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Developers' Diary 9: Anarchists

Developers' Diary 9: Anarchists
Hello everyone! We are back in touch with the team's scripter DRAFT (and translator Red, hello), and today we will talk about anarchists as promised.

1. Introduction
First, I would like to tell you a brief history of this aspect of the game. If you are not interested, feel free to skip this section.
Iin the previous update, we added branches of anarchism to some countries, but we did not work on it as a general ideology.
Agree that the idea of adding anarchism as «just an ideology» without any gameplay changes is a wild idea. But in fact, all the mods that somehow contain this ideology were sick of it: Kaiser's, at that time, anarcho-syndicalists, anarchists from the Salty Anarchist Mod.
I couldn't find any other released mods with anarchists.
In fact, this led me to believe that anarchism requires considerable elaboration. This should not be «just focuses». And if it is easier with developed countries, because they have their own story, a tree of focuses and events that allow the player to plot a change in ideology and demonstrate a negative outcome as a reaction to specific actions, then the situation for the generic case is much more complicated.
The idea of working through anarchism as a unique ideology has been in my mind since the Rise of the Trozkism (the first DRAFT mod, created before New Ways*, did not appear in the Western community*). For this purpose, several attempts have been made to find a «bearer»/supporter of the ideology, but, alas, all attempts have been in vain, although it is also misleading to consider them experts in the principles they seek to support.

2. Our view
2.1 Bringing anarchism
Let's choose a random detached country with generic focuses, for example, Sweden.
Initially, it is a democratic, so we are rolling into a technocracy

If we decide to change our course, choosing the path of development in the political tree to any other ideology that differs from our current one, we will be asked to carry out some preparatory reforms of our state in order to facilitate their subsequent implementation, because you can not just rudely introduce a monarchy or, say, a technocracy.
Our reforms
Having failed all three preparatory reforms, the people will rightly ask the question: «are we going there?» which, of course, will result in all possible rallies and protests against the new government's course.
Subsequent events will depend on our stability and war support.
I have high stability and low war support, which ultimately led to a peaceful option.
«Peaceful» variant
If the situation was different — our state was extremely unstable, and the society strongly supports the use of force to solve their own problems, the outcome would have been different:
«Agressive» variant

The contradictions caused by the government's actions led us to a civil war, where the main actors will be the old government, the government whose ideas we wanted to implement, and the common people.
Swedish three-way civil war

Having rolled over into anarchy, your focus tree will change to a separate stylish (just look at this) generic tree for anarchists…
Full political branch generic-tree for anarchists - https://imgur.com/W6tlxuR
.. And your country is seriously damaged in its functioning, but this will be discussed below.

2.2 Revolution come true
Despite a whole heap of problems, the people froze in anticipation of their bright future. You, as the representative of the people and the leader of the revolution, will have to develop a concept that will adhere to the new society. You are the architect of the new anarchist regime.
Actually, for a start, we only have access to this branch, where each focus is a question.
Why so many focuses, when all this could be done in the form of a sequence of events? It's simple - you may not have time
By choosing these or other options in events, you have an influence on what the concept will eventually come out and what branch will be opened in the future (your cap).
Almost an exam (take the manual)
After that we are waiting for one of several logical results

However, do not yawn. The people may get tired of waiting, and if you do not cope with this task within 80 days, the patience of the masses will burst, and they themselves will form the principles according to which the society, of which you are a part, will live (is it anarcho-primitivism?).
You may not have time :)
You're late

We mentioned above the problems of functioning of the country after the transition to anarchism. With the change of ideology, your country is seriously damaged in its functioning in the form of four extremely negative national spirits:
This country is broken. Bring a new one
And now, after determining the path of development of society, we will have to solve the problems that have arisen in front of us in full growth.
The «right» and «left» anarchists have their own solutions to these problems, and they are hidden in these focuses.
Solve problems using social or individualistic methods
Each focus opens a category of decisions aimed at solving each of the problems.
There are several solutions in each category, since within anarcho-socialists and anarcho-individualists, there are also different approaches to solving the problem. Whose options for solving problems you most use, that branch will become available to you in the future.
Decisions of the social anarchists
Decisions of individualists

2.3 Social anarchism
Having decided on the concept and methods of solving the main problems after the destruction of the former state system, we can begin to implement the ideas of anarchic society.
One possible path for anarchists is social anarchism-along with individualistic anarchism, one of the two main directions of anarchism. Where individualistic forms of anarchism emphasize personal autonomy and rational human nature, social anarchism sees «individual freedom as conceptually linked to social equality and emphasizes social Association and mutual assistance». In contrast to individualist anarchism, which asserts the importance and necessity of private property or ownership, socialist anarchism rejects the importance of private property, seeing it as a source of social inequality.
As you can see, anarcho-socialism is conventionally divided into 3 currents: anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism, and anarcho-syndicalism.
In fact, the differences between them are not the most significant, but in this case we wanted to give players more opportunities for roleplaying.

Anarcho-collectivists advocate the creation of a stateless society in which people will be united in communes engaged in collective farming.
In contrast to anarcho-communism, their society maintains a system of wage labor, and workers should receive wages depending on the amount of time worked, and not products «according to needs». It is assumed that the payment received for the time worked will allow you to shop on the General municipal market.
In their branch, collectivists implement the principles of workplace autonomy, reforming the wage system in accordance with the principles above, and implementing the system of collective ownership of workers.
The crown of their path will be the proclamation of a «Worker's' Federation».

