The Return of The BTB Newsletter
Welcome back to reading this, everyone. Below you will find some hopefully entertaining material, provided for you by Wolf Best, Renegade, and myself, with big help coming in the form of the man interviewed this Newsletter as well. The very first article here is not so much an article but an expose, a highlight on one of the greatest - and probably, hands down, the greatest - person, writer, and booker to embrace BTB, Wolf Beast. With the fact that he’s been writing here for over a decade now, coupled with the sad notion that he could be wrapping up his Being The Booker thread - which is hands down the greatest BTB in the section’s history - the return of the Newsletter gives some viewing much deserved spotlight on Wolf Beast’s work in this section, as provided by Renegade.
Wolf Beast - The GOAT BTB'er
Well, where to start with the great man himself? Perhaps I should start from well, the start. That would make sense. Wolfy was the first booker who's writing actually made me want to book. Back in January 2005 I first ventured in the BTB forum and after a few quick glances through threads, Wolfy's "Being The Booker" thread caught my attention for no other reason than believe it or not, the basic thread title. I don't really know why, perhaps because everyone else was trying to go all out with fancy, catchy thread titles and here was this Wolf Beast guy with the most basic title for a thread ever.
So I clicked on it, not sure what to expect, but once I had given it a decent look through, I was honestly really into his work. Shows back 10 years ago were somewhat different to how they are written today, but Wolfy clearly had the skills to put a good show together. His feud ideas at the time were fresh overall, and the quality of what he was producing was enough to get me hooked into regularly checking in for a read and before you know it, up went a Wrestlemania. Going back a long time I can remember Goldberg vs Kurt Angle and thinking what an orignal idea for a match, and that there also was Austin vs Lesnar, Cena vs Orton and Rock vs HHH in what was an epic PPV and the first one I had read on this forum.
From then on, I was pretty much a weekly reviewer. Wolfy continued week after week to deliver quality shows, with barely a disappointment in them. As time went on, he even brought Bret Hart back for a match at Wrestlemania with Kurt Angle amongst other things, and was the first booker to legitimately book Christian from mid card into main eventer. The slow rise of Christian was a brilliant read over the years. Eventually Wolfy would stick to a more realistic approach and wind down the use of guys like Sting, Goldberg, Austin and Rock over the years, yet he continued to develop new storylines and push newer characters into the frame like Brent Albright who's rise was another enjoyable read.
Wolf Beast would also help run and organise events down the years like the BTB World Cup and various Newsletters (and Inner Circle 2.0 propaganda ) to show that not only was he a great writer but a great influence on the section as a whole. Many great bookers down the years have come and gone yet Wolfy remained, churning out show after show of quality. Other great bookers like Szumi, DDMac, Paranoir, Legend, King of Pain, NatureBoy, Forever Delayed, Emperor DC etc have often spoken of how Wolf Beast was the man, and there is no doubt about that coming from bookers of that quality that cannot be argued.
The Undertaker of BTB, the man simply put, Wolf Beast deserves some sort of special mention around this section of the forum for all to remember him by, and his thread should be stickied to the front page for all the new comers to check out how to lay out and write a good show.
I could go on and on praising the guy but you get the picture, he's the GOAT and I think I speak for every booker when we say, thanks for everything.
So we’ve heard about Wolfy, but now we are going to hear from Wolfy himself. This is a guy who, for the most part, has written one BTB throughout his decade-plus stay in Be The Booker. He knows a lot about how to make a BTB successful, how to keep well-detailed plans, and all you need to know to Be The Booker.
How To Successfully Plan Your BTB
I’ve been asked a number of times over my twelve years here (that’s depressing to write) how I’ve managed to persevere for so long, and especially with essentially just one thread. And one of the keys to my longevity here that I would point to, would be the planning I’d always put into my thread. When I first began, I just booked out the first few months of PPV cards to get to a Pay Per View for both brands, leading to Backlash & Judgment Day. I had no idea just how long ‘Being the Booker’ would last beyond that.
If I’d continued to book week to week or month to month, the thread would probably never have gone as far as WrestleMania 21, never mind WrestleMania 24. But it was around Judgment Day 2004 in the thread that I began to think long term. Plans were put in motion for a Steve Austin/Brock Lesnar program that would culminate in a WrestleMania showdown, and the finish to the main event of Judgment Day would plant the seeds and lay the groundwork for WrestleMania ten months down the line.
From that point on, I started to look toward that PPV. I wanted to make a new headliner at WrestleMania, and eyed John Cena - not a big call by any means, he was well on his way to the main event in 2004 anyway - and I liked the idea of pitting two ‘new’ stars against each other at the biggest show of the year in the main event. So Cena vs. Orton stood out right away. That’s right; the most played out match in WWE in the 21st Century was once a ‘fresh’ match.
