It’s up to you – Slammed! is a 250,000 word choose-your-own adventure novel that looks to get under the oily skin of amateur wrestling. It’s a tale of honour, friendship and betrayal, but it’s played out by bunch of angry men in brightly coloured leotards. Real scary, guys – we’re shaking in our boots.
While the slams and suplexes are all there in the text, the best bits of Slammed! are the glimpses into the side of wrestling you don’t see. The slow, arduous struggle through the amateur ranks, the backstage politics and the camaraderie along the way – yes, there’s more to wrestling than meets the eye.
It’s up to you what kind of wrestler you want to be, so choose your gender, style, sexuality, entrance music and whether you’d like to be a face (that’s a fan favourite, in wrestling speak) or a heel (a villain). Do you see yourself as a powerful heavyweight? A skilled technician? Or a star on the mic? These are the decisions that we made long ago in our heads – right about the moment that we saw Mankind flying off the steel cage at King of the Ring 1998 – but you may want to have a think about it, as each variation comes with its own storylines and moral dilemmas.
For instance, before our wrestling debut a veteran opponent approaches us in the locker room to say he has some friends in the crowd. Our character was supposed to win the match convincingly to make a name for himself, but is asked to turn it into more of an even contest – is this small favour worth rubbing the manager up the wrong way, not to mention putting your debut in jeopardy? We decide to get on with it and win the match convincingly, but decisions like this won’t make you any friends backstage.
There are many thoughtful storylines like this, although if we have one complaint it’s that they don’t often go as dark as they might do. We’d have liked to have seen a little of the grim reality of trying to make ends meet while living the life of an amateur wrestler, but Slammed! is mostly based around your relationships in the business. The design of the novel is fairly plain as well, and it might have been enhanced with a few illustrations of the characters that you meet along the way.
THE BOTTOM LINE
And that’s the bottom line, ‘cos Stone Cold said so! We’ve been waiting for a wrestling app so we could say that, and thankfully this one delivers. Often in surprising ways too; Slammed! is not just engaging, but a bizarrely moving wrestling adventure.