Inside Tom’s Brain RSS

The wild and whacky inner workings of the Dark Menace himself.

A Game Company Run by Game Fans FOR Game Fans

Is that the best of all worlds or what?

I’ve been working on business today in my office, writing checks for services provided and generally being responsible. And as I was writing checks something I already knew became clearly evident.

I was writing checks to game fans. Not to anonymous companies that provide services but genuine dyed-in-the-wool game fans.

What we have

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here at Filsinger Games is very special. When they “small is good” that applies to us in a BIG way.

When I created Champions of the Galaxy in 1986, it attracted a loyal legion of fans. People that grew up with the games and continue to be fans today.

Those young people grew up, became adults, raised children, and have successful careers. Some of those careers intersect with Filsinger Games.

Todd Joerchel, known affectionately to game fans as the Tournament Master, is now our Director of Operations, in charge of mailings and helping me manage all our releases. Kris Osk became our online guru, helping to develop our online game simulations, and also a partner in other exciting ventures and projects. Mike Melesky’s company is doing our printing, which allows us to release beautiful game cards that even the wrestlers themselves use as profile photos and t-shirt art. Speaking of art, Werner Mueck came through the fan ranks to become one of the greatest artists I’ve ever worked with.

The list goes on, I haven’t named everyone. There are loyal fans working hard in the trenches on game stats to make them as realistic as possible. I’m referring to our game releases that are licensed, which are the majority of our releases, for amazing promotions like Ring of Honor, CZW, Evolve, and the list goes on. I still keep Champions of the Galaxy close to the vest, preferring to work in solitude on our flagship game, letting my imagination soar as it did in the early 80s when Champions of the Galaxy first hit the unsuspecting game market.

Filsinger Games is the real deal in a world of large corporations that mass produce product focused on the bottom line. At Filsinger Games we release some game cards that we know will not be huge sellers, might just break even, but will please our rapid game fans. That’s because we want those cards too! We want to play them in our spare time when we’re not working on our next big releases.

All I can say is thanks for the millionth time to our fans (or no, it’s 276, 388 times) for nurturing a game company that keeps growing. We’re in our 30th year and at this pace it will be our BIGGEST year ever. How many indie game companies last that long? It’s rare but our approach is rare. We’re committed to quality but in the end we’re in this for fun and new game fans can see and feel that. They want to be part of it too.

Play on! Let’s ride this ship to the outer reaches of the galaxy…

 

“A Universe Shattered” is Longest Story Arc in CotG History

This may be the 30th anniversary of Champions of the Galaxy but the current story arc will run even beyond that! I guess you could call it several story arcs all encompassed by a larger one. The saga began with Black Death 2127-2129, when beings from a higher plane (The Three) invaded galaxies by possessing the bodies of billions of beings throughout the cosmos. The effects are still being felt today as Sur, Bex, and Ghena struggle to find their place in the GWF post-Black Death. This bizarre breach of universal laws was followed by the even more unpredictable Future Shock 2130-2131, where wrestlers from a parallel universe circa 2109 entered the GWF. Suddenly Chaos, Mandrill, and Vengeance (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) were back on the scene, to say nothing of alternate versions of Wolf (Lope) and Star Warrior (Star Slayer). More weirdness followed in the CotG spin-off card pack called FTR, which was released at the end of 2015. Suddenly a new star system was revealed that was previously hidden, including the mysterious Kingdom of Castilex. Who or what is the Dominion? Go here for more. The epic story will continue in GWF 2132 (as yet, untitled). Today I decided that this overarching story arc that encompasses several other story arcs (Black Death, Future Shock, and what’s coming next) deserves an uber-title of its own. And thus it is ordained. This unprecedented CotG epic shall henceforth be called— —A Universe Shattered! Dramatic enough for you? CotG: A Universe Shattered will encompass game years 2127 to 2134 (or perhaps 2135, or perhaps even longer!). There has never been a time to play like NOW! Be sure to get caught up, things are changing fast, and anything—and I do mean ANYTHING—can happen! GWF 2132 will be released this summer in July or August, just in time for our 30th anniversary celebration! The first game ad for Champions of the

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Galaxy appeared in the pages of Pro Wrestling Illustrated in the summer of 1986! I have cooked up some surprises to celebrate the big anniversary…and that’s IN ADDITION to GWF 2132! So strap in! We’ve going to be having fun like never before. CotG: A Universe Shattered will be part of your life for around eight years, my goal is to keep you rolling those dice and never bored. Until the universe becomes unbreakable… TOM

Comic Books and Professional Wrestling…Whatta Tag Team

Classic CotG Star Warrior and alternate universe Star Slayer

 

Over 30 years ago I had the idea to combine super heroes and professional wrestling in a tabletop card game, Champions of the Galaxy. Loving both genres, it was easy to write and produce.

The way I saw it, professional wrestling matches were like fight scenes between two comic book heroes…the Hulk and Thor battling it out. I also viewed professional wrestlers as larger-than-life superheroes, which they would later become with wrestlers like the Ultimate Warrior and the Undertaker.

A week ago I finished writing the 45th expansion in the Champions of the Galaxy series (Future Shock 2131) and I’ve plotted new story arcs through game year 2134. It’ll take at least three years to see all these ideas released and produced for game fans to enjoy, but I’ve learned by now that writing annual game editions requires patience on my part.