On top of that, I’d always wanted to see Triple H and The Rock go one on one at WrestleMania, and that that stage in BTB, half of the angles I was writing were simply feuds I wanted to see. After planning the top three matches, I tried to figure out the rest of the card. Without going into details on them, the card was mapped out and it was a case of filling in the blanks on the ‘Road’ to WrestleMania. And the rest, as they say, is history.
So, for any aspiring bookers that are looking for tips to success, the first thing I’d tell you to do is make plans. That’s what helped me. That said, I’m sure there’s a number of other successful people in the section that have managed to get by in just booking on the fly, so these tips may or may not be helpful for you…
The first thing you need to do is work out your end goal. If you’re booking WWE in any era, it has to be the upcoming WrestleMania. Whether you begin your thread the night after the previous WrestleMania, or at the Royal Rumble, or any point in between - you should be thinking towards WrestleMania. Plan the card you want to aim for at the biggest event - even if it’s just a rough draft - then work backwards. In the initial stages, you don’t need to have every detail worked out. Having the matches down on paper that you want to book towards is a good enough guideline.
With your big matches, you might want to jot down some bullet points for certain important parts of the angle you want to create, then work from there. For example, I had tentatively thought of a Kurt Angle vs. Bret Hart dream match at WrestleMania 22. On a side note, looking back, having Bret wrestle a match in 2006 given his health issues is completely nonsensical - but let’s not dwell on that…
I dropped a little teaser in a backstage promo between Angle and Bret (who was Smackdown GM) at the Judgment Day 2005 PPV, and left it to see what kind of reaction there would be. If the comments I got signified there would be interest in seeing a Bret/Kurt program, despite the unrealistic nature of things, I’d run with it, and so it came to pass.
I had the end goal now, and just needed to fill in the blanks; how would Kurt Angle get Bret Hart in the ring for a match at WrestleMania?? For each month on the journey, I had at least one plot point to build on, from teases and hints initially, building intrigue, to Angle then chasing a match with Hart, and Hart declining due to his health. Without detailing every last piece of the angle (that could be an article in itself), it turned out to be one of the angles that I gained most compliments for. It had almost a year of build, and paid off in a huge WrestleMania showdown.
But, don’t make the mistake of being rigid with your booking either. Just because you have things mapped out, planned completely - it doesn’t mean you cant make changes if necessary. If you’re struggling to get a long term angle that you’ve been planning to that next level, or if you’re just not feeling the direction it’s going in, don’t be afraid of changing course. Maybe you’ll have stumbled upon something else that sparks more interest, both out of your writing, and the people reading your thread. Just don’t go making changes to plans on a whim because you‘ve ran out of patience.
A number of years ago, I had planned on Christian challenging Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 23, with Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena as another main event level showdown. The build for the feud started back in October, and right up to the Royal Rumble, the plan remained the same; Christian would win the Rumble and take on Triple H at that WrestleMania. But in December, I stumbled upon something that I hadn’t planned on; tension brewing between The McMahon Family and Brock Lesnar.
The praise I started to get for what was only ever intended to be a side issue - something that I could maybe pick up and revisit later down the road - had me rethinking WrestleMania completely. By the time I reached the Royal Rumble, I was torn, with three choices; A) Stay the course, B) Have Christian win the Rumble, but take the title off Triple H and move into two different programs, or C) Have Lesnar win the Rumble and go with Brock chasing Triple H instead.
I was determined to solidify Christian as a headliner, so option C wasn’t considered for too long - Christian won the Rumble, and I gave myself another few weeks to debate exactly what direction to head in. Eventually, I couldn’t resist the Lesnar/Triple H angle, and had Triple H drop the title to Cena. I’d put that down as one of the best booking decisions I’ve made, as it would eventually set the stage for the best face turn I’d written (Lesnar a few weeks later), and the best heel turn I’d write (Cena just a few months ago).
Without forward planning though, none of this would’ve ever come to pass. I probably would’ve burned through all kinds of angles and heel turns in double quick time. I wouldn’t have properly added layers to angles and let them build to the right point. And I wouldn’t have written four years worth of shows in the same thread inside one unique universe. The entire thing would’ve ended probably before the end of the Summer of 2004.
For those of you who think having your PPV card set is enough planning, and just ‘wing it’ to get to that destination through the television shows too, you’re making a mistake. Planning out Raw and Smackdown each week is just as important to being successful. I cant think of anything that would be worse than knocking the ball out of the park on an angle for three straight weeks, then having nothing on your go-home show to send it into the PPV. If you have your ducks in a row, that’s a scenario that can be easily avoided.
Maybe you’ll only have enough material for three good weeks of build, so to stretch the feud out for four weeks, in week three you can cool things down before hitting the crescendo a week later. Or you might need to re-jig certain aspects of an angle when you realise that one week on Raw you have too many in-ring talking segments booked and not enough matches, so you might want to hold off on one of the angles needing that in-ring segment for the following week.
