I want to give a comprehensive answer on this, as I feel it's important to understand what the intentions with this belt are. But as per usual, I'll add a TL;DR for anyone doesn't want to read the wall of text.
My attention span is fading, winner. Please briefly summarize
- This title, like all titles, serves as a plot device and as a goal for characters to chase/achieve. They also serve to add prestige to characters that win them, defend them, and challenge for them. Notable champions and challengers add prestige to belts themselves. Belts add prestige to rising stars.
- This title is a cut above all the others. It is not restricted to weight class and is only open to wrestlers that have challenged for other belts before as eligible challengers.
- The criteria to challenge for this belt is canonically public knowledge in LAW and the world in which LAW is situated. The belt is meant to be won from and defended against LAW's finest. Most folks in LAW (and maybe some characters and entities outside the company) have a strong desire to win the belt or see it won by the best, most upstanding wrestlers out there.
- I've compiled a list of current World Openweight Title Contenders. Please scroll down and find it in a spoiler below and contact me if you see any mistakes or if it's unclear how to get your character included on said list.
What is this title? Like World Titles in IRL wrestling promotions, The LAW Openweight Title serves as the greatest championship/accomplishment/accolade for a wrestler to attain in the company. You may be asking yourself what makes it more special than the weight belts or the other belts. For starters, it's the Openweight Belt. It is not locked to a specific weight class like the Heavyweight belt is, for example. It is not meant to be defended anywhere like the LAWLESS belt. Everyone at LAW across the board has to meet the same qualifications to challenge for it no matter who they are. Of course, every belt, event, tournament, and so forth carries its own weight in wrestling and in LAW. But because The Openweight title is open to everyone and almost LAW wrestler has a desire to win it, you can imagine that there is more competition and more designs to win The Openweight Belt than there are for other titles in the promotion.
What are those qualifications for this title?
As most everyone knows, a wrestler must complete 3 matches in LAW before they can challenge for a singles title, regardless of whether they win or lose those three matches. In order to be recognized as an eligible challenger for the LAW Openweight Title, a wrestler must challenge for any official LAW Title besides the Loser Title. Additionally, any wrestler that qualifies to make an appearance at the Inaugural Openweight Title Event, LAW Apex will be eligible to contend for the Openweight Title after an inaugural champion is crowned.
How will we keep track of eligible challengers for the Openweight belt? That sounds tough
It is. Running LAW is tough, too, but I try my best. We'll keep track of Openweight Title Contenders with this table I made.
World Openweight Title Contenders
Please note that a wrestler will only be recognized as a World Openweight Title Contender if 1) They have challenged for an official LAW Title besides the loser title, not a custom or unofficial title, 2) If they had 3 completed matches prior to challenging for said official LAW title, and 3) if their title match has been seen through to completion. Title defenses that are in progress or otherwise remain incomplete will not yield Openweight Contender Status to the challenger.
How does the title prestige work anyways? What counts as prestigious/reputable? How does one belt really compare to another at the end of the day?
The thing about belt prestige and the weight of accomplishments in pro wrestling, in general, is that it's all subjective and open-ended. There is not one right way to establish a noteworthy champion or challenger. It's up to how you want to RP it. The way you adapt and leverage PPV's, events, belts, tournaments, and other big happenings at LAW is entirely up to you to decide.
Generally speaking, there are a few rules of thumb and guidelines, but none of them are hard rules, just pointers. Many folks (both in and out of kayfabe/canon) believe that a champion is only as good as the challengers that they defend against and the quality of those title matches that result from them. Many people believe that a title is only relevant and worthwhile if it demonstrated that people want it and are willing to chase it. Some folks believe that if you're not wrestling with the intention of becoming a world champion someday (regardless of whether or not you actually get there), that you shouldn't be wrestling at all.
Of course, I believe these things, myself. But you don't have to and more importantly, your characters don't have to. There are wrestlers who have based huge lengths of their careers around titles that aren't the world title or the top title for their promotion. You could have a hardcore wrestler that lives and breathes the LAWLESS championship their whole career. You could have a middleweight that lives for no other reason other than the try and rule the middleweight division. You could choose to forego titles entirely and not care about them at all. No one is forcing anyone to participate in LAW happenings regarding titles.
At the end of the day, it's my job to make sure that everyone can have fun on LAW and titles are another tool and plot device implemented to help the LAW universe feel more connected and grounded, but they're also another tool to help people have fun and add weight and prestige to stories and characters. And it is my job to help manage them (and manage everything else on LAW) for the purpose of giving people avenues to have fun.