The goal of anarcho-communists is to build a real communist society, without the state, money, or wage labor.
The rejection of the system of «wage labor» is central to the economic component of anarchist communism, and it is this issue that causes the greatest number of contradictions between the ancoms and the collectivists.
In an environment where the products of labor are distributed based on individual needs, people will be free to participate in any action. The implication is that under these conditions, people will have a real opportunity for maximum self-realization, and they will no longer have to participate in work for which they have neither the desire nor the ability.
Anarcho-communists claim that there is no real way to measure the value of any individual's economic contribution, because all wealth, all the products of labor, is the collective product of all society and all generations.
In their branch, anarcho-communists strive to please everyone at once and are forced to «spread the oil thinly», consistently implementing the principles of free labor, contentment for all, the abolition of money and decentralization.
Speaking of the latter, decentralization is highlighted in red for a reason — in our opinion, when playing for ancoms, this will be a distinctive feature that separates the gameplay «before» and «after» decentralization. We are well aware that the very concept of decentralization covers both political and economic components, but in our case we are talking about economic decentralization.
We wanted to reflect this phenomenon as one of the main points of the ancoms.
The introduction of decentralization in the economy will start the process of redistribution, dispersion of functions, forces, power, people or things from the Central location or governing body. Now local workers will independently draw up a production plan.
Most likely, all ties between enterprises will be destroyed or severely weakened, which will lead to a complete shutdown of production when changing products on production lines — any new production will start from scratch, but each plant will be able to cope with production difficulties independently, allowing you to show the wonders of ingenuity and adaptation. In General, your economy will be less affected by the lack of raw materials, which is not exactly true of the overall stability and opportunities for scientific discovery.
Effect of decentralization

Anarcho-syndicalists see the construction of a stateless society only through the activities of workers protected by trade unions in cooperation with producers.
Anarcho-syndicalism recognizes only the grass-roots, non-hierarchical, self-organization of workers and therefore rejects participation in government bodies, as well as political parties and hierarchical worker's unions.
Anarcho-syndicalists believe that worker's unions should act on the basis of the principle of decision-making by the entire collective, through General meetings on the ground. They reject the division of people by gender, age, ethnicity, or any other type of segregation or discrimination.
Like the anarcho-collectivists, the anarcho-syndicalists in their branch focus on workers, but the syndicalists emphasize industrial industrial workers and believe that the anarchist workers should be organized into worker's unions – interprofessional or by separate professions, as well as territorial associations. In such organizations there should not be any leaders, as well as «liberated», paid functionaries. It is the trade Union syndicates that will become their main administrative unit.

In the end, an economy organized by industrial workers will allow you to get much more significant bonuses to industrial potential than in other currents of social anarchism, but they also have a higher load on consumer factories.

2.4 Individualist anarchism
The second possible path for anarchists is individualistic anarchism. It is a tradition of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasizes that the individual and his will take priority over any kind of external conditioning, such as collectives, societies, traditions, and ideological systems.
Supporters of anarcho-individualism present the new society as a conflict-free society based on the priority of the personality of small owners who entered into a mutual agreement on self-government without state authorities.

Individualistic anarchism is not a single philosophy, but belongs to a group of individualistic philosophy, the directions of which sometimes come into conflict and are conditionally divided into 3 currents: anarcho-egoism, libertarianism and agorism.
A common gameplay feature of individualists is the need to solve problems not within the entire society at once, but in each subject separately, which is reflected by the state modifier.
…and the fight against it

As an extreme form of anarcho-individualism, anarchic egoism stands for the right of every person to do whatever they please.
The most extreme form of anarchist individualism is called «egoism», a doctrine developed by one of the earliest and most famous proponents of individualist anarchism (although, like William Godwin, he did not call himself an anarchist) Max Stirner.
The egoistic form of individualistic anarchism supports the individual's right to do exactly what he likes – regardless of God, state laws, or moral norms. According to Stirner, rights are «ghosts» of the mind, so he believed that society as such does not exist, but «the reality is individuals» – he stands for property supported by the ability to protect it, and not based on law. Stirner stands for the protection of their rights and demands by «unions of egoists» formed on the basis of respect for the power of their participants to each other.
According to Stirner's concept, the only limitation of human rights is its power, limited by the power of others. According to his concept, society is an illusion, it does not exist, but people are reality. He was a defender of property acquired by physical force, power, but not by moral right.
As gameplay features when performing egoist focuses, it should be noted that they will be able to solve problems in the regions by force, the requirements for the ideology of the goal in decisions to incite civil wars in neighbors for egoists are 10% lower (not 50%, but 40%), and the cult of power makes egoists the only current among anarchists who can have puppet States in their subordination.

Agorists seek to build a stateless society of triumphant free markets based on voluntary exchange.
Agorism is a political philosophy that has as its ultimate goal the achievement of a free market society in which all relationships between people are based on voluntary exchange.
The term comes from the Greek word «Agora», referring to the Assembly area and market in ancient Greek city-States. Ideologically, this philosophy represents a revolutionary type of market anarchism.

Yes, we are aware that this current (and libertarianism)was formed strongly after the game period, however, we sought to display the immediate ideas of the hypothetical society where they took up. Modern concepts and symbols were taken due to the lack of another, and it is much easier to understand.

Agorism is a synthesis of the ideas of «counter-economy» and libertarian, which promotes the relationship of the «black market», which will supply infantry weapons, and the accompanying economic mechanisms will make it easy to regulate the external economy. (I'M TIRED BOSS)
Agorists claim that their development option can not only help develop self-defense to protect private property and freedom, but also consolidate society within the Agora.

