411Mania 2010 Independent Draft 7.05.10: Part Eight – Post Draft Q&A Roundtable
Welcome back to the 411Mania 2010 Independent Draft special. This is the final part of our week-plus long special meant to focus on some of the names and talents currently out there wrestling on the independent scene across America.
If you happened to miss the previous parts, click the links below to catch-up!
Part One: Rounds 1-2
Part Two: Rounds 3-7
Part Three: Rounds 8-11
Part Four: Rounds 12-14
Part Five: Cards and Hype for Show # 1
Part Six: Results and Show # 2 Preview
Part Seven: Results and Show # 2 Preview Continued
After the draft selection process, the building of the first card and the results for that show as well as what would have been presented on a second card, the only thing left to do is go to our draft players one more time for their thoughts about this year’s game. Also, for the first time ever in the four year history of this special, our players will let you know what they would have booked for the entire year of their promotion!
1. How satisfied were you with the outcome of your draft / roster?
Chris Lansdell: Relatively satisfied, yes. I got the majority of the guys I was looking for, and managed to trade for one of the people I missed. A couple of the guys I wanted went undrafted, which worked out well too. Ryan Byers and I co-booked the card and we had a very specific goal going in.
Ari Berenstein: I was ecstatic at the end of this year’s draft, especially because going in I had a very uncertain line-up in my head, with a number of different possibilities. I knew certain teams (Wolves, KOW) and wrestlers (Benjamin, SHINGO, Daniels) would be hot properties, so I decided to build my storylines around wrestlers I believed would still be around even early on and grab them up before anyone else could. Steen was always in my plans is well and I certainly felt a tinge of relief when I made it to six after my drop-down from two and he was still there. Certain wrestlers like Generico, Omega and even Scott Steiner weren’t part of the initial plan, but then fell into place as my back-ups and made for possibly even better choices to fill the roles I already envisioned in my mind. Corino being available so late was amazing, as I figured he’d be gone way before then—he plays such an important role as back up and guidance for Steen in ROH that had I not taken him at that point it would have been a huge mistake. The only real misstep was not using both of my tag team picks, but by the time I was in a position to use them, most of the best teams available were gone. I feel like House of Truth was a good pick up for their placement, but wish there was a team with more visibility or star power at that point.
Aaron Hubbard: Moderately satisfied. Early on, when I had London, Daniels, Liger and Strong, I was ecstatic. As it progressed and I traded Roderick Strong to get a team that I ended up not having, I lost faith in my roster and kind of felt down about it. Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, my roster is okay and I got the core group of guys that I wanted to highlight. Ultimately, I’m content with my roster, but I definitely plan on outdoing myself next year.
Chad Nevett: I was pretty satisfied. Since I’m not as familiar with the independent scene as most of the other participants, I stuck mostly with the small group of guys I’d seen the most of and made out well in that area. A few times, after making a pick, someone would curse me, which I always took as a good sign. I landed a pretty solid roster of guys that I was familiar with and knew enough about to play to their strengths. So, yeah, I was happy with my picks.
Jeremy Thomas: I was very satisfied with my draft results. To be fair, I did have the market cornered with my particular style, and that made me pretty confident I could get the talent I wanted. Obviously the first goal was to get some nationwide known talent but I didn’t want to abandon some of the strong independent wrestlers either; just loading up on fired Divas and Knockouts would have left me with a WWE/TNA-lite group and that wouldn’t have suited at all. When it came down to it I was happy with the roster I got and I felt I could deliver some strong matches with it.
Sam Berman: My draft strategy was to go after the performers that I personally like watching the most. Whether wise or not, I wanted KOAKH to represent the things that I enjoy the most about Independent wrestling regardless of widespread appeal. Obviously my draft last year was absurd in that I got an absolute glut of talent (Danielson, Shingo, Briscoes, Quackenbush, Marufuji, etc.). This year there were fewer ‘money’ players available, and so I had to be a lot more careful with my selections. I focused on getting the Briscoes-Kings matchup and then augmenting that with Jacobs. The rest was just about getting the guys I liked the most as they were available.
Jasper Gerretsen: Very. I went into the draft with a clear strategy, and it paid off. I took a bit of a risk by picking The Hurricane third even though he would probably be a major part of my promotion’s storylines, but I also think that my first two picks were worth the risk. They were the top two on my list of main eventers. I also had several other lists, among them sidekicks and villains for The Hurricane, and I got my first pick there on both (LuFisto and Amasis). The fact that I could pick up Jerry Lynn as my tenth pick is a crime. I was actually planning to book a Doi/Quack singles match for the main event when I gave up Jigsaw, but when I realized he wasn’t picked yet I jumped on the opportunity to add two decades of experience and another big name to my roster.
Mathew Sforcina: Pretty damm happy. Being on an hour late sucked, but then by the time I would have drafted I wouldn’t have got the few guys I really wanted. I went in fairly blind, and I think my first 3 picks were all solid. My deal with TPWW was, if I might say so, brilliant, as I ended up with, by far, the biggest roster to book with. I was very happy with my roster.
Mike Bauer: I was pretty satisfied with the roster. Obviously, the idea was to make a roster than would fit everything that Las Vegas is all about and I think we did that for the most part with Rhett and King, Morley, and The Embassy. There were a couple of people we definitely wanted, but didn’t get due to several reasons, but the roster in the end worked out.
2. How satisfied were you with the show you created?
Chris Lansdell: Actually, although I love the card I think it could have been yards better with just one more wrestler. I got some of the matches I wanted between the two cards, but I felt like I was missing one piece that would have slotted into some of my gaps nicely.
