E-Wrestling with Shadows
I once lived a life I barely remember.
That’s a lie.
I once lived a life I remember quite a bit about, but it doesn’t feel like I actually lived it.
Back in 1997 I was only 12 years old and I found out that there were E-Feds. E-Feds were websites where people came together and acted like they were pro wrestlers. Think of it like collaborative fan fiction. It still exists today in its traditional form and new social media forms, but back in 1997 it was a brand new world for me I was stepping in. Some still ran their wrestling matches on simulators like TNM7 and others ran it in sort of a “promo showdown” competition where you wrote promos against another wrestler (roleplays) and the best quality roleplays won.
I ended up falling into a new type where we didn’t decide things based on a simulator or a competition. We had a booker, just like the real thing. We called them “angle e-feds” because they were decided on the best story instead of the best writer. It was a new frontier. We built websites that rivaled actual wrestling companies. We used 3D graphics for our wrestlers and even tried reaching out to graphic designers to go further. We learned Photoshop, Perl coding and paid real money for our fake fantasy. This wasn’t just “fake” wrestling, this was creating a fake world around the fake wrestling. The E-Wrestling onion has layers.
I did this for 10 years. I had insomnia in high school so it ended up being easy to sit in front of a computer at 4AM and work on a website code or design my Metacreations Poser wrestler. I got kicked out of e-feds, I started e-feds, I participated in communities of over 100 people in arguments, debates, discussion and general nonsense. I was once offered money to write for a guy back in 2005. I turned it down for some reason, even when I had no job.
When I look back at the world I was in, it’s embarrassing how much time I spent in it. Close to everything I wrote is gone. Close to everything designed is now hidden in the dark corners of the deep web, with nobody ever caring to find it. I did however make friends, became a better writer and while I’ll admit that I regret it and wish I did something else with my time? I still see the good in it all.
A couple years ago I stumbled upon an e-fed I helped create in Jolt Wrestling. It turns out it still exists and is still being run by some of the same people I knew back in the day. New people write as well, finding the hobby like I did back in 97. Here I am, 30 years old now and saying that something I did as a teenager was a shameful waste of time but it still exists. My character still exists, tucked into a hall of fame section. A lot of times you think of the things you do are a waste of time but I had an impact on a few people, whether I want to admit it or not. Something I created still holds strong years after I departed from it. There are not a lot of opportunities for me to say that in my life. I guess I can say that with e-wrestling.
It’s funny because looking back, all I feel is awful for what a prick I was. I was pretty mean to a lot of people, said things I shouldn’t have and wrote things I definitely had no idea what it meant. I was so rebellious. I wasn’t driven to run the best e-fed or have the best time but driven to prove people wrong, to be the alternative of whatever people considered to be the best. All I wanted was to prove people wrong. It was a projection of my own life problems with a “potential” my teachers would always mention in high school. I had potential if I only focused on my work. Well I couldn’t focus. I had ADHD that was undiagnosed until 2013. I had insomnia that everyone thought was a symptom of wanting to be online, instead of being online as a thing to do because I couldn’t sleep. If I couldn’t prove them wrong in reality, I’d have to prove everyone wrong in this fake reality we all made. This community of wrestling fans and amateur writers, designers and artists. All I wanted to do was prove the world wrong.
Tonight I’m going to be on FWrestling and E-Fed Guerilla Radio on BlogTalkRadio/Mixlr talking about my E-Wrestling past. I’ve already been thinking about it for the last few days. It’ll be cathartic to talk about everything from the good to the bad to my behaviours to my reflections. See how I remember it compared to others.
A few years back I used to be on Something Awful forums. I got myself banned a few times before I finally left completely. The reason this is relevant is because that was the death of my “Internet persona”. After that I took my real name on everything I did, like this blog, instead of an alias like Eron (my E-Wrestling character) or Lone Rogue (my E-Wrestling character’s nickname and a domain name I own). The way I acted in E-Wrestling, on Hockey forums and Something Awful, that person disconnected with the words he said? He died after that and I finally tried to mature into someone I felt could be respected. I no longer just wanted to be some smug prick trying to prove the world wrong. That potential my teachers used to mention? That’s finally being realized, slowly. I’m hoping maybe this talk about my past can help me feel better about what a colossal idiot I could be. I guess I just hope I didn’t hurt too many people.
All I wanted to do was prove the world wrong, and I guess I did. I guess the problem was it wasn’t the right world. It’ll be fun to talk about that world again like a summer camp I started going to almost two decades ago. At least I hope it’ll be fun.
Main Image with graphics from Jolt Wrestling