Libertarians seek to maximize the autonomy of each individual by asserting freedom as their basic principle.
Libertarianism is a set of political philosophies and movements that support freedom as a basic principle. Representatives of libertarianism seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary Association, and individual judgment. They share skepticism about state power, but differ in the extent of their opposition to existing economic and political systems.
Different schools of libertarian thought offer different views on the legitimate functions of public and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.
Don't tread on me!
Within libertarianism, there are a number of trends that have their own specifics. In particular, we decided to distinguish two «pillars» of libertarianism — anarcho-capitalism and minarchism.
There are significant differences between these currents on possible assumptions in a hypothetical libertarian society, in fact, from the choice of the path in favor of libertarians, we are waiting for the debate of representatives of different schools.
Important question
I think it is not difficult to guess that we are again waiting for questions, the answers to which will determine our future path of development.
And debates
The victory of the minarchists will change your ideology icon and allow you to move further along the tree of focuses.
Perhaps the main difference between minarchists and other individualists is that by keeping the «night watchman» and entrusting him with the management of the army, they will not have problems with its deployment. A little later you will understand what we are talking about, but for now just take note.

Anarcho-capitalists will be able to realize the society of their dreams and the primacy of private economic corporations and military companies, ships and currencies.
Ultimately, it is the libertarian society that will be able to show the greatest flexibility in solving the main tasks facing the entire society, negotiating with private owners and financing their expansion, as well as attracting investors to achieve their goals on the world stage.

Remark 2.
At the moment, libertarians have not implemented all the ideas that we would like. As the anarchists as a whole work through, sometimes they come up with interesting but cumbersome ideas that can't be implemented quickly.
Courts and private corporations that promise to develop into separate mechanics will definitely be worked out.

2.5 «Anarchism without adjectives»
Anarchism without adjectives refers to a self-sufficient type of anarchism, that is, it is a doctrine without labels such as communism, collectivism, mutualism, or individualism. For others… it was simply understood as a position that was tolerant of the coexistence of various anarchist schools.
Historically, anarchists who referred to «anarchists without adjectives» opposed capitalism. The original use of the term by Fernando Tarrida del Marmol was a call for reconciliation between collectivist and Communist anarchists, all of whom opposed capitalism. Voltarina de Clare, commenting on the murder of McKinley wrote: «the Hell of capitalism creates despair; a desperate act of despair!». Lamenting the existing difficulties in the way of abolishing private property Malatesta wrote: «But this will not prevent us now, or in the future, from continuing to oppose capitalism, or any other form of despotism.»
It is noteworthy that this current of anarchists can study any 4 focuses on solving problems associated with the collapse of the former regime.

2.6 Anarchic unity
You must have already noticed the painfully familiar icon of «national unity», which was in the game before version 1.5.
Yes, we decided to use it for an artificial, but still logical resource of anarchists — «anarchic unity».
Anarchic unity is the aggregate measure of the response of an anarchic society and the strength of its leader's authority. The higher this parameter, the stronger the response to your proposals from the society and the more willing they will be to accept your proposals. Simply put, it is the level of coherence within your society.

Initially, we had the idea of «buying» focuses for anarchists.
National focus is a process that sets a country's political goal.
Based on this definition, we can assume that within each country, these goals are usually set by someone steering – a specific leader, party, or other body responsible for the political course of the state. But anarchists do not have such organs. At least, until such a person is formed and all citizens voluntarily approve of their right to set such goals.
Until a representative collegial body is formed in an anarchic country, they will have to «buy» the ability to perform focuses for a certain resource. In Other words, we wanted to introduce a counter that displays the number of focuses available for performing.
But later this mechanics was transformed into anarchic unity.

The main focus of the political tree of anarchists is the implementation of their own ideas, which society is already striving for. These focuses will not require unity.
However, for many solutions and some focuses, you will need a certain level of anarchic unity, which will be reduced by attempts to integrate into the way of society. For example, anarchists don't like being told what to build and where to build. Attempts to encourage the population of your commune to build a factory will require at least a 50% level of agreement with your actions, but in the end there will always be dissatisfied.
Despite the General understanding of the need for armed struggle, the General anarchist mass will be skeptical of global attempts to reform the armed forces, but if these measures are defensive in nature, it will raise far fewer questions.

2.7 Trends
Laws and other things of coercive control and influence in an anarchic society are simply unacceptable, because anarchists will first of all abolish the «state» itself, replacing it with collective bodies. It is logical that the laws for anarchists should also be revised.
They were introduced instead of trends.
At the moment, there are 3 trends: a sense of danger, interest in industrial development, and the need for foreign trade.
These indicators are Autonomous and change by themselves. In the decision category of the same name, the player has the ability to tilt each of the trends in the right direction, but they will always tend to their current equilibrium value, determined by external factors.
Each trend has its own effect (you can see it by hovering over the trend icon), which is zero for 50% of any trend.
Each trend determines the state of «laws» that the player cannot directly influence.
It is worth noting that social anarchists have access to the first 3 «laws», while individualists have access to the bottom 3. Anarchists without adjectives can freely choose on what principles their army will be formed.
Individualists will not be able to deploy an army in the usual way. Instead, they have solutions that will allow them to buy army units from mercenaries. They can't change templates either, so you'll have to be content with what you have, but as you remember, minarchists don't have this disadvantage.
I will also add that the system will be further developed and the topic with private military companies already looks like a separate mechanic.
P.S. I was able to eat my neighbors and land in South America by midgame, almost devouring the entire continent for the Swedish agorists.
The state of the economy is also regulated by the trend, but it is possible to switch between them. The question is whether you can keep the trend at the same level.
The «laws» of trade were not changed.