Ari Berenstein: Incredibly happy with this first show, both in how I used most of the talent and for also incorporating several of the wrestlers from last year’s roster that went undrafted (2 Cold Scorpio, Da Soul Touchaz) back into the undercard. The KENTA vs. Nakajima match-up was something I had my sights on going back to when I made my keeper pick (that or whoever the next best international talent was available at that time). Booker T vs. El Generico is a match we haven’t seen anywhere yet and I think it’s both unique and appealing to independent fans. I went back-and-forth in my head about including the finals of the “Toughest” tournament on the first show, thinking it may have been overkill, but the one thing I am not afraid of in these fantasy draft scenarios is putting too much on the card—this is our one-shot, annual deal and you have to put it all out there to have the best card possible.
Aaron Hubbard: Meh, the first show isn’t all that great, because it’s just a set up for another show. I’m not into the “Supercard” Mentality, and if I was booking it would be a very episodic, very well thought-out year-long plan, focusing on continuity and making sure that all the history builds on it. So even though this is a one-shot thing of sorts, I drafted guys that I could use to tell a story. I have decent story starters and matches that I think made maximum use of the guys on my roster.
Chad Nevett: Making my picks, I didn’t have a strong idea of what matches I wanted, preferring to see what my roster was before setting things up. I waited a few weeks after the draft to make up my show’s line-up and, then, one night while watching the Naruki Doi/SHINGO match from DGUSA’s “Open the Historic Gate” for a bit of research, it all clicked into place. I did a couple of passes at it until it all worked how I wanted and I knew how it would play out and set up the second show. The biggest surprise for me, though, was sticking Adam Pearce in the main event since he was my second-last pick, but it made sense. I did notice that by picking Jim Cornette, my balance of wrestlers was off a little, resulting in five matches for the card, but that allowed for me to book longer matches, which suits my personal tastes more.
Jeremy Thomas: On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d go with an 8. I was happy with the way I built the show and there were enough strong matches to carry the show. The one “must-have” match for me was Melissa vs. Kong. I love both of them and felt putting them in a match together was essential for a first show to really build some buzz. I also wanted to make sure that it some up-and-comers picked up wins without hurting the overness of the people they were facing and that was the reason for Rayna beating Daizee and Madison defeating Allison. I didn’t have an overreaching storyline like I did last year with the formation of two stables but I didn’t want that so I think the show played well.
Sam Berman: I’ll be honest that creating a show with a slightly smaller roster was a challenge. The talent pool this year was thinner (though not necessarily weaker) than in years past, and the addition of a second draftable tag team meant that fewer free agent options would be left at the end. I gave up a couple of picks along the way to orchestrate the Kings of Wrestling pick and the trade for Arik Cannon, which ultimately left me with fewer contracted performers around whom I could plan. Sometimes, however, you’ve got to look at quality over quantity. Are six top notch (or even solid)matches better than nine matches that seem thrown together? I guess that’s up to the readers to decide.
Jasper Gerretsen: Incredibly satisfied. I got some long term stuff going for pretty much all my wrestlers. I didn’t actually expect to get Ophidian in the trade, which is the reason why he’s not teaming with Amasis, but I think a team with him and Dragon Kid would be a fun way to spend some time while Amasis does his thing with his new stable. I realize that a heel feuding against masked wrestlers has been done before, but I figure TJP has a clear-cut reason to hate them. My main problem in putting together two shows was that I was booking too many multi-man matches. In my first draft of the first show I ended up running out of wrestlers with only four matches. All in all, I think I’ve accomplished what I set out to do: create a more lighthearted promotion without it becoming childish.
Mathew Sforcina: DAMM happy. Although I had one awesome sound board (Jed Shaffer, ladies and gentlemen! *cheap pop*), most of my show came out as is, and I’m pleased with it. Its pretty damm good, if I say so myself. And I do. But of course, it’s up to the fans to see if it’s good enough.
Mike Bauer: I personally had doubts after looking over my draft a second time, but then looked at who didn’t get drafted. Once I saw some names on there, I knew I had all the tools to make a fun card. Sabu and Sandman were huge non-drafted people to use and I used plenty of surprises to make the overall roster not only better, but much larger than I originally planned. I especially loved having the entire BLKOUT stable to go against the Embassy, which wasn’t originally planned, but was definitely a needed addition.
3. Was there anyone you really wanted to draft or a specific match you wanted to book but for whatever reason were not able to do so?
Chris Lansdell: Jerry Lynn, because he could have fought Lance Storm one more time and then put someone over on the second show. He fits with my overall pick scheme as well, and yes there was one.
Ari Berenstein: My big show idea besides KENTA vs. Nakajima was going to be Kevin Steen vs. Eddie Kingston, but when Kingston was drafted ahead of my pick, I felt that Steiner would make for an interesting alternate to play the role King would have taken—the defender against the bully (Steen). Of course there were some reach plans that factored in the event of the World’s Greatest Tag Team being available, but it wasn’t my highest priority and ultimately not drafting them didn’t hurt my plans either way. There were also possible plans for Jimmy Jacobs vs. Hurricane Helms or a “Battle of the Sexes” featuring Rhett Titus, but again those weren’t my highest priorities and ultimately what I came out with was much better than some of the plans I had going into the draft.
Aaron Hubbard: Too many to name. Austin Aries was on my list but I ultimately decided that Daniels was more important to my program. Davey Richards is a tremendous wrestler who I would have loved to have on my team, but even with the 3rd pick I figured I wouldn’t have him. The Osirian Portal obviously slipped through my fingers. Also, Dragon Gate USA guys like Shingo Takagi and Naruki Doi were higher on my list than Liger.
