My early days in eWrestling were filled with wonder. Here was a broad new world that I could only begin to comprehend. The more I learned, the more I wanted. But my early days in eWrestling had one big bump in the road as well that dramatically affected my life outside the game.
Hello, and welcome to 20 Years of eWrestling. My name is Neal Thayer, and I'll be your host for this wild ride down memory lane and through the deepest, darkest recesses of my mind. First things first, many thanks to Ben for allowing me this opportunity to hash out my own personal brand of OOC Retrospective.
Keep in mind, my goal is to present you with a topical approach to this rather than strictly a chronological approach. That being said, I will try to keep a general chronology through the course of these sessions, but may jump around from time to time. So with all of that out of the way, let's get started.
It was April of 1999, and I was at my college's computer lab surfing the information superhighway looking for wrestling stuff. Don't ask me what specifically, because I don't remember anymore. What I stumbled across though set my imagination alight. An e-fed! What's that?! A defunct e-fed, mind you, but the poorly constructed website was still intact. I looked around the site a bit, but all I could think was: "I want in!"
Of course, that was impossible since that particular fed was now closed. So I did some more digging and discovered a newsgroup called rec.sport.pro-wrestling.fantasy or RSPWF for short. I read a few threads to get a feel for it, and then posted my own. "How do you write a roleplay?" All of this was entirely new to me. Fortunately, somebody explained it to me.
Equipped with my new-found knowledge, I didn't jump into handling. Oh no, I had to run my own feds. So I started three of them simultaneously--as if one wasn't enough of a workload to take on. One was called Windy City Wrestling--real original, right? Another was Illinois State Wrestling Committee--egads! I can't remember thethird. But wait, how do I get people to join my fed? Oh I know! Let's go on the WWF's chatrooms and promote it! Yeah, that'll work! So I did, and acquired three handlers and four characters for my three budding promotions.
The first two characters were Vampire Warrior and Clown of Carnage. They were friends, big ICP fans, and may or may not have been hackers. The third handler created gothic characters Hellfire and Brimstone. Pretty sure I filled the rest of the rosters with my own creations. Suffice it to say though, that none of those 3 feds lasted more than two shows. The handlers of Vampire Warrior and Clown of Carnage proved to be a handful as they frequently threatened to hack my site and my computer. So I parted ways with them and decided to try my hand at handling for a while instead.
My first "serious" characters were a tag team called Deadly Force comprising of Dark Wolf and Crazy Horse, managed by Wild Animal. RSPWF had new feds popping up practically daily, so it was easy to get plugged in somewhere. Trouble was, feds would close as soon as they opened. After bouncing around a bit, I landed in World Wrestling Association--one of a million by that name at the time. WWA had characters like Thugz Xtreme, Doctor Love and Nurse Candy, "The Educator" Thane Sloan, Alexander Moag, Preston "The Machine" Maurice, etc.
As my first home fed, WWA was also the first place that I won a title--Deadly Force winning the Tag Team titles. It was the first time I'd been invited to join a stable. It was the first time I was involved in feuds: first with Speedy Irons and Innocent Sleen; then later with Thrash and Doom - the Metalheads. And, more importantly, it was the first time I started taking female characters seriously.
The fedhead decided to create a women's division with the caveat that it was just for fun. We didn't have to RP for it. I RPed anyway, wanting Wild Animal to become the first Women's Champion. Since Deadly Force and Wild Animal were heels, her main rival was Nurse Candy.
Then in early 2000, much to my dismay, WWA closed. I immediately took it upon myself to start up another fed of my own, dubbed the North American Wrestling Council. NAWC had such greats--at the time--as Rick Stevens, Jason "The Bandit" Blake, "The Cavalier" Tom Knight, Killer Buddha, etc. It was there that I saw my first success as a fedhead; writing every match on every show, two shows a week for six months.
As you might have guessed, all that workload ultimately burned me out. So I handed over the reigns to Jason Blake's handler. He ran it a show or two before merging it with the Northwest Wrestling Association or NWWA to form the North American Wrestling Association or NAWA.
Worse yet, I had become so addicted to eWrestling that it affected my college studies. I got a couple Incompletes for failing to turn in homework and failing to attend final exams. I dropped out of college, and my mom kicked me out of her apartment. I spent 2001 living with my grandma and totally cut off from eWrestling, which was a blessing in its own right.
Even though things went so badly early on, I didn't give up on the game. Part 2 will be about the mentors I've had and the impact they had helping me to improve as a writer.
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