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The Skummiverse: 1985

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What is the Skummiverse?

It's pro-wrestling, but it's different.

The year is 1985. But not the 1985 you know. Things didn't quite work out the way you remember.

It's a work-in-progress alternate history scenario for TEW 2010, built on Genadi's excellent 1987 mod.

So what's different? I'll tell you a few things. Some, you might have to find out on your own. Some are big, some are small.

Let's begin, with...

Promotion Spotlight #1:

World Wrestling Federation

Promotion Ranking: #1

Top Stars: Kerry Von Erich, Andre The Giant, Roddy Piper, Junkyard Dog, Tito Santana

Current Champions:

WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Kerry Von Erich

WWF Intercontinental Champion: Tito Santana

WWF Women's Champion: The Fabulous Moolah

WWF World Tag Team Champions: The British Bulldogs

Just one day ago, the WWF played their biggest card yet in their game of national expansion - Wrestlemania, one of the biggest pro-wrestling sports extravaganzas of all time, a star-studded three hour spectacular packed full of celebrity guests, big names, and huge matches, not least of all the main event, which saw Hollywood mega-star Sylvester Stallone set foot in the ring, teaming with the WWF World Champion Kerry Von Erich - Stallone's co-star in the upcoming Rocky IV - with Rocky III co-star Gorilla Monsoon in their corner, against the dastardly heel tandem of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Terry Funk, accompanied to the ring by "Cowboy" Bob Orton. Even special guest referee Muhammad Ali struggled to keep this one under control, but it was the good guys who came out on top, following a knock-out punch from Stallone to Funk.

Already, there's talk of a second Wrestlemania next year, once again built around the guest appearance of Sylvester Stallone, but the WWF is no one-trick pony. They are gradually amassing one of the most impressive rosters ever assembled, from the Larry Zbyszkoary Andre The Giant to former NWA World Champion Ricky Steamboat, world-class tag teams like the British Bulldogs, and a quality undercard including the likes of the Junkyard Dog, Greg Valentine and "Cowboy" Bret Hart.

Stallone wasn't the WWF's first foray into celebrity involvement either - in 1982, thanks to wrestling photographer Bill Apter - comedian Andy Kaufman met with Vince McMahon Jr. about bringing his act to the New York territory. While Vince McMahon Sr., then the owner of the World Wrestling Federation, objected to the idea of using the "song and dance man" on a wrestling show, the younger McMahon was able to talk him round to the idea. As part of Kaufman's act, he would proclaim himself the "Intergender Wrestling Champion", challenging women from the audience to outwrestle him. Undefeated at the point he first set foot in the ring in Madison Square Garden, Kaufman's challenge was answered by the WWF Women's Champion, The Fabulous Moolah. While Moolah seriously outclassed Kaufman in the ring, the comedian was able to cheat to win, temporarily blinding her with a powder thrown in her face behind the referee's back.

Kaufman's victory celebration was short-lived, however, as it was gatecrashed by WWF wrestler Tito Santana, who took exception to Kaufman's actions, and showed this by slapping the taste out of his mouth and challenging him to a real match. Kaufman flipped out, threatening to sue Santana for all he was worth, and thus began one of the most famous feuds in wrestling history, garnering unprecedented levels of mainstream media attention for Santana, and for the WWF as a whole.

Can the WWF capitalise on the success of Wrestlemania? How much further can their national expansion take them? Only time will tell...

Next...

Spotlight on...Jim Crockett Promotions

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Promotion Spotlight #2:

Jim Crockett Promotions

Promotion Ranking: #2

Top Stars: Dusty Rhodes, Tully Blanchard, Nikita Koloff, The Road Warriors

Current Champions:

NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Tully Blanchard

NWA World Television Champion: Lazer Tron

NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion: Denny Brown

NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion: Ron Garvin

NWA United States Heavyweight Champion: Magnum T.A.

NWA World Tag Team Champions: American Starship

NWA United States Tag Team Champions: The Minnesota Wrecking Crew

While the World Wrestling Federation may be winning headlines with their star-studded cards and aggressive national expansion, Jim Crockett Promotions are quietly making a few waves of their own. Very much seen as the heartland of the NWA, Crockett offers a more realistic style of pro-wrestling than the more cartoonish WWF, and is synonymous with the "Southern" style of pro-wrestling.