Chad Nevett: I had a short list of guys. If they hadn’t been taken before my pick, I would have snatched up the American Wolves for sure. I debated the tag team of Yoshino/Doi as well. If I had the chance to get them, I thought that a Christopher Daniels/Shelton Benjamin match would be fantastic, but Hubbard snagged Daniels before I even had a pick — and I wasn’t going to take him in the first round anyway. During the draft, I missed Mike Quackenbush being drafted and mistakenly tried to get him and Jigsaw as a tag team. Other than those few examples, there wasn’t much I had in mind ahead of time beyond a list of guys I’d try to get first if I could, but even those weren’t set in stone.
Jeremy Thomas: Honestly, I didn’t have anyone I “had” to get (out of available talent, anyway) that I didn’t. The one person who forced me to adjust my draft just a bit was Jasper drafting LuFisto, who I would have loved to get. But I adjusted quickly enough and it was fine. Lacey was also a pick I considered but I didn’t want to spend one of my draft picks on someone who wouldn’t be wrestling so it wasn’t a big hit for me. As for matches, there was nothing with the available talent that I couldn’t do. Obviously some matches would have changed if other talent was available, but with what I had I was able to book pretty much all the matches I wanted.
Sam Berman: Obviously a lot can be done with big talents like Shingo or Christopher Daniels or Paul London, but those guys were all gone very quickly. I’ve also always been a big mark for B-Boy and was actually pretty surprised to see him go with the 82nd overall selection. I was pretty much set to take Shane Helms too before he was snatched up with the 23rd overall selection. I would have paired Helms up with Ibushi on the first show had I been able to draft him.
Jasper Gerretsen: Lance Storm. The only reason I didn’t pick him was because I figured he wouldn’t be eligible. He would make the perfect straight man for all the antics that come with running a more comedy-oriented promotion, while still being able to go in the ring. I managed to salvage this somewhat by picking up Jerry Lynn, who at least is his equal in the ring and also brings a fair amount of name value. I never actually planned on picking up Colt Cabana and Delirious, as I figured they’d be gone too soon, but in retrospect I could have had him, and he would have made a good addition. Lance Storm vs. pretty much anyone on the roster. It might be a bit cheesy to have him go back to “If I could be serious for a moment…” character, but I think in this case it would work, both as a face (with an opponent using evil Doink style antics to take advantage of his naivety) and as a heel (starting a crusade against off-beat shenanigans). A match like Storm vs. Quack would be a wrestling clinic too.
Mathew Sforcina: I really wanted the Kings of Wrestling (my very first idea was to merge them and the BDK and make the entire company the Brother Kings V Everyone), and failing that, to get back my Aries/King/Titus trio. But roster placement and time zones made sure I got neither. The World’s Greatest Tag Team was another one I wanted, not getting Larry Sweeney as an exclusive hurt, and I REALLY got mad when, just as I noticed he was still available, Corino got drafted. Beyond that, I would have maybe booked Tara as a face (it’s her home town for god’s sake…) but JT wanted her heel, so I rolled with it.
Mike Bauer: I wanted to draft Jimmy Jacobs first and foremost, but couldn’t pass Aries when he was still available. He just works too perfectly with the All-Night Express. I wanted Tommy Dreamer instead of Balls Mahoney, but that was my own stupidity. And after the draft was over, I wish I would have drafted Ricky Reyes to team him with Romero, instead of needing the entire BLKOUT stable to make some plans work.
4. Which draft selection from someone else’s promotion made you go, “WTF?”
Chris Lansdell: I think Berenstein overrated the House of Truth, but that was more of an eyebrow raise than a “WTF?” Everyone drafted really well, but I expect many people will question some of my decisions.
Ari Berenstein: Honestly, many of the picks from others in the last two rounds had me going “wha?” I mean, Ricky Reyes? Jerelle Clark? I don’t see the value in those guys in 2010. Hade Vansen? Really, seriously, I don’t get it. Bubba The Love Sponge, sure I got that one as a huge joke, but if anyone really would want that cancer in their promotion, they deserve all of the headache they receive. I hadn’t even ever heard of Izzie Deadyet, but I laughed when I saw his picture and actually, the concept of a zombie wrestler works with me. Wonder why he hasn’t feuded with Hallowicked or Frightmare in CHIKARA yet. So overall, I felt there were plenty of better picks still available even at that late stage of the game, including several interesting international names that ultimately went undrafted in place of these real puzzlers.
Aaron Hubbard: Well, Chris did it twice, once in a good way, once in a bad way. The first was when he drafted Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas to face The Wolves, and I was going, “OMGWTF Why didn’t I see that coming?” And then his last pick of Bubba the Love Sponge also made me go WTF. I despise Bubba with a passion, and it switched Chris’ show from “must-buy show” to “avoid at all costs show”.
Chad Nevett: Maybe Sean Morley going as soon as he did… but, no, not really. There are so many talented wrestlers in the indy scene that there wasn’t a shortage of quality for people to choose from.
Jeremy Thomas: There were two that I have to say really surprised me. The first was Chad selecting Hardcore Holly. Don’t get me wrong; I selected him too last year but I just didn’t see him being picked this time around. Lansdell picking Bubba raised my eyebrows to the roof. I get what he was going for now and it was the last pick, but at the time I was surprised. But hey, Chris is good at surprises and I’m interested to see where he goes with that. I’m just sad KONG can’t kill him in the ring.
Sam Berman: I think the back-to-back move on Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas was a stroke of genius and wish I’d have thought of it, so credit to Lansdell. Sforcina keeping Frightmare as his holdover selection from last year was an eyebrow raiser as well, but for the opposite reason. Not that Frightmare isn’t good (I’m actually a big fan), but I might have gone with a bigger ticket item there. Everyone’s got to go with their plan, though.