Combining the cultures of comic books and professional wrestling is like walking a fine line. It’s not always easy. Melding the two together is usually seamless, but sometimes they clash.

For example, Marvel and DC have been running ambitious and intricate story arcs lately, filled with cosmic themes involving time travel, parallel universes, and interstellar battles. Marvel’s current huge crossover arc is called Secret Wars (hearkening back to the 1980s series of the same name) and features amazing multiverse story angles.

By contrast, professional wrestling stories are more grounded, focused entirely on personal conflict. “I’m bigger and stronger than you!” “You cheated me in our last match…I’ll kick your ass!” “You turned on me, you backstabber, I thought you were my friend!” And on and on. Sometimes, when all else fails, wrestling turns to fundamental patriotism, like the feud between United States Champion and super patriot John Cena vs evil foreigner, Russian strongman, Rusev.

When I’m writing Champions of the Galaxy, I do a bit of both. Melding science fiction stories with down-to-earth personal conflict is a lot of fun as a storyteller, but it can be challenging. My goal is to not upset the balance too far in either direction.

The current story arc, Future Shock 2130-2131, features a science fiction scenario where wrestlers from the GWF in a different era (game year 2109) cross from one universe to another, entering the current GWF in game year 2130. This follows a three-part story called Black Death (2127-2129) where entities from a higher dimension possessed the minds of wrestlers in the GWF, making them essentially their slaves.

These stories are as comic book and sci-fi as it gets. But when it comes to writing about the characters in the game handbooks, I use standard booking scenarios seen in wrestling promotions, focusing on backstabbing, deceit, and macho posturing. Even patriotism, with one planet struggling against another for honor.

There’s one place where comic books and wrestling are very divergent and that’s with the aging of the characters. Sometimes I find this frustrating and I’ll explain why.

Comic books progress year after year as if the central characters don’t age. Bruce Wayne first saw a bat fly past his window and became Batman in 1939. He hasn’t aged a day since. Peter Parker’s Aunt May was constantly on the verge of dying of old age in the 1960s. Today, 50 years later, she’s portrayed as a healthy, hip senior citizen in tennis shoes, even though she should be about 130 years old. Peter Parker himself was a teenager in the 60s. He aged briefly, went from high school to college, and promptly stopped aging sometime in his twenties. Somebody figured out if comic book characters age in normal years they’ll be old limping men in a few decades and who wants to see Captain America fighting crime in a wheelchair?

Wrestling, on the other hand, has a more realistic time line for characters because the wrestlers are real people playing the roles. Hulk Hogan was at his peak in the 80s and 90s, and then it was pretty much over. The Undertaker finally lost his undefeated WrestleMania streak last year. It would have been unrealistic for a 50-year old man that was wrestling basically once a year to beat the “beast,” Brock Lesnar, so Lesnar was booked to win.

Then there’s Champions of the Galaxy, a game universe that combines super heroes and wrestling. What to do about aging? Some characters in the game look like humans, like Star Warrior and Thantos, but who’s to say they wouldn’t have a longer lifespan being born in other galaxies a hundred years in the future?

Despite the fact that much artistic license could have been taken, I adopted an approach more consistent with professional wrestling than comic books: that all these aliens age pretty much like humans on earth in our time period. Which doesn’t make the least bit of sense, but it gave me an excuse to have wrestlers decline in ability and retire, making way for new characters to be introduced. If I had used the comic book approach, the GWF would be overcrowded with hundreds of wrestlers with no one ever retiring due to getting older.

I’ll admit though, as a creator sometimes I get jealous. Marvel gets to keep using Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Thor indefinitely, as does DC with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. But not me. Star Warrior, Thantos, Brute, Massacre, and almost all the GWF characters from early game editions are absent in 2131. They disappeared from action long ago.

Champions of the Galaxy characters are aging in roughly human terms, although even the concept of “years” is human and Earth-centric. It’d be like DC saying, “Batman is old now now and retired, we’ll come up with new heroes to replace him,” and Marvel doing the same with Spider-Man and all the rest. Never gonna happen.

On the plus side, this means I’ll always have to come up with new characters to invade the GWF, and that’s no problem. I love creating characters and constantly have new ideas.

There’s only one iconic character I saved from the aging problem and that was Wolf. I wrote that Wolf was from an alien race that ages slowly, the AniMen of Andromeda. I could, however, have said this for pretty much any alien race in the game.

The current Future Shock 2130-2131 era is the exception. Games fans are now able to revisit old-time favorites like Chaos, Mandrill, Wolf, Star Warrior, Dark Justice, and more, but with a twist. Being from a parallel universe, they are sometimes similar, but sometimes radically different (Lope, Star Slayer). It’s really been a blast coming up with alternative versions of some of the characters.

For now, I hope all our loyal fans are having fun with Future Shock. It’ll be an amazing year of game-playing with 2131 and then BANG, there’ll be some new shockers in 2132! This ride will keep being crazy!

Like a good science fiction story arc, there’s something bigger and bolder being hidden. It won’t play out until 2134, making this an epic-length story (Black Death, Future Shock, etc) an 8-year project. And the best news is, we’re only about half way through it!

How many comic book story arcs and professional wrestling angles last that long? The answer is they don’t. One of the few places you’ll find these kind of epic-length stories is Champions of the Galaxy.

Until Wolf battles Batman and the Undertaker in a Triple Threat Match…

TOM

The View from Federation HQ – 2015 Style

Hey gang, life is as exciting as ever, as I hope yours is too.