That's about it. I hope you will like our anarchists, which will become even more interesting over time!
After the release of version 0.3 (which means already, wait English translation and release on Steam), we will start working on such fantasy trends as anarcho-monarchism, anarcho-nationalism, and anarcho-technocracy within the framework of generic focuses.

Our discord server - https://discord.gg/asJ24mH
Our VK - https://vk.com/hoi4nw
submitted by drafteg to NewWaysMod


Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Jun. 10, 2002

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
1-7-2002 1-14-2002 1-21-2002 1-28-2002
2-4-2002 2-11-2002 2-18-2002 2-25-2002
3-4-2002 3-11-2002 3-18-2002 3-25-2002
4-1-2002 4-8-2002 4-15-2002 4-22-2002
4-29-2002 5-6-2002 5-13-2002 5-20-2002
5-27-2002 6-3-2002

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Hi all! Sorry I didn't get this posted yesterday. I was out of town for a funeral and I completely forgot. Back to the normal schedule next Wednesday. Hopefully this post can bring everyone some entertainment, because holy shit what a nightmare the last week has been.

  • So let's take a look at the WWE right now, shall we? Raw ratings are the lowest they've been in 4 years. Smackdown ratings are the lowest in history. Live attendance is at its lowest levels in almost 5 years. The brand split is 10 weeks old and so far, not one new star has really been created. Sure, some have been introduced, but no one is over in any real way. All its done is dilute the star power of both shows. Ticket sales for the split roster shows have fallen off a cliff due to half the stars people want to see not being on any given show. But Dave says this is a rebuilding phase for the company. The brand split was obviously a totally bungled effort and Dave doesn't seem to understand how they fumbled everything this badly. And then, to top it off, they're doing the exact same angle on both shows (heel authority figure vs. top babyface). Nothing about the 2 shows feels all that different. Same production, same style of booking, same website, same writing teams, plugging each others' house shows, sharing PPVs, airing highlights of the other show, etc. None of this feels like "creating our own competition." It just feels like more of the same (18 years later and this has been the case the whole time. Never once have the two shows ever felt particularly unique from each other in any meaningful way because they've never truly allowed Raw and Smackdown to actually compete).
  • That's not to say there hasn't been some effort. They've been trying to make stars out of Angle, Jericho, and Edge. But unfortunately, Edge blew out his shoulder this week and will be out for awhile (ends up only being about a month). Kane was due for a big push after the split, but he's out injured also. They tried for a few weeks with Bradshaw but seem to have already given up on that (they'll try again in about 2 years and it finally clicks). Kurt Angle is still entertaining, but he's being booked as a comedic heel which pretty much limits him to the midcard. Brock Lesnar is getting a strong push, but there's rumors he's been the victim of politics (Dave mentions again how Triple H went to Vince and talked him into stopping Lesnar's gimmick of winning matches by ref stoppage, which was something that was setting him apart and was actually getting over) and now every time he wrestles, even though he wins, he's looking way too vulnerable against lower card guys like the Hardyz. Lesnar is the one newcomer they've brought up lately that has a real star aura about him and they aren't doing shit to protect him (imagine if Goldberg debuted and was having to struggle to beat lower card guys in competitive matches). Orton was tossed out there to languish with no real direction. Leviathan was given the terrible Deacon Batista gimmick and brought up to the main roster way before he's ready. So on and so forth. All of those guys have superstar potential, but WWE isn't doing any of them any favors right now. Goldberg is pretty much the only hotshot bullet they have left in the chamber. If/when they ever bring him in and that doesn't work either, then what? "The problem is that WWE has become WCW, in nearly every way," Dave says before listing several examples of how WWE is falling into many of the same traps.
  • Which brings us to Steve Austin and his recent appearance on WWE's internet Byte This show. Austin went on and pretty much called it exactly as it is, saying the writing and creative direction of WWE is terrible right now and that the brand split has been a flop. Austin even made the same WCW comparisons as Dave. And that's pretty much what it is. A top star publicly complaining about the company's product (and not getting punished for it) is textbook WCW. Not to mention the way Austin walked out and no-showed Raw the night after Wrestlemania (again, not being punished for it). Once again, that's some WCW shit. If anyone else on the roster walked out or complained about the management and the writing in a public forum, they'd be punished or fired. Double-standards like that were a huge reason for all the locker room discontent in WCW (I can't find the video of this interview, but here's a recap).
WATCH: Steve Auston on Byte This recap
  • This just goes on and on with Dave critiquing everything wrong with WWE in 2002. They brought in Scott Hall and that went exactly how everybody else knew it was going to go. They brought in Nash and he's doing the same politicking and complaining he did in WCW. They brought in Hogan, put the belt on him, and he's already lost most of his steam. Shawn Michaels is back, but in a non-wrestling role (Dave mentions off-handedly here that Shawn is still claiming his back is injured and he's retired, but there's talk of him doing a one-off match sometime soon and see how things go from there. Needless to say, that's the seed that eventually becomes Shawn's entire second half of his career, but we'll get there). Dave also talks about Shawn claiming that he's found religion and he's a new man and says you have to take that with a pretty big grain of salt. Scott Hall said the same thing and most of the stories of wrestlers who claim to have found religion and cleaned up are usually full of shit, but time will tell with Shawn. And who knows, Dave says maybe he'll end up being one of the few who really means it (damn near 20 years later and, yup. Shawn was legit). There's an issue with using all these older wrestlers in full-time roles and Dave says guys like Hogan will be a lot more valuable if used sparingly. Even Ric Flair, who Dave admits is one of his all-time favorite performers and who can still cut the best promos in the business....but Dave says Flair isn't the answer either and they need to get him off TV because having him such a big part of the show every week is diminishing returns. And finally, to wrap all this up, he talks about other companies that went through hard times and what they had to do to rebuild. WCCW in 1983, AJPW in 1990, WWF in 1998, etc.
