Gaming Stories: Video Game Championship Wrestling IV
|The Undertaker and Kane, supernatural wrestling brothers.|
|The Chaos Dunk vs. The Triforce of Power.|
|A possible dark future for Video Game Championship Wrestling?|
Tournaments are another common trope in professional wrestling, and almost wrestling promotion has held a tournament at one time or another. From WWE’s King of the Ring to WCW’s Jim Crockett, Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament to TNA’s World X-Cup among the major wrestling companies to Chikara Pro’s King of Trios, East Coast Wrestling Association’s famed Super 8 tournament to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s annual Battle of Los Angeles tournament, companies have used tournaments to introduce new wrestlers, highlight the talents of wrestlers already on contract, create new rivalries, reignite old rivalries, and introduce high stakes into what could be an otherwise dull period.
Tournaments have been held in Video Game Championship Wrestling the past, but they didn’t have the stakes involved in this tournament, which started on the February 18, 2013 show and has been featured in each show’s main event or semi-main event since. Rivalries have been renewed, such as the simmering feud between Charles Barkley and Vegeta, and great moments were revisited, such as when Gabe Newell repaid Nappa for the time Nappa suplexed Newell from the top rope and collapsed the ring.
The field has been pared down to its final four, all crowd favorites: Adam Jensen, Ganondorf, Gabe Newell, and Charles Barkley. Newell has seemed unstoppable; his patented Wallet Squeeze bear hug has devastated his opponents. Similarly, Ganondorf has dispatched Wailuigi, a former Casual Champion, and the Angry Video Game Nerd, a tournament dark horse. Jensen defeated M. Bison and Mike Haggar in tough bouts, while Barkley triumphed over his nemesis Vegeta and countered Dr. Wily’s dastardly designs on his path.
|The tournament field as of March 21, 2013.|
With all the focus on this tournament, it would be easy to overlook some of the changes to the roster that have taken place. Since we last checked in on Video Game Championship Wrestling, Phoenix Wright, one of the heroes of the Baz McMahon/Mr. L saga, has hinted that he is considering retirement from fighting. Simon Belmont was dispatched by Dracula; he hasn’t been since that match. Woody and Ash Ketchum have been repackaged as Voody and Red, respectively, while Tingle, Geno, Ryo Hazuki, and Groose have joined the roster. While Groose had a divisive debut, I believe that his adorably clumsy entrance, if nothing else, will win fans over to his side.
|Groose will represent the Zelda franchise in VGCW about as well as Link did.|
Independent wrestling companies like Ring of Honor or the now defunct IWA-Mid South often faced the problem of audience burnout because their shows would run almost four hours, which is a lot to ask of an audience. The shows’ run times, combined with the time commuting to and from the venue, often meant that I would need to dedicate five to six hours to professional wrestling, which isn’t sustainable in the long run. I had similar concerns about Video Game Championship Wrestling because its shows would sometimes run for four hours because of the long matches and the loading times in WWE ’13. Combined with the frequency with which Bazza87 held shows, audience burnout was a strong possibility. Bazza87 addressed this problem directly on his Twitter feed, and he has held firm to the commitment to limit shows to two to three hours long, which has made it easier for fans like me to keep watching.
Shortening the shows has also allowed me to pay more attention to the undercard matches, where sometimes the most entertaining moments of Video Game Championship Wrestling happen. For instance, take Dan Hibiki’s super taunt of Barrett Wallace from the March 19, 2013 show:
On the March 7, 2013 episode of Giant Bomb’s Thursday Night Throwdown (subscriber access only), TwitchTV’s Jared Rea and Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann spoke enthusiastically about Video Game Championship Wrestling; Gerstmann followed it up with a brief article on why he finds Video Game Championship Wrestling so entertaining. Hopefully, Gerstmann and Rea directed even more viewers to Bazza87’s Video Game Championship Wrestling feed; something this delightful should be experienced by as many people as possible.