As many of you know, I moved from Jamestown NY to Sedona AZ in March (with a stop in Prescott Valley AZ in between). It was wild and crazy, moving is very stressful, especially after accumulating untold amounts of “stuff” after living 20 years in the same home. Our house had four floors including basement and attic, and there was a lot of packing, throwing away, and caught-in-the-middle decisions that had to be made.

But it’s done and I’m here. Daniel Bryan got married in Sedona and (yes) it’s easy to see why. It’s beautiful here with the red rocks and scenery, plus the Grand Canyon is only two hours away.

But better yet is that Filsinger Games keeps rolling along and is stronger than ever! We’ve evolved from a company that is focused on one game line, Champions of the Galaxy, to a company that is CONSTANTLY releasing new games and products with our licensing partners. We recently released the CAC Reunion pack and Evolve 2. Next up is Inspire Pro Wrestling  featuring some of the best talent from the lone star state of Texas. I can just imagine the fun of having these Texas rowdies invade your game promotions, like an nWo invasion angle.

But it’s going to keep getting better because summer is coming and we always kick it into high gear in the summer. I’ve been writing FUTURE SHOCK 2131 for the past several months and the excitement is off the charts!  For me, BLACK DEATH was a turning point as the GWF started to see grand, epic stories that are playing out with FUTURE SHOCK. And after 2131, then what? I already know, and it’s going to keep being incredible!

Usually the new GWF game would be released at GalactiCon in Jamestown, but the times they are a’changin. That doesn’t mean the end of GalactiCon…it can’t! The GalactiCon tradition began in 1990 and there’s no way we can just let it die. So this year marks a BIG step where GalactiCon gets even bigger than before. It’ll be part of an awesome new event coming to Cleveland OH on August 14-16 called Wrestling Geek Fest.

Wrestling Geek Fest is being organized by our very own Tournament Master, Todd Joerchel. Todd has a lot of experience running cons because he’s been a big factor in organizing GalactiCon for years. Wrestling Geek Fest will feature a live wrestling event by our new partner Absolute Intense Wrestling, along with great wrestling guests and plenty of other events. It’s GalactiCon with a lot of fun stuff going on around it!

We’re always on the move, never resting or settling down. Filsinger Games marches on stronger than ever!

In fact I’ve spent a lot of time today organizing a new game release, which is a terrible tease, but the plan is for this new release to be available for Wrestling Geek Fest. It’s aimed at new buyers, but as always our long-time games fans, especially the ones that love collecting our stuff, will still enjoy it. How can we not go after new buyers? We know our games are great. We need to keep spreading the word!

Even though I moved to Arizona, I’m still intimately involved in the game business. I was on the phone yesterday with one of the wrestling guests who is coming to Wrestling Geek Fest. This is a BIG one. Our GalactiCon fans will LOVE this, take my word for it. Just think back to 1998 and I’ll let it go at that. This should be very interesting.

I attended the Cauliflower Alley Club convention in April to promote our games and the CAC Reunion pack release. It was a blast, but it’s also clear a lot of wrestling promotions want to work with us. And why not? It’s a win-win when we release a game set. The wrestling promotion is happy. The wrestlers are happy. We’re happy. And most important of all, the fans are happy.

I’ve also been working closely with Darryl Banks and Werner Mueck on all facets of Filsinger Games card art, doesn’t get more enjoyable than that. Speaking of Darryl Banks, DON’T MISS GALACTICON THIS YEAR! You’ll be able to meet our gifted artist in person!

I’m also involved with our social networking campaigns. Did you know that our tweets are viewed over 15,000 times every Monday night? That’s just Monday night! And guess what…the numbers are growing every week. And on a monthly basis we’re reaching over 150,000 people! I remember back in the day how print advertising costed thousands of dollars to reach that many people.  We’re on the move, spreading Filsinger Games madness across the cosmos!

Todd Joerchel is our Director of Operations. He’s busy fulfilling orders from his home base in New Jersey. Darryl lives in Ohio, Werner is in Oregon, and Kris is in Maryland. We’re spread out across America, our reach is far and wide, but in the end Filsinger Games exists in the minds and imaginations of our game fans. Federation HQ is a mythical place where dreams are woven. You don’t need one location for that. You just need people with passion doing their jobs so we can make YOU happy.

That’s all I’ve ever wanted and I guarantee it will continue. FUTURE SHOCK 2131 will rock and so will the INSPIRE PRO pack and all our other exciting releases coming this summer.

Put that in your Club Galactica time capsule and smoke it!

 

 

Here’s What’s Great About Being a Wrestling Manager

Tag champs Rocky Reynolds and Black Sheep Benett Cole.

Especially a heel manager. It lets you vent your dark side, your total arrogance and vanity.

It also allows youd to manage incredible talents like Black Sheep Benett Cole, Rocky Reynolds, Laura Phoenix, “Lone Wolf” Rex Havoc, and “The Morning Star” Michael Kai Rayne. These guys (and lady) work hard every night and bring passion to their craft, as do their many brothers and sisters on the indie circuit. They are the backbone of the wrestling business and a big part of the reason I love owning a wrestling game company.