From day one, I’ve made a habit of jotting down plans for each Raw and Smackdown, planning out each show, piece by piece…[/center]
Again; don’t be afraid of switching things up. As you’ll see, there’s quite a few changes from the show jotted down on paper, and what it eventually became…
Quite different in the end, but having things planned out in advance allowed me to juggle aspects of storylines around, holding things off, bringing other things forward.
So, in conclusion, if you’re looking for longevity, I can’t stress how important planning has been for me. It isn’t for everyone, and like I’ve already stated; many have succeeded in booking from week to week. But, if you’re someone that has struggled to find success, give it a go. See if it works for you.
Wolf Beast’s the greatest, guys. He’s featured heavily in this Newsletter so far, and let’s be real; it’s deserved and he’s going to feature heavily again later in the Awards, I’m sure. But now, we get to focus on another guy in BTB. This is a man who has been around the section for quite some time himself, had two very successful BTBs, and is now hopefully working on building up his current BTB into a third great one. He’s a former Moderator, a guy whose put in a whole lot of work into this section, and deserves to be the focus of… The Interview! I am the one asking the questions in bold, and the man answering them...
The Interview - Featuring Nige
So you first came to WF towards the tail end of 2006. I know the search history is bad at WF for around these times, so research didn’t give me any definitive answers - when did you first start doing BTB? Was it here at WF, or did you do any sort of writing/creative wrestling stuff/E-Fedding/fantasty booking of any sort prior to coming to WF?
A mate at college told me about as we became better friends when we both discovered we were fans of TNA at the time when Kurt Angle debuted and started working with Samoa Joe. I'd always thought about booking in my head, but I never knew there was a forum where I could go and do it. I'd been on another forum, but I came to WF purely to see what I could do with writing. I quickly got some kind comments, and some serious constructive feedback from DC early on, which helped, and obviously you develop if you listen and look at the established threads.
You were around for the 2007 BTB World Cup, and some of the other tournaments that occurred throughout those years in the section. Did you ever compete in any of the tournaments, and which one(s)? Any success? What are your thoughts in general on the BTB Tournaments, and would you ever want to see the old things make a roaring/limping comeback to the section?
I've never been interested in tournaments. I wasn't one for writing for awards or competition, even more so now. I just wanted to focus on my thread. It's not a knock on other people, or meant to be. Competitive writing wasn't for me, but it was and will be for others. That's cool. It purely wasn't for me. If there's a push for that again, great. It'd be fantastic to see the section come back to life, and if a competition brings legends back in, it'd be terrific. For at least five years I've purely been writing for me because I enjoy it. Largely now because I grew up and learnt not to take the section so seriously and get too involved in all the section B.S. that went on, like I did back then.
Again, the researching that I did isn’t wholly helpful here. The first BTB thread of yours I see is A Strong Response (we’ll get to that one then), but it’s not your first project judging by the responses when the thread was created. What was your first BTB project at the section? Solo project, split? Gimme the juicy details on the start of the legend that is Nige! Educate all the readers on your beginnings :P
I think it was called 'A New Era'. A unique title that one! It started off solo and was for the most part. I had brief partnerships with TKOW & DC in it. Not bad guys to partner up with! I started off like a newb to say the least, posting very short shows, or results really, and several shows a night. Once I took a look at the section as advised, I realised what I had to do. DC especially if I remember rightly was very helpful, and I can remember him saying that it could be the next big thread. That was kind, and that inspired me. I tried to be creative, and sometimes too much. Learning to calm it down is something that you learn, or need to.
I got carried away at times and made bad decisions on the fly like writing the Royal Rumble and getting excited by bringing Kane back with the mask and deciding it would be a good idea to have him win it while writing it without much thought, and then putting the title on him at Mania because I put him in the position that he simply had to. It was stupid, and as you learn, you quickly realise you have to think logically about these things and evaluate how it will progress, and the issues that it could create. Feedbacking yourself I guess!
The big BTB you have to be most commonly associated with is A Strong Response. For those readers unaware, this BTB encompassing a massive total of 1,878 replies, was started in October 2007, and throughout starts, stops, and hiatuses, has had its last show posted back in March 2014. It’s no Wolfy status (because nothing else is), but an incredible 6 ½ years from start to finish. Even with breaks in between, it’s never easy being able to get back into a project with time off, so to go that long is incredible. In-game time, it went from No Mercy 2007 to Extreme Rules 2009, aka over a year and a half of booking! So first off, what kept you motivated to keep your BTB running for such a long time?
I find it hard to believe myself I went that long with it, because what really troubles me, did at the end of it, and with The Yes Movement recently, and is slightly now is getting behind real time, especially with the growth of talents in NXT. I just hate getting so behind. Well maybe I do now, given how long A Strong Response did.
