The first foray into offering suggestions for improving the experience of playing roleplaying games came years ago when I detailed how to create an in-world newsletter to summarize important events and characters in an ongoing campaign. Before that time, I took on the responsibility of summarizing the events in my group’s D&D campaign, which turned into a lengthy document that spanned many months of gaming sessions. In general, I believe externalizing and recording the actions during a session is important so everyone involved can easily have cues to remember things when it is time for the next session, which may not take place for days, weeks, or even months. The most recent campaign I started was with the World Wide Wrestling RPG, which has so far been a delightful experience. Below I offer a template to recap the events that take place during a play session of WWW RPG.
Approximately 15 years ago, I met Wade Keller, the creator of Pro Wrestling Torch, which has been operating for over 25 years and now features daily podcasts in addition to a website updated around the clock with new content. Before learning publications like Pro Wrestling Torch existed, I was a wrestling fan that did not have any insight into the business other than enjoying the entertainment it provided. Professional wrestling features ongoing news and drama based on political issues, injuries, scandals, and speculation about how recent events behind the scenes will affect the future direction of a promotion. Having consumed content from Pro Wrestling Torch (off and on) for 15 years, I am now familiar with how the industry is covered and reported. I borrowed heavily from the coverage style of live wrestling events like James Caldwell’s recap of World Wrestling Entertainment’s most recent pay-per view, Money In the Bank.
I created the following recap almost a week after the first gaming session with the World Wide Wrestling RPG. During the session, I jotted down some notes to remind me of key events, and several of the players tweeted about moments during the game – so I was able to refer to that as well when writing the recap. Ideally, the recap would have been written closer to the conclusion of the gaming session to ensure nothing significant is forgotten. On the other hand, waiting a few days can provide interesting additional context for a recap. One suggestion is to have the recap be a rotating responsibility in the gaming group, so players take turns writing a recap after the event. I asked players in an online D&D campaign to rotate writing session summaries last year, and that worked quite well.
Enjoy the recap of the first episode of the Midwest Wrestling Alliance! A MS Word version of the recap is also available if that would help as a template.
Midwest Wrestling Alliance
June 9, 2015
The show opened with a new video package for the MWA broadcast before cutting to the live audience with a limited display of fireworks by the stage. Ringside announcer Brian Smart introduced this year’s Battle for the Axe, stating the tournament would begin in future episodes. He reviewed the format of the tournament, stating that wrestlers compete in single-elimination matches to obtain the famed Axe, “Whoever holds the axe can cut their way through any stipulation to challenge for the MWA Heartland Championship Belt.”
Brian Smart informed the audience that a variety of wrestlers have already entered the tournament, and pre-recorded promos were played for “Stockton” Mike, The Big Deal, “The Inquisitor” Francisco Aragon, Cuban Generalissimo, and Dancin’ Dougie Davis. Following the recorded promos, Brian Smart teased the first match of the night and cut to a commercial break.
After the break, Brian Smart welcomed special guest commentator, Cuban Generalissimo, to the set. Cuban Generalissimo wasted no time to continue his promo about winning the Battle for the Axe.
Match 1: THE BIG DEAL vs. “THE INQUISITOR” FRANCISCO ARAGON
The Big Deal entered the ring and attempted to rile up the local fans. His efforts did not land on the audience as they started to boo him and chant, “Go Away! Go Away!” The Inquisitor entered the ring and received a warm reception. The match started with The Inquisitor trying to work on the lower body of The Big Deal. Deal attempted to resist the flurry of blows while playing to the crowd again, which was again unsuccessful. During the match, Cuban Generalissimo discussed the faults of both competitors and voiced his disdain for the American audience while also disparaging his home country, “Do you know how terrible the brothels are in Cuba?”
The Big Deal attempted The Royal Flush but did not land the finisher. The Inquisitor went for a power slam and remarkably lifted Deal off his feet and threw him to the mat. The crowd popped for the feat of strength. The Inquisitor took a knee on his fallen opponent as if praying to his god while the referee made the three count.
WINNER: “The Inquisitor” Francisco Aragon at 10:15.
COMMENTARY: The Big Deal suffered defeats inside and outside of the ring. The Inquisitor put in an excellent performance and eschewed his typical finishing moves to display his sheer power. His power slam of The Big Deal was reminiscent of Hogan slamming Andre The Giant; while the stakes were smaller here, the live crowd ate it up. The Big Deal still has a lot of raw potential, but lacks the mic skills and timing to maintain heat with a live crowd. Thankfully, his manager Eddy “Aces” Wilde is usually by his side to serve as a mouthpiece. ***
After the match, Brian Smart and Cuban Generalissimo sold the events in the ring and then the Generalissimo left the announce table. Brian Smart informed viewers that they would be getting a further look into one of the Battle for the Axe competitors after the commercial break. Out of commercial, Brian Smart introduced another recorded installment of On Tap, the interview show hosted by “The Growler” Fulton Kilkenny.
