Cyberslam, commonly abbreviated CSlam was a famous collection of eWrestling federations hosted by the popular (but now defunct) "Scoops Central" (later called "the Scoops Wrestling Network") pro-wrestling news site from April 1997 to March 2001. Scoop's Cyberslam subsite featured multiple federations, each of whom amongst the "Majors" would send their top "slammer" (as eWrestlers were referred to in CSlam) to a special federation at the end of each month to fight for CSlam's "Ultimate Championship." The winner would be named the "Ultimate Champ" and would have his picture on the main page of Cyberslam for the following month.
Due to the resurgence of the popularity of wrestling at the time, and the popularity of the Scoops news site, the CSlam roster quickly expanded to include thousands of characters and, by its end, over 50 "Major" and "Indy" federations, making it the largest collection of connected eFeds in the history of eWrestling. Part of the popularity of the site came from the fact that it was not merely roleplaying-based, but also included a wrestling "engine" that allowed the slammers to actually fight matches. The success or failure of slammers in these wrestling simulations depended on the moves they chose.
The site remained popular, despite common complaints that the game was fading and not as good as it used to be, until the plug was pulled on it in February and March 2001 by its owners in favor of launching a new (but ultimately doomed for failure) site called Cyberbrawls.
Scoops Wrestling Networks was founded in July 1996 by Remy Arteaga, Al Isaacs and Barbara Bistrowitz, and would come to comprise of several wrestling properties, including: iWrestling (www.iwrestling.com); Cyberslam (www.cyberslam.com); FIREWRESTLING (www.firewrestling.com); and TOP-ROPE (www.top-rope.com). Remy Arteaga was primarily responsible for running Cyberslam, and within the kayfabe of the game became it's CEO under the name "The Slammer." The Slammer remained the ultimate authority over CSlam until it ceased to exist, although day-to-day management of the collective was primarily done by the "President" of Cyberslam (most famously, a slammer known as Funky Nassau).
CSlam began with just a single eFed in the beginning (the CWF - Cyberslam Wrestling Federation) and a few dedicated players, as is standard for most eWrestling sites. Yet as the numbers of people playing rose, new federations were opened. First was the CCW (Cyberslam Championship Wrestling) and CEW (Cyberslam Extreme Wrestling, a hardcore federation). As an influx of new, experienced players came into the game, eventually CSlam switched to a hierarchical system where original federations were elevated to "major" federations, with "indy" (short for independent) feds below them for new players.
Popularity and expansion
Near its peak, Scoops Wrestling Networks received 15,000,000 page views per month. As CSlam was attached to the network, it had a built-in advertising structure that allowed new people to find the site every day by happenstance as they were searching for real wrestling news from the WWF, WCW, ECW and other feds. Although not all or even most of the 15 million hits a month that Scoops received equated to people playing CSlam, many did choose to.
A snapshot from the Web Archive's Wayback machine (http://web.archive.org/web/20000821222140/www.scoopscentral.com/cyberslam/pages/Upper_Slammers.html) indicates that at one random point in CSlam's history it had 1519 slammers in its 52 federations and 177 different wrestling stables. This would mean that matematically each fed, on average, had about 300 slammers in them (although in actuality, Indy federations had higher numbers of slammers while Major and, eventually, "Elite" and "Legend" federations, had smaller numbers).
Although CSlam began with just one federation, (CWF, followed by CCW, then CEW and CBF) as it expanded over time it came to include 52 different federations. The older federations were more prestigious, and had original names such as the "Cyberslam World Order" (CWO) and "Cyberslam War Zone" (CWZ). As more feds were added and the original feds became Majors, the newer Indy feds were generally named after actual professional wrestling independent feds, with an "i" added before the name to denote that the fed was an indy fed (i.e. the iUKWA stood for 'independent' United Kingdom Wrestling Association, named after a real fed called UKWA), although the first indy. As wrassle continued to expand, feds that were previously independent feds became majors, with new independent feds placed below them, and the "i" part of their name was dropped.
Eventually, some of the better players in the game were asked to join two "elite" federations that were above even the Majors. CSlam was divided into two "chapters" (similar to Major League Baseball's National and American Leagues) known as Titan and Hyperion. Two feds in each chapter, the CWF in Titan and CCW in Hyperion, were redubbed the CWFe and CCWe, to indicate their elite status. The greatest slammers in each chapter were invited to join the elites.
