of the fantasy wrestling/eFeds I’ve been part of… because I don’t know how others operate but I’ve evolved my characters over time and that has allowed me to progress them as if they were real. On to the history!

In 1980-something, I discovered professional wrestling. Hulk Hogan was the WWE World Champion at the time and we were in the full throws of Hulkamania at the time. What better way to delve deeper into the love for wrestling than to create a fantasy federation? Why isn’t this an eFed? Well, in 1980-something we didn’t have the “e” for electronic running the way the Internet runs today.

Yes, kids, the Internet really didn’t pop up until the 90s.

There were a couple of “federations” that friends and I formed, none that really lasted because no one was willing to be the “runner,” they all wanted to compete. That’s when I created the concept of the “federation character” that was there, but wasn’t really anything more than a base to build from for the others… and I founded FURTHER Entertainment and the FURTHER Wrestling Federation. This ran about six years in real life before some of the participants started bowing out, moved away, or simply decided they weren’t into wrestling anymore.

These federation characters were originally just stepping stones for the “handler” characters. A handler is the real person who created the characters they controlled. My federation characters were something of a staple, because they did get “injured” or decide to lay low for a time but they were almost always there. In about year five of the FWF, the federation characters (at the behest of some of the players) started being productive members of the federation. They were winning titles, they were beating handler characters, and they were involved in angles just like everyone else… without any handlers involved. This happened because I’d had a track record to showing I wasn’t favoring them, but I was interested in developing the stories in a certain direction and that enticed the handlers to let the federation characters help elevate their own characters by being more than just jobbers.

Now, I say the FWF lasted “about six years” because I know for certain that it ran without a break for at least six years, but of course my memory has it running way longer. Nostalgic look backs tend to extend or glorify things that really kind of sucked… there was a point, though, where I was the only one left in the FWF… I let it fold and sort of kept the concept of the fantasy federation on the back burner until someone else came along that enjoyed the idea.

I should point out that I was really, really into pro wrestling for a long time… and though I’ve moved on, it still holds a tidbit of interest for me.

There were a few “rebirths” of the FWF, though they were named other things. The one that really went somewhere, though, was the DWO (Dark Wrestling Organization) that I formed in April 1998. I know that month and year because of a particular job I’d started and the other interested parties at that job wanted an eFed. From April until about August, the DWO was “internal” only (meaning only those I worked with where players). In August, I opened that up to the Internet and really learned what eFedding was all about. The DWO was a big hit and lasted two full years (plus some change) and some of the characters I’d run in the FWF were in the DWO, only far developed (and “aged”) from where they were “back in the day.”

What some others didn’t realize that were in the DWO was that I was also running the DCW (Dark Championship Wrestling), where all my federation characters went to play with some of the internal die hards that wanted the “old fed” back. The DCW ran for about two years on it’s own and eventually folded, shortly after the DWO. There was another lapse and when I caught the bug again I created the VWM (Virtual Wrestling Matrix).

The VWM has since been stolen by someone else, along with MANY of the graphics I created, but the VWM I ran did several things that players flocked to because of the effort I was putting in. The VWM had audio of PPV events, we were being hosted by NBCi (the NBC owned version of Geocities, for all intents and purposes) and thus I played things like we were ON the NBC programming line up. That, my friends, was  huge hit. The only reason the VWM collapsed was that NBCi had a server issue and my site (along with many others) were completely wiped out… and I didn’t feel like I wanted to bring that back from scratch again, so I just let the VWM die.

This is where the “dark times” come in. I ran several attempts to revive eFedding and I just didn’t have the time to run things the way I used to… other eFeds were bringing in people left and right and I ended up joining a couple of other eFeds but nothing was quite as good as what I’d been running, so I ended up bowing out of several of them. I joined the IRWC (Internet Rage Wrestling Corporation), the EHCWF (Extreme Hardcore Wrestling Federation), SCW (Supreme Championship Wrestling), and eventually decided to just remain “out”.