I've never been that competitive with BTB, but I do take pride in that the thread was as popular as it was in terms of views, replies etc. It might be second only to Wolfy in that regard, but I know full well that it wasn't up there in terms of writing quality especially with yours for example, or the likes of Mac & Legend etc.
The one thing that I had keeping me going was that I had so many ideas that I really wanted to persevere with. I was really enjoying writing it too. I felt in a complete comfort zone, and having seen the questions ahead, I'll leave the extra detail for them.
Continuing on with A Strong Response for a while, what are some of your favorite moments from the thread? Give as much or as little as you care to recite, my man.
It's funny how critical I was of my decision to book Kane as the winner of the Rumble while writing it, but I'm still happy with how I did a similar thing in turning CM Punk heel on Jeff Hardy at the 2007 Survivor Series after the match and a blind tag that gave Jeff the victory and left him & Punk as sole survivors. While writing the aftermath of that match, I just thought it through in my head and imagined Punk not being particularly thrilled about it, and then thinking whether I should actually turn him heel. I liked it, so I did. It worked out well, and on reflection, Punk was easily my favourite thing in that thread.
It pissed me off that I was writing his shoot promos just before the 'pipebomb' for real in 2011, and when I was still writing it, some new readers felt I was ripping that off, when in fact I was doing that with Punk for a while before.
I managed to write a couple of Manias in it, which is cool, and I was fairly pleased with how I booked the build-up to WM25. I knew while writing it I wasn't doing the best I could, and it became more of a relief to get it out the way and didn't do it justice. I felt the booking was good, but the writing wasn't. I think in essence, that sums me up well. A good booker, but not the best writer.
Just to spotlight some of the work done in this thread - we had TWO Wrestlemania’s, 24 and 25. Wrestlemania 24 can be found here, highlighted by Kane and Shawn Michaels walking out as the World Champions. Wrestlemania 25 is here. While Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton leave Wrestlemania as the World Champs, the real story was the controversial decision to have John Cena beat The Undertaker and end The Streak, something not many people ever did in BTB… especially before it happened IRL. So, with that being said, which Wrestlemania of yours do you prefer? What went into the decision to have Cena beat The Undertaker, and your thoughts on the execution and reaction to it?
I can't really remember that much about 24 in all honesty other than my regret with Kane, but as I touched on it, I really loved writing the build-up to 25, especially for Shawn Michaels & Triple H's match. I liked the conclusion of Punk finally losing the title, although along the way I wished it wasn't Randy Orton. I booked myself into a corner though because I was so adamant that Cena/Taker had to happen, as did Shawn/Triple H with the retirement angle too for the title after Shawn took the title in the Rumble (great idea to have it defended in the Rumble) starting at number two and Trips number one.
Taker/Cena and Shawn/Trips were my money matches. With a face vs. face match, I was left pretty much with Randy, who I genuinely wanted to do something big with on his return, so I went with him. The decision to have Cena end the streak wasn't one I always had in mind, and as I was writing the story week by week, I had the heat in mind from the crowd, so I started to think if this could be the thing to turn him heel, and what better way to make it somewhat organic is by having him resent the crowd for disrespecting him again, but after doing something no one ever had. I just felt that as unlikely as it ever is he turns heel for real, and I am a stickler for realism for the most part, it was something I wanted to do. I was sure that it would work playing on how Cena could pull a 'if you can't respect me now, then screw you' to the haters, while staying true to his loyal followers. I was proud of how I did it and I don't regret any part of it. My only real regret from it is that I felt that I'd taken the thread as far as I could, as much as I wanted to continue with Cena as a heel.
An overall thing regarding A Strong Response, my old brain remembers absolutely HATING a lot of the presentation from your shows as it was very bright/colorful. Sorry :P What inspired you to have the style/presentation for shows that you did?
Yeah, it was fucking terrible. At the time I felt that I needed different colours to make separations in the show clear. I can't believe I used that lime green and orange as much as I did. It was simply to stop it all being one colour, but I took it way too far. I look back now and see it for how bad it was. I'm much happier now with how I style it.
A Strong Response is probably regarded as one of the best BTBs in the section’s history, I would have to imagine. What is your opinion on where A Strong Response stands in the annuls of BTB? It certainly had a large following. What do you think it was about your BTB - your work - that created, developed, and maintained a loyal following? Do you feel it was your match writing, promo writing, booking, presentation, etc? We’re all curious to hear how you yourself feel about your own work, strengths/weaknesses, etc.
Certainly not match writing. I think my promos improved over time, but they were never fantastic. It was definitely my booking I believe. When I looked at the likes of you, Wolfy, Legend, Mac, the writing was far superior to mine. I tried hard to take mine up another level, and maybe it did. It just wasn't going to be enough to be the level I wanted.
