THE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO BAD WRESTLING WRITING II
How to Masquerade as a Good Writer
Some of you may remember my first Idiot's Guide, which presented seven major rules of bad wrestling writing. While that first work focused largely on writing in a way that would make it clear you were an idiot, this edition will look, as the title says, at how to write badly about wrestling while passing yourself off as a good writer. First, I'm going to rehash the seven rules from the first Idiot's Guide and talk briefly about how they can apply to pretending to be a good wrestling writer.
1. Bad Mechanics (poor spelling, grammar, and syntax)
Obviously, if you're concerned with looking like a good writer, you don't want your mechanics to be too atrocious. One good approach, however, is to repeat one structural quirk or error over and over to appear individualistic. Good examples include bizarre comma splicing and constantly using "it's" instead of "its," but you'd do better to find your own quirk, because those are already taken.
2. Poor Choice of Words (frequent profanity and a lack of explanation)
Poor Choice of Words is still very useful, though you will want to stick to the more creative and vulgar profanity (e.g. "fuckweasel" or "Big Boss Man bites goat testicles") to show just how bitter you are. Lack of explanation (and in fact lack of any expansive ideas whatsoever via the "Random Thoughts Column") is also key.
3. Theft of All Ideas (just what it sounds like)
Taking credit for the ideas or news of others is still a worthwhile thing to do, as it will make you look like you're extra smart or have great contacts within the business, a point that I'll soon address.
4. Blind Fed Partisanship (being 100% for or against everything done by a particular company or group)
As long as you stick to the "against" side, this is also a popular strategy among bad wrestling writers who want to look good.
5. Personal Attacks (again, self explanatory)
Oh my, yes. This is so crucial that it gets its own heading down below.
6. Hammering Home Your Point (Repeating jokes, predictions, and ideas as often as you possibly can)
Definitely a good idea, as repetition can sometimes be mistaken for style. This point applies to virtually all the other points mentioned here.
7. Illogical and Ridiculous Ideas (making claims without proof and in the face of all contrary opinion)
Oh, definitely a keeper. I guess I underestimated exactly how applicable that first list was to the faux-good wrestling writer. I'll most likely touch on all of these rules again as I move through the new rule set below. Let's get started, shall we?
Seven New Rules to Disguise Yourself as a Good Wrestling Writer
1. Be Bitter
Probably the first and foremost thing to do. You can throw people off by claiming that you write about wrestling because you love it, but when you write, it should always be about how bad something is, how unpleasant things are going to be, and how much you hate watching someone. Bitterness can be especially effective combined with some of the later elements in this list. All of them, really.
2. Look Like a Rebel
There are two ways this can work. First, you can use your bitterness in trying to start a bandwagon that very few people have any reason to be on, as in "The WWF is getting desperate" or "I hate the Rock." The more illogical and irrational your bandwagon, the better. Second, you can use your bitterness (recognize a pattern?) to pretend you're being a rebel when in fact you're saying something that 95% of the other wrestling fans on the Internet have said already. Something like this: "I know I'm pissing into the wind, and you can argue with me all you want, but Vince Russo is a shitty writer."
3. Play the Know-It-All Smart Mark
Act like you know more than you do and your audience knows less than it does. Report news from other web sites as though you're breaking it for the first time courtesy of your wonderful inside sources. Use your bitterness (again!) by sarcastically referring to wrestlers by their real names, as if you really know them and didn't find out their real names from some other smart mark site. Pretend to have personal concern for wrestlers (even when you hate them) and address them directly, as if they'll ever even hear your name. Playing the know-it-all is especially great when you get your facts wrong and maintain Unswerving Self Confidence (see below).
Remember that, unlike most normal people, you don't watch wrestling to be entertained; you watch wrestling in order to pick it apart to the molecular level. The bitterness in this is pretty inherent. Think of the person you hated most in the documentary Trekkies, and try to be write like that about wrestling. A careful examination of the last time Wrestler X jobbed clean in a pay-per-view main event to anyone besides wrestler Y in situation Z is right up your alley here. Try to keep track of everything, including match time, moves done, wins and losses, screwjobs, mike time, and so on, and carefully construct all these elements into proof of why your favorite wrestler is being misused.
5. META, META, META
It's just not interesting enough to keep your wrestling writing focused on wrestling all the time. You need to spend time writing about yourself, your readers, other wrestling writers (see below), the wrestling fan community on and offline, politics, jokes, and so on. This is especially effective if it's self-involved rambling about your "book" deal, your DVD player, and what other things you're going to buy with the money you make off the poor fools who read your drivel.
6. Unswerving Self Confidence
No matter what you say, you are right. Always keep this in mind. It doesn't matter whether you make wild predictions that never come true, set yourself up as an authority and then answer questions incorrectly on a regular basis, ir lie on a wrestling FAQ. Defend yourself as correct to the bitter end, and when it becomes obvious that the information you provided was wrong, make pathetic excuses why you weren't actually wrong, or claim that you knew all along and it was "just a joke."
7. Internet Feuds Are the Spice of Life
Bitterness appears prominently once again, as you're not someone on the Internet unless you engage in a war of words with another online columnist. To facilitate a feud, spend a portion of your columns (or even devote an entire column) to addressing other Internet Wrestling Writers by name, giving them insulting nicknames, flaming them for absolutely everything they do, and otherwise trying to draw them into a wonderfully productive feud. Alternately, you can get in on the action by picking an existing feud and pleading with the participants to "get a grip" or "take it easy" or otherwise stop feuding, which you know will have no effect but will get your name out there.
That ought to give you a basic idea of how to act like a good wrestling writer when you're not. Of course, if you're not sure, there are plenty of examples for you to read. Try Rantsylvania, and I'm not talking about the Rant Crew.
If I continue this series in the future, I plan to write a piece called something like "How to Be a Bad Wrestling Site Master." If you need an example in the interim, check Rantsylvania again. It's the site where none of the writers has a damn clue what's going on, where people get terminated with no explanation, and where having an aloof, self-important, unyielding fuckweasel in charge would probably be an improvement.