  • Tough Enough 2 is in the books and the show ended with the controversial decision for both Linda Miles and Jackie Gayda being declared the 2 winners, while the 2 male finalists were shit out of luck. The final decision was made by WWE producers Kevin Dunn and John Gaburik, as the show is mostly Dunn's pet project. Coaches Al Snow, Hardcore Holly, Ivory, and Chavo Guerrero also had input. Vince McMahon obviously had final say if he wanted it, but he reportedly had no impact on the decision at all and doesn't really seem to give a shit about the show one way or another. Dunn was told simply to pick the 2 who had the most immediate potential so they can do something with them ASAP. Of the 4 finalists, Linda Miles is thought to have the most potential. Dave breaks down her athletic career (including a WNBA tryout) and says she is by far the most athletically gifted woman the WWE has ever signed and picked up the in-ring part pretty quickly. She's also tall, which is usually a good thing for the guys, but with the women, it may work against her in WWE's eyes since she'll tower over all the other women (and some of the guys). She's also attractive, but not in that sex-kitten T&A way that WWE likes. Which brings us to Jackie Gayda, who became the star of the show after her steamy hot tub session with another contestant in which she cheated on her boyfriend and became the villain of the show in a lot of peoples' eyes. She also has the look WWE is wanting, but to be fair, she earned it. It was widely believed that nobody had the passion and desire to win as much as Jackie did and even after tearing her ACL, she refused to drop out of the contest. She has since undergone surgery and is already close to fully recovered (remember the show was taped months ago). The boyfriend she cheated on is still dating her and he was with her at the live finale TV special. On WWE Byte This, host Kevin Kelly mocked the dude and joked about how Gayda will dump the guy as soon as she's on the road full time away from him.
  • Some final Tough Enough notes. Specifically, about the other 2 finalists: Kenny Layne later became Kenny King, 2-time X-division champion in TNA, ROH tag team champ, ROH TV champ, and others and he still wrestles in ROH to this day. Dave says Kenny seemed the most disappointed about losing and he was also the best in-ring wrestler of the 4. Dave thinks he'll still end up getting a developmental deal at some point, he's too good for them to just let him get away. The other guy (Jake Sokoloff) never ended up doing anything in the business. The feeling on him was the he had the look to be a superstar but he just could not grasp the business at all, forgot things constantly, and didn't seem to be all that motivated. But looks alone still got him to the finals, though Dave doubts he'll get a developmental deal. He'll probably be able to milk this Tough Enough thing and get some indie dates if he wants. And if he improves enough to be a passable wrestler, then WWE will likely sign him in a heartbeat. But for now, he's basically a modern day Van Hammer. Anyway, the 3rd season of the show is scheduled to film starting next month and they're already going through applications. Hugh Morrus is expected to become a coach on the show. There's a lengthier screening process this time and they're trying to bring in serious contenders, rather than out-of-shape goofs just so they can make fun of them, like in previous seasons. They're expected to take Tough Enough 3 more serious and attempt to find some real stars this time (that season will result in John Morrison and Matt Cappotelli becoming names in the business).
  • Riki Choshu held a press conference to talk about his departure from NJPW after 28 years there and what his future holds. Choshu pointed the finger of blame squarely on Antonio Inoki and accused Inoki of forcing him out of the company. Choshu had lost his position as booker awhile back and due to his high contract, Inoki wanted him gone. They also butted heads over the amount of money Inoki was spending to open his Los Angeles dojo, noting that the place is losing $10,000 per month and hasn't produced a single star. Choshu took his complaints to NJPW president Tatsumi Fujinami, but even he is powerless since Inoki owns the majority interest in the company. Choshu said that, after all these years, he finally understands why Giant Baba never trusted Inoki. Choshu also talked about the loss of Keiji Muto, Satoshi Kojima, and Kendo Kashin, who all jumped ship to AJPW along with several NJPW office employees. Choshu said Inoki never even tried to figure out what happened or address the problems that led to those guys leaving and didn't even seem bothered by it, even though it was a huge blow for NJPW. Inoki responded to Choshu's comments, saying Choshu was earning and spending too much money. Inoki refused to talk about the L.A. dojo expenses and claimed NJPW's failure to make new stars in recent years was Choshu's fault. Tatsumi Fujinami also chimed in and, perhaps not surprisingly since he still wants to keep his job, he sided with Inoki. Basically repeating the same things: Choshu barely wrestled and was neglecting his office duties and was being paid way too much. Fujinami also defended the L.A. dojo, saying he was against it at first but now sees it as an investment in their future. So what's next for Riki Choshu? No one knows. He said he's going on vacation and word is he may start his own promotion. Dave thinks he'll pretend to start a promotion, and try to do an "invasion" angle with AJPW or Zero-1 but that's just speculation. Dave also has reason to think Choshu might try to poach some wrestlers from NJPW to come with him, in particular Hiroshi Tanahashi or Shinya Makabe.
