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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
The Club is Open...
December 1, 2001

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

OK... so this is it: The fourth chapter in my six-and-a-half year long voyage to moderate internet fame.

And for the first time ever, I'm putting my own head on the chopping block. This isn't like 1995, when I got started doing this thanks to Alex Marvez (then of the Dayton Daily News, today of the Observer website) and his infusion of content. This isn't like the readership explosion I experienced thanks to Mike "Micasa" Samuda (now a lawyer with no time for wrestling) deciding to bring me on board with the creation of "WrestleManiacs." And there sure as hell is no corporate super-power backing me on this one, like there was during the WrestleLine Era.

Then again, look what all that corporate backing got us: out of a job without so much as an hour's worth of warning. Let me just say this about the WL/SportsLine fiasco, and then be done with it: I totally respect the necessity of their decision to close their wrestling segment down. I just have a TON of issues with the sudden and bush league way they exercised that decision. It was a disservice to me (since with a little warning, I could have retained a better percentage of my readership), and worse, it was a disservice to you, the readers that made the site so popular to begin with (making you have to work to find your old favorites).

But what's done is done, and I'm certainly not going to keep beating this dead horse. It was kind of fun to periodically make fun of SportsLine while I was writing for them (CRZ was way better at it, though), but now, it's a pointless exercise. Why dwell on the past when we've got this dandy new OO website to talk about?!?

So, in lieu of actual news and analysis, let's talk about the site a little bit...

For starters, if you do want some news, take advantage of a new feature of this site: The Ticker. I generally abhor the "newsboard" style of reporting, since it's too much clicky-clicky, and it usually takes longer to load the page than it does to read the two sentence newsbite somebody posted there. So I'm going to just constantly update a single page (freshest news on top, time-stamped for your pleasure) with news as it happens. I'll save the more expanded version of the story, along with detailed analysis, for the thrice-weekly OO column, but I'll update The Ticker with mini-newsbites 24/7. If I could figure out how, I'd just run it across the bottom of your browser window, just like MSNBC!

The "over" headline on the main page will also represent a random Ticker item from the last 24 hours each time you load the page, and you can always reach the Ticker by just clicking on that top link.

The other new feature new the top of the main page is the "One Click Away" box... I know what the most popular items on the site are, and if you don't want to search for them, I put links to the most recent editions of key recaps and news items right there at the top for you. Hope you find that a convenient bonus...

But once you get down lower on the main page, that's where the fun begins... columns and recaps from around the wrestling world! Plus a poll, a weekly "Best Of" and other random goodness.

Here's a quick look at the new OO.com line-up:

CRZ and Scott Keith are back together in one place, again! I don't know how I pulled it off, but they're here, and I assume they'll be giving each other wide berths. CRZ is the Master of Monday Nights, and will provide RAW recaps. Scott's wide-spanning Rants will cover all PPVs, as well as a variety of other topics. 

You'll also recognize Denny Burkholder, whose "Circa" takes a snapshot look at a moment of wrestling history. Mark Coale is back, too, though his column is now going to be titled "Two out of Three Falls." Two other ex-WL'ers were not a part of the site by the end, but are going to be a part of OO: Fonzo is reviving "Title Wave," while Matt Freeman is debuting an entirely new concept for a column that I think you'll dig (literature and wrestling? can it be done?).

Then there's the Big List of People You Won't Recognize.

Hatter X is taking Fantasy Booking in an entirely new direction with "Timeline." Kyle Maxwell will illuminate the best of the worst in online wrestling commentary in an as-yet-untitled column. Johnny Diavalo is an opinated asshole whose stream of consciousness style will be featured in "The Devil's Due." Jeff McGinnis steps up with a weekly dose of humor and parody in another untitled column. "The Little Things" will feature Moses Gates noticing the minutiae that other people ignore. Jonny X (no relation to "Hatter X") is on board as our new "Jakked" recapper.