I know myself that the writing let me down and couldn't compare to others, but if other people enjoyed my thread and consider it one of their favourites, then that's great and I'm proud of that. Everyone has opinions of which is the best, and people will always like different things, especially in the BTB section! I know though that my work isn't up there with the best the section has seen. When I was younger and it was winning awards and coming top in the Mega standings regularly, I probably felt prouder than I should've, as much as I never felt I should finish top. I've been so much happier now just writing for myself and paying little to no attention to anything else in the section. With far less time on my hands anyway, it's a good thing. The passion to book though never goes away. If only there was more time in a day.
Moving on from A Strong Response, you also were a BTB Moderator for a while. How long roughly were you Moderator, and what exactly did you have to do as a Moderator to help keep the section running smoothly? It’s got to be a position where you probably didn’t get your fair credit from people at times. How did you like being Mod?
I really can't remember how long I was mod for tbh. It can't have been more than about six months. It is beyond a thankless job, and a lot of people can't appreciate how much shit got posted by idiots that we or admins would all delete as soon as we could see it, whether it be idiotic comments, one line or word comments in any thread, advertising other forums etc. I generally hated 'feedback' that consisted of 'good show'. I'd delete them and PM them to say what a review consisted of and not to just type comments like that as they helped no one or the section. There were definitely times where I probably went too far with it, as much as I hated spam, and still do.
I tried to do little things for the section like the booker introduction with little information, while also leaving newsletters, awards and mega standings to people who'd always been a part of it. I didn't want to infringe on those things that had been handled so well by others for a long time.
It was a time that I don't look back on with fond moments, and it's genuinely something I hadn't really thought about until I read this question. I can't remember who the other mod was at the time, as they're the only person (I think it was WCW if my memory serves me rightly) who knows the story, and possibly an admin of why I suddenly gave it up. I spent that specific Christmas in a German hospital with my brother in a coma after he had a skiing accident, which is why I was absent from the forum for a while as it was sudden and I couldn't commit to it being overseas for so long. I asked to be replaced as I wasn't sure what would've happened one day to the next, let alone the weeks and months. Thankfully he came out of it and it's like it never happened now. It was a shit time though to say the least.
As cool as it might be at the time to be offered the chance to be a moderator, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone now. It's thankless and pretty pointless in all honesty. You don't get anything out of it, or I didn't.
You also had a BTB titled The Yes Movement, which chronicled Wrestlemania 30 until TLC (I believe) of September 2014. What are your favorite moments of this thread?
Honestly, I'd probably say what I was doing with Paige. It's not because she's English and hot as hell, I just really got behind her Anti-Diva gimmick and dialled it up as much as I could, and it was starting a divas revolution of its own, leading to the ladder match with the first ever divas ladder match against AJ Lee at TLC. Putting Paul Heyman with her and holding off on her debut in the UK made it much better too, and I can't describe how much enthusiasm I had booking her, and using her to get AJ & Natalya more over and working on getting more credibility behind the divas division.
I was enjoying what I was doing with Cesaro too, and that was going to have a big payoff in taking the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania in 2015 after being screwed along the way by Triple H when he cashed in Money in the Bank against Dolph Ziggler at Night of Champions in the December of 2014, who would've won the World Heavyweight Championship in the tournament that started. I was wary of doing that given how Daniel Bryan won the title, but I'd set the wheels in motion so much, to the point where he was ultimately responsible for seeing Trips & Stephanie out of power. I was getting really excited about my plans for the world title tournament and the new look Smackdown, but ultimately, I was desperate to start a project a year down the line with Sasha Banks, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Charlotte amongst others at the level they are, not to mention what NXT has become in such a short space of time, along with the talent there like Finn Balor, Bayley, Apollo Crews, Chad Gable & Jason Jordan etc. I was just too excited by the prospect of booking this time period.
I'm reminded of my plans as I write this, and remember how in the match I mentioned with Cesaro catching in against Ziggler in what would've been a face vs. face match, Dolph would've taken the cheap win thanks to Triple H and turned heel in the fallout, explaining how he wouldn't be apologising for accepting a cheap win to keep his title. It would also have led to Cesaro facing Triple H at the Royal Rumble, and having failed in his cash-in, he would've won the Rumble in a second chance like scenario and gone on to challenge Brock and defeat him at WrestleMania.
And of course now you’re booking The NXT Chapter, which has started from Summerslam 2015. What can we expect to see from this latest project?
Well The Bullet Club probably if the rumours are true! I've been really inspired from NXT the past two years, and Lucha Underground while being disillusioned with most of what we see on Raw & Smackdown. I'm gradually looking to incorporate what's worked with those shows on to the main roster. They're different formats in only being an hour with less exposure and no monthly special.