  • Let's talk about wrestling books, shall we!? Dave first talks about how, in the early 90s, right after the WWF steroid scandal broke, he had a meeting with some publishers about writing a wrestling book, but the general consensus was that wrestling fans can't/don't read. The huge success of Mick Foley's book changed that and suddenly everybody was getting book deals. Foley had two #1 bestsellers. Rock's book went to #1. Chyna's went to #2. So on and so forth. Dave mentions that Sable got a huge offer for a book, but it never materialized for whatever reason. Flair, Lawler, Heenan, Hogan, Austin....all had offers or are working on books. Lou Thesz and Dynamite Kid put out excellent books. On and on. There's no shortage of wrestling books on the market now and, since we're on that subject, Dave has read FIVE recent books and decides to give each one a full review. So let's see what we got:
"Stu Hart: Lord of the Ring" by Marsha Erb. First of all, Dave mentions that Bret Hart has been writing his own autobiography for years that is said to be almost encyclopedic in its detail (yeah, Bret's book is an incredible must-read if you haven't read it. I personally think it's the best wrestling autobiography ever written). Anyway, this book mostly focuses on Stu and the glory days of Stampede Wrestling. Well written and Dave says it's surprisingly accurate, which is pretty incredible given that the author had no previous experience or knowledge of the wrestling business, but it was very well researched and Dave doesn't seem to have any fact-checking to nit-pick here. Erb bent over backwards to try to be fair to everyone in the family, many of whom have wildly different versions of the same stories. Some in the family weren't as cooperative, but she did the best she could with what she had and it's a really good book. He doesn't classify it as a "must-read" the way Foley's first book or Dynamite Kid's book was, but he puts it a level just below those.
"First Lady of Wrestling" by Missy Hyatt. Came out last year but he just finally read it. It's basically a sex-and-tell book, with Missy dishing the dirt on err'body. There were some major omissions (Missy doesn't even acknowledge her recent marriage for example) and some of the names/stories/locations are changed to protect some people she's still friendly with. Dave admits he's been good friends with Missy since way back in the mid-80s when she first started her career and it sounds like he knows some of the dirt on stories that she might have changed. Because of her lawsuit settlement with WCW, she wasn't allowed to write much about her leaving the company, but she did talk in detail about the circumstances leading to it. She tells a lot of stories about her first husband, Eddie Gilbert, though she tries to protect his memory and doesn't go into the details of his death. But the overall theme of the book is basically, "here's all the wrestlers I fucked and here's what it was like." Dave doesn't really address that other than to say that's probably why the book is so popular, so if you're into that, then this is the book for you. Otherwise, not much to talk about from a wrestling business perspective.
"Secret of the Iron Claw: The Story of the Von Erich wrestling dynasty as told by Fritz Von Erich" by author Ron Mullinax. The saddest of the wrestling books. As he was dying of brain cancer, Fritz Von Erich sat down with Mullinax (one of Fritz' only friends he had left at the time of his death, noting Mullinax is a lifelong wrestling fan and was probably Fritz's biggest fan) and basically shared his life story. Which, if you're familiar with the Von Erichs, is a sad story. Not here though. To his death, Fritz refused to stop "working" and as a result, the book is full of exaggerations and outright bullshit. Dave notes that it's "almost complete fiction." And of course, Dave gives a few examples and then tells the real story (example: in the book, when talking about the athletic backgrounds of all his children, it mentions Kevin Von Erich being recruited by the Dallas Cowboys. Not true. He was a starting fullback in college but didn't get any pro offers. Or the claim that Kerry Von Erich could have gone to the Olympics as a discus thrower. Again, he was good and even set some records in high school, but he gave up the sport early in his college career and was nowhere close to Olympic-level. Just shit like that). It also portrayed wrestling as real. Fritz did admit that sometimes, in order to entertain fans, they would stretch it out a little to have longer matches, but he still claimed the fighting was all real. Also claimed they invented using entrance music. No. Fritz also invented the cage match, the barbed wire match, the Texas Death match, and more. Needless to say, no, no, and no. Fritz also took credit for Vince McMahon's later success, saying that he came up with the idea of going national in 1973 and he told his big secret plan to Vince Sr., who passed it on to Vince Jr. and the rest is history. So if you want to re-live the old days of reading Apter mags where everything is portrayed as real and half the stories are total bullshit, then this is the book for you. But Dave thinks it's kinda sad that, even as he was taking his dying breaths, Fritz couldn't drop the gimmick and stop being a worker. Despite all this, Dave seems to have a soft-spot for the book, because he lived in Texas during the WCCW golden age and it's a period close to his heart, but it's among the worst wrestling books he's ever read.
"Hey, Boy! Where'd You Get Them Ears?" by Paul Boesch. This was actually written back in the 80s but was never fully finished or released until it was recently published by Boesch's family. Again, Dave admits he's in a unique position here because he knew Boesch and when he first wrote the book, Dave was one of the first people to get a copy that Boesch had printed up himself. Anyway, this is a really good book....for the 80s. But of course, back then, people protected the business and Boesch was no different, so there's some reality in here, blended with some fiction, while other things are simply glossed over to avoid talking about them at all. For someone who tries to mostly keep kayfabe, it's a really honest book otherwise. Having read this new version, Dave also says a lot of stuff has changed since he read the original in 1988. The final chapters in particular, focusing on Boesch's later years and his honest feelings on people like Vince McMahon, Bill Watts, Jim Crockett, and others are totally toned down from the original manuscript. Seems like Boesch's family didn't want to ruffle some people's feathers and they heavily edited Boesch's true opinions. Anyway, it's a must-read if you're a fan of that era and followed Houston wrestling, but Dave admits it's probably not going to appeal to many people beyond that.