Jasper Gerretsen: Scott Steiner getting picked at all, let alone as high as he did, although I guess it makes sense in Ari’s promotion. SHINGO being the first DGUSA wrestler getting picked. The Dark City Fight Club getting picked 13th. Frightmare as a keeper pick (although Mat did lose track due to time zone problems, it probably made sense in his original plans). On the other hand, there’s also the fact that Delirious went 55th and Jerry Lynn went 87th.
Mathew Sforcina: I think most of them were solid, but I guess the biggest ‘Ga-huh?’ would go to Jasper taking LuFisto. I mean, Lansdell I could see taking her if he was going for comedy, as opposed to his Serious Business approach, but with one company going for Women’s Wrestling, you couldn’t have a decent women’s division (unless you thought ahead like I did), and LuFisto? As what, a manager? Really?
Mike Bauer: Just for fun, I’ll answer this for every other draftee:
Lansdell: Bubba the Love Sponge – Seriously, why would anyone give him the time of day?
ARI: Scott Steiner – Not much to mock from his draft, but I still don’t understand why he needs Steiner.
Hubbard: Grizzly Redwood – They will probably say me drafting Dempsey is out there, but this it crazier.
Nevett: Jim Cornette – I get wanting a figurehead, but not at pick 43.
Berman: Hallowicked – Without Frightmare, I have to question this pick.
Gerretsen: LuFisto – Not sure where exactly he can go with this.
Sforcina: Nick Dinsmore – I was under the impression he wasn’t wrestling anymore, so kinda odd.
5. Other than yourself, who did you think did the best job of selecting wrestlers for his promotion? Which of the other promotions’ shows would you actually attend and watch or order DVDs?
Chris Lansdell: Jeremy, without a doubt. A few of use went in with a plan, but Jeremy’s plan was the most unique and pretty much guaranteed he would get every wrestler he wanted. I almost picked Awesome Kong first just because I knew I wouldn’t get a second chance, and that sort of decision is one of the reasons I give Jeremy all the kudos here. In fairness though EVERYONE drafted well.
Ari Berenstein:I have to give lots of credit to Sam Berman—he wanted to trade up for The Kings and made the right deal to put himself in position to get them. Not only that, but even though he traded away many of his late picks, he still was able to re-draft many wrestlers from his roster last year, thus achieving a level of consistency I don’t think anyone else who participated reached, including myself. I also loved Bauer’s masterstroke of picking Aries and All-Night Express back-to-back, taking real advantage of Sforcina’s time gaffe. Also, I think Bauer’s roster is an excellent example of following through on the intended concept and Nevett’s roster is a sleeper powerhouse in the works. As for best shows, of those available to me when I answered this question (Sam and Chris had yet to hand their lineups in), I’d go with Aaron’s card for the strength of his main event (though I’m not much for his undercard), Mike’s card looks awesome for the style and range of matches and Jeremy made an excellent and intriguing card for his women’s wrestling promotion.
Aaron Hubbard: Michael Bauer did an excellent job of drafting wrestlers that fit his promotion’s risqué style. Jeremy Thomas had the bright idea of drafting only women, which allowed him to create a unique roster with virtually no competition from anyone. I would definitely watch Jeremy’s show, because I love women’s WRESTLING. Jasper’s show also looks promising, and Ari’s has the obvious great main event. Lansdell’s mockery of indy wrestling may be a fine and dandy joke but loses me as an audience member. And while I applaud Bauer for making a great roster for his promotion, I would not watch his shows due to a conflict of interest.
Chad Nevett: Each card has its own strengths — I think all of them would be great to watch, honestly. I love how Jeremy went with a women’s promotion (made his draft day much more relaxed, I imagine, too). But, the Pro Wrestling Symphony card is the one that stands out to me. It’s got a good mix of talent booked in matches I’d want to see. Since my tastes lean towards just pure wrestling matches for the most part, it’s the one that hits the closest while also delivering wrestlers whose work I really like.
Jeremy Thomas: Considering that he came in a few rounds late, I think Mathew did a good job picking his roster. Ari’s roster is really impressive as well and Sam as always rocks the draft. I would be interested in seeing all of these shows, but if I had to pick one that I would watch it would be WWJD. Christopher Daniels vs. Paul London, Jushin Liger vs. Kid Kash and that Four Corner Elimination Tag Match? Here’s my pre-order of the DVD, Aaron.
Sam Berman: Bauer seemed to have an idea of what he wanted to do and stuck to it. His roster has a lot of interesting possibilities. As far as the specific shows, the match I would most want to see myself is Christopher Daniels vs. Paul London, so I’ve got to give some credit to Hubbard on putting that together. Jasper putting on Quackenbush & Lynn vs. Speed Muscle was pretty nice as well.
Jasper Gerretsen: NY-KO definitely looks very interesting on paper. The tournament matches provide some interesting combinations, and the Nakajima/KENTA main event is guaranteed to be great. I had some doubts when I saw the list of drafted wrestlers, but it looks like it could be a very entertaining promotion. SEX also has potential, although they could easily go over the top with their presentation. If they manage to pull it off however, it could be absolutely brilliant. A Cirque du Soleil match could be the greatest stipulation ever, and Aries/BxB Hulk is obviously going to be great.
Mathew Sforcina: TPWW, obviously. That said, I think WOTW and WWJD both look promising.
Mike Bauer: I think it has to be between Jeremy, Chris, and ARI. Jeremy definitely did the best job of getting all the women he needs, but it’s not a show I would go see. Chris had a plan from the very beginning and stuck with it better than anyone else I knew of, plus I love his roster. But if I had to see go and get DVDs from anyone, it would be ARI. His roster is simply stacked and his cards have no doubt of being loaded from top to bottom.
