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Our 2nd Anniversary

Jim Gramze




I got yanked out of town for three days just before I was going to write this. I had intended to tape RAW and pull some pictures off it, make a fancy html page and send it off for the greater glory of all. Now I'm sitting here, just got back into town, missed RAW and I barely have time to dash something off before it's too late. Such is life.

Before I ever wrote a word for Slash, I was heavily involved in something called the FAWF, the Federation of Aggravated Wrestling Fans. We were an anti-WCW group who wanted to see Hogan retire and to see some of the younger talent get their due. What I couldn't stomach was watching a two-segment match between, say, Billy Kidman and Eddie Guerrero in a magnificent display of high energy and beautifully executed acrobatic moves while the announcers spent every second talking about Hulk Hogan and the NWO. These matches between Kidman and several others in his weight class -- Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, etc. were the very best matches I have seen in my 35 years of watching wrestling. And they were treated like filler.

After a couple years or so the FAWF folded. The main guy that started it all had some personal problems and couldn't keep running the show, and some strong personalities clashed to see who would take it over. In the end, the whole thing crashed and burned in an ugly mess.

So I went from helping to put a newsletter together and cooperating in lobbying the various wrestling feds for what we wanted to see in our sports entertainment to being a disenfranchised middle-aged wrestling fan. I stumbled onto WrestleLine and CRZ's reports on monday night TV and thought I had found something special. And this CRZ dude had his own site and seemed to be breaking away from WrestleLine. (Obviously the break never happened, but it sure seemed like there was some bad blood over something or other.)

So I began regularly checking out Slash Wrestling. I don't even remember if it was called that back then. I do remember that counter at the bottom of the page had less digits. CRZ was pushing to get some people to write articles and I figured "what the hell." I came with experience, an agenda, and everything!

I enjoyed writing the articles. Two in particular vaguely come to mind. My personal favorite was where I proved that professional wrestling was the only sport that wasn't fake. Every major sport, professional and amateur, has been found guilty in courts of law for fixing results. Every sport, that is, except wrestling! The article I got the best reactions to was about Mick Foley's first book. Many others had already reviewed the book and gave both it and Mick glowing praise. I decided to take a different tack. I showed what a deeply sick individual he is for actively pursuing being beaten into a bloody mess to gain public approval.

I musn't have been very good at the article writing. One or two responses was normally the best I would ever get, and frequently no response at all. Listen up, now. If you are coming here and reading articles and being entertained, write a short fan letter to the author. Even if you just say you got a giggle or saw something you never thought of before; anything, but let them know. Otherwise they are sitting there in a vacuum and one day the feeling of the futility of it all will cause them to stop. If you like 'em, let 'em know or they might not be there tomorrow. Do it!!!

So I got this bright idea. The overall page seemed kind of bleak to me with all this text all over the place and no pictures. I decided to be the picture guy! I contacted CRZ and we agreed on a size for the pics, especially for page-speed reasons, and I was in business. (Keep 'em under 20K, kid.)

I had a TV card. I had a VCR. I was in business.

Hey, this service is needed today. If you're interested, here's how it worked. I taped both Monday night shows. I probably would have lasted much longer if I would have chosen one of the weekend shows for each fed, where they show mostly hilights of the previous week. Anyway, I learned to ignore the full body action shots and just focused on close-ups. Whenever I saw something I thought would make a good picture I would rewind the tape a bit, make a quicktime movie surrounding the moment, and then go through the QT movie a frame at a time looking for just the right shot. Looking for that funny or angry or pretty or whatever expression on the face. Copy the frame and paste into an art program. To clean up the TV noise I always shrunk the picture down to a height of 150 pixels. The TV card offered 640 x 480, so a lot of TV noise and other problems are instantly taken care of by shrinking the picture to less than a third. Adjust the contrast and brightness a bit, crop out anything not needed, set the height to 150 pixels and the picture is done. I always made the pictures the same height so that they would work well side by side.

I think one of those TIVO type machines would be ideal for this. Get just the right picture on the screen and then just capture a single frame. They didn't have none of them thar contraptions back when I was your age.

I stopped making the pictures when a lot of my free time dried up. I work 6-7 days each week for GM, in grad school in the evenings, married with a house and whatnot. I basically have everything I want except for time to make little wrestling pictures for CRZ's page. (He never used the best ones anyway.)

How about something new? Just a tiny bit. I recently finished a business law class. One thing that stood out for me was a radio DJ that was under contract that the station decided not to use anymore. They still paid the DJ his base salary without any possible bonuses, and the DJ could sit at home and just collect the checks. He was not allowed to seek employment elsewhere as bound by his contract. Sound familiar, Goldberg fans?

The DJ wanted to work. He felt that he was losing his marketability -- his name recognition and popularity. A court of law agreed. Besides his contract, the station had to pay what the court felt had been lost in the DJ's overall marketability as a result of being prevented from working. If what I hear is true, and Goldberg is being prevented from signing with the WWF or new WCW for contractual reasons, then he might not realize that he is sitting on a gold mine. Like him or not, he was immensely popular when WCW sold out to McMahon. How much value has he lost by being prohibited from working? He should be able to sue for multiple millions and win easily.

CRZ, anyone else who might remember me, keep up the good fight. I miss contributing around here, but I don't see my situation changing any time soon. Still love the page as one of the good things on the net that I can count on.

Love ya all,

Jim Gramze
[slash] wrestling

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