So I am starting to wind up the early stages of the 2013 RSPW Awards, and for those interested I thought I’d discuss the process, in part because I want to get it down for my own use later.
1. Removing awards. The turnout for last year’s Awards was pretty strong given their length and lack of promotion, but the complaint over and over again was that there were simply too many categories. I agree we can slim down at least a little and accordingly have chopped the 47 existing categories down to 40, eliminating the following:
Best and Worst Color Commentator: These were the most obvious. The line between “announcer” and “color commentator” has grown so blurred as to be meaningless; many voters don’t understand the distinction until you point it out them that it technically still exists. After all, Michael Cole is supposedly the “announcer” for RAW and JBL/Lawler are the “color commentators,” but JBL calls more of a match than Cole ever does half the time and Cole shills story relentlessly. Retiring the Color Commentator categories is long overdue and will hopefully create more of a horserace in the Best and Worst Announcer categories.
Best and Worst Second: These awards have been retired once already and I think it’s time to do it again because, as per the last time they were retired, managers and valets have become de-emphasized over the past year and a half. At this point the award would be a two-way race between Paul Heyman and Zeb Colter, and Paul Heyman would win because it’s simply too obvious; furthermore, there are too few other contenders to continue the award at this time. Maybe in a future iteration of the Awards these will return but right now I’m looking for awards to get rid of and these fit the bill. Heyman and Colter can still compete in categories like Best Heel or Best Interview (and I think the lack of a “manager category” might improve their vote tallies in the other categories).
Most Obnoxious Personality: Duplicates Least Favourite in many years. It’s just redundant. I understand the intention of this award but we need to winnow down categories and this one can go.
Worst Organization: I’m killing this one because it harkens back to a time when inter-company fanbase feuding was a thing and when fans openly rooted for Tiny Promotion X or hated Big Promotion Y, before the wrestling landscape became “the WWE and everything else.” Last year’s “winner,” CZW, didn’t really do anything deplorable; it’s just that hating on brutal, “extreme” wrestling is a thing at this point and they’re the most notable company doing it, but is that cause to make them Worst Organization? Really, given the current wrestling landscape, I feel bad giving any company “worst” unless they actively cheat their wrestlers, and Worst Promotional Move can cover that. I think this category can go away.
Best Technical Wrestler: Probably the most dramatic cut, but hear me out: historically it correlates very closely to Best Worker. The winner of Best Worker has also won best Technical Wrestler eleven times. When the winner for Best Technical Wrestler isn’t also the winner for Best Worker, one or the other is usually second-place in the other category (the greatest disparity was in 2006 when Best Worker Samoa Joe placed fifth in the Best Technical Wrestler race, but in that year Best Technical Wrestler Kurt Angle placed second in the Best Worker race, so yeah). Given that level of similarity I think it’s fair to say that Best Technical Wrestler is redundant; voters clearly view technical-style wrestling as the highest form of working a match, and it takes a remarkable amount of ability for a flyer or a brawler to win Best Worker. With that in mind, I think the award can be retired.
If I was going to trim further my next five cuts would be Most and Least Favorite (redundant with Best and Worst Wrestler to an extent, even though they do have different functionality), Worst TV/Youtube Show (same reasoning as for Worst Organization, although less inflammatory), Most Disappointing News Item (basically the RSPW Awards’ version of “best dead person” in most years, but I do like it for establishing a sense of history to the Awards) and Most Deteriorated (too many votes for wrestlers who are basically retired like Hulk Hogan, but maybe this can be fixed with better voting instructions).
2. Clips. This year I want to include as many links to Youtube clips as possible – for matches, moves, gimmicks and maybe even Best Worker/Flyer/Brawler (using the “top 25 moves of This Wrestler” videos which are all over the place). People have frequently requested this for nominees and I think it’s reasonable and could potentially drive voting upwards (which is really the main point) and worst turnout is I have a nice archive of wrestling clips done up. So an additional “clips” page would get done up. Not a big deal.
3. Campaigns. One of the biggest drivers of voting last year was the BotchaMania campaign, wherein people turned out in droves to vote for BotchaMania for Best TV/Youtube Show. There is no reason this cannot be duplicated en masse by indie wrestlers (or indie federations) hoping to win an award. After all, the point of the awards is for the voters to make their decision and if Jervis Cottonbelly or whomever can get his fans to vote for him, good for them (and frankly, simple math dictates the more campaigns there are, the less each of them will affect the overall voting, thanks to the first-second-third voting dynamic of the awards). I’m not sure how it would be more practical to reach out to wrestlers wanting to campaign or if it should even be done (I think it would be fair to at least inform wrestlers when they’ve been nominated via Twitter or other means).
4. Pages. Yeah, I probably need to work on something a little more official-looking than just “another page on the blog” but whatevs, not a huge priority.