6. The Draft feature allows us to get some insight in the way you would book one show, but how would you book the rest of the year in your promotion? Give us a general description of your top programs and the direction you would take them, some top main event bouts you would book and where you would end the year in your company (cliffhangers, title changes, turns, etc).
Chris Lansdell: Wow. How to summarize a year of booking in a promotion that is totally satirical? Well Eddie Edwards is going to drop the belt to Teddy Hart, that much I know. Hart will hold it for a while. Turns don’t really apply here; it’s all about the wrestling man! Hart-Davey would resume as a feud, with Eddie and Roderick and Hass-Benjamin also feuding after the Wolves-WGTT feud ended. I’d try my damndest to get hold of Jerry Lynn for a feud with Storm, and as soon as I could I would throw a bucketload of money at Bryan Danielson. We could also borrow from any Japanese guys with no charisma who come over. Tag teams would need to be signed, but so many of them were drafted that we’d be forced to work out some talent exchanges. No stories, no angles, just wrestling. Who wants entertainment anyway?
Ari Berenstein: It’s clear after the first show that my two major tracks for the singles division are essentially “Kevin Steen & Friends” versus “El Generico & Friends” and the continuing saga between KENTA and Nakajima.
Before I discuss those two feuds, the second show sees Koslov, HOT and Soul Touchaz go over on the undercard. Necro wins a long and hard-fought battle against Sekimoto. The faces go over in a near hour long eight-man elimination where throughout the match Generico just barely misses getting his hands on Steen, who is eventually eliminated by Steiner. Rasche Brown and Generico are the survivors of the match. Omega shocks the world by winning the main event three-way, going over Nakajima. Omega and KENTA shake hands afterwards, but Nakajima walks away from both of them.
The NY-KO Title Tournament takes place on the third show. Omega and Koslov cross paths again in the sixteen-man, one night NY-KO Title Tournament, with Omega going over Koslov again. During the tournament, Corino is paired against Steen, but Corino withdraws from the field essentially to give Steen a “bye”. Booker T goes over Scott Steiner in the opening round, but loses to Generico in the quarter-finals. The semi-finals are Generico vs. Omega (unbeknownst to Omega, Steen helps him win by KO’ing Generico) and Steen vs. KENTA (clean loss for Steen here, who doesn’t lose luster against someone like KENTA). In the finals, Omega goes over KENTA to become the first (and unlikely) NY-KO champion of season 2. There are the natural rematches against KENTA, Nakajima and defenses against Generico and Koslov to come through the next six or seven shows.
I look at the Steen vs. Generico feud as THE blood feud of 2010, and so my promotion is obviously going to continue down that track and infuse it with plenty of drama, bloodshed and emotion. The obvious route is Steen avoiding Generico at all costs, but having to deal with the likes of Steiner, Dreamer and Rasche Brown as a result. I look at those three as my “power core”—guys who are big and tough but its okay if they job to the heels as long as the feud continues and they win an important match or two along the way. I didn’t protect Brown so much on my first show, but I’ll be more careful in the shows afterwards to give him some important wins (a rematch against Lee, a dominant win against Corino, etc.)
Meanwhile, Steen would continue to crow about being “The Toughest” man in the company, while Corino will egg Steen on to continually back that up and cause violence. At one point both will ambush Generico after one of his matches and beat him so badly that they force the NY-KO backstage committee to sign the first Steen vs. Generico one-on-one match, about halfway through the year. Steen wins that first singles battle and then on the next show takes the NY-KO Title from Kenny Omega after Omega is injured by Koslov (see below). That sets up the eventual Steen vs. Generico re-match at the penultimate show of year when Generico wins the NY-KO Title from Steen in what should be a stirring and emotional moment for him and the fans. All the babyfaces will celebrate in the ring with Generico—except for Scott Steiner, who although he supported Generico and fought hard against Steen, had been found knocked out earlier in the night and is nowhere to be found.
The big twist comes at the end of the year with a Steel Cage Warfare elimination cage match where Team Steen (Steen, Corino, Booker T, Brodie Lee & Alex Koslov) goes up against Team Generico (Generico, Steiner, Brown, Dreamer & Omega). During that match, Brodie Lee gets sick and tired of Corino ordering him around and boots him in the face, triggering a babyface turn (there will be hints of it leading up to this moment) and soon a team will be formed with former rival Rasche Brown as “Big & Bad”. However, the real important turn comes when it’s down to two-on-two with Booker & Steen on one side and Steiner & Generico on the other. Scott Steiner betrays El Generico and triggers a three-on-one beat down with all the other faces locked out of the cage. Steiner and Booker T reform as a tag team, with the story being that Booker & Corino convinced Steiner it was Generico who knocked him out backstage (of course it wasn’t him, but try and convince Steiner to change his mind why don’t you?). Boom-new threads to follow for that huge feud in the next year of the promotion, and so on.
KENTA vs. Nakajima is more of the “athletic” and “workrate” centered struggle. Of course they won’t just be spending the entire year fighting each other; there are plenty of unique matches to pit them against the American wrestlers such as KENTA vs. Booker T, Nakajima vs. Omega in a singles match, and so on. Throw in Daisuke Sekimoto for a three-way feud for respect and physical dominance. Maybe I’d be able to get some more Big Japan talent to expand the angle. Towards the end of the year, Truth Martini would sic his House of Truth against them, forcing them to team up and do battle with this team—essentially throwing the HOT against the big dogs and letting them sink or swim.