Above the two elite federations there would also be a "Super" federation - the CFL. This fed was for "legends" of Cyberslam, and included only the most famous and talented individuals to play the game.
The full list of federations that CSlam would include were:
- CSlam - Finals (A fed used only at the end of the month every month, to determine the Monthly Ultimate Champion)
- CFL - For CSlam Legends
- Titan Chapter
- CWF - Elite
- CEW - Major
- CWZ - Major
- CGW - Major
- NDW - Major
- UIWA - Major
- Hyperion Chapter
- CCW - Elite
- AWO - Major
- CBF - Major
- CRF - Major
- CWO - Major
- RWF - Major
Promotions and changing federations
While all new slammers began in a randomly assigned indy federation, they had the opportunity to move up to a major. The most common way to do this was to be active on the flashboard (the name of the board on CSlam where all roleplay occurred). At the end of the month, the best players from indy feds were selected for promotion to the major which their independent fell under. For instance, as seen above, the INCW, IIPW, IEWF and IOSE are all listed under the RWF major. Talented members of these rosters would have potential to be promoted to the RWF. Together, all of these federations were referred to as a "league." The commissioner of the RWF also held a second title as President of the RWF league.
One promotion spot was dedicated to the person with the federation's championship at the end of the month (called a Slamming promition), and another spot was available for the best roleplayer in the fed (an RP promotion). The decision on the RP promotion was usually a joint decision between the commissioners of the major and indy federations involved, but the ultimate call was made by the league president (major commish).
However, there were other ways to transfer federations in CSlam. The regular career development path would force you to go up the career ladder starting from the federation to which they were randomly assigned. This would mean a rookie slammer randomly assigned to the iAPWF could only be promoted to the CWO. Slammers who wanted to join a different federation (or who wanted to join a major without having to spend months in an indy working their way up), had the option to pay for a fed transfer. This function allowed friends who were randomly assigned to different federations to join up to form stables or tag teams, or allowed people opportunities to move through a different career path. In this sense, it was a popular option, although the function was sometimes criticized as allowing less talented individuals who could not make the majors on their own buy their way in. However, as paying to move characters helped to fund the site and keep it operational, and also allowed veterans who were returning or starting secondary characters to quickly join a higher-callibur fed, the function remained popular.
It should be noted that paying for a transfer would not allow characters to be moved into an elite fed or the CFL legends fed, as they were talent-based only. Transfers could only be to indy or major federations.
Each federation was divided into essentially 5 functions: Go Slammin' (simulate matches on the engine), Standings (the ranks of slammers in the fed, based on their win-loss record), Review (an archive of the results of recently slammed matches), The Board (the main flashboard for the fed, where all RP occurred), and the Commissioner's Podium (a list of rules and information for the federation).
Each federation was looked over and continually managed by a commissioner, who served as the ultimate authority in the federation - enforcing rules and policies, booking cards, posting card results, determining winners of RP matches, and a number of other functions.
When joining the game, characters first created an overall handler for the Scoops website (called a Scoops Trooper), and then were able to create individual characters within CSlam to use under that handler. When creating names, no special characters, punctuation, or spaces were allowed, thus creating several two-word character names that were either squished into one word, or separated by an underscore (an individual wishing to create "Mr. Slammer" would name themselves Mrslammer or Mr_slammer). Slammers were also able to personalize themselves by adding ages, heights, weights, a slammer catchphrase, valet or manager, the name of their finishing move and other details into their initial profile when creating their slammer.
Probably the most important step in creating a new character was the choosing of their character type and moveslist. In CSlam there were three character types: Muscle, Submission Specialist, and Psycho High-Flyer. The choice of these slammer types determined the moveslist from which each character would have to choose, which would then determine their ability to win or lose matches on the engine. Each slammer type had an optimum set of moves that would give them the best chance of winning.
Following a successful creation of a character, they were then randomly assigned to an indy federation. For a short time, CSlam displayed the federation that you would be assigned to prior to finalizing a new character's creation. This allowed a loophole for new slammers to hit the back button, re-submit information, and get a new randomly assigned federation. Although a tedious task, a slammer could do this over and over again until they got into the indy they wanted (most likely one with friends or stablemates in it). This loophole, of course, cut into CSlam's revenue from fed transfers and, when discovered, was fixed.