Then there’s the Dark Menace…

My career as a wrestling manager began in 2006 in Detroit, Michigan. Filsinger Games was promoting at the Motor City Comic Con and an indie show was scheduled right there in the main hall. One of the wrestlers on the card was a big fan of my games, Steve Rutkowski. His current wrestling name is Rex Havoc and at the time he was wrestling for the tag belts with Michael Kai Rayne. Steve’s wife Laura Phoenix was their manager.

Steve asked me if I wanted to be a co-manager and I loved the idea. I had recently released my book, “The Dark Menace of the Universe” and somehow by osmosis I became the Dark Menace.

This gave me a persona I could use as a wrestling manager. I put on dark sunglasses, a suit, someone handed me a cane for a prop, and presto, the Dark Menace was born! The Dark Menace is arrogant, narcissistic, and feels he is better than everyone around him. He cheats then denies it and argues with the crowd. He also loves to taunt children (Chuck Taylor, you’ve got company!).

This brat kid should be home and in bed.

The event in Michigan gave me a taste of what it felt like to be a wrestling manager and I loved it. Kids hated me and threw paper wads at me and I knew I must be doing something right.

Funny thing is I had absolutely no training in how to be a wrestling manager. On an indie card last year another manager critiqued me in the locker room for not doing some stuff by the book. “You’re not supposed to walk to the other side of the ring during tag matches, it’s unrealistic. The opponents would attack you.”

Speaking of arrogance, this guy was the real deal! He spewed all kinds of unwanted advice to act important. He reminded me of Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” I think he was just jealous that the Dark Menace got more heat from the crowd than he did.

The Dark Menace isn’t an over-the-top yeller, screamer, one of those managers that overacts all the time. The Dark Menace is cool, calm, self-confident, but incredibly selfish and arrogant. That’s what makes him so hate-able, he totally believes in himself.

I had a sensational streak where I was only managing wrestlers with belts or wrestlers that would win a belt the night I managed them. Thus I dubbed myself the “Manager of Champions.”

I have managed the Black Sheep Bennet Cole a few times, he’s a sensational “big man” wrestler in the northeast. We were sitting around in the adjacent room of a YMCA gym (a makeshift locker room) killing time before our match. Out of nowhere it came up that I was the creator of Champions of the Galaxy and his eyes lit up. Turns out he was a fan of my games! This has happened a few times with wrestlers and I always enjoy it.

Greg Valentine rips up my game card and mocks the Dark Menace, setting up a feud.

In the last few years I’ve had ongoing feuds with Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine. Promoters have said to me, “Somebody needs to get his hair cut by Brutus Beefcake and your wrestlers are bald, so it’s gotta be you!” Sorry, no way. I’d say, “I like Brutus Beefcake but I’m not letting him near my head with those shears!” Besides, why kill the mystique of the Dark Menace like that?

So I “hired” flunkies to accompany me to ringside along with my wrestlers. These flunkies always had nice, flowing long hair, a great temptation for Mr. Beefcake. Somehow my flunkies always wound up at the wrong place at the wrong time and got their hair cut off by Beefcake, to the delight of the crowd. Oh well, no skin off my nose, or hair off my head. The Dark Menace doesn’t care. If you don’t fill your role for me, goodbye, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. That’s the way the Dark Menace feels about his underlings.

Adults that attend indie events can be kind of jaded and cynical, it’s not always easy to get them loud and involved. My approach is to get their kids involved. When I’ve got the mic I always make it a point to tell the stupid parents to take better care of their kids. “All the brats in attendance should sit in their chairs and shut up,” I tell them. “It’s past your bedtime anyway.” Man, this always works. The kids go nuts!

One time before a show I was sitting at a Filsinger Games table selling games and signing autographs but not dressed yet as the Dark Menace. A ten-year old boy came to the table and was looking at all the stuff including Dark Menace game cards. He looked at me and said, “Is that you?” I said yes, I’m the Dark Menace. He didn’t believe me. I said wait a minute. I walked over to the box behind my table and put on my black suit jacket. I put on my dark sunglasses and grabbed my cane. Then I turned around abruptly and faced him. He was terrified and ran away!

If I’m out in public, say at Wal-Mart, and wrestling fans come up to me and says they saw me live at a show, I’m not friendly to them. If they only know me as the Dark Menace then I stay in character. I guess I’m old school that way.

Now that I’ve moved from New York to Arizona it’s time to bring the infamous Dark Menace, “Manager of Champions” to an indie promotion in the southwest. When that happens I’ll report the news!

And don’t forget that the Dark Menace challenges all wrestlers in all promotions! Get Dark Menace Forces, a game pack featuring wrestlers I’ve managed. We’re taking over! Go here to order!

The Dark Menace helps an opponent on the ropes.

Partnering with Cauliflower Alley Club is an Honor and Privilege

Filsinger Games recently announced a partnership with the Cauliflower Alley Club and I couldn’t be more pleased. This is one of those projects that really gets under my skin. For those who don’t know, the CAC is an organization of retired and active wrestlers that meets for a reunion every year in Las Vegas. Now that I live in Arizona, I’m going! It’ll be on April 13-15 and this one is a biggie—Number 50. I know how to pick my spots! My immediate thought was how cool it would be to work on a game pack together. We already have a lot of the wrestlers signed to work with us but to have the CAC logo on game cards and working in close cooperation with them made me excited.

Convention dinner with Karl Lauer, Cousin Luke.