Alex “The Great” Koslov would vow to conquer and defeat Kenny Omega for the NY-KO Title, but after taking the fall in a four-way contention match to of all people Necro Butcher, Koslov goes postal and attacks Butcher AND Omega at the next show during a title defense situation. Alex Koslov would then go on to have a feud with Necro Butcher, with Koslov being disgusted at being forced to fight this man. There would be a memorable moment mid-way through the year when he interrupts a ceremony for special guest Nikolai Volkoff. He would call Nikolai a “sell-out against Mother Russia” and attack him, only to be stopped by Necro and knocked out in the process. Some hardcore matches would follow, and on the penultimate show it’s Necro vs. Alex Koslov in a Technical Knock-Out match, which Necro wins as the blow-off. Koslov participates in the Steel Cage Warfare match with Omega on the opposite side, and Koslov eliminates Omega to give him some rub into the next year, where he would step it up against new competition, perhaps Dreamer (who would eliminate him in SCW) or even start a new Russian / European-centric stable.
In the tag division, The House of Truth vs. Soul Touchaz would continue in the first half of the year with Truth being obsessed with showing up C-Red in managerial and physical prowess. The two teams would fight in tag and singles matches with both teams going even. A few shows in (maybe number four or five) there would be a tag team gauntlet for the NY-KO titles with Soul Touchaz winning. Then there would be an angle where Truth and his team injures C-Red and puts him out and that pushes the struggle into a full blown grudge, culminating in a tag team cage match where Da Touchaz get their revenge and C-Red returns to put the hurt on Truth. Then the last quarter of the year would be House of Truth vs. KENTA and Marufuji as mentioned above, while Soul Touchaz would continue to defend the NY-KO tag titles against other teams.
Elsewhere in tags: as you can tell from the preview of the second show, the goofy Johnny Goodtime teamed with super serious Little Guido…but after they lost, Guido would have walked out on Goodtime. However, Johnny would have found a better tag team partner with ties to the original ECW in 2 Cold Scorpio, forming the team Celebrate Good Times. It’s a solid and sufficient tag division for the year and again my emphasis from the word “go” was on the singles division. However, given the big angles at the end of the year, I’m looking at a huge expansion of the tag division for the next one. You have KENTA and Nakajima as an unlikely pairing, Rasche Brown & Brodie Lee, Booker T & Scott Steiner, HOT, Soul Touchaz, Celebrate Good Times, Steen & Corino and Koslov’s stable. Not too shabby, actually.
Aaron Hubbard: My #1 singles program would the elevation of Vin Gerard as the top player in the company. Using Christopher Daniels as a mentor, Vin would win the WW:JD Championship and have successful title defenses against Kash, Liger, and Delirous, but would lose to Paul London on the final show of the year. After this, Daniels would turn on Gerard for failing him, which would set Gerard up as an anti-hero in the coming year. Jack Evans and Shawn Daivari would also flirt with the main event scene, mostly serving as foils for the babyfaces on their way to face Gerard.
The tag team division would go something like this: Jigsaw & Ruckus get DQ’d in a qualifier for the Tag Titles, sending The Future is Now against The Colony. Fire Ant and Soldier Ant would be the first champions and have successful defenses against Jigsaw & Ruckus and Sanchez & Dorado before losing the belts to Jigsaw & Jack Evans. The Colony would be feuding with The Vulture Squad while FIN battle Sanchez & Dorado. FIN would defeat Jigsaw & Evans, with Helios pinning Evans and winning the titles. The last show of the year would see a rematch of FIN vs. The Colony, this time with The Future is Now winning.
Overall Key Bouts:
Show 3: Daniels & Gerard vs. London & Liger, FIN vs. Jigsaw & Ruckus
Show 4: Title Gauntlet – London, Daniels, Liger, Kash, Gerard & Daivari, Colony vs. FIN
Show 5: Colony vs. Gerard & Daniels, London vs. Kash vs. Liger, Jigsaw & Ruckus vs. FIN
Show 6: Daniels vs. Kash, Colony vs. Sanchez & Dorado, London vs. Evans
Show 7: Gerard vs. Kash, The Colony vs. Jigsaw & Ruckus, Liger vs. Daivari
Show 8: The Colony vs. The Vulture Squad (6-Man), Liger vs. London
Show 9: Gerard vs. Liger, Jigsaw & Evans vs. Colony, Daniels vs. Delirious
Show 10: Gerard & Daniels vs. Delirious & Liger, London vs. Daivari
Show 11: FIN vs. Jigsaw & Evans, London vs. Daniels, Gerard vs. Delirious
Show 12: London vs. Gerard, Daniels vs. Liger, Colony vs. FIN
Chad Nevett: I avoided having a title in my first two shows, because I really liked the DGUSA method of waiting a little bit before introducing a title. Establish a status quo first and, then, throw a title into the mix. I also wanted to begin to move in a direction where, when I introduced a title, it would be defended under specific rules similar to the ROH Pure Championship. That’s an idea I always liked and wouldn’t mind testing out the waters of something similar with the PWWND Championship. I was thinking of rules where countouts and DQs could mean a title change, multiple officials watching from outside the ring to prevent cheating behind the ref’s back, and the match being confined to the ring as much as possible. There would be no rope breaks for submissions, countouts would only be three or five seconds, and intentionally throwing your opponent out of the ring would be a disqualification. Not sure how well that would work in practice, but it would definitely put the focus on the in-ring action. While guys like SHINGO, YAMATO, Pearce, Ares, and maybe Gran Akuma were involved in the title picture at first, I’d also have the side stories of Jim Cornette’s little stable running through the promotion. I was thinking that the second show’s six-man tag match between Dark City Fight Club & Johnny Gargano, and F.I.S.T. would have resulted in Gran Akuma betraying Chuck Taylor and Icarus, joining Cornette’s group. I realized that I was pushing F.I.S.T. into face roles, but Akuma is such a natural heel that I would want to keep him that way. I’d possibly add YAMATO to the group as well. A big stable under Cornette ala the Heenan Family. The introduction of the title’s rules would partly be in response to the cheating of the group, making Cornette’s change his strategy as YAMATO, Gran Akuma, and Johnny Gargano all go after the title, which I’d stick on SHINGO at first. I’d like to see how Cornette acts as a heel manager in matches where there’s no way to cheat without losing. Meanwhile, the other parts of the faction would feud with the rest of the roster with Aeroform slowly rising to feud with Dark City Fight Club as the two main tag teams with F.I.S.T. broken up. I’m almost tempted to continue booking shows just for myself so, come the draft next year, I can pick up where I left off with a mostly different roster, because this is really fun to do. I had a blast.