Characters created or transferred between the 1st and 20th of the month could immediately begin playing, while those created or transferring after the 20th had to wait until the following month to begin playing or move.
Slamming was the most important part of the game, next to roleplaying. Individuals were able to select other characters in their federation and "slam" them. Slammers were granted 5 matches a day to slam. On days when no card was going on, a person could generally slam whomever they wanted in "dark matches", although there were limits to prevent "padding" or "jobbing" (see Commissioner's Podium section below). On days when there was a card, "active" members of the federation (those who regularly posted on the flashboard) were assigned matches against one another. Slammers booked against one another would them slam each other based on the commissioner's instructions, and a winner to the match would be determined (sometimes based only on the results of the slamming simulation, and sometimes with a combination of slamming and quality of roleplay).
The slamming simulation created a one-page result which displayed random commentary by announcers on the progress of the match. A certain number of default lines were used in the sim, and thus the call of the match often repeated itself, with certain memorable lines becoming the tagline of jokes on the CSlam flashboard ("[Slammer 1] has got a one way ticket to Suplex City...and [Slammer 2] is supplying the ticket! Way up and just as long down! What power!").
Occasionally in simmed matches there would be random interference. This could occur at in the initiator's favor, such as a valet (or, if they were in a stable, a stablemate) coming down to help. Alternatively, an ally of your opponent or the individual deemed in your profile as your enemy could come down and interfere against you. The result of the interference would determine the winner, based on whether or not the referee saw it (so even if your enemy interfered and hit you with a chair, if the referee saw it your opponent would be disqualified and you would be given the win).
Since the creators of the game were also players of the game, and made friends with others in the game, eventually the combination of moves with the most power was leaked to a small number of notable players. This gave a few characters the ability to have outstanding win-loss records, and there is some controversy over if this tainted the victories of multiple Ultimate Champions who maybe have had access. This abuse of the slamming system became known as CSlam's "Moveslist Scandal" (although ironically, one of the notable names in the moveslist scandal also used the list of moves to determine the weakest and most ineffective moves to create a character with horrific moves. He was given the subtle name of "El Jobre.")
The flashboard of each federation (known also as "The Board" or by "The [fed name] Board") was where the fed's roleplaying occurred. Individuals were able to create and run their own plotlines without needing them approved by the commissioner or other characters. Newer or younger slammers tended to imitate existing popular characters of the WWF, WCW and ECW, make short flashes, challenge anyone or everyone in the fed, demand title shots, or commit OSBDs (one-sided-beat-downs) on other characters. However, over time slammers generally matured and began feuds and angles with other characters.
Most federations held two "cards" per week, with formal matches booked by the commish that were roleplayed out on the flashboard through new postings. The eventual winner of the match would be allowed to write how the match ended. On the other days of the week in which there was not a card, most slammers RPed "backstage promos" where they followed plotlines and jerked off backstage. To fit the 24x7 nature of the RP federations instead of just pretending that everything is happening on one of the two cards during the week, most federations explained in kayfabe that they were set in one location (a specific arena), and had a 24x7 TV channel that showed everything going on in their fed. Roleplaying out the cards was one of the most important activities in CSlam, and card booking by the commissioner influenced and created many of the feuds and angles in the game.
Titles and Cards
The commissioner of each fed created a number of titles in order to support cards, feuds, and inspire slammers to be active and feud. All federations had a top title, relatively equivalent to the WWE or WCW World Championships. The names of the top title varied by federation, as did the lower titles. However, most federations followed the following format:
- Top Title - the highest belt in a federation.
- Secondary Title - the second highest belt in the federation, roughly equivalent to the WWF's Intercontinental Title or WCW's US Title.
- Tag Titles - Awarded to the best tag team in the federation.
- Hardcore / Extreme Title - A title for characters who usually RPed themselves as being "hardcore" wrestlers. This title had many different names in various federations, though common terms for it other than Hardcore Title included "Skullcrusher," "Smashmouth," or various other vicious-sounding names.