Currently largely built around the feud between top babyface Dusty Rhodes and the current NWA World Heavyweight Champion Tully Blanchard, Crockett's business has never been better, and that's largely due to the recent formation of Blanchard's heel stable, "The Four Horsemen". Comprised of Tully himself, The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, and the rookie sensation Rick Rude, and backed at all times by their manager, the flamboyant, loud-mouthed "manager of champions", Ric Flair, their mission statement is simple - dominate the NWA, and keep the World Title around the waist of Tully Blanchard at all costs.

Backed up by such surefire success stories as Magnum T.A. and the vicious Nikita Koloff, and workhorses like The Midnight Express, you won't find much argument that Jim Crockett Promotions is the place for quality wrestling in North America.

Next time...

Spotlight on...the AWA.

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What happened to Flair?

Plane crash?

Once a few of the promotion spotlights are out of the way I'll do a few worker spotlights to explain what's going on with a few workers whose careers have taken drastically different turns in the Skummiverse than in real life, so I'll explain a lot of this sort of thing in more detail later on.

But, yes, in the Skummiverse Ric Flair never returned to wrestling following the plane crash, and has recently resurfaced as a manager.

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I don't have TEW10 but I'm digging this so far from the write ups, they are different yet not too skewed to be unrealistic. Kerry as the face of WWF is great and a different feel for the Horsemen is great, Tully as the workhorse and Flair as the mouthpiece is a great combo!

Will be keeping an eye on this, keep it up!

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I do hope the David Von Erich survived his tour of All Japan in this game world.

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Before we get to the AWA spotlight, let's have our first...

Superstar Spotlight

Superstar Spotlight takes a look at notable figures in the Skummiverse, who aren't necessarily covered by the Promotion Spotlight, or who might need a little more detail to explain their current situation. There will be a few deliberate omissions from Superstar Spotlight, because I need to leave a few surprises in there for you guys.

Our first;

Superstar Spotlight #1:

Satoru Sayama

Satoru Sayama had been told one thing his entire career - he was too small. Despite his almost peerless ability inside the ring, Sayama was little more than a jobber in his native Japan, and it took a tour of Mexico, and a series of well-received matches under the pseudonym "Sammy Lee" in the United Kingdom before New Japan Pro Wrestling finally took notice of the prodigiously talented youngster.

In 1981, NJPW were looking for a way to attract more young fans to their shows, and they turned to a popular anime series of the day - Tiger Mask.

For his NJPW re-debut, Sayama would portray a live action version of the animated pro-wrestling superhero in a match against the Dynamite Kid. Despite his immense talents, and a shocking upset win in his debut match, the fans were not kind to Sayama. Unwilling to accept a cartoon character being presented as a legitimate competitor, the normally reserved NJPW audience instead erupted in a chorus of boos that lasted the duration of the match, visibly frustrating both competitors.

The gross error in judgment that lead to the Tiger Mask character was seen as just another sign of NJPW's booker Antonio Inoki being increasingly out of touch and, according to some, increasingly mentally unstable.

Sayama would continue to wrestle as Tiger Mask for only five more matches, before walking out of his lucrative NJPW contract, frustrated at having become a "living joke". He vowed never to work in the wrestling industry again, writing a tell-all book entitled Kayfabe, in which he characterised the wrestling business as corrupt, revealed secrets of how the in-ring action was staged, and - most famously of all - described Antonio Inoki as "a megalomaniacal, delusional fraudster, as out of touch with his audience as he is with reality", and made allegations of Yakuza involvement in New Japan's business.

Some four years later, despite previously claiming to have no desire to wrestle again, Sayama has announced his plans to return to the ring. In an interview with a leading Puroresu magazine, Sayama claimed that he wished to present a harder-hitting, more realistic "shoot" form of wrestling, rooted in traditional martial arts, in stark contrast with the flashy high-flying he had been most noted for in his earlier career. However, seen as damaged goods due to the catastrophic failure of the "Tiger Mask" gimmick, blacklisted by New Japan and generally viewed as bitter and unreliable, it's not clear where Sayama intends to demostrate this "new" style, leading many to speculate that he intends to start his own promotion in the near future.

