Writing matches was never really my strong point, but I developed some theories about it after a while. At first I wrote-up matches in the form of “X does a blah! Y traps X in the dreaded blah hold!”, etc., basically move-by-move match calling with a few observations thrown in. After a while I realized that it would work better to pull the focus back a ways and try to convey the larger picture. By this I mean telling stories instead of calling moves, working various themes (e.g. X is stronger, but Y is faster; Y doesn’t trust his own manager; X is inexperienced) into the match. I view move-calling as a backbone (obviously the announcers have to say what’s happening in the match), but think it should be kept in the background. Before writing a match, figure out what themes belong in the match, and what spots you can work into it (some could come from strategies submitted by the players).
Focus your write-up around these things, add witticisms and humor, and voila! Each match is a chapter in a larger storyline, so when writing that chapter you need to think about where it fits into that storyline. If it’s the beginning or middle, a screw job ending is OK.
If this match should be, in your opinion, the culmination of the angle, make sure it has a decisive ending. The temptation in writing a match is to end every sentence with an exclamation point to indicate non-stop excitement. I don’t think this holds the reader’s interest for very long though (it’s monotonous), you need to vary the tempo to keep the reader hooked. Inserting slowdowns between the matches (feud recaps and such, as mentioned last week) accomplishes this in part. However, it is also important to do this during the matches: stalling, rest holds, or both wrestlers being down on the mat.
Put people over, but not too far. Not *every* face is the most loved person in the galaxy. Have the low-level faces get less enthusiastic fan support than then top face in the league. Get the point across that every wrestler is darn good, and has a finisher which does put people away (if someone escapes one week, have the finisher have its usual effect the next week; this avoids “move inflation” and keeps characters over). In addition, I think it would help to pick a few “over” moves for your fed, such as the piledriver (it’s banned in 17 states, you know ;-). Whenever someone does one of these moves, make a big deal about it and have the recipient feel a lot of pain. Be fair to every player. However, stand up to the players when they’re wrong.
Don’t let them use laser guns or “the force” or have ten-foot tall characters. If someone wants to do a run-in and disrupt a match, but you think it will screw up the angle, don’t let them do it. Finally, know all the characters so that they are “in character” in your write-ups. This means reading every flash to see what the player is trying to get across about his character’s personality and strategy, and give him a hand. For instance, don’t have Lionheart Larry run away in fear (unless the angle calls for it), show that he refuses to give up, even when things look bleak. Similarly, have Devious Danny do devious things, to show that he really does wrestle like a heel.
Anyway, I think the proper philosophy for writing a match is to view it as a chapter in a story, composed of spots and themes, rather than a list of moves done by each wrestler.
By Gavin Bannerman, credit to Aidan Palmer
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