  • (This isn't book related, but Dave recounts a story from Paul Boesch here that's too good not to share. He talks about a time during the dying days of Mid-South when they drew a disappointingly small crowd. Boesch pulled Dave aside and started giving him excuses for why the crowd was so small. It was a rainy day. There was a Houston Astros game that got moved which ended up competing against the show. The local economy was bad. On and on and on. Boesch told Dave every single excuse he could think of for why the crowd was so small. When he finished, he said, "I just wanted you to hear every excuse now, all at once, so you know that if anyone ever tells them to you again, don't listen. What really happened is I booked a main event that people didn't want to see. Period." Dave says, sure enough, in the 15 years since, he's heard every excuse imaginable for promoters when their shows don't draw. But at the end of the day, it comes down to that.)
"First Goddess of the Squared Circle" by Fabulous Moolah. The worst of the bunch, Dave calls it a 200 page insult to the intelligence of wrestling fans. Moolah presents her entire career completely in kayfabe, writing as if every match she ever wrestled was real. Even her 1999 WWF women's title victory over Ivory is portrayed as a real contest where the much, much younger Ivory underestimated Moolah. Stuff like that. She "protects the business" to an embarrassing degree. The book also contains never-ending praise and ass-kissing of Vince McMahon and his father. Unquestionably the worst of the wrestling books that has been released in the past few years.
  • Rumors that AAA in Mexico may be forced into a name change. Apparently there's some issue with Televisa owning the "AAA" name and apparently the promotion is having issues with the network. AAA owner Antonio Pena is said to be considering renaming the promotion PAP (Promocioes de Antonio Pena). If this does happen, it'll be bad news for them. Not just the name change, but Televisa is the highest rated network in Mexico. Losing their show on there would be devastating. (This clearly doesn't happen.)
  • You may remember Carlos Colon's brother Noel was murdered last year. Well the guy who did it was found guilty of first degree murder and other charges and sentenced to 99 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Noel Colon ran some kind of business and they found porn on one of the employees computers, which led to the employee being fired. After he was fired, he returned to the office, shot Colon twice in the head and twice in the throat.
  • AJPW merch sales have tripled because Keiji Muto is a t-shirt selling machine.
  • Pretty much every promotion in Japan is taking the month of June off because the World Cup is being held there, and trying to compete against the World Cup is madness. It'd be easier to just set your money on fire.
  • Atsushi Onita issued a challenge to Riki Choshu for an exploding barbed wire match because Onita never passes up an opportunity to get his name out there. They actually already faced each other 2 years ago and it was pure garbage as a match, but it did huge PPV buys and still holds the record for the 2nd highest Japanese PPV of all time (1st place is a Royce Graice vs. Kazushi Sakuraba match in PRIDE).
  • Davey Boy Smith's father is still trying to get the police in England to open up a murder investigation into the death because he still refuses to believe that his son would have put any drugs into his system.
  • At an indie show in Nashville, Jim Cornette got into a backstage altercation with Ed Ferrara. It was for Bert Prentice's promotion and Ed Ferrara was there because Jeff Jarrett wanted to have Ferrara, Jeremy Borash, and Don West do commentary, as a test-run for the upcoming NWA-TNA debut. Cornette was there because he's always there for these shows. Cornette has hated Ferrara ever since he portrayed the character making fun of Jim Ross in WCW, mocking his Bell's Palsy. And of course, Ferrara is just one step away from Vince Russo and I'm not sure if you've heard, but those two don't get along all that well. Anyway, Ferrara showed up and went around shaking everyone's hand as you do. He approached Cornette and went to shake his hand and....no. Cornette started talking to him, quietly at first, but we've all heard Jim Cornette talk. So he gradually got louder and louder and before you know it, Cornette was screaming and cursing at Ferrara about making fun of Jim Ross' medical condition and all that. Then Cornette spat in Ferrara's face and said that was for JR. Then he challenged Ferrara to take matters outside, but people got between them and it fizzled out. Fun times.
  • The NWA title will be decided in a Royal Rumble-style battle royal. They obviously can't use the name "Royal Rumble" but from Dave's understanding, it'll be basically the same rules. He thinks establishing yourself as a second-rate WWE by copying the Rumble on their debut show isn't exactly the best way to set the tone but so be it. Dave expects Shamrock to win because they won't put it on Jarrett immediately (although expect him to end up with the belt soon) and plus, people in TNA think Shamrock is still a big PPV draw because he did big numbers for UFC in 1995. Dave isn't quite so optimistic and thinks they should have just done a tournament. They could have stretched that out over 4 shows instead of 1.
  • Speaking of Shamrock, here's the story with him. He had been negotiating with WWE and they had agreed to let him have a 12-dates-per-month deal, same as Hogan, Nash, and Undertaker. But they wouldn't guarantee him the amount of money he knows he can make this year by fighting in UFC, and WWE refused to allow him to fight while under WWE contract. So that pretty much ended that. The TNA schedule is only 1 date every two weeks, which is enough to keep him in the public eye while still allowing him to train and prepare for potential UFC fights against Tito Ortiz and Dan Severn, both of which are rumored and would do huge business. So there you go.