Jeremy Thomas: I have a couple long, overreaching storylines that I had planned. The first was a slow face turn for Amazing Kong based on a lengthy feud with Cheerleader Melissa where Melissa just keeps coming back, earning Kong’s respect to the point that she comes to Melissa’s aid in an eventual beatdown at the hands of the International Home Wrecking Crew. This would lead into a tag team with the two where they would eventually fight their way into a Tag Team Title shot at Girl’s Night Out II. The second was a feud between Alexis Laree and Daizee Haze which already started to take shape on my first show. Daizee would cost Alexis her title shot and the two would start a long feud with Rayna Von Tash and Nikita (as the result of a heel turn) becoming involved. That would lead to Alexis putting Daizee over in a #1 Contender’s Two out of Three Falls match down the line, and Daizee would come up against Tara to win, only to find herself facing down the former champion MsChif. That feud would culminate in MsChif taking back the belt at the one-year anniversary of her losing it at Girl’s Night Out while Alexis ended up teaming with Rayna in a tag team battle against Sara Del Ray and Nikita. I would also push Mercedes up into an upper card position so that I had a few potential contenders for the title. That was where I really saw the promotion going.
Sam Berman: The crux of my promotion would have been the Arsenal vs. Kings of Wrestling feud. The Arsenal (comprised of Jimmy Jacobs, the Briscoes, and eventually Erick Stevens) would have tormented the three-man team of Hero, Castagnoli & Cannon for much of the year, as both teams attempted to recruit “The King of Diamonds” Eddie Kingston. Kingston would be pushed towards the Arsenal due to his hatred of Hero, as the tension between whether he would turn the Arsenal into an overwhelming force or even the sides for the Kings would grow. Ultimately, Hero would appeal to Kingston’s sense of honor and the two would team up for the first time to take on the Briscoes in a Street Fight main event.
The year would build towards the inevitable War Games match between the Arsenal and the Kings of Wrestling, with Kingston nearly bludgeoning Jacobs to death to earn his team the victory… only to have Hero, Castagnoli & Cannon destroy Kingston after the bell to end the season. This would naturally lead to lone wolf Kingston trying to run through the Kings (who will have added new member Tim Donst) the next year, desperately trying to gain a measure of revenge on Hero.
Jasper Gerretsen: I think that in the long run, I would go for establishing a tag team championship before establishing a singles championship. I would book Speed Muscle to win the second main event, then do a mini-tournament on the third show to determine the other contenders, with Hurricane and LuFisto, Dragon Kid and Ophidian, TJP and Jon Moxley and Amasis and Izzie Deadyet participating. I’d probably book TJP and Moxley as the challengers for Speed Muscle, although at this point I have no idea who I’d book as the inaugural champions. Lower on the card, I’d probably keep the feud between Hurricane and Amasis going for quite a while, since there’s plenty of options for singles and tag matches there. I’d probably put together a tournament for the singles title somewhere down the line, but my priority would be on tag matches for the time being.
Mathew Sforcina: Well, basically, the company would be building to its biggest show of the year in 6 or so months after the company debuted, so it’s easier to describe before “PW3.0 Endgame” and then after it. (And if this seems slightly convoluted, I apologize, but things run together and this seems the best way to explain it.)
Pre Endgame: The main storyline of the fed is Paul Burchill’s quest to get the PW3 World Title, stolen from him by CIMA. CIMA, as leader of “NARA” (An obscure former name of a Japan/Australia treaty), would be the standard chickenshit heel. In tag matches, he’d drop falls, in non-title matches he gets pinned clean as a sheet… But when the belt’s on the line, he manages to sneak out the back door. In his first defence against Burchill, Susumu would cause the DQ, leading Burchill to beat down on Susumu for a few shows worth. Then, the next shot he got would be No DQ, and he ends up getting mugged and taking Mace from a Pink Lady for the loss, forcing him to re-earn his shot. But in the lead up to that shot…
MDK would run roughshod over the division, just totally crushing and destroying all in their path, getting clean, if brutal wins over a fair chunk of their opponents, and if not winning, then losing by DQ for excessive violence. But after a few months, they finally lose a match clean, as Prohibition gets pinned with a C4 from Burchill and Hansen, the two Brits becoming fast friends. But the next show, when they get the tag title shot, CIMA walks out onto the entrance, distracting Burchill for a few seconds, long enough for MDK to come back and win. This then leads to the next CIMA/Burchill title shot, where Susumu and the Ladies are banned from ringside on punishment of firing from PW3 (and, if I can swing it, TPWW as well). And on that night, Vansen turns heel and costs Burchill the match, upset at Burchill not focusing on the tag belts. So Paul has some revenge on Vansen for a bunch of shows, until Endgame, where Burchill gets his last ever match for the title, in a Steel Cage, where with a C4 off the top of the cage, he finally gets the big win and the title.