And Aaron Solomon is stepping in as OO's "Reference Librarian." He'll be keeping our title histories, PPV results, real names lists, and whatnot in order.

Yes, there remain some openings: only for "B-show" recappers, though. If you're willing to do Excess, Heat, or Byte This, drop me a line at rick@onlineonslaught.com, and tell me which job you want and why you should get it. Also, if you're super-motivated, I'd like to include regional/indie TV recaps, too; if you've got a show in your area (Memphis, HWA, OVW, whatever), let me know, and we'll put you to work.

There are also some things that'll take time to get fully fleshed out. One obvious area is the Archives, which are empty now because, well, the first columns are only being published today. I don't intend to go back and republish 3-plus years of columns at this point (although I do have them stored away if ever the spirit moves me). I WILL however, be republishing all the old features I've done, including interviews and the various OO Annual Traditions; it just might take a bit before I've got them all set up in the new format.

A lot of the interactivity I want to include will come online with time, too. You'll be able to vote on the quality of TV and PPV shows, and we'll have tons of polls and message boards, and stuff like that. I'm even toying with the idea of running a quarterly "Survivor" event, where if you don't like a particular columnist, you can vote him off the site: "Onslaught Outlast" it might called, to avoid copyright violations! Then, of course, you get to be involved in choosing the replacement, too.

I guess what it comes down to is that I've got shitloads of ideas... implementing is a bit harder. At present, I'm looking at this as pure hobby. I do not stand a chance of being compensated for my time, so I can't dive headlong into this.

But that does bring me to a key final point: the money issue. WrestleLine shut down because of money problems, and I don't have their resources. What I do have (hopefully) is a loyal and patient readership. I thank you in advance for putting up with the necessary evil that is Pop-Up Advertising.

But that alone won't pay for the web hosting bills... you can also support OO by making Amazon.com purchases through links on this site (various wrestling-related items will be featured in banner and box ads throughout these pages). And then there's the big one: the Honor System.

If you derive enjoyment from this site, and want to help keep it alive, consider making a donation. I learned straight up that I'd never make it charging a subscription fee, but hopefully enough of you will see fit to make a moderate contribution. I think of it like this: even though the Internet is "free," I'd drop one penny in a bucket for every page of content I saw on a good site. For some of you who just stop here once or twice a week, that might only amount to $1-$2 per year. For the more compulsive among you, it might be more like $12-$15 a year.

If half of everybody who reads this would contribute along that philosophy of "a penny per page," then there'd be no reason to fear for the future of OO. I'm just looking for a break-even deal for now... unfortunately, my plans don't call for a rinky-dink little website with minimal traffic, so I know there are costs involved that I'll need help meeting. Think of this as a PBS pledge drive, just with chairshots and Bra and Panties Matches in place of "Masterpiece Theatre"!

Stephen King successfully appealed to his readers' sense of honor a few years back, publishing a story on the web, in serial fashion, with the caveat that if he didn't receive a $1 donation from at least 75% of those who read the story, he'd stop writing it in the middle. I don't know how that turned out, but I'm hoping that without any silly ultimatum, I can count on you folks to help keep OO in the black!

Already, without any open stumping, your donations to the Honor System should keep OO up and running for about 3 months... if we get a nice big bump in contributions over the next week or two, hopefully I'll be able to put my panhandling on hold until next year at this time.

Of course, thanks to all who have already donated!

But you ain't here to listen to me beg and grovel... you're here for the sort of wrestling columns that haven't been readily available since October 17. We've got some fresh stuff up (including news via The Ticker) for you right now.

And it goes without saying that I'm even more open to advice/critiques than usual.  If you spot something fishy with the site over these first few days, be sure to e-mail me about it!  Drop a line to Rick@OnlineOnslaught.com...  

And then Monday, look out: a regular OO with news and commentary (including RAW preview), plus another batch of fresh material. See you then!

 

Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been writing columns since 1995, and really enjoyed it when SportsLine was paying him to do so.  You can e-mail him at Rick@OnlineOnslaught.com


  
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