Grudge Match (website)
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Grudge Match, also known as the WWWF (World Wide Web Fights), is a website that stages fictitious fights and contests between pop culture characters and icons. Highly interactive, Grudge Match is almost exclusively text-based and relies on viewers to vote for the outcome of matches and comment on the matches with their own insights.
How a Grudge Match works
Every month (formerly every week or two weeks), a new Grudge Match is declared. The contestants are named and the scenario is defined. Most Grudge Matches are straightforward fights, but there have also been races, cooking, eating, and drinking contests, hockey games, and even reality dating competitions. Comedy, rather than violence, is the main theme of Grudge Match.
After this, two (or more) members of the Grudge Match Staff write their commentary on who they believe would win, in the form of an organized debate. First one commentator argues why his pick would win, then the second rebuffs the first and provides his own arguments, then the first debates further, and finally the second wraps it up. The commentary is analytical but often delves into nit-picking, bizarre cross-referencing, and personal jabs.
After the commentary, the viewer is encouraged to vote on their choice to win. They are also given the option to write in their own insights on the match. These comments could be straightforward analyses, rants, songs and poetry, play-by-plays; nearly anything goes. Comments favoring either contestant are welcome, regardless of who wins.
When the next Grudge Match is declared, the outcome (according to the votes) of the previous Grudge Match is revealed, and the best viewer comments are published. Both the outcome and comments become permanent parts of the site archives.
Grudge Match contestants
Grudge Matches usually are staged between two characters who are superficially similar (like Han Solo vs. James T. Kirk or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vs. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) or are at odds with each other (like Beetlejuice vs. the Ghostbusters or Cookie Monster vs. the Keebler Elves).
Grudge Match contestants can be from television, movies, cartoons, sports, video games, or larger-than-life real people. The focus is on characters, not celebrities. This is the key that keeps Grudge Match from being a retread of Celebrity Deathmatch (which the creators are quick to point out debuted after Grudge Match did).
The unofficial Grudge Match mascot is Mr. T.
Special Grudge Matches
Every year, viewers are asked to choose their eight favorites out of all of the Grudge Match contestants who have won matches in the previous year. The eight that receive the most votes go on to compete in a Tournament of Champions. This practice began in the fourth year, and three retroactive Tournaments of Champions were staged to make up for the three years that passed before the Tournaments were created.
In the winter of 2003, the eight winners of the Tournaments of Champions clashed in the Tournament of Tournament of Champions Champions. The contestants were Mr. T, Chewbacca, Indiana Jones, the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Yoda, Jackie Chan, the United States Army under George W. Bush, and Gandalf the Grey. The winner - and thus, the "uber-champion" - was Yoda.
Grudge Match history
Grudge Match was invented in 1995 by Cornell University students Steve Levine and Brian Wright. Steve and Brian operated the site by themselves (with an occasional guest commentator) until 1998, when they brought the site to an end. A while later, a group of regular viewers called the STGF (Save the Grudge Foundation) created a site called "Ground Zero" to continue the Grudge Match tradition with new fights, with Steve and Brian's blessing. Ground Zero was online for over a year when CI Host, their server, suffered a debilitating crash. Fed up, the owners returned the Grudge Match to its own domain, and Steve and Brian returned to active involvement in the site. It has stayed this way ever since.
In 2005, after the Battle of the Orphans, Grudge Match would end, but not before one final match of them all. For more info, see Grudge Match, The End.
Grudge Match staff
These ten publish all of the Grudge Matches, write the commentary and decide which viewer comments will be published.
- Steve Levine
- Brian Wright
- Paul Golba
- Paul Branchaud, known as "Hotbranch!"
- Shane Tourtellotte, known as "Call Me Shane"
- Mark Wentz
- Joe Weber, known as "Some Dork"
- John Hnatyshyn (no relation to the former Governor General of Canada), known as "Thinkmaster General"
- Brendan W. Guy
- Dave Nelson, known as "1/2 Nelson"
- Dave Nelson is the replacement for Jeff Barton, who has since retired from the Grudge Match.
Grudge Match conventions and in-jokes
Commentators and viewers alike have created these conventions, which are now staples on the site (to the point of overuse).
- The RAGE: The idea that a contestant has suppressed rage and anxiety due to circumstances in his life, and can channel that rage into extra strength.
- The BABE Factor: Named for Barbara Eden (the Beautiful Alluring Barbara Eden Factor), this is the chance that a contestant will be voted for on the sole criterion of sexual attractiveness.