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Promotion Spotlight #3:

American Wrestling Association

Promotion Ranking: 5th

Top Stars: Harley Race, Nick Bockwinkel, The Road Warriors, Sgt. Slaughter

Current Champions:

AWA World Heavyweight Champion: Nick Bockwinkel

AWA Women's Champion: Sherri Martel

AWA World Tag Team Champions: The Road Warriors

Believed by many to be on their last legs, the AWA seem to be little more than a third wheel in the ongoing battle for supremacy between the World Wrestling Federation and the NWA. Derisively referred to by some as a "retirement home", the AWA's shows are increasingly built around older stars; Harley Race, Wahoo McDaniel, and Nick Bockwinkel.

Despite this, the AWA are quietly building a rather exciting undercard, including such up-and-coming prospects as Curt Hennig, Rick Martel, Marty Jannetty, Dude Love and the monstrous Bull Power.

The dominant storyline in the AWA to date has seen the villainous cult leader Mega Maharishi Imed amass a heel stable comprising of some of the sickest individuals in the wrestling world, which has raised the ire of the unlikely duo of Sgt. Slaughter and Wahoo McDaniel, who both fight valiantly against the corrupt Maharishi in the name of justice and freedom.

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Just a quick update; I was planning on getting a V1 Beta release of this out early January. As it happens, it's probably going to be delayed somewhat as I will be converting the scenario to TEW 2013. I'm still in two minds about whether to do that now, with the work in progress version, or wait until it's "finished", and transfer across then, in order to release for both versions. I'm mostly leaning towards the first option, though I've not actually used '13 yet, so we'll see.

As a progress report, I'd say that the "major" promotions in North America are all up-to-date, though may be tweaked somewhat as I move forward in editing the indies and decide to move some workers around. Similarly, all Japanese free agents are updated, as is much of NJPW and AJPW's roster, and some "indie" promotion's rosters. The ongoing concern with Japan is tweaking things gradually to reflect that, in the Skummiverse, Tiger Mask was a flop and, as such, the shape of the Junior scene is somewhat different without his influence.

I haven't any major "game-changing" plans for Britain, though I was considering taking Big Daddy out of the equation, to be roughly analogous with the WWF not having Hogan and the AWA not having Flair. That's still under considerations. Other than moving a couple of people out of CWA for various reasons, I've not even looked at Europe.

The main things that need doing, moving forward, are the smaller American promotions, all of Mexico, and some American free agents. I've also added a couple of promotions in America and Japan, details of which I'll keep vague for now, which I may have to play-test to see how the AI treats them.

Beyond that, relationships will need work - there are some I've added as I went along, to reflect the changes I've made, though I'm sure there must be countless relationships in there which no longer make sense in the context of this universe, and they will all need changing. Same goes for some tag teams, alter-egos and things like that.

I'm not even going to start on title histories, as it's a cosmetic change that would be nigh-on impossible to work through. Too much menial work for minimal reward.

Narratives are something else I've not yet looked at; I'll obviously have to remove any from the source mod that refer to events that could not have happened in this universe due to changes in its history (i.e.; anything involving Hogan). Most likely course of action here is that I'll remove all of them, and possibly add in a couple of new ones to spice up the game world in a later version if necessary.

Anyway, just thought I'd keep people roughly updated with what's going on.

In the mean-time, if you have any questions about the Skummiverse - what's happening to a particular promotion or worker, for example, feel free to pose them and, so long as it's not something I'm wanting to keep under wraps until release, I'll answer as best I can. Similarly, if you have any suggestions or anything - either for potential in-game changes, or just feedback on whether I should stick with TEW '10 or switch to '13, whatever, I'm quite up for fielding some questions and feedback.

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I haven't any major "game-changing" plans for Britain, though I was considering taking Big Daddy out of the equation, to be roughly analogous with the WWF not having Hogan and the AWA not having Flair. That's still under considerations. Other than moving a couple of people out of CWA for various reasons, I've not even looked at Europe.

This is just a suggestion you can play with for the UK, if you take out the likes of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks to North America with occasional UK appearances the UK could have had a good lightweight division build up and take over, and since the main problem in the downfall of UK wrestling on TV is it got too gimmicky and away from legitimate wrestling, it could become a hub of lightweight wrestling since they did have strong links to Japan and Canada.

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If anything, I think you should have more Big Daddy, maybe a whole stable of them. :shifty:

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I haven't any major "game-changing" plans for Britain, though I was considering taking Big Daddy out of the equation, to be roughly analogous with the WWF not having Hogan and the AWA not having Flair. That's still under considerations. Other than moving a couple of people out of CWA for various reasons, I've not even looked at Europe.

