Fantasy wrestling is an umbrella term representing the genre of role-playing and statistics-based games which are set in a Fantasy Wrestling company. Several variants of Fantasy Wrestling exist: segregated by the way they are transmitted (through websites, message boards, e-mail, postal mail, or face-to-face), the method in which the storyline is determined. via roleplay, "angles", strategy- or statistics-based systems, etc.) and how the roster was composed (characters created by the players).
Fantasy wrestling's roots lie in the play-by-mail wrestling games that became prominent in the mid-to-late 1980s during one of professional wrestling's boom periods. In the early 1990s, the advent of national bulletin board services like Prodigy, AOL, and Compuserve allowed players to use e-mail and bulletin boards to more easily trade information and post roleplays. As technology progressed and the internet evolved, fantasy wrestling enthusiasts took advantage, using websites and newsgroups to connect and build broader communities for gameplay.
Early versions of the game began in the 1980s using play-by-mail formats. A player ("handler") often controlled his wrestler’s success by creating a move and then e-mailing it to an adjudicator. Based on the moves and any strategies applied the adjudicator would then decide the outcome.
Play-by-mail leagues often included a 'pay to play' model where handlers paid a fee per match and/or 'strategy' applied. Fantasy wrestling underwent a paradigm shift in the early 1990s as the game moved from play-by-mail to nationwide message boards based on PRODIGY, AOL and Compuserve. Originally connected to message boards focused on professional and amateur wrestling, fantasy wrestling's popularity caused specific subforums to be created on PRODIGY's Wrestling BB and AOL's Grandstand.
The change in available access and speed from mail to on-line boards created significant changes in the game. Roleplay became a significant part of the hobby. Instead of simply choosing moves, handlers could now voice their wrestlers through roleplay, creating "promos" against opponents. Many stat-based systems found ways to integrate roleplay as a factor into determining match winners. Eventually, roleplay became the primary factor for many leagues.
E-Wrestling has evolved as a term for an internet variation on creative roleplay, based on the world of professional wrestling. The basic premise is that the player (also called a handler) creates a character, and manages his or her career in a fictional professional wrestling promotion, called an E-Federation (or E-Fed).
Much like the term "e-mail" became the abbreviation for electronic mail, the term "e-wrestling" became common in the mid-to-late 1990s once fantasy wrestling moved from a primarily play-by-mail format and instead began to use online bulletin boards, then internet service providers (ISPs) and ad hoc webpages.
Official fantasy wrestling venues
In 2004, World Wrestling Entertainment began its own fantasy wrestling game focused on selecting WWE Superstars as part of a team and receiving points based on their involvement on the WWE television shows. WWE singled out "real wrestling" E-Feds who used the names and likenesses of WWE Superstars and began sending them cease-and-desist letters. WWE later disbanded its fantasy wrestling game.
Between 2005 and 2006, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling also operated their own fantasy wrestling game. The game operated from the promotion's message boards and was based on real wrestlers. The game never gained notoriety and was removed along with the message boards from the promotion's website in late 2006.
- ↑ "The Best and Worst of 1994 and Predictions for '95 (extract)". The Internet Magazine. 1994. http://www.neonshop.com/bio/iw/bwv6n1.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-16.