This journey began over ten years ago when I first met Karl Lauer at the first induction for the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Schenectady, New York. This Hall of Fame has nothing to do with the WWE Hall of Fame and is an independent organization. I attended the event to promote Filsinger Games and we purchased a dealer’s table and sold our games. It was around this time that we were producing the first Legends of Wrestling game. Karl Lauer was a fantastic guy to meet. He had so many great stories and he told them with relish. He also helped me sign wrestlers that were in the CAC like Red Bastien and the Destroyer along with several others. His support was very much appreciated. I attended several of the early Hall of Fame inductions and saw Karl along with Red at some of these events. Karl also acted the role of referee. I once had a misunderstanding with Terry Funk over the telephone and Terry hung up on me in anger! I told Karl the story and he said, “I’ll take care of it.” We were at a convention in the dealer’s room and he brought Terry to the Filsinger Games table. He put in a good word for me and Terry offered his hand in friendship and apology. Everything has been fine ever since. Thank you Karl! When I knew I was planning to attend the CAC reunion in 2015 I called Karl and he was kind as always. He told me, “Call Morgan Dollar, he does my job now.” He gave me contact information for Morgan and once again I was in contact with a fantastic person at CAC. Morgan and I have worked together to pave the way for the CAC 50th Anniversary game pack!

Support from CAC also came from Nick Bockwinkel.

This will be a Legends card game release in full color. The cards in the set will reflect what is happening at the CAC reunion. Morgan and I agree that we’d like to do some timely tributes. The goal

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of CAC is the same as the goal of FG in this regard: we want to shine a spotlight on wrestlers that deserve some recognition. I’m very proud that our game fans feel the same way. I can’t wait for the reunion! Wild Bill White has invited me to play in the annual cribbage tournament (I’ve never played cribbage) and Morgan has slotted me a for speaking spot during the convention. For me it’s all about fun and fellowship. I’ll be bringing the CAC 50th Anniversary game packs with me, hot off the presses. The game fans that attend the CAC reunion will be the first to see them and purchase them! They will begin mailings to the rest of our game fans during the reunion, making this a real exclusive! The partnership of FG with CAC is made in wrestling heaven, at least for me! I’m a big fan of wrestling through the ages and I love meeting vintage stars and hearing their stories. I know I’ll be seeing some of our loyal game fans, the West Coast Warriors, at the CAC reunion. It’s going to be a blast. And so onward we go to bigger and better things! The “Ring of Fellowship” awaits in April! Hope to see you there… TOM    

Here’s How WWE Could Have Booked Royal Rumble to Put Reigns Over

Second guessing is a sport among wrestling fans.

I don’t watch many pay-per-views but in the few I’ve watched lately the main event seems to be WWE vs The Fans. That’s what happened at the Royal Rumble last night. That was followed by the infamous twitter hashtag: #CancelWWENetwork which even TIME magazine picked up on. This publicity is bad for WWE and wrestling in general.

I’ve been writing wrestling stories and angles for years in the fictional universe of Champions of the Galaxy. It’s a lot easier that way, no real people, no egos. My characters do what I tell them.

Given my background I couldn’t help watching the Royal Rumble and having my own thoughts. Here’s how I believe Roman Reigns could have been booked to win and gotten over with fans.

Going in you have to face the fact that Daniel Bryan is your most popular guy. He’s your Hulk Hogan, Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Why mess with that? He’s got to look good.

You’ve got to use Bryan to help get Reigns over instead of getting rid of Bryan early in the Rumble because you don’t want him in the ring at the same time as Reigns.

There’s a lot of sub-plots in a 30-man Royal Rumble and I’m going to ignore them and outline the main points.

First it’s time to establish the top heel of the night. It should have something to do with the Authority because Triple H is perhaps the biggest heel because he represents the WWE establishment. Better yet have Triple H in the Royal Rumble. What a shock that would have been!

Early first 15 entries are sub-plots. Then some heel is winning big to the point of being annoying. BAM, that’s when Daniel Bryan comes in and starts a winning streak. The fans love seeing Daniel Bryan show his stuff.

This continues a while and then out comes Triple H. Here comes the stare down, the hate between these two men. Triple H tries to take a leadership role with the other wrestlers in the ring to eliminate the hated Bryan.

And it’s working. Bryan is on the verge of being defeated by the cheating Triple H and goons.

Then Roman Reigns comes out! Fans go wild. Here’s someone to help Daniel Bryan.

And he does. Bryan and Reigns work together against Triple H and goon squad. This lasts a while.

Then finally Triple H is successful in some underhanded way. He cheats and with the help of Kane and others he gets Bryan eliminated. The fans are ticked.

Now Triple H tries the same trick with Reigns that worked with Bryan but it backfires. Reigns fights back and eliminates everyone except Triple H. He points his finger at Triple H indicating he’s gonna go. Reigns dismantles Triple H and throws him over the top rope. He’s the winner of the Royal Rumble and he looks good doing it!

Triple H is frustrated. He promises revenge. There’s more story to build on.

It’s hard for me to see the fans booing Reigns at this point. Maybe some, after all it’s Philadelphia, but not like it went down last night.

In this approach Daniel Bryan starts off as the star and main focus of attention, then it’s mixed, and finally Roman Reigns gets his star moment. Both wrestlers shine, one feeding the other. Put them together, let Bryan mania rub off on Reigns.

Use the Authority’s heel heat more effectively.

