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Quarterfinals Reaction Thread

User Poets

The Shadow Pope
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John, ask and you shall receive.

http://www.fwrestling.com/showthread.php?23697-Thank-You&p=96157

So, the final four is set.

Joey Melton over Cameron Cruise
Castor Strife over Orphan
Eli Flair over Kendall Codine
Jack Harmen over Freddie Sagawa

If the judges want to post their notes here - this would be the place.

Anyone surprised? Anyone angry?

The judging was a clean sweep in every match, with one semi - blemish: Stanton voted Eli vs. Codine a tie.
 

User Poets

The Shadow Pope
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Re: It's the Finals time so...

I'd like to echo this. I know Biron said he'd have detailed notes after the results went up, the judges are not required to do so but I am not so subtly encouraging you all to do so.

EDIT: To help move things along, here's the notes Chrisanova sent me on the two matches he judged:

Joey Melton vs. Cameron Cruise

From the outset I’m a little uneasy here because we’ve got the classic uneven RP count dilemma to work through (Melton with 3, Cruise with 4). But I’m a Big Boy Judge, so I think I can handle it. I will say this might’ve been the closest match I’ve judged since Sean Stevens vs. Mike Randalls in the 2008 TEAM Invitational Tournament. Kudos to both handlers.

Joey Melton – First RP

Good intro for Melton. This has probably been harped on enough already (I don’t know, haven’t read much from the other rounds), but with Melton there’s a bit of a battle between the message and the form. Several careless grammar and spelling-related things detract a little from the presentation, but Melton’s message and personality always come through, and that’s where Steve is one of FW’s most seasoned writers: he has that knack for breathing life into his character so you can imagine what Melton is like away from the camera. That is a difficult thing to do. I enjoyed this first piece, though it didn’t give me the vibe of “This is THE Guy to Beat.”

Cameron Cruise – First RP

I love it when the characters in a battle like this have the history that these two have. As interesting as it can be to see total strangers try to research each other for a match, it just doesn’t hold a candle to two guys (or girls) who have a back-story they can bring to the surface. And that’s really what made this one stand out for me. Cameron’s first piece took a bunch of interesting shots at his former tag partner, and surprised me a bit, too. This was a really strong performance for Cruise. By focusing on more relevant and interesting character arguments instead of generalized bragging or sh*t-talking, Cruise really did himself a favor.

Joey Melton – Second RP

Throws everything back in Cruise’s face, and does so quite effectively. Some great lines in there…”Joey, why is my wife’s bra in your car?” HA! Joey apparently has an answer for everything, and I also like this is going more in the direction of Melton arguing that he created (and now has the opportunity to destroy) Cameron Cruise. The best parts of FW-format promo battles are the storylines that develop within the exchanges, and I like where this one’s going.

Cameron Cruise – Second RP

Another strong rebuttal from Cameron. It’s strange: while I feel like Melton is getting the better of Cruise, I also feel like Cruise wants to win more than Melton does, which naturally would be the case because Melton’s climbed this mountain twice already and Cruise is still searching for that accomplishment that will take him to the Next Level. What do I do with that enthusiasm, as a judge? I don’t know.

Joey Melton – Third RP

Throwing a change-up with the narrative format. I LIKES it. Specifically, I like two things about it: 1) Melton told an interesting story that I could get into, and picture in my mind, and which helped develop the character; and 2) it had a specific, articulable point that punctuated the RP: the loneliness Melton has always felt from abandonment (first from his parents, then Lindsay Troy) led him to create his own version of Cameron Cruise and devote energy into bringing that version to life, if not physically then through the stories he spread around the locker room. And now if he destroys it he’ll be more alone than ever. And that is a fascinating angle.

Cameron Cruise – Third & Fourth RPs

I’m lumping these two together because they’re the final entries. I won’t hate on Cruise for taking a stylistic cue from Melton with the narrative element (and to be fair, maybe Cameron had this planned already), but I will say I struggled a bit to get the same kind of clear message from the third Cruise RP that I got from the third Melton RP. I know Cameron is kind of at peace with who he is and what he’s accomplished. I get that. But there was a still a lingering feeling of “Apart from wanting to win, is there a…point here?” I dunno. That feeling extended somewhat into Cruise’s Fourth RP, though with the final one, I got the “This Is It, Here We Go” vibe that always comes out in a final tournament RP, and that was a good thing. One might even say it was a Reality Check that, actually, I liked.

Winner: Castor Strife

Billy really brought his A-Game with those two interruptive RPs…exposition, rising arc, climax, falling arc, resolution. The Great American Novel.

But seriously, this was a REALLY tight one. And I will say this is probably the best I’ve seen out of Siegel with Cameron Cruise. Very focused, less rambly and weird than a lot of the Cruise material I’ve read in the past. And it felt like Cruise gave it all and maybe Melton held back a bit. But going toe-to-toe back and forth, I felt like Melton gave better than he got against Cruise, and that third piece was really impressive in the kind of micro-story that it told. Cruise may have put up four to Melton’s three, but in this case, in my opinion, the three beat the four.