On Tap, Hosted by “The Growler” Fulton Kilkenny
This week, Fulton recorded his interview with “Stockton” Mike. Fulton attempted to address “Stockton” Mike’s desire for the Axe. “Stockton” Mike told Fulton that he wanted the Axe to ensure that management cannot block him from what is rightfully his. The segment got heated when Fulton offered “Stockton” Mike a local beer, “You know I’m straight-edged.” Fulton had the beer flipped out of his hand by “Stockton” Mike and it appeared the two may come to blows. Fulton maintained composure while “Stockton” Mike stormed off the set. The camera returned lived to Brian Smart who summarized the segment and remarked how everyone in the MWA needs to be on guard when “Stockton” Mike sets his eyes on a prize.
COMMENTARY: “Stockton” Mike continues to upset whatever apple cart – or in this case, keg – he can find. Fans are enjoying his character, though they also enjoy the beer-soaked shenanigans of The Growler, so it’ll be interesting to see how this feud builds in the future. ***
Brian Smart returned after a commercial break to introduce the final match of the night. He welcomed Eddy “Aces” Wilde as a quest commentator, who serves as the manager for the tag team, Full Boat, which includes The Big Deal. Eddy and Brian immediately launched into a review of tonight’s first match with Eddy being quick to defend The Big Deal, “That match wasn’t fair. He slipped, he slipped, don’t be a big blind, Brandon.”
Match 2: CUBAN GENERALISSIMO vs. DANCIN’ DOUGIE DAVIS
Both veteran wrestlers entered in style to large crowd reactions. Cuban Generalissimo and Dancin’ Dougie Davis (D3) started with a collar and elbow lockup in the middle of the ring. They traded a variety of technical ringwork and holds, which got the live crowd lathered up. However, Brian Smart and Eddy “Aces” Wilde were still arguing about the earlier match featuring The Big Deal. Brian eventually got himself and Eddy on task to call the action taking place inside the ring.
At 6:48 into the match, Cuban Generalissimo picked up D3 and threw him into referee, Herb Smithers, knocking both D3 and Herb out. While he played to the crowd, “Stockton” Mike made the run in and attacked Cuban Generalissimo. However, with the referee out, there was no one to call for the disqualification. Brian Smart made viewers aware that this match was declared by Cuban Generalissimo a Hobo on a Train Match, meaning that the loser would have to quit the promotion and leave town on the next train.
At this time, D3 regained his senses and displayed a crimson mask of blood down his face. He staggered to his feet while trying to wipe the blood from his eyes. “Stockton” Mike had just stood up after suplexing Cuban Generalissimo when D3 hit “Stockton” Mike with a superkick. Brian Smart tried to inform viewers that D3 could not tell who he was attacking while Eddy “Aces” Wilde vehemently disagreed, “He kicked him right in the face on purpose, Brandon!”
Cuban Generalissimo got up and threw D3 off the ropes for a running clothesline. He then climbed the top rope and waited for “Stockton” Mike and D3 to recover. He jumped off the top rope and kicked both D3 and “Stockton” Mike to drop them to the ground. A chant of, “Holy shit! Holy shit!” started. Cuban Generalissimo attempted to smack the referee awake. Herb Smithers slowly came too while Cuban Generalissimo pinned D3, and Herb slowly and weakly counted to three for the pinfall.
WINNER: Cuban Generalissimo at 18:23
COMMENTARY: A main event that featured a little bit of everything – to some classic, mat-based wrestling in the beginning (that was sadly missed by the announcers) to a run in, ref bump, and high-flying action. Dancin’ Dougie Davis reminded the audience why he is a beloved performer, putting everything on the line in and out of the ring. The loss tonight along with the surprise “loser leaves town” stipulation creates a void in the roster. Perhaps they have an interesting return for D3 in mind, as there is surely fan interest to see D3 and Cuban Generalissimo in the ring again. Or maybe they have a rookie in developmental who is ready to make the leap? Meanwhile, the run in by “Stockton” Mike creates a new storyline for Cuban Generalissimo; it seems they are likely to meet in the Battle for the Axe tournament. ***
After the match, Cuban Generalissimo waved a large Cuban flag with the nation’s anthem blaring over the arena’s sound system. Security was shown holding back irate fans that were pelting the ring with trash. A chorus of boos almost drowned out the words of Brian Smart and Eddy “Aces” Wilde as they sold the magnitude of the match. A close-up of D3’s bloody face was shown as he remained sprawled in the ring. The comment of the night was uttered by Eddy “Aces” Wilde when discussing D3’s loss, “To get to the train, he’s gonna need — another train!” Brian Smart thanked the audience for viewing as the camera faded out with Cuban Generalissimo saluting as he walked back up the ramp away from the ring.