This scenario is predicated on the idea that you want Reigns to win and be in the main event at WrestleMania. I’m not arguing whether this is a good idea or not. Perhaps Daniel Bryan should have been the winner all along.

But if not I think the above scenario would’ve been more likely to put Reigns over.

The loser in all this unfortunately is Roman Reigns, who didn’t deserve such anger directed at him and now he’s already at a career crossroads.

What’s good for WWE is good for wrestling, so I hope they’ll find a way to rebound.

 

 

Tom’s Top Ten Comic Books of the Month

I’ve had more free time lately in the deserts of Arizona for some good old-fashioned escapism and I’m taking advantage! Been reading several books along with a slew of comic books. Here are my top ten comics of the month, feel free to share yours with me on Facebook or twitter. 10. DOCTOR WHO – 12th Doctor #3. The new persnickety doctor (Peter Capaldi) embarks on adventures spanning India (1825), Italy (1505), and Fortress Scindia (2314) and all points in between. Who wouldn’t want to join? This is the weakest of the http://cialisfromcanada-onlinerx.com/ 3 Doctor Who entries coming up but still a fun read. 9. NEW AVENGERS #28. The scorecard at the beginning gas station viagra lists almost 40 characters by team, so these stories can get pretty crowded and complicated. This title started as an Illuminati vehicle but has morphed into something else. Lots of big universe-spanning stuff. Two-page splash Hulk drawing by Mike Deodato and Mike Perkins is my favorite. 8. BATMAN ’66 #18. Can’t help it, love this retro stuff. Villains the Archer and Bookworm are not my favorites, but the corny Batman TV show dialogue always makes me laugh. Batgirl gets her own solo adventure. 7. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12. buy cialis saudi arabia Part 4 of Spider-Verse is interesting like all the rest. Big ending (I won’t http://mexicanpharmacy-onlinerx.com/ tell) leaves me eager for more. Fantastic family portrait of the Inheritors on the cover. Some scenes get awfully crowded with spider-people but I guess that comes with the territory. The “Superior” story and now Spider-Verse has brought me back to Spider-Man after many years away. 6. THANOS VS HULK cialis from canada #2. It’s pretty simple, this is a bad ass main event, who could resist? Plus stalwart Jim Starlin writes and draws with his own indomitable style. This one gets pretty cerebral, Bruce Banner and the Hulk have to work together in a mental sphere against Thanos. Almost wrote Thantos there. Would have loved if Thantos did a run-in! 5. DOCTOR WHO – 10th Doctor #5. Continues the story of the Doctor (David Tennant in this book) visiting an art community on Oiuoumos. Some nice observations on the insecurities of many artists and how to overcome them. The look on Gabby’s face when a shapeshifter offers her hand in friendship is worth the price of the book! 4. SILVER SURFER #8. I love Dan Slott and the Allreds. Some people hate this stuff, the art, the stories, the light-hearted tongue-in-cheek banter. I think it’s fantastic. This book is more like Batman ’66 than Avengers of X-Men. And yet it can get pretty deep and serious. Dawn Greenwood discovers for the first time that the Surfer is responsible for the deaths of billions of people and races throughout the galaxies. This is the ultimate “secret” a girlfriend can uncover about her boyfriend! See how she handles it. 3. JOHN CARTER, WARLORD OF MARS #3. First off I’ve always liked the title, very dramatic: “John Carter, Warlord of Mars!” Then it’s created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, a classic writer. Add to that it’s Conan the Barbarian on Mars and there’s nothing quite like it. The writing by Ron Marz is great and so is the art by Abhishek Malsuni. I like the grand scope of the story. If you like books with scantily clad women (make that woman, Dejah Thoris) then this is the book for you. What was weird and surprising to me is #1

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had something like 25 variant covers! #3 has “only” 7. Who buys all these? 2. AVENGERS #40 – This is a continuation of the story in New Avengers #28. What bothers me is these connections between the books aren’t clear, you’ve got to figure it out for yourself. Thanos is front and center on the cover apparently to sell books because he isn’t a key part of the story. This issue settles the Black Panther vs Namor feud in a deadly way and makes T’Challa (and Black Bolt for that matter) seem incredibly vengeful and cruel. Namor, for once, comes off as the more sympathetic character. I’m interested to see where they’re going with all this. 1. DOCTOR WHO – 11th Doctor #6. Everything about this book is amazing. It’s a time travel in reverse story, a one-shot so you don’t have to worry about missing stuff. The pages are numbered starting with “The End” then moving backwards along with the story from page 21 to 1 with Matt Smith trying to fight the tide of time gone awry! The Doctor treats a humorous over-the-top monster subplot with contempt, “You’re a side issue, a B-plot that doesn’t even realize that’s it’s already been resolved.” The cover is simple but has a classic feel. That’s 3 Doctor Who comics in my top ten (Titan Comics). Can you tell I love the show? After that 5 Marvel titles, one DC, and Dynamite (John Carter). All this keeps my imagination active and inspired as I prepare to write CotG: FUTURE SHOCK 2131. The GWF will continue to global pharmacy canada cialis go places it has never gone before!  

My Favorite Wrestling Memories

People often ask me who is my favorite wrestler of all time and this question throws me for a loop. I don’t have a single answer.