- Less than .500 Title - Most feds also included a title for slammers whose winning percentage on the engine was less than .500 (more losses than wins). This awarded good roleplayers who did not necessarily have the best moves list. When these characters records improved and they went several matches over .500, the title was usually stripped from them and they were given a shot at another title.
- Television Title - A lower-tier belt that existed, often in larger feds where more belts were deemed necessary. It is obviously relatively equivalent to the WCW TV title, and perhaps the WWF European title. In some feds, instead of being another title this was simply the name of the less than .500 winning percentage title.
- Roleplaying Title - Not all federations had this title, as some feds included roleplaying scores as part of the equation in determining the winners in other matches. Yet some feds included RP-only titles in which %100 of the match was determined by roleplaying. Sometimes posting caps were set, so that the winner was decided by quality instead of quantity. Some handlers (usually those good on the slamming sim who always held other titles) considered this title inferior to other fed sim titles, however RP-based characters often considered the accomplishment of winning an RP title to be greater than winning the fed's top belts.
Cards in CSlam were generally held twice a week, usually with one of the cards being judged as more important than the other (the way Raw is regarded as the "A show" and Smackdown the "B show" - especially before they were separate brands. Common card days were Mondays and Thursdays, like actual mainstream wrestling TV at the time, although numerous other combinations were tried depending on the opinions of slammers and availability of commissioner on certain days. Cards usually included catchy names and led up to a more important card at the end of the month. The card at the end of the month had a different name every month and was usually referred to as a "Free Per View" (obviously based on wrestling Pay Per View events). The top title in the fed, and several other titles were almost always on the line for this event.
The rules of each federation were posted under the Commissioner's Podium. Violation of these terms usually resulted in warnings, short term suspensions, long term expensions, and having your character deleted. Generally these rules included provisions on:
- Inactivity: Slammers that did not post much, or did not simulate matches much (or both). The rules generally left inactive characters off of cards in indy federations, and kicked them out of major feds.
- No-showing: Slammers who did not show up to or RP for card matches that the commissioner booked them in were punished in various forms depending on whether they have previously not shown. Individuals who hold titles or win title matches on sim that no showed usually were stripped of the title or were DQed from the match and their opponent was awarded the belt.
- Match hoarding: Slammers were given 5 matches a day, although they could carry over to following days. Individuals were dissuaded by some commissioners from saving up several matches.
- Jobbing/Padding: Padding is a slammer with a good wrassler fighting in matches against a slammer with a poor record ("padding" his record so that it's even better), and jobbing is the opposite - a slammer with a poor record fighting a slammer with a good record, often attempting to intentionally lose (to a friend or stablemate). Commissioners watched the recent matches pages to make sure this did not occur, and that slammers did not slam the same other characters over and over again. Commissioners also set rules to prevent people from slamming individuals more than a certain number of times a week (excluding cards) or from slamming a character whose record was too dissimilar to their own. Various federations had differing rules, but generally one could not slam a character whose Win-Loss record was more than 20% different than one's own (a 50-40 character could slam a 40-50 character, but a 70-20 character could not).
- OOC: Federations had strict rules against the use of OOC (out of character) dialogue within flashes. Some comical OOC comments were allowed, but any attempts to generate heat through the use of personal comments about other slammer's handlers was prohibited and largely resulted in punishment.
- Language: Profanity and sexual language was generally restricted, as the site was designed to reach a wide range of users (many to most of whom were actually teenagers). Use of swear words and racism would earn suspensions and deletion depending on the severity and situation.
The Commissioner's Podium also included helpful information for roleplaying in the federation. It often described the arena that the federation was set in, the personalities of non-player characters in the feds (such as the Commissioner's Assistants, security, fed doctors, ring announcers, commentators, referees, etc.) On many occasions, a league had consistent roleplaying defaults which meant that a major fed and all of the independants that fell under it shared the same general rules, commentating staffs, and characters. This was not strictly enforced, however, and many indy feds varied from other feds in their league depending on the commissioner. The Podium also described all of the titles of the federation, and the requirements of those titles.
Extra aspects of CSlam
There were several other functions within CSlam that could be used to enhance gameplay, but were not aspects specific to any given federation.