I have ideas in mind. Essentially I'm looking to make the shows more wrestling based like NXT. It's difficult because I have different ideas for Smackdown as to whether to expand NXT and have that replace it and go with a brand split, or even make it a divas show given the amount of talent the women now have, and capitalise on the divas revolution more. A straight forward roster split is also possible and I've experimented with a couple of rosters. I just need to commit to a decision, but for the short term I'm happy focusing Smackdown shows one week on the NXT talent, the women or tag teams, or a number one contender tournament like I did recently with the Intercontinental Championship. I just don't want to make Smackdown the serious downgrade of Raw that's been for years. Hopefully IRL the move to USA makes them realise it, and it appears to be going that way.
I have options and I'm content with what I'm doing with Smackdown at the moment, so I'm in no rush to commit before I'm certain. My only issue is finding the time to make it as good as I want, or even the time to actually write anything. When I started the thread, I planned to have shows in far less detail, but that quickly went out the window. There may be summaries coming soon to advance to the New Year.
As a man hailing from England, I can only imagine you are a footy fan. Any fond memories of the sport, or team(s)/player(s) you support?
Being a Blackburn fan, all I have now are memories of good times! I was really lucky. My first season going aged 7, we appointed Kenny Dalglish and we got promoted to the Premier League. We knocked on the door of winning it the next two years before we finally did in what was my first season as a season ticket holder. My dad despised me at the time, telling me how lucky I was that I saw all this success so quickly while he endured years of mediocrity in the lower leagues.
Now we're struggling since some naive arseholes came in to take us over in late 2010. 18 months later, we were relegated and the heart was ripped out of the club by some of the most atrocious decisions ever made. We've only just come out of an embargo banning us from buying players due to the financial mess they created. It's been a joyous five years to say the least! With that said, the memories of the early years will never leave me. It was incredible what we achieved given where we came from, especially in the short space of time it happened, and it will never happen again. It's just unfortunate I was only ten-years-old and couldn't drink to celebrate the good times!
Our national team has become a joke too, so that's just terrific!
I also became a fan of Aussie Rules football, largely because of this forum. Hawthorn quickly became the team I saw the most and I developed an attachment to them in 2010, and although that wasn't a good year in the end, we've had a perfect three years. I went over there in 2011 and met up with a Hawks fan from the forum, went to the Grand Casino and watched Rovers there. I got to see three AFL (Aussie Rules) matches while I was there, including one Hawks match. It's a memory I'll never lose.
You have written pretty strictly WWE, as far as I can see. Are you still a fan of the current product today? How much of it do you regularly watch? Any current favorite superstars? Past favorites? What are your thoughts on the current product, and what would you change about it? And of course, what's your favorite time period in wrestling?
I'm not a massive fan of the product but I still watch Raw, and I've seen a couple of the recent Smackdowns. I barely watched Smackdown since they put the rosters together into one. I never miss NXT though. I absolutely love it, and I recently went to the NXT show in Blackpool for my Christmas present from the girlfriend, who's now become a massive NXT fan. It was just an incredible show from top to bottom. It was fabulous to see it live. So yeah, I love NXT, and Lucha Underground. Their formats make it a lot easier, so talents aren't overexposed and can be afforded to miss a week if need be and you can build to more meaningful matches.
I watch Raw, NXT & Breaking Ground atm. I'll watch Lucha Underground religiously when that returns. I can't wait for that to come back. TNA lost me about a year ago after giving that another go for six months. It's a shame, because like WWE they have the talent (albeit less now), but they just can't book them properly and overcomplicate it. I've got into the UK scene in the past two years too, and it's so much better than I ever could've imagined it to be. I was blissfully aware of it. I'd encourage any other UK based fans to look into it, especially This Is Progress & ICW.
I've watched a bit of New Japan too. That can be fabulous too.
My favourites currently are Kevin Owens & Bayley. It's funny how I love Owens being the unapologetic prick that he is, and then the absolute sweetheart that Bayley is. When I told my girlfriend in the summer that I cried watching Bayley's match with Sasha Banks, she couldn't get it. When I persuaded her to watch it to see how great a story is, albeit a simple one which NXT does so well, she was rooting for Bayley seconds into her entrance and after the video packages. That's in essence what NXT does so well. Simple storylines like the underdog finally realising their goal, and in this case against the absolute bitch in Sasha. That was the best match I think I've ever seen. It had so much emotion in it. I was invested in Bayley for a long time, and the night itself was so special for NXT, in front of a receptive crowd, it just worked. Sasha brought The Boss out and then some, and Bayley sold like a star. I absolutely loved it.
Owens appeals to me too because he's such a good performer and he looks completely natural. You can imagine him being very similar in real life, just dialled up a bit. He knows how to take it up a notch, and in the ring he never disappoints.