  • Indie wrestlers James Storm and Chris Harris had a barn-burner of a match at that same Nashville indie show where Cornette was actin' a fool. Because of the match, it's rumored they'll be brought in to TNA.
  • Many of the TNA wrestlers have only signed single-show contracts or, at most, very short-term deals. As XWF proved, this is a bad idea. If somebody in TNA somehow manages to get over, WWE's gonna swoop in and they'll be on Raw by next week. You can't be serious about building a promotion without signing guys to long-term deals so you can safely build around them.
  • We're a week closer and ticket sales for TNA's debut show are still reeeeeally bad. Third row seats are still available as of press time. Dave estimates less than 300 have been sold so far, in a building that holds 7,000. They're going to have to heavily paper the crowd to fill the building for TV.
  • UFC filed a trademark lawsuit against the makers of Fire Pro Wrestling, a video game that uses characters from multiple wrestling and MMA promotions. They settled it out of court, with the FPW makers paying UFC an undisclosed amount of money.
  • Shawn Michaels will be returning to TV as part of an NWO babyface turn. As of now, the plan is not for him to wrestle, just to be an on-screen character. But Dave thinks it's only a matter of time, unless Shawn's back really just can't handle it. But WWE definitely wants him back for another match and Shawn has shown interest in the past.
  • Edge suffered a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum in the Smackdown cage match with Kurt Angle last week. He may be able to rehab it and return in a month or so, but if he needs surgery, it'll be more like 3 months. Couldn't be worse timing, since Edge is getting the first real sniff of the main event scene ever in his career, with Kurt Angle busting his ass to make Edge a star.
  • Goldberg had a meeting scheduled with WWE this week, but he canceled it and never rescheduled it. Shows you how interested he is. NJPW is sending someone to the U.S. to meet with Goldberg later this week to try to get him to work the October Tokyo Dome show.
  • Notes from Smackdown: Maven suffered a broken leg while doing a slide under Christian and his foot got caught in the canvas. This is pretty much exactly how RVD broke his leg in ECW. Anyway, Maven has a broken fibula and will be out 4-6 weeks. He continued the match though, all the way to the finish. They were just starting an angle where Torrie Wilson was gonna be Maven's girlfriend, so tough break (in 2 ways) for him. Undertaker had a match with Randy Orton and Dave gives Undertaker credit for making a real effort to help Orton look good in defeat. It was a damn good match and that was almost entirely because of Undertaker. It's not just him though, Dave notes that everybody Orton has been working with lately is going out of their way to get him over. He seems to be the chosen one right now. (Orton actually talks about this match in the recent Last Ride documentary).
  • The upcoming Madison Square Garden house show is going to feature Hulk Hogan teaming with Steve Austin against Ric Flair & Eddie Guerrero. So much for the brand split. Anyway, it'll be Hogan's first time wrestling in the Garden since 1992 and, brand split be damned, they're putting Hogan on the MSG show.
  • On his WWE.com blog, Jim Ross wrote about Davey Boy Smith's funeral and noted that his son Harry Smith will get an opportunity to try-out for WWE when he turns 18. He also said they were interested in Jim Neidhart's daughter Natalie, who wrestled as part of that Matrats thing last year. Dave hopes they encourage these kids to go to college first rather than signing them up as soon as they turn 18. It's a hard business and it'd be a good idea to have some kind of fallback plan in place rather than throwing them into the deep end while they're still kids.
  • Jim Ross also wrote that he's planning to release his autobiography in 2004 (ended up being 2017 but close enough right?)
  • Jeff Hardy has been pulled from all house shows but will continue working TVs on Monday night. Dave doesn't explain why, but earlier in this same issue, he once again hinted that Jeff looks like absolute shit these days and isn't half the wrestler he was a year ago. It's pretty clear that Dave knows about Jeff's drug problems but isn't outright saying it. Cuz yeah, Jeff was in deep at this point. Seems like WWE realized it too.
  • There's all sorts of rumors going around about WWE working with various Japanese promotions. Rock vs. Keiji Muto. WWE/AJPW partnership. Joint show with WWE and NJPW. Having WWE developmental wrestlers work Japan. etc. etc. Dave says there may be a little truth to the last one, it's been discussed, but the rest of it is all just bullshit made up by people in Japan trying to work the wrestling magazines and newspapers there. WWE isn't interested in any of that shit.
  • This week's episode of WWE Confidential was interesting because it talked about Davey Boy Smith and they didn't shy away from his drug problems, going deep into the story of his addictions. Although it's worth noting that, while everything else was talked about, steroids were never mentioned. They showed some clips of the lost interview from 1999. If you recall, when Smith returned in 1999 after Owen Hart's death, they filmed an interview with him and Diana where he talked about Bret, Owen, and lots of other issues. This was in the midst of the Owen lawsuit and WWE made the decision never to air the interview and it's been sitting in the vault ever since, with this being the first time any of it was ever seen. None of the clips shown here had anything to do with Owen or Bret. That stuff is all still in the vault somewhere to this day. But they played clips of him talking about his drug issues and his marriage with Diana. They also showed the bump in WCW that messed up his back on the Warrior trap door and even had footage of one of his last matches at an indie in Canada, teaming with his son.
NEXT WEDNESDAY: Steve Austin walks out on WWE, DDP retires, Vince McMahon on Byte This, preview of the birth of TNA, and more...
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