The second major storyline in the company is Colt V Neo Solar. UMB blames Colt for him not winning the World Title, and the two feud for a bit, Colt fighting off the Neo Solar members until he gets a Mask V Job match, him V UMB. Black cheats to win, and Colt is gone from PW3. But the next show finds a new opponent for Neo Solar… Matt Classic! UMB isn’t convinced, of course, and the two feud for a little while longer, up to Endgame, where it’s Classic V UMB, Classic’s mask V UMB lifting Colt’s firing. Matt Classic wins the match and then rides off into the sunset, leaving Colt to come back the next show.
As for the women, since I respect TPWW’s storylines and alignments, I don’t have any major plans for major angles involving them, save one. I’d just help continue their storylines, and/or negotiate some cross-pollination, except for a major angle that ends at Endgame, the Nikita/Maria V Pink Ladies issue. The two sides constantly bicker during the long main issue of Burchill V CIMA, with the Ladies calling Nikita and Maria ‘Divas’ and ‘Sluts who slept their way onto TV’ and what have you, constantly goading Maria into having a tag match with them. Maria constantly refuses, stating she’s a Owner, not a Wrestler.
But no matter who Nikita teams with to face the Pink Ladies, the Pink Ladies keep coming, wanting to beat Nikita and Maria. After one too many humiliations/strippings/spankings (including forcing Maria to perform a strip tease upon threat of CIMA bashing her with a steel chair), Maria finally relents, and accepts the tag match for Endgame, by her and Nikita stripping the Pink Ladies mid ring. Nikita and Maria would almost certainly win (unless TPWW had a major problem with that).
The Californian title is one that I don’t have a solid plan, although I’m about to lay one out. Petey would hold the title for as long as it takes to establish the belt, since the other belts don’t change hands at all before Endgame (and even then the tag belts stay put in the multi team Ladder match at the show). So once the belt was over, then it’d probably bounce around a bit. Susumu would probably win it first, to give NARA both belts, then Dinsmore would win it, and then trade it back and forth with Conway a couple times (playing the “tag partners, but they still don’t really like each other” angle) until Dux wins it when he takes on Larry Sweeney as a manager (who would just bounce around a bit, while I scope out how the others are using him. Hell, he may not last too long if he’s too busy and/or playing too many roles). Dux would defend and possibly retain against Clark at Endgame.
That would be all the major angles leading INTO Endgame.
Post Endgame: Burchill becomes a fighting champion, defending against any and all comers, including a run of names from outside, to further put him over and solidify the belt. But soon enough he gets a real
For after Colt comes back, he and UMB STILL have issues, as the two decide to one final match to resolve their problems. And, to sweeten the pot, says Maria, a “TBA Title Shot” is on the line in this final showdown, with the winner getting a PW3 World Title match at any point in the next year (ala MITB). UMB would, surprisingly, get the win and the contract. This leads to Burchill V Neo Solar, as he has to fight off all the various members (who by this point would have grown, although I’m not sure who, anyone I can find with a mask. Sexy Star would ROCK in the group…) while UMB taunts him with the shot for months on end. Eventually, UMB earns a normal title shot at the Anniversary Show. And on that night, Burchill wins that match, gets beatdown by the Order, then UMB cashes in the shot and steals the title once again.
Also on the night is Colt/Petey V CIMA/Susumu. After Colt lost the final match to UMB, NARA attacked him for… Well, no good reason beyond rubbing salt in. So he started fighting them off, and soon Petey got sucked in, and the 4 men fight on and off until Anniversary, where the blow off happens.
The only other major angle planned that far out in advance is MDK. MDK, after Endgame, keep a running count as to how long till they’ve held the titles for a full year. They’ve beaten almost every combination of guys in the company (although after Endgame they start to get more violent, losing by DQ a majority of the time). They then build up to a 4 Way Match at the Anniversary Show, where the original 4 teams are set to face off in an Elimination match for the belts. But on the last show before the Anniversary, they defend against some local pretty boy tandem. It’s all going to plan, MDK cruise to victory… Until MDK make a rare mistake, there’s some confusion, and the Local Kids Make Good and win the titles!
They replace MDK in the 4 way, and thus begins the slow burn face turn for MDK, as they are stuck on the outside looking in as the tag belts ping-pong between almost every other team in the company, everyone getting a shot run as the belts switch hands on almost every show, MDK never getting a shot at them… But then, that’s for Year 2.
Mike Bauer: Well, part of the plan would depend on a certain person becoming available, but let’s assume he doesn’t. I would probably turn the war between BLKOUT and The Embassy into a three way war with Aries and The All Night Express. It would also incorporate the SeX High Roller Title into the feud after the third show, in which we would crown the first champion, most likely Aries. This would allow him to feud with Romero, Jimmy Rave, and BxB Hulk as the top challengers. Meanwhile, I would keep bringing in ECW original talents Sabu, Sandman, and Justin Credible with some random pairings against other ECW originals like Super Crazy and Nunzio, as well as IWA-MS/CZW extremists like Nick Gage and JC Bailey in order to keep the Extreme alive. Eventually the three way feud would end in a version of War Games, with the High Roller Title on the line. It would be a 4-on-4-on-4 match, with BLKOUT against The Embassy (complete with Osiris) against Aries, The All Night Express, and a yet to be determined member.
That will call it for this year’s Independent Draft special. Thank you to the 411Mania readership that followed through the many parts of this special and read our contributions. Also, I want to send a personal thank you to the other eight contributors for their time, hard work and dedication towards completing this project amid hectic personal and professional lives and on top of their already hefty workload for the website.