All time favourite is Shawn Michaels. I started watching in 1991, and SummerSlam 91 is still my favourite show ever. It had everything. Perfect wrestling in Bret Hart & Mr. Perfect. Comedy in The Big Boss Man & The Mountie in a Jailhouse Match. Classic tag team wrestling in The Legion of Doom & The Nasty Boys, and then a great story in Virgil overcoming The Million Dollar Man with Roddy Piper on commentary doing a great job.
Going back to Shawn, when we got Sky ourselves in our house and I could watch WWE properly, I loved him. It was the summer of 1994 and he was just about to be turned on by Diesel. I'd probably say that was my favourite time in wrestling, up until 1996. It's probably nostalgia too. I seriously enjoyed WWE in 2002/3. That was one hell of a roster. Smackdown at that time was immense. I also loved TNA from around 2004-2008. They really had the chance to build something there, but they let it get away from them unfortunately.
What really pisses me off about the product atm is general short sighted booking. For example, just when it looked like Dolph Ziggler was about to get the full treatment after being the sole survivor to see off The Authority, he was quickly winning, then losing the Intercontinental Championship. Then there was King Barrett this year. They clearly brought the tournament back with absolutely no thought what to do with the winner, given he was quickly losing clean regularly to R-Truth.
50/50 booking is a pain too as no one gets serious momentum to develop, hence there's no real stars blossoming other than Roman Reigns, who actually is getting the full treatment.
Another big thing, and especially the case with the tag team division, we see variations each week of almost the exact same match we're expected to pay to watch at the upcoming pay-per-view. The best example probably was The Usos against Tyson Kidd & Cesaro. We'd see one-on-ones or intergender with Naomi & Natalya in the match too, meaning we'd pretty much seen the same match by the time it came to the pay-per-view. It's almost the same right now with The New Day, The Usos & The Lucha Dragons, and was the case with The Dudleys too. It happens too often. There's meant to be anticipation in these matches on pay-per-views and specials. We're not meant to see variations on TV each week in the build up. It makes the shows missable, and I personally skip through to the last 5/10 minutes just because you've seen it already on TV.
Three hours don't help, but it can be avoided by better booking. I don't think it's easy to book the amount of hours TV each week that they do as opposed to NXT, but some of the stuff they come up with like MexAmerica, you just question if they're taking the piss. Who approves it? Can't someone sit back and go through scripts and seriously analyse these things?
And finally, we'll do simple Name Associations.
- the man? An inspiration? Nothing more than that needs to be said does it? I can though. He's someone who for the admiration he's had, and rightly so, comes across as a genuinely good guy. I can't recall him taking a single shot at anyone. Not a bad word to say about him, which is incredible considering the football team he supports. Seriously, I actually feel for him having to endure what's going on there atm with the shite United fans have to watch every week.
- like Wolfy, always comes across nothing but modest. Never a hint of attitude or arrogance about him. When I started, he was supportive too. I think a lot can be said about him given how everyone supported him when there was the issue regarding a CM Punk promo, if I remember rightly. A lot of people would've been crucified for it, but because it was Legend, he had so much respect in the bank, it didn't really bother anyone. He handled it so honestly too, which helps. Another good guy.
- tbh I haven't had a lot of interaction with him, but when I came to the forum he was the man. Again, rarely seen anything negative from him. He has so much respect, and rightly so.
- Sean. He certainly divided opinion with his different style, turning it into more of a soap opera/drama at times. There were times when it worked, and times when it didn't, but he got a following because he was doing something different and that's always a good thing. He was always supportive of me and we got along well too. Nothing but good words for him. It's a pity he couldn't continue longer because I felt he could've found himself with a sustained run.
- again I don't know too much about him. I've never really interacted with people on the forum with a maybe a handful of exceptions, especially in the past 7/8 years. Like I am now, it seems like he just kept his head down and writes. That's the best way I've found. I really don't pay attention to anything else in the section other than my own thread. I wish I'd done that sooner, but I became a regular reader of his thread not all that long ago. It was certainly later on, and he was very consistent. It was definitely a style I respected and wanted mine to be like.
- typical Aussie! He's funny. We interacted more as time went on, mainly in the sport section tbh, but he has a good sense of humour and had a great thread. We've seen that Australian bookers' threads tend to be more in your face, and there's nothing wrong with that. Us Brits try to be more subtle, so it goes with the stereotypes! I think that was mentioned years ago in the discussion thread too actually. It stuck with me because usually it's true. I didn't really read too many other threads, and I was never a regular, but I'd pop in and out and always be impressed.
- so creative. He's someone who I think could've had an absolutely amazing thread if he could stick to it with the creativity he so obviously has. It could've been a Lucha Underground. There's no doubt about that. Always been a stand-up guy too.
