Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The TWB Draft: Judgment Day, Part One

The winning roster had these two guys on it

Roster construction is the first phase of creating a wrestling promotion. For this exercise, a hypothetical scenario was created where the WWE was dismantled and the McMahon family was jailed for their crimes. In the ashes, six promotions in six different distinct North American territories sprang up, and the talent in this country was allocated via draft and a post-draft free agency period. Everyone's rosters are complete, and before the second part of this exercise, the booking of the first pay-per-view cycle, is begun, judgment must come for the roster construction.

I assembled a team of three judges to help me critique the construction of each of the rosters. They are:

They, along with my own judgment, comprise the panel who would decide who wins the first stage of this project. Without further ado, allow me to get into the rankings and the reasoning behind the people's decisions, starting with Corey E.

I came up with a subjective methodology that would factor in roster diversity, pick value, and strength of roster, while objectively picking what feds cater to what I personally would want to watch.

To start, I broke each of the six rosters into six parts:
  1. Main Eventers- The four highest-drafted men not in a Tag Team
  2. Women’s Division- “Who run the world?” and such. I put the most weight into women drafted. A strong Women’s Division, that gets more than one segment per two hours, is gonna shift a show higher-up in my DVR priority/more likely to watch live.
  3. Tag Teams- I took every wrester who is part of an established tag team, or have a close association. I might have left some unaccounted for, but I did do some research, to see what non WWE/AEW guys are in one.
  4. Men’s Upper-Midcard- The eight highest men drafted after the four main-eventers and not grouped in a Tag division.
  5. Men’s Depth- All men picked not in any group above 
  6. NPCs- Carried the least weight as I liked everyone’s picks. If I selected one pick from each fed {Ex: Mauro/Excalibur/Pat Mac commentary team, Renee doing interviews, A.J. Lee as General Manager, and Michael Buffer as ring announcer} I’d have a great core of non-wrestlers.

I had each of the six categories carry weight that total a sum of 100 points, where first place was 6/21 of those points, second place was 5/21, etc. Here’s how it played out:

While this was a fair way to measure strength and diversity of a roster, I didn’t want my official ballot to be completely in lockstep with the math, so I considered roster cohesion objectively to see if I wanted to switch any feds in my final rankings.

WACW could have six of the eight biggest stars, AND wound up with the deepest women’s division on top of that, however they could have a “too many stars” problem, whereas RMW and PCW have the AEW-counter programming feel to them. As a Sami Zayn homer, I had to move LSW up from last place, plus they had a really diverse mix. I dropped MFW down because their main event scene features too many guys halfway out the door to retired, or shouldn’t be main event-ing. No Women’s division is a big knock on IWF, but having the deepest tag division helps “cohesion” on a surface level.

FINAL BALLOT!: (Holy shit I wrote way too much, and spent way too much time on this):
  1. World Ass Championship Wrestling 
  2. Rocky Mountain Wrestling
  3. Pacific Coast Wrestling
  4. Lone Star Wrestling
  5. International Wrestling Federation
  6. Midwest Federation of Wrestling

Next up, Anthony T!

1. WACW - The quality of this roster is hard to beat and getting Omega at their 21st pick is an insane value. These styles mesh really well with enough diversity that it's not going to be the same style for everyone. The up and comers are very impressive as well.

2. RMW - In terms of sheer talent, second only to WACW. The women's division is especially strong here. MJF coming in at 15 for them is a steal.

3. IWF - Probably the best mix of styles. Brock vs Pentagon vs Malakai Black is a 3 way from heaven. The highs are insanely high here, but it tapers off in the middle and on the low end.

4. PCW - Strong workers, great promos in Eddie Kingston and the clutch pick up of Hayter really sell me on this one.

5. MFW - I don't love the Bray pick at number one or the Goldberg pick anywhere, but there's some strength here and diversity with Nick Gage. Lots of potential, but not many dream matches I see.

6. LSW - I struggled with this because while I recognize the talent, I am just so done with WWE and this roster is heavy with WWE talent. Some great wrestlers here, but little diversity in the big names and it mostly feels like an episode of Smackdown.

Next up, another judge who had some numbers in play, Ryan O.!

IWF - This beef heavy roster has a lot going for it, but also a lot going against as it features absolutely zero female talent.  Lesnar will be able to live out his dream of crushing through anyone in the roster who would dare make fun of his man bun, but there is enough talent to form a proper stable to offer some serious competition to the big man.  And there is a whole lot of Lucha all star wrestling available with the Lucha Bros, who can expand upon Vince’s fever dream of Mexico attacking Ireland when they take on Sheamus in a handicap match.

LSW - This fed knows how to party to the point that my major concern is the wellness of the talent.  Those concerns aside, this is a well-balanced Fed between current independent and established talent, with enough big WWE names to give the indie folks, even Suge D, a chance to establish themselves.  With Danhausen in the mix (love that Danhausen), there is enough opportunity for fun weirdness and extreme competition to make this a really balanced mix that should deliver some top-tier matches.

MFW - Ruby Soho AND Serena Deeb!?  Be still my heart.  This Fed also features a great mixture of talent between established and indie Feds, but goes a step further and actually recruits some top-tier black wrestling talent as well.  It has to be said, even though it should not have to be, that featuring black talent is a major concern in all of wrestling, so having Sasha, Lashley, Omos, Fred Yehi, and then Arez, Tay Conti, and Suzuki really demonstrates that wrestling is for everybody and every body.