Hammerlock News appeared on the front page of CSlam whenever anyone went the site, prior to going to one's specific federation. Here, fed reporters (who were usually characters within that federation, reporting under a different name) provided news on the happenings in their federation. This served to archive events that had occurred in the federation, and promote the fed to other slammers who may be intrigued by a particular news story. Most news stories were card predictions, card reviews, interviews with particular slammers, and month-end award shows for the top slammers. As the most likely and sensible person to report on what is going on in the fed is an actual person in the fed, some cited the bias of reporters, who sometimes pushed their own agenda or characters. A common solution to this perceived problem is when the fed's reporter was run by the fed's commissioner - although it was entirely voluntary for a commissioner to do this or not, and many did not have the time to do so.
At the time, fantasy wrestling was so popular that the number of people who wanted to report on the happenings in given feds and around CSlam was very high, and many independent off-CSlam news sites were created. These unofficial sites had the advantage of not being restricted by CSlam policies, but most CSlamers knew about several of them from word-of-mouth and OOC boards. For more on these types of sites, see the section on CSlam-related sites below.
Slammers were allowed to create and join stables in CSlam. To do so, they sent an email to "Ironhead," an assistant to the CEO of CSlam, and requested to join or create a stable. In doing so, they submitted their name, federation, email address, the email indicating that you were invited into a stable (if you are trying to join a stable), or the name of the new stable and a short description of the stable (if creating a new one). The benefits of joining a stable were actually marginal, other than stablemates occasionally interfering in a match for you in slamming sim. However, they were very popular to support RP. In Cyberslam's heyday, stable-based feuds such as those with the nWo and DX were extremely popular and the same was so in eWrestling.
Cyberslam had a built-in mailbox function, that allowed you to send an email to any slammer in the game without actually knowing their e-mail. This allowed communication between all characters in the game while at the same time retaining privacy. All slammers had to submit a personal email address to confirm their character when being created, and this email was stored by CSlam to receive messages from other slammers. In the mailbox function, slammers typed the name of the slammer they wished to send a message to, and typed the message, and CSlam sent the message itself. The receiver of the message could then do the same to communicate back, or the two could give each other their personal emails and communicate independently of the site. This feature was extremely popular and existed prior to the rise of many instant messaging tools.
The Ultimate Title
At the end of every month, the top slammers on sim in the major federations would travel to the special CSlam Finals federation and compete to win the title of Ultimate Champion. The main appeal of this title was bragging rights, and to have a picture of that character posted on the main board. These pictures usually used a famed real wrestler (or other celebrity) to symbolize that particular champion. Later pictures—created by the slammer Quint—featured the wrestler/celebrity with unrealistically photoshopped injuries and/or bloodshed, and were generally poorly received by the slammers the pictures were supposed to represent.
Hall of Fame
CSlam maintained a Hall of Fame for its greatest characters. The Hall of Fame was created and maintained by then CSlam president Funky Nassau. The voting process involved use to a shockwave voting applet which was open for each "slammer" to vote once. Originally it was divided into two categories: Builders (commissioners and early figures in the game who helped to establish and run the site), and Legends (the top players). 3 votes were organized during the duration of its existence, and the category of "Veteran" was added to allow the early non-active figures a chance to get voted in.
Some Hall of Fame builders included Widowmaker, The Slammer, Funky Nassau, The Don, Major Fury, Lars, and The Stickler. Legends included Stuman, Coolbreeze, Cometmeeker, Paperbagman (who was also Zipomatic), Xyz, Genocide, Steroidhead, Vigilante, Maskedjobber, Vismajor, and Disease, amongst others.
CSlam Related Sites
At the height of its popularity, many sites dedicated to Cyberslam, but not actually hosted by Scoops, popped up. The majority of these sites were unofficial sites run by the commissioner or a notable player in a particular fed, and dedicated to archiving information from that fed (since histories and flashes in CSlam were cleared often). There were also sites dedicated to specific stables within the game, that allowed for stables to put up bios of their stars and information about their group that was more in-depth than CSlam allowed. Site maintenance vaired from site to site, and many were begun but quickly abandoned by website designers not up to the task.