- someone else who could get something going but couldn't get the long run going like Wolfy. With that said, length doesn't always mean success. The Chronicles was a really good thread, and he had some very good ideas, never complicated and he executed them so well. I'm really glad that he's been able to see his beloved Bournemouth reach the Premier League too. It's amazing that not that long ago, even about four or five years when I was only focused on my own thread that they were a lower league club almost going out of business and the Football League, and we spoke about how upsetting that was, and where Blackburn were to say that they'd be ahead of us. We never would've expected that. We'd have been put in the nuthouse if we dared suggest it. I hope he's enjoying it, as I am as a neutral. It's a great story.
- Oz was the only person I would regularly speak to off the forum and by IM. He was a dedicated a guy to the section as you could look to meet, and I wish he could've kept his thread going longer too, like DC, they had great minds but didn't achieve the success that they could have. Saying that, people still recognise the talent that they have. That's the case with Oz & DC.
- tbh he was someone that I could never really take to. He seemed to spend more time criticising others in the discussion thread instead of booking himself before he got his created company thread going. I laughed when I saw him rep something I said about Dolph Ziggler never going anywhere after his cheesy debut when he eventually became World Champion. I just thought 'you sad bastard' that he'd gone back looking a post from years ago. Kind of summed him up to me.
- really solid booker. It was a while ago and one of the rare threads that I followed regularly. I should read more of his current thread, and I only noticed it because of a rep post when I started my thread. I thought it was odd, then I realised he'd just started a very familiar thread titled almost the exact same. It was a complete coincidence, but I don't have much time nowadays to look around the section, or to write to the extent I would. I read early posts from it and it did look good. If I get some spare time, his is probably the thread I would go to.
- quite the character! Typical Aussie and Collingwood supporter but not in a bad way. I was trying to move there until the start of last year, so I have nothing against Aussie's at all if it comes across that way. If I could live anywhere, it'd be there, and a lot of that is down to the people. I went to Melbourne in 2011 and loved it, hence the desire to move. Stoj was somebody else who seemed to struggle to keep a thread going, which I can relate to now about getting other ideas. Definitely has the mind for it, although a little brash at times. Then again, no one's perfect.
...and anyone else you want to say a word or two about!
)? Probably the one booker I'd say who is up there with Wolfy. It's the most popular WCW thread by a country mile. I was never a WCW fan growing up, but when I read some of your shows, it was clear how well written it was, and how well you did in taking an idea and getting the absolute best out of it. If I was recommending a couple of threads to go to in terms of learning tool, it'd be yours and Wolfy's as they're both brilliant, while being different.
One thread that didn't get enough credit was D-K-L
's TNA thread. I was gutted when I came back on the forum after the horrendous Christmas in Germany to see he was no longer active. It was a time when TNA was really good, and he booked in a similar way to me, so I really enjoyed it, and it was different to the rest of the threads that were pretty much WWE.
Thanks for that. It was good to reminisce a bit about BTB and talk about stuff I put a lot into it and was really excited and proud about. I regularly tweet about wrestling, and if anyone does too, they can find me
KS if they wish. It's always fun talking wrestling!
And finally, we will conclude this return edition of the BTB Newsletter with the Year End Awards. Thank you to all of you who voted. We had 11 people overall vote. Not the greatest by any standards, but I’ll be honest; it’s slightly more than I was expecting. The winners, howevers, ae all deserved.
2015 Year End BTB Awards
Greatest BTB Moment of The Year
Wolf Beast reaching an incredible FOURTH Wrestlemania - EIGHT
Wolf Beast deciding he might finally end Being The Booker - three
The BTB Discussion thread EXPLODES in December- SIX
Best Used Character
Bray Wyatt - JBLoser (NXT Generation) AND
Rhino - Stojy (ECW) - two votes
John Cena - Wolf Beast (Being The Booker) - THREE
Szumi - two votes
JBLoser - FOUR
Best Promo Writer
Wolf Beast - two
Szumi - SEVEN
Best Match Writer
Szumi - three
Wolf Beast - EIGHT
Glass Ceiling Booker
Knocks - two
Stojy - FIVE
Best Show of the Year
Szumi - Who ran down Austin? In a Word? Szumi - Unforgiven - one
Wolf Beast - Wrestlemania - Being The Booker - NINE
Best Promo of the Year
Szumi - Sting Breaks His Silence - Monday Nitro - three
Wolf Beast - John Cena Explains His Attack on Christian - RAW - FOUR
Best Match of the Year
Wolf Beast - John Cena vs. Christian - Being the Booker - Wrestlemania - three
Wolf Beast - Brock Lesnar vs. Shawn Michaels - Wrestlemania - Being The Booker - FOUR
Best BTB of the Year
JBLoser - WWE 2015: The NXT Generation - four
Wolf Beast - Being the Booker - SEVEN
Best Booker of the Year
Szumi - two
Wolf Beast - SIX
So there you have it, folks. Congratulations to all of the winners, and a very big thank you to Nige for his participation in the Interview, and of course, Renegade and Wolf Beast, for writing the articles they did. Hope you guys enjoyed it!