I was writing a wrestling column for TWNPNews.com from 1999 until about 2003, then I made a quick comeback for 2004. During this first run, the WWE Brand Extension happened and I’d seen the potential in the concept of what the Brand Extension could be, so I ran an experiment that I didn’t realize was going to be the big hit it was…

I invented the SEO (Sports Entertainment Organization) and filled it with all of my federation characters from the past. I split the organization immediately into two “brands,” then ran a simulation of those brands for four months. I detailed what happened in the shows, the promos, held three PPVs, and just developed the stories I had to tell. I never received more views than I did for that experiment in anything else wrestling that I did.

The SEO experiment was more a play on “how would I do the WWE Brand Extension” and I think I was moderately successful. Since my characters had had the history that they did, the storylines I ran mirrored what I would have done using the actual WWE would have done… just with original characters.

When I ended the experiment, I was asked when I would continue it and whether or not I’d open the option to participate up to the general public. Alas, I wasn’t going to continue the experiment and I didn’t open that up to the public.

I’ve attempted to build up another “experiment” or create a new eFed, but I didn’t have the time. My job changed, to a career, and things just never seemed to get back on track again. I came really close twice, and each of those would be a rebirth of the “experiment” in a way, but I ended up running out of steam due to increased work hours on both counts. I’m going to tell you about both attempts and what they were going to be, with a little added nugget at the end of the column explaining what’s happening right now before I end this long-ass column.

The first attempt was PHASE, or the Professional Haven for Athletes of Sports Entertainment. PHASE was the “swan song,” last stand of the original group of federation characters that I had way back in the FWF days. The characters had evolved and aged, because I’d evolved them into realistic characters. The oldest competitor was in his late 50s and he was going to do the “Hulk Hogan thing” and just wrestle in the big events. I’d have let the others up there in age also have limited engagements, there would have been a “new generation” of characters coming up and being built up. Alas, PHASE died on the grill.

The second attempt was RISE, or Revolution Internet Sports Entertainment. This attempt was the bran child of the four friends in wrestling who would have just retired (or were about to retire) and they were going to be building up, almost exclusively, the next generation. The old characters, the ones that would be too old to compete, were still involved but in other ways. Some of them were referees, some of them were commentators (what better way to keep the legacy aspect than by plugging in characters that have a history), and some of them would make “one off” style interactions… providing that much needed rub to give some prestige to the next generation. This was stewed a bit, it came the furthest along, and then died on the vine… keep RISE in mind, though, as I explain something else (my nugget).

At the end of 2015, I was enthralled by a work of awesome that was created on a logo forum in a way to show progressive logos of a fictional football league through history. As I write this column, that thread is now in the 1980 season and there is no sign of the thread stopping anytime soon. I did something similar in nature (but different) by starting the Emerald Specter Premier League, which will be running in “real time” and has just finished it’s first season (and will be expanding for the second season). Don’t stop reading yet.

I intend to run the ESPL for as long as I can, as I have tentatively made my mind up to run the thing for at least a decade and hopefully find a young upstart to take it over from me and I’ll hand it over to go into the future with that. As I am simulating soccer, I have started toying with simulating other sports (just as possibilities: sumo, chess, bowling, American football, stock car racing, MMA) and you might see where this is going now… I’ve also considered bringing sports entertainment back.

The best ideas I had started with the RISE premise to work from, building on the history I had with the characters and going into the future. Then I considered something, as I was coming up with the list of characters I was tossing around I thought of something as a possibility. There are very few people that would know the history of all these characters I’ve been developing over the years and I could just build up this “new RISE” with the old characters presented for the first time to anyone in this Internet age to enjoy (who would be fully fleshed out). Would that be called RISE? PHASE? Something else? Who knows, I’m still kicking around the idea. I’ve proven I can work things long term with the ESPL, how much more activity can I add to this site?

Additional bits that I’m inspired by to include, if I do decide to return to this little “experiment” style venture: the WWE “second” Brand Extension makes me want to try the two separate shows theory again, Chikara Pro is running “seasons” and I like this idea because I can cut a couple months out of the annual experience and theme the season like they do, including the characters of others and eventually turning the federation over to someone else to run wouldn’t be a terrible thing, and finally I think that utilizing the old school guys to bring you all them for the first time gives me hope that a legacy can be written down and readable long term.

So, I am considering all options. I would love to hear your ideas and you can place them in the general discussion forum on this website. Interesting?