I have experienced five distinct wrestling eras in my lifetime. Each one had its own personality and great wrestlers. I’ll go over each one:

DETROIT WRESTLING 1960s-1970s

This was my first exposure to wrestling as a child and it got the ball rolling. I lived in Cleveland, which had its own wrestling promotion (NWF) which was okay, but a cable station also broadcast the Detroit shows and it was better. This was a promotion owned and run by the original Sheik, a fact I would learn later and which surprised me since the Sheik was portrayed as a violent, unhinged, out-of-control sadist.

Wrestling has had a fascinating evolution in its audience. This was the Believer Era. The vast majority, around 80% or more of people that watched and attended the events, thought it was real. That changed the whole vibe. People didn’t judge the matches for “performance” value but instead cheered for their favorites the way a rabid fan cheers for their favorite football team. The match could have been slow, boring, convoluted, but what mattered is the good guy won.

Just as important was cheering AGAINST the heels. Everyone wanted them to be punished for their misdeeds and huge egos. There were great heels in this era including the Sheik.

My grandparents watched these shows and went nuts! They believed everything. I remember my grandfather screaming at the TV screen at the referees for not seeing foreign objects or other forms of cheating. My grandmother made sounds of pity when wrestlers looked like they were hurt.

My favorite wrestlers in Detroit were the Sheik, Bobo Brazil, and Johnny Valentine. What’s impressive to me is throughout his life and after decades of depicting himself as a total wild man, the Sheik was never interviewed and never showed his off-camera self. The mystique never died. We never saw him talk about a “high spot” or even speak a coherent sentence. Now, that’s living the role!

PRE HULKAMANIA ERA early 1980s

I took a hiatus from wrestling for several years while I attended college and graduate school in search of a “normal” career. These were still the days of territories and regional wrestling, but things were changing due to cable television. The wrestling programs from the WWF were starting to be broadcast around the country. I was hooked.

I started watching the WWF prior to the arrival of Hulk Hogan and this was the last gasp for wrestling as it was when the wrestlers portrayed their characters in a much more realistic way. Matches with World Champion Bob Backlund would be unwatchable by today’s standards with the emphasis on “wear down” holds and slowing the pace. But for its time it worked great.

These were the years that Vince McMahon was a straight announcer and my favorite wrestlers were Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco. Wrestling history has not been kind to Muraco. He was the last great WWF heel prior to the Hulk Hogan era. His greatness as a wrestler on the mic has been forgotten by many, but I thought he was great and the Snuka vs. Muraco feud ended in spectacular fashion in Madison Square Garden with Muraco retaining his Intercontinental Belt despite being crushed by Snuka after the Superfly Leap off the top of the cage. Wrestling fans remember this great moment but often forget that Muraco won the match.

WWF MANIA YEARS 1980s

Then Hulkamania arrived!

I was thrilled that wrestling became so popular, but I wasn’t a fan of the change of style that took place during the Hulk Hogan years. The product became more directed towards children and gimmicks reigned supreme. A guy like Don Muraco couldn’t survive. Hogan’s matches became unrealistic and predictable. But who was I to judge? The product took off and became a sensation. I’m sure if I was a child or teenager during this time I’d have loved it.

And there was a lot about the WWF to like. Macho Man Randy Savage became one of my favorites and there was always a collective buzz about what was going on. Wrestling shows became more streamlined and sleeker than before. Wrestlers became pop culture super heroes.

It was in this environment that I created Champions of the Galaxy and launched Filsinger Games, so a tip of the hat to Vince McMahon and the WWF!

It was also during this time that I wrote for wrestling magazines but I didn’t use my real name for fear  they would kick me out of my job as a college professor!  I used the name Adam Blast, one of the characters in Champions of the Galaxy. When I asked an editor what to do about wrestler quotes for my articles he said: “Make em up.”

WCW caught my interest and even though I didn’t think they were as consistently entertaining as the WWF, they had the Road Warriors, and they became my favorite wrestlers of this era. Hawk and Animal were awesome and I watched regularly to see who’d be pitted against them. One time they had King Kong Bundy (before his WWF days) in a tag match against Hawk and Animal and all I could do was be amazed at the intensity and power in the ring.

I must add how happy and proud I am to have most of the wrestlers mentioned above and more in my Legends of Wrestling Card Game. This ride I’ve been on has been fantastic.

MONDAY NIGHT WARS ERA late 1990s & early 2000s

I took another hiatus from wrestling in the early 1990s and focused on my new life: raising a family and moving to Jamestown, New York. But wrestling grabbed me again in the late 90s when the nWo made their debut for WCW. I thought this was incredible and the unpredictability of the shows made it even better. I liked Hogan more as Hollywood Hogan than the yellow and red Hogan. His portrayal as a heel was amazing. I also liked Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.

The build-up leading up to the big match, Sting vs Hulk Hogan, was masterful. But then they blew it. The match itself had an unsatisfying ending with an awkward attempt to make Brett Hart part of the match. So even though Sting won, it was anticlimactic.

Against stiff competition WWE roared back on all cylinders and they also entered a classic era. My young family and I watched shows every Monday night. It was an era of incredible spectacle with the Rock, Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Vince McMahon, and Mankind raising the bar every week. Crowds were very enthusiastic and even though they sometimes pushed the boundaries of good taste too far, it was overall a great product.

It was during this era of great popularity for wrestling that Filsinger Games began to really take off.