This is just a suggestion you can play with for the UK, if you take out the likes of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks to North America with occasional UK appearances the UK could have had a good lightweight division build up and take over, and since the main problem in the downfall of UK wrestling on TV is it got too gimmicky and away from legitimate wrestling, it could become a hub of lightweight wrestling since they did have strong links to Japan and Canada.

This is what I was considering - without Big Daddy, the shape of British wrestling would be very different, theoretically, as there would have been less of a shift towards theatrics. I hadn't decided on how to write out Big Daddy - I was basically planning on leaving him retired, having never taken on the gimmick in the first place - but moving him to North America would work. Haystacks I was going to keep in the UK, but without Big Daddy, he'd remained just a monster heel with no defining rivalry or anything. As he had worked in North America, I was probably going to have him working for Stampede too.

The idea of Britain as a hub for lightweight wrestling is actually really interesting, though, and could be a real shift for this universe. As I said, Tiger Mask was a massive flop, so New Japan, as a result, would be less likely to take risks on lightweight wrestlers, and workers who were directly influenced by Tiger Mask, or whose gimmicks were inspired by his, wouldn't necessarily have had much exposure. There'd be no Black Tiger, no Ultimo Dragon, no Jushin Liger - at least, certainly not in the way we now know them. In the Skummiverse, in theory, Japan would never become known as a home of solid lightweight wrestling.

Moving that lightweight style predominantly to the UK - and throwing in the UK influence meaning that it would be more inclined towards technique and matwork than high-flying - is a really solid idea, that I might play around with a little.

If anything, I think you should have more Big Daddy, maybe a whole stable of them. :shifty:

Big Daddy, Medium Daddy, Little Daddy, Bigger Than Medium Daddy But Not As Big As Big Daddy Daddy, Comparitively Quite Small Daddy.

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and since the main problem in the downfall of UK wrestling on TV is it got too gimmicky and away from legitimate wrestling

Surely that's somewhat debatable?

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and since the main problem in the downfall of UK wrestling on TV is it got too gimmicky and away from legitimate wrestling

Surely that's somewhat debatable?

I don't think it is at all. There were other factors - shifting timeslots, the WWF starting to get TV time in the UK and World Of Sport shifting between All-Star and Joint Promotions with no explanation that they were distinctly different promotions (resulting in sometimes having to wait weeks or even months between appearances of your favourite wrestler) - but the overreliance of theatrics certainly hurt British wrestling in a major way.

Wrestling needed a certain amount of glamour and glitz to get noticed as a TV product, but as they moved further into the focus being on the likes of Big Daddy, it opened itself up to ridicule, and it became increasingly predictable and camp. Throw in the massive disappointment of the much-hyped eventual showdown between Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks (imagine the backlash any promotion would get today for promoting a match for months, if not years, and having it end in barely a minute or two), and I do think it was a major cause of the downfall of the business.

Heck, if you look at any time they tried to do anything a little more gimmicky, the crowd either sit on their hands or heckle the wrestlers constantly. One of my favourite wrestling moments is the unmasking of Kendo Nagasaki, and the crowd shit all over it.

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and since the main problem in the downfall of UK wrestling on TV is it got too gimmicky and away from legitimate wrestling

Surely that's somewhat debatable?

Yes and no, firstly British wrestling didn’t get on TV by flaunting that style, it had been on TV since the 60’s with a traditional realistic style, the problem was in the 70’s it started to dip a bit and this was about the time the group running Joint Promotions were retiring and it was taken over by Max Crabtree who tried to revitalise the product and pushed his brother Shirley (Big Daddy) as a star since there were loads of good midcard guys but very few big stars.

One thing I would say is if the Japanese junior scene didn’t get going maybe they spend a lot more time in the UK becoming stars, since I remember a few of them being sent over here to gain experience. If it was me I’d have it so that in Japan the juniors were taught solid technical wrestling maybe having a Bill Watts style ban on doing loads of top rope moves because it was tried with Tiger and it won’t work, but going to England they can experiment. And in saying that maybe Rollerball Rocco isn’t the one who goes to Japan and becomes the British star over there may be its somebody like Saint

I’d recommend watching this to get a good vibe for the period.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nar7mAkZL0Q

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