PCW - You have selected Eddie Kingston and will forever be welcomed in the halls of Valhalla.  Seriously, I was at All Out and it really, *really* felt like the crowd was actually going to get Kingston the victory over Miro.  Just incredible.  PCW also boasts some of the most stacked female talent of the draft, with Satomura and Asuka able to rekindle their amazing rivalry in Japan, and with Jordynne Grace and Kamille there to show that women are big beefy badasses too.  There is a great mix of talent here that will allow for the younger workers to get some GREAT experience and help in development while giving us the matches that we really want…AJ Styles vs Eddie Kington.

RMW - As an established AEW mark, RMW has a whole lot going for it.  Some of the best female talent on the planet is present here with Thunder Rosa, Charlotte, Statlander…and Rousey for some reason.  But beyond that, you have some GREAT hard hitting beefy boys here with Walter, FTR, Andrade, Jeff Cobb, OTIS, Powerhouse Hobbs, Calvin Tankman, and one of my favorites in Filthy Tom.  Hell, the Briscoe brothers are still not done either.  This is a fantastic selection.

WACW - I am on the negative side for choosing THE ROCK, who might be the only MEGA draw that harkens back to the halcyon days of the 90s, but aside from that…this is a great mixture.  Taking Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus without dear, sweet Marko Stunt seems almost unfair, but man is there a lot of talent here.  CM Punk, Hangman and Moxley are guys who I could watch for days on or off the mic, the Bucks for all their shortcomings just had one of the all-time greatest tag team matches, and then you have a good mixture of female talent that can definitely put some great matches together.

Each fed was ranked in four categories and given a score, with six points given to the best promotion in that category:

Strength of Roster  1
Roster Diversity 2
Pick Value  5
Cohesion 5

Strength of Roster 3
Roster Diversity 1
Pick Value 2
Cohesion 1

Strength of Roster 2
Roster Diversity 6
Pick Value 4
Cohesion 2

Strength of Roster 6
Roster Diversity 5
Pick Value 6
Cohesion 5

Strength of Roster 4
Roster Diversity 4
Pick Value 1
Cohesion 3

Strength of Roster  5
Roster Diversity 3
Pick Value 3
Cohesion 4

My Ranking
  1. PCW
  2. WACW
  3. MFW
  4. IWF
  5. RMW
  6. LSW

Finally, it's time for Dear Leader's ballot.... good ol' TH

As a foreward to this judgment, I would like to say that I would prefer watching the sixth best out of six promotions on here over most of what’s on television right now, especially WWE if we’re judging on rosters only. Each one of the rosters found an identity and hammered home on it. It was the small differences that had my rankings shake out the way they did, and none of the teams/single drafters need to feel any shame in how they constructed their rosters.

First Place - Midwest Federation of Wrestling
The Midwestern Territory understood the assignment more than everyone else in my view. They built a promotion I want to watch with a roster that is chock full of big personalities and smart workers. It has a distinct Mid-South/ECW vibe in that it has a grimy, knockdown, drag-out aesthetic but also contains potential several matches that could end up on my Match of the Year ballot.

Second Place - Lone Star Wrestling
Aesthetically a 180 from my first place vote but still having a complete and diverse roster, the World Class Territory promises to provide the askew view on pro wrestling that Chikara gave, only without the skinflint abuse neglector in charge. The potential top matches will help draw eyes and PPV buys, but it’s the robust and eclectic undercard that has me the most excited.

Third Place - Rocky Mountain Wrestling
The rugged Big Sky Territory attached their cart to the greatest wrestler ever, and built a super indie worthy of prime time television. While I have questions of whether Bryan Danielson can be a full-time guy for them, it’s hard to pass the human skeleton key up. They also built value in the women’s division late, and they might have the best roster suited for a Bloodsport/grapplefuck division.

Fourth Place - Pacific Coast Wrestling
Going Claudio Castagnoli/Eddie Kingston with the first two picks was an odd gambit given the names still on the board, but it’s a solid feud that can carry the promotion. The rest of the roster fill-out gives me the good feeling that prime NXT used to give me, and given the menace Paul Levesque is in jail, one can feel good that this NXT-simulacrum may not give into the same excesses the one WWE just shuttered did.

Fifth Place - International Wrestling Federation
The decision not to go with any women here was curious indeed given how strong female wrestlers are in the country right now. Additionally, Brock Lesnar as a top pick was a bit odd given his lax schedule. That being said, the roster fill out contains many of my own personal favorites, especially near the top.

Sixth Place - World Ass Championship Wrestling
Again, I stress all six of these rosters are draws to me. Additionally, being able to pick up names like the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega late, though understandable to me given the atmosphere of this particular Twitter bubble, has to be considered a coup. That being said, I feel like the most puzzling pick was using a draft pick on The Rock given the draft should’ve been used to obtain the best wrestlers total. That all being said, this was a strong draft that happened to have the misfortune of being stacked up against five other strong drafts.

With all that in place, I tabulated scores simply by the ranking given by each judge. The lowest score won. Here's how that all shook out:

So going into the booking phase, World Ass Championship Wrestling is on top of the world. It's almost like the 1980s all over again, with wrestling critically cycling through the Southeast portion of the country. Keep your eyes on this space for the next phase... fantasy booking!