MODERN ERA 2000s up to today

I love the variety of wrestling that’s available today from the WWE to all the great indie promotions. I’m thrilled that my company has licensing agreements with many of these including Ring of Honor, Chikara, Combat Zone Wrestling, Evolve, Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, Shimmer Ladies Wrestling, Olde Wrestling (I hope I haven’t left anyone out!). This reminds me of the territories from the past and I enjoy it.

I’ve attended several independent shows in the last ten years and I love them all. The fans are very smart and the appreciation of wrestling has completed its cycle from the Believer Era to the Entertainment Era (and the muddled grey era in between).

A great memory for me was attending an independent show in Los Angeles and seeing El Generico win a ladder match against Kevin Steen. I also attended some great Chikara shows as part of promoting our Chikara games.

As far as popular wrestling goes, I enjoy the wrestlers that come through the indie ranks like Daniel Bryan and C.M. Punk. They are great wrestlers that truly connect with the fans.

One way or another wrestling through all these eras has been great. What other form of scripted live entertainment besides traditional theater has lasted so long? The characters are over-the-top and tap into our deepest wishes and fears, to say nothing of being a cathartic experience. I’m privileged to have met many of these wrestlers as friends and business partners and wouldn’t change it for anything. I’ve got some pretty wild stories and maybe someday, when it’s safe, I’ll share them!

So there it is, some of my favorite wrestling memories over the years. I look forward to more ahead!

TOM

 

 

MultiVerses Are the Rage as Future Shock 2131 Looms

There’s something in the air…or in the ether. I had the idea for the FUTURE SHOCK story arc several years ago. It was around 2012 and viagra otc I was having conversations with my son, Alex, about a future Champions of the Galaxy story where the GWF is invaded by characters from a parallel universe where things are somewhat the same, but also different in major ways. At the time I was focused on the BLACK DEATH trilogy, which had rejuvenated my interest in the game. BLACK DEATH saw a far-reaching story about beings from another dimension trying to take over our universe by possessing people that harbored excessive anger. The lower emotion of anger was their entry point for infection. I loved writing BLACK DEATH, which represented the years 2127-2129 in GWF time, but I also knew I had an ace in the hole with FUTURE SHOCK, which would trump BLACK DEATH. No game fan could have expected to see a story that would bring characters like Chaos (with a working Alpha http://buycialisonline-topstore.com/ Stone), Crossfire (who didn’t die in his parallel world) and Lope (a devolved, more savage version of Wolf) to the GWF. It was all top-secret. For the first time I released no sneak previews of card art and released no clues about what was coming. It all worked great and FUTURE SHOCK has been a hit. What’s been

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interesting in the past year is the popularity of the multiverse concept in comic books. As an avid reader I have been drawn to the same themes in Marvel and DC precio de cialis en mexico comics. I just finished reading The Just and Thunderworld, which are part of the Multiversity series from DC Comics. The Just #1 is amazing. Imagine a world where super heroes like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have taken care of business so well that Earth is a safe place. Their children, not having much to do, become superstars of the tabloid kind instead of super heroes that need to save the planet. It’s a wild ride and a great concept. I hadn’t been reading Spider-Man for several years, then along came Superior Spider-Man (where Doctor Octopus takes over the body of Spider-Man and replaces him). I didn’t think the concept would have staying power, but it did and I enjoyed it. But what came next intrigued me even more where the Spider-Men of different universes are forced to come together to defend themselves against the threat of a terrifying family called the Inheritors, who travel around the multiverse “feasting on the life-essence of the spider-people.” This new story arc is called Spider-Verse and features among other things Spider-Gwen, a super hero that comes from a universe where Gwen Stacy never died. There are all kinds of weird and wild Spider-Men. It’s pretty mind-boggling and I’m enjoying it. On a related note I’m also reading three Doctor Who comics featuring the ninth, tenth, and eleventh doctors, produced by Titan Comics. The Doctor Who concept, at its core is about the multiverse, as well as traveling across space and time. I’m thrilled to have the current Champions of the Galaxy story as part of this speculative wave of multiple universe books. How can it not be interesting to examine what might have been in another world if things were a little (or a lot) different? Plug time: I have speculated about parallel universes in my new book, Shadows on the Road, but the focus is on our own personal lives instead of the lives of fictional characters. Imagine YOU in a different universe where you took a different road in terms of your job, relationships, or where you live, to say nothing of the myriad other “small” choices that branch out and create an entirely different set of circumstances in our lives. I believe in multiple universes as do many theoretical physicists. For scientists this belief is a by-product of String Theory and grounded in empirical speculation. Beyond that the concept of multiple universes is the cornerstone of mystical religious beliefs although couched in different language. An example is buy cialis online Hindu Puranic literature where it is said: “After separating the different universes, the gigantic universal form of the Lord, which cialisotc-bestnorxpharma.com came out of the causal ocean, the place of appearance for the first puruṣa-avatāra, entered into each of the separate universes, desiring to lie on the created transcendental water.” I look forward to continuing the multiverse concept and story in FUTURE SHOCK 2131, which is due for release in July, 2015. I’m proud that my creative outlet (at least game-wise), Champions of daily dose cialis reviews the Galaxy, continues to thrive, moving along hand-in-hand with cutting edge ideas in popular medicaid viagra culture. I hope You in this world and universe have enjoyed this blog. I also hope the multiverse versions of You have enjoyed it too, at least those that have access to it. Until Wolf of this universe meets Lope (oh gosh, is that a hint?)… TOM