Winner: Joey Melton


Orphan v. Castor Strife

This was a hearty match-up between one of e-fedding’s premiere tournament competitors (Orphan/Almasy) and arguably it’s hottest property presently (Strife), and did justice to the semi-finals in an ULTRATITLE Tournament. Now for a blow-by-blow breakdown:

Orphan – First RP

This wasn’t that strong of an opener. Orphan has done his research, impressively so, but there’s a balance you have to strike when you do a lot of name-dropping in terms of characters and feds and so on. Lucky for Orphan I know what he’s talking about, but if I weren’t acquainted with ACW or NFW, this would bomb. The language is a little lofty for me…I know it’s the way Almasy/Orphan talks, but it tends to come across like it’s not well-constructed. It’s not a bad first RP, and against a lesser foe it wouldn’t necessarily even be a detriment, but I know Castor and I know what Almasy can do, and you’ve gotta come harder than this. I just didn’t get a sense of anything really special coming out of this first one. “You couldn’t hang in my fed, just go home and save yourself a beatdown.” I dunno.

Castor Strife – Phoenix Down

Castor lands a few blows here, eviscerating Orphan’s approach and delegitimizing the things that are important to him. I don’t have a ton more to say, but Castor wins Round One on a sharp, well-crafted reply that paints him as a confident champion.

Orphan – Second & Third RPs

I combined Orphan’s second and third RPs into one category because I felt like the third was an extension of the second…or maybe I was just still so happy from the second one that I deliriously breezed through the third. This second RP was VERY good. It’s like Orphan spent the first RP dishing out what he would’ve for a lesser opponent (maybe one of his previous victims?) and then woke up after Castor gave him what-for in Part One of this contest. Orphan comes across as much sharper and clearer in his mission (to rescue his beloved sport) and in his deflation of Castor’s bravado. I like the theme that develops of attacking Castor as a historical revisionist. I thought that was a MUCH stronger approach than “You wouldn’t last a week in ACW!” Orphan continued to dish it out in his third piece, and has re-asserted himself as a potential Final Four competitor. We got a contest, folks!

Castor Strife – And Now, the Deluge

Another solid effort from Castor. He doesn’t fully recover in my mind from Orphan taking some of the wind out of his sails, but he keeps on with the “I owned the sh*t out of all y’alls” approach and it works for him because he has the resume of wins to back it up. If I call it after two exchanges, it’s Orphan by a hair.

Orphan – Fourth RP

Orphan does a good job conveying the sense of desperation he feels at this stage in the competition. It’s a hard thing to translate how bad we as handlers want to win into dialogue from our creations, and he succeeds here. Do I feel the same sense of “NOW he’s on it” that I got in that second RP where he was focused on deconstructing Castor and doing a good job of it? Not quite. But this is a solid wrap-up to a strong overall performance by Orphalmasy.

Castor Strife – I Am The Astral King, I Can Do Anything, Parts 1 & 2

I’ll go ahead and say it here because it’ll become evident as I give my thoughts about Castor’s final relay: My vote as a judge is for Castor to move on to the Final Four. The first piece is good. I liked the scene change as another move from Castor to show how in control and confident he is, and how he’ll throw it in Orphan’s face that he doesn’t feel compelled to impress everyone. But the second piece…

…oh, my. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for parody done well in high-stakes situations, and this meets and exceeds all the criteria. Would it still have been hilarious if I was either totally unfamiliar with NFW or Final Fantasy VII? I’ll never know. I do know that I was sitting at my desk at work trying to keep my laughs to myself as I finished this up, and the stuff with Peter Windham messing the controller up had me ROLLING. Very well done all the way through, and more than enough to seal the win in my book.

Winner: Castor Strife
 

Biron

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Going to post this match-by-match.

BRACKET ONE

JOEY MELTON vs. CAMERON CRUISE

On paper, as far as history goes, this was the best matchup. The first four RPs of the thread were great. The dynamic between the former tag partners makes for a great story. Melton reliving all the good times that were had. Cruise remembering all those moments and how ****ty they were for him. Great set of RPs. Melton is a great trash talker, but Siegel was right there with him. Siegel really tightened up his promos ... he's had the tendency to ramble a bit in the past. I liked Steve's "Frankenstein" piece for the most part. I wasn't that thrilled with the transition from his love for working a room into his Cruise material - it seemed abrupt. I think the story's arc was a good one, but probably could have been executed a bit better (see above). Melton's a better promo character, in my opinion. Sometimes you need to stick with the girl that you brought to the dance (so not Melton's style). I loathe the style of Cruise's third RP. Where as Melton's third wasn't a visual, Cruise's was. You've got a whole scene of Cruise sitting at a desk and watching that old clip. Is that inner monologue that's being written? However, it's spliced with action from the tape. Personally, I was disappointed with how the RP turned out. I think it could have been a much better promo piece w/ him regretting what he didn't do, what he could have tried to do to free himself from the Cameron Cruise Project. Judging by the time on the 4th Cruise piece, it was a rush job and I thought it read that way. He's noticeably all over the place and his trash talk isn't as tight as it had been in ONE and TWO. For me, this is a case that Siegel would have been better off leaving the thread where it was at 3-3.