- MENTOS-Level Coolness: Named for the inherent coolness of characters in commercials for Mentos mints, this is the highest standard of cool, and sometimes allows a contestant to win on that criterion alone.
The first was made after the Starship Enterprise was defeated by the Death Star in a landslide, saying Star Trek will never win a match (specifically if the opponent is from Star Wars, especially if it's a good guy, for The Borg & Khan Nooien Singh both won before Scotty).
The second was made after Homer Simpson got more than four times as many votes as Norm Peterson (giving the Simpsons a 4-1 record at the time, for Itchy & Scratchy fought each other), saying any Simpsons character will win their matches.
The latter was created after The famed English Soccer Hooligans ran rampant over The French Army. However, these are not definite rules, for Scotty won his match against The Professor (Spock vs. Data does not count since both are Star Trek characters), Ned Flanders and Lisa Simpson lost their matches plus the said Itchy vs. Scratchy fight, and Frenchman Jacques-Yves Cousteau was the victor in his match (a search for life on Mars against Marlin Perkins).
- Giving reasons for backup to contestants: This term is for viewers giving support to a fighter by giving them backup. This is either specific (Fat Albert's Junkyard Gang helping him) or bizarre but connected by a thin string between the contestant & support, such as Odie getting help from The Simpsons because in the Garfield show, Garfield's voice was Lorenzo Music, whose fame before then was Rhoda, which had Julie Kavner, the future voice of Marge Simpson.
- Adding a character to the fray: If a viewer doesn't like the two (but can't use the Mangled & Killed option), he/she adds another similar one and refers to how that one will win. This was also used in Survivor! by using the eliminated contestants to help/hinder the contestants that can be voted on.
- Both Mangled and Killed: A write-in option for when neither contestant is well liked. Occasionally it is a legitimate voting option. It has spelled the doom of, among others, Wesley Crusher, Barney the Dinosaur, Al Gore, AOL, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Scrappy-Doo and Jar Jar Binks (although the latter two were mere pawns for Carrot Top). It has also taken the form of 'Both Strike Out', leading to the humiliation of Sam Malone and The Fonz. It was also one of the first "second vote in a match" options, taking out Tori Spelling, Julia Sweeney, Madonna, Elizabeth Berkley, and Cindy Crawford by a firebreath from Pamela Anderson's husband at the Grudge Match website, Godzilla. A tie can also pave the way for a Both Mangled & Killed result, as in the infamous Friends vs. Seinfeld match.
- Something vs. Its Weight in Something Else's: Began with the classic Rottweiler vs. A Rottweiler's Weight in Chihuahuas. The Chihuahuas have shown up in several matches since, and the Something vs. Its Weight in Something Else's has shown up in several matches as a response, such as the duel between Moses and Imhotep.
Sometimes a viewer will develop his own running jokes. A viewer named "Devin the Mental Hospital Escapee" is infamous for his homicidal rage towards Brendan W. Guy. The excessive zeal of "Vlad the Wonder Hamster" prompted the Grudge Match Staff to raise a fictional "Sedate Vlad Fund". And a group of fanatical Braveheart fans known as the Braveheart Jihad (there is no Jihad) have declared eternal war on The Simpsons after William Wallace lost to Groundskeeper Willie, despite their pro-Wallace vote-stuffing.
Grudge Match in other media
Live Grudge Matches are occasionally staged at convention centres. Any upcoming live Grudge Matches are promoted on the site. "Grudge-Match, Da Book", published in 1997, features material not found on the site (although the book-exclusive matches are now archived on the site).
The owners of Grudge Match are eager to make Grudge Match into a television show. And, they still are, even though the site shut down new productivity.
Grudge Match, The End
On January 31, 2005, after the Battle of the Orphans, Grudge Match said it was ending its fights, never to come back. However, one final match was made to comment on the jumping the shark thing. This match was between the top votes from Jumping the Shark.com which consisted of The Simpsons, American Idol, Full House (you can't vote for this since it qualifies as "Day One"), Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, The Wonder Years, The X-Files, The Dukes of Hazzard, Seinfeld, & NYPD Blue to see which one related to Grudge Match the most.
The match, also included the history of Grudge Match after Ground Zero & included how Dragon Hamster Productions (their company) donated money to the relief efforts of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, as well as Brian Wright getting a job at Auburn University.
Grudge Match also e-mailed fans that there will be a final site close-out on April 4, 2005.