A Brief History of Awesome
Had Turner Paige decided to cash in on the WWWE at its low point at the turn of the millenium, Ezekiel Trillion would have been the most likely bidder. A dot.com billionaire thanks to his diverse TrillCorp, Trillion grew up on the WWWE of Terry Thunder. Although rumors began almost as soon as the WWWE shut its doors, it would not be until 2005 when Trillion opened his own promotion. Based in Hollywood, the company was given the name the Awesome Wrestling Federation and it took as many cues as possible from the WWWE.
With a roster filled with former WWWE stars, the company found an immediate audience and filled auditoriums. But all of Trillion's billions couldn't get the company on national television. With major television networks avoiding WWWE-style wrestling due to the lingering stench of that companies demise, the AWF had to make due with weekly PPVs, syndicated television, and a variety of webcasts. By mid-1997, the AWF had established enough of its own brand and identify that it forged a partnership with the Adrenaline network, debuting Shockwave and moving to a monthly pay per view format.
An obvious and enduring criticism of the AWF is that it is Ezekiel Trillion's vanity project. There is much truth in that, evidenced by the frequency of which the fanboy owner managed to appear on-screen. Although the company managed to avoid some of the more overt mistakes of its predecessor - notably the preponderance of "wrestlecrap" gimmicks and focusing the product on the youngest fans. The AWF targeted the 14-35 male demographic, pushing the boundaries of mainstream good taste with some edgy characters and storylines. But it never strayed far from the basic Sports Entertainment formula. With former WWWE color commentator Jerry "The Lawyer" King running the creative side of the company from 2009 through 2012, the AWF seemed to frustrate fans almost as much as it thrilled them.
In 2012, Casey Skym returned to the company and was given the Head Booker position. The change to the company was not drastic - the addition of a women's division and the de-emphasis of the tag team division. In early 2013, Zeke Trillion stepped away from running his beloved vaneity project, leaving it in the hands of TrillCorp executive Dax Deekins and Skym. The man lovingly known as "The Zombie" has continued to exert his influence, leading up to a shocking invasion storyline in late 2013 that has seen talent from Pro Wrestling Superstars Uncensored and Xtreme (PW-SUX) show up on AWF television and spill blood.
- January 2005: AWF Opens
- February 2005: Jean-Claude Giroux becomes 1st AWF World Heavyweight Champion
- March 2005: The Starr Brothers becomes the 1st AWF World Tag Team champions
- October 2005: United States championship is introduced, with Marshall Law becoming the inaugural champion
- February 2006: Former WWWE star Drake Richards debuts and wins the AWF World championship
- August 2006: Towerblock becomes WHT, the first AWF world champion to have never worked for the WWWE
- July 2007: AWF Shockwave debuts on Adrenaline
- July 2007: WrestleFest debuts as the AWF's first major monthly PPV and flagship event
- June 2011: Wilson Hancock debuts with controversial porn star gimmick
- May 2012: Casey Skym debuts as Director of Amazing, the AWF's on-screen authority figure
- June 2012: Casey Skym replaces Jerry King as AWF Head Booker
- July 2012: Claudia is crowned 1st Starlets champion
- April 2013: Zeke Trillion steps down from running AWF directly
- November 2013: Invasion by PW-SUX wrestlers begins
- December 2013: Tag team Enemies of the State join the SUX invaders
- December 2013: Silva Dolla wins AWF World Heavyweight championship
What Makes the AWF Unique?
This might be a touch heavy-handed, as I hope to get most of these concepts across in the shows. But since I'm not sure how much all of them will come across, and most of it is kinda vital to the AWF "vision" I have, so...
In terms of real world comparisons, there is no direct similar company. You can see some correlation to early 90s WCW if WCW had more stability, was more streamlined, and already used a more SE product. You could also compare it to TNA in some ways, but the AWF is not a distant #2 so there is no "little brother" syndrome. So if TNA had unlimited resources, outstanding production quality, significant brand recognition, and talent with WWE-levels of individual popularity... So yeah, its hard to directly compare it.
So the Awesome Wrestling Federation is a Sports Entertainment company. That doesn't mean the product is simply exactly what the WWE or TNA present every week. It means that characters and stories are a primary focus. Its an edgy approach, with plenty of adult content and adult humor. That description may immediately raise thoughts of the Attitude Era, but so many key elements of the Attitude Era are absent. So perhaps a bit more like the Ruthless Aggression Era of WWE in that sense. Even that comparison can only go far, as there are some elements that I don't know have ever really been part of a major promtion.
The AWF directly embraces aspects such as the Hollywood connection and the fact that there is a very rich man bankrolling everything.
Production & Presentation
This is where the AWF really differentiates itself from any other companies in the ThunderVerse. With massive financial resources and direct Hollywood connections, the company is very cutting edge in terms of production values. It is also an area where the company continues to evolve and push the envelope. This is honestly an area where I feel like the WWE has gone stagnant as there is no one pushing them. Idea for the product and presentation are not been taken only from "real" wrestling (WWE and puroresu), but also MMA, other professional sports, game shows, and more.
Fans, Media & Social Media
Given the Awesome Wrestling Federation is owned by TrillCorp, there is an emphasis on use of technology. From heavy use of streaming content on the webstie to integrating social media (notably Chatterbox, which is the Tverse version of Twitter) as much as possible.
The fan base is given the label of the Awesone Nation, but they go further with some things than the WWE does, actually pushing fans to form local "fan clubs" which play a role. They also function as street teams for the promotion.
In regard to the media, the ThunderVerse is similar to our own in that professional wrestling is on the fringe of mainstream pop cultulre and so dedicated "wrestling media" is limited. But that hasn't stopped the AWF from working to subsidize what does exist, and then using it for things like post-show press conferences after bigger events.
Smarky fans exist in the ThunderVerse, and I think the AWF would give them plenty of ammunition. A lot of "purists" would have issue with the mere existence of a company that is a rich fanboys vanity project, based heavily on a dead company, and uses so many of the WWWE's former stars. Despite having some great in-ring talent in the company, they aren't prone to getting the chance to simply go out and have great, long match on a regular basis. They happen, but some fans would find frustration that those great matches aren't the intended focus of the comapny and therefore happen less frequently than they could.
Not all of the criticism is valid, however. Or at least not still valid. The AWF has evolved over time, going from a vanity project and rip-off of the WWWE to something more substantial. It has created its own stars (Timothy Hawk, Towerblock, Vincent Parker, and Silva Dolla) who never wrestled for the WWWE at all. It has moved away from some of the "wrestle-crap" gimmicks that the WWE was notorious for. The booking and storytelling has evolved and improved over time, especially with the change of head bookers in 2012. Yet many fans are still stuck on the negative aspects from its early years, much as many fans will talk about TNA's problems by mentioning stuff that was done years ago, making it clear they don't pay any attention to the current product.