So, decision time. Through the first four, I'd have given Cruise the match. It's close, but I'd call it without flip-flopping. Melton's third trumps Cruise's third - now, I'm basically sitting on the fence. Cruise's fourth doesn't sway me in one direction or the other. My vote goes to Melton.

Siegel, you rocked this thread. If your last two had been like your first two, you'd have taken the thread. Honestly, you should have taken the time it took to do 3 AND 4 and only written one more RP. You started the thread on fire, but came rocketing back down. Steve was good and more consistent.


Winner: JOEY MELTON
 

Biron

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BRACKET TWO
ORPHAN vs. CASTOR STRIFE

I thought Orphan's first RP was an okay starter piece. He's up-to-date on what's going on with Castor, mentions an injured shoulder from NFW's Reloaded in mid-June. Good wrestling relevancy. I don't think the Castor couldn't last three weeks in ACW works at all, but we'll see. Nothing earth-shaking here, but a solid piece. Billy's response is good, not the best I've seen from him, but he writes Castor so-****ing well. Castor is an artist and Billy writes him as such. I'd give Castor the advantage after the opening shots (though, I always thought they favored the responding poster).

Now is where the fun begins. The second Orphan RP is mostly downgrading Castor's accomplishments. "Wouldn't last five minutes in a healthy PRIME", "Wouldn't last three weeks in ACW" ... seeing a trend here and it's not working for me. Trying this on what's been FW's biggest character (who also conquered PRIME) in the past two years or so is a poor choice in direction. Orphan Three touches on his motivations, why he's really doing what he's doing. Out of the three Orphan RPs, this was the best. Billy's second is the nail in the coffin. He really tore about everything that Sean had said about PRIME, ACW, pretty much everything. Sean needs to come back with something strong to even this out.

What he came back with in Orphan Four is ripping Castor for bringing their respective feds into it (he didn't) and then calling Strife "boring". Might as well write "PUNT", IMO. Harping on "motivation" or "wanting it more" can only work for so long - everybody is motivated, everybody wants it. I thought the Fourth had it's moments, but there was nothing that smacked you in the face. Billy threw on two more RPs. Third is good stuff, nothing great. Fourth is a really fun piece. Easy to read. Peter Windham is GOD.


Out of the four, I thought this was won by the widest margin. Billy really brought it and Sean committed a few of the cardinal sins (calling somebody "boring", not remembering what he'd done previously). Billy's second RP is the best I've read from him in awhile. Great stuff. Sean, props to you for making it this far!

Winner: CASTOR V. STRIFE
 

DBrunkGXW

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I will never give such detailed reasoning for my votes.

NEVER NEVER NEVER.

I just want everyone to know that up front. :)

Having said that, if you want the two lines of reasoning I gave for the two matches I voted for, I'd be happy to post that.
 

Scumsucker

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Even though I totally agree with the decision that Harmen beat Sagawa, I would love to hear what the judges had to say. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.
 

Biron

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I'm with Brunk on this. I really didn't want to have to pound out notes on every RP I read. Obviously, Chris did a much more thorough job of explaining his reasoning than I did. If I had it my way, I'd just submit a winner, but, by popular demand, I did notes as I was reading this time. All my notes are done - I'm just slow releasing them 'cause I feel like it.

As far as last round notes go, if you really, really want something from me, then you're going to have to IM me and ask what was the determining factor in my decisions. I wasn't asked to do notes, didn't do them, and I'd be bullshitting you if I said I was going to go back and do them. Just click the little AIM button under my name.
 
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Biron

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Forgot I needed to post more of these!

BRACKET THREE
FREDDIE SAGAWA vs. JACK HARMEN

I thought the first Sagawa piece was alright, jumped into CLW a bit more, and had some decent points. I agree with some of what CLW said about Harmen being a bit "bland" early on, but, Jesus, Ford did exactly what I've wanted him to do since I got vested in the Ultratitle. He went back to the LUNATIC. Very good reply RP from Ford. Very good. The second Harmen piece is different ... and good. Lot of fun to read. Ford has really brought it with these first two. Sagawa's next two are good, not tremendous, but you get what he's coming with. Problem is there's nothing really "memorable" about them. Harmen fires back, throws down a stip (man, I wish CLW would have been able to respond to that one!). I'd say this one and Sagawa's first two are about equal. Not overly memorable. Ford drops one more before the deadline - it's not much, but it's there. This one is going to Harmen, who turned into the hilarious Lunatic that I'd been waiting for. Sagawa had a strong run, his RPs were average to good, but it wasn't enough to take down Harmen. Good job to both! Oh, something I should mention, both these guys need to do some re-reading/editing before they post their RPs!

Winner: JACK HARMEN
 

jediPREZ

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I judged Sagawa/Harmen and Codine/Flair -- I'm not going to post any judging synopsis, but am more than happy to discuss via IM or PM.
 

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