Video Game Championship Wrestling
Bazza87 is an internet nerd who found and/or created a bunch of character mods for profesional wrestling video game WWE ’13. The kicker is that all of the characters come from various popular video game franchises. Bazza87 merely turns on the AI and throws them at each other for a clanky ridiculous mess. And it is great.
The characters are statted out in the in-game character designer, given skins, and thrown at each other in various contests and tournaments. It is a lowest common denominator diversion, and it’s far more entertaining than it has any right to be. I was watching lumps of vaguely human-shaped polygons dressed as Charles Barkley and Phoenix Wright bash each other while Bazza87 played this hilarious mashup on repeat and all I could think was, “Moments like this are why I live on the internet.” The cheap visceral thrills of watching Wreck-It Ralph get demolished by puerile reviewer James Rolfe or Nappa fighting Gabe Newell of Valve cannot be denied.
So why am I so enthralled by a reskinning of some brainless game I never would have appreciated otherwise? The game itself doesn’t look horrible, and since Bazza87 randomizes it all, there’s the Skinner Box appeal of unpredictability when I press that rat lever in anticipation of pellets. And there’s a certain feeling from being part of a spectacle, something that appeals to my reptilian brain. I’m part of a crowd that all thinks the same thing and is gawking at the same thing. Believe it or not, being part of a group feel great, even if you aren’t accomplishing anything. I’m not as above-it-all as I imagined I was.
I think Bazza87 lives in England, so subtract about eight hours if you want to know when the broadcasts are in real people time. He doesn’t seem to have any set schedule; I’m sure he has a day job and a private life like reasonable humans. Just because I live like a hermit doesn’t mean I don’t understand those who don’t.
He’s got an official YouTube account (and there are several unofficial ones) where he uploads some of the more interesting bouts. Remember, he doesn’t control them, he just creates circumstances in which these character pummel each other, like some bizarro steroid-riddled petri dish. He merely points a camera down the microscope and lets us join the ridiculous spectacle.
Bazza87 got temporarily shut down a couple days for posting some stupid Dragonball Z porn gif that apparently comes from 4chan, the kidney stone of the internet. But according to his Twitter he seems to be in good standing with Twitch TV right now. So he didn’t disappear, he probably just has more important things to do on weekdays than run tournaments for doubly fictional characters in Royal Rumbles for the enjoyment of fighting game fans. But I’m grateful for every time he does.