Most feds also maintained Out of Character (OOC) boards for their federations, to discuss issues about the fed outside of the flashboard without having to be in-character. Although not officially connected to the site, some of these OOC boards requested a civil tone as if it were a part of the site, and punished violators and flamers on these boards. Most people suspended on the flashboards for going OOC were breaking policies by bringing heat from the OOC boards to the flashboard. When there was an informal fed website to a given fed, the OOC board was usually attached to this. OOC boards were mostly hosted by common messageboard hosters at the time, such as Insidetheweb.
One notable OOC board dedicated to Cyberslam as a whole, and not specifically any fed, which did not call for any civility at all amongst participants, was the Board of Doom. The site discussed CSlam at large, and a number of off-topic issues. It was famed for also having vulgar pictures commonly posted to it, in order to gross out the readers. The BoD (as it was commonly abbreviated) became a popular site amongst the more notable characters in the game, and changed hands several times, with its most controller being Paperbagman. Over the years, the site has changed domain names, but still exists several years after CSlam's shutdown, and is still visited by players of CSlam, although the topic of fantasy wrestling has long since been discarded.
In addition to CSlam's official Hammerlock news site, CSlam-news-hungry individuals also maintained their own unofficial news sites to discuss issues in CSlam. Hosting these pages off-site allowed for stories that would otherwise not be allowed to be hosted at CSlam, and individuals were more free to express their views. Notable supplementary CSlam news pages included CSPN, CSPN 2000, Bagman's News & Views, and Branphookers.
The End of Cyberslam
Through its four year history, CSlam had been upgraded several times to improve the site. Beginning at the end of 1999 and moving through 2000, rumors arose—later substantiated by Cyberslam staff—that a major website update was coming, which would involve an overhaul of the Slamming engine that was supposed to have revolutionized the way in which the game was played. The update—alternatively referred to as either "Cyberslam 2000" or "Cyberslam 4.0"—was highly anticipated and promoted throughout 2000, and on numerous occasions Cyberslam staff insinuated that the update would be implemented at the end of an upcoming month.
At some point in 2000, the update was canceled, and work began on "Cyberbrawls," a completely new game which would replace Cyberslam entirely and move the emphasis from wrestling to all forms of fighting sports, including kickboxing and martial arts. The decision was kept secret from Cyberslam players, and rumors of the coming update continued throughout the remainder of 2000.
Without prior notice, Cyberslam was taken offline on February 1, 2001. Visitors to the main site discovered an announcement that Cyberslam was being replaced by "Cyberbrawls"—the name of the new game. Players were informed that their federations and characters had been deleted, and that once Cyberbrawls was fully functional, they would be required to re-register and recreate their players. The announcement was met with shock and a generally negative reaction from longtime players, who viewed the unannounced change and decision to delete their players as a betrayal to their years of loyalty.
In response to the deletion of Cyberslam, members of the staff sympathetic to players' concerns arranged for Cyberslam to be brought back online. Players were allowed to re-access Cyberslam throughout the remainder of February with the knowledge that the site would be being taken down permanently on March 1. Do to the manner in which the transition was conducted, numerous longtime players refused to participate in Cyberbrawls, largely eliminating any anticipated built-in word-of-mouth advertising and damaging the reputation of the team involved in the game's creation.
Although many Cyberslam veterans ultimately registered for Cyberbrawls, the site quickly lost players do to a disorganized structure and poor customer service, largely brought about by the loss of veteran staff that necessitated inexperienced members taking over the site. Additionally, players quickly learned that Cyberbrawls had been programmed with the intention of functioning as a marketing tool, with visitors to the site being forced to view numerous unnecessary pages laden with advertisements. This component of the game quickly backfired, as the burst of the dot-com bubble left the advertisements worthless, yet the very programming of the engine required players to view them. Dedicated players eventually migrated en masse to other games, and Cyberbrawls was rapidly overtaken by trolls, who themselves quickly lost interest in the game. The site remained online for several years afterwards, acting as a dormant data mining page that generated popups in viewer's browsers.
Successors to CSlam
Numerous Cyberslam players effectively retired from e-wrestling following the site's ultimate shutting down. Of those who chose to continue participating in e-wrestling, the majority migrated to wrassle[dot]net, a similarly programmed yet stylistically simpler game that placed heavier emphasis on roleplay as opposed to a game engine, and which ultimately evolved into the "new Cyberslam." As of 2013, it is no longer operating.