I'm digressing, though. Let me try to address the point of what prestige is and how it matters for belts. No good title match happens without a good champion and a good challenger. And just because a character wants a belt or some other accomplishment, doesn't mean that they have to win it. A character arc can be advanced or can climax by simply fighting for a huge accolade like a wrestling championship, or even fighting for a chance to become the number one contender or a chance to win it in a royal rumble or a ladder match or something. This probably makes sense to readers that are already wrestling fans, but for those of you that are not, please let me try to appeal to whatever inner sense of sportsmanship you may have.
A championship in any sport or discipline is a legacy that in one way or another, embodies the sweat, blood, tears, effort, and emotions of everyone that ever stepped up to contend for it and everyone that ever invested their time (and their bodies in the case of wrestling and LAW) into it. Notable challengers add prestige and credibility to championship reigns and defenses. Notable champions add prestige and credibility to belts. And notable belts add prestige and credibility to the challengers that go on to win them and become new champions. Each step adds weight to the next one. It's all one big cycle that's ultimately meant to elevate characters and advance stories.
It's a poorly made diagram, but you get the point
And by fueling that cycle, and competing in for belts, in tourneys, in big events, in LAW Apex, etc. by having characters physically and verbally show their desire for The LAW Openweight Belt in things like the I Am The LAW promo special, everyone shows that the belt is something characters have a desire for and are willing to chase. And that adds weight to The Openweight Belt and to other belts when they are won or contended by established characters or by characters that are trying to further establish themselves.
Are there any kayfabe elements to the Openweight Championship that we should be aware of?
I went over the fact that I can't tell you how each of your characters should feel about belts, as that's something for you to decide. But I can decide the kayfabe elements. Here are a few things about the Openweight Championship that we can say applies in-universe/in-canon.
You can assume that the World Openweight Champion is being paid more by LAW than the rest of the roster and you can assume that the champion is heavily featured in promotional material, merchandise, etc. And you can assume that getting the chance to challenge for it and being the #1 contender for it is a big deal.
The World Openweight Belt is the pinnacle of championships at LAW. This means that winning it is a bigger accolade than winning any of the other championships. And that just as the loser's championship is meant for the bottom of the barrel, the Openweight Championship is meant for the best of the best. While each character and each roleplayer is allowed to evaluate the titles however they'd like, the way I'll be treating the hierarchy of championships is that Openweight is at the top, the weight belts and tag belts are on par with each other one level below the Openweight Belts, the Hentai and LAWLESS belts serve slightly more niche purposes so I put them in an "other" category but they're both respectable in their own rights. The Loser Championship is several floors below all the rest at the bottom.
Of course, this is all subjective, but I would treat the above as the prevailing attitude by fans and commonfolk/unnamed NPC's in LAW RP. You are allowed to have your characters have different takes on belts. And the hierarchy above doesn't mean that a Heavyweight Championship storyline isn't as compelling or as meaningful as an Openweight Championship storyline or title defense. We can very easily see a big PPV Middleweight or LAWLESS Championship match main event a PPV or some other event if the story has enough weight and if the challengers are reputable enough. Something like a Title vs Career match is high-stakes and could easily break this hierarchy for a PPV or for an event. And events structured around titles besides the Openweight Title are still quite meaningful. At the end of the day, the reason for the number of available titles is to give people multiple avenues to have championship storylines. I want to believe that I've made LAW into a place where it doesn't feel like a given character has nothing to do. And I feel like all the events and titles and weight divisions have helped push that notion.
Is writing quality a concern for Openweight title matches and reigns? Or for titles in general?
I've been asked this very sparingly over the years. As the admin, I generally try to stay away from the idea of trying to get roleplayers to write a specific way or to write a certain amount per post. I think putting constraints and limits on how you RP on LAW would only lend itself towards people having less fun, not more.
That being said, I think that each roleplayer owes it to themselves to write something they're proud of for big matches and big stories, especially ones that they are proud of. If your character's biggest match, be it a title defense, tournament finals, big grudge match against an opponent they have a tense rivalry with - if your character's magnum opus/the climax of their big story/conflict/feud can be summarized with a short series of 1 sentence posts, then it's very hard to get the impression that it was ever that big a story angle to begin with. I will probably never administer a hard requirement for post length or post quality for any event or title match. And that is because I trust that almost everyone that's actually invested in these things will find a way to keep themselves to a certain level of rp quality. If I ever feel like that's not the case, I'll be sure to take it up with those users personally.
Will we be adding more titles in the future? We have quite a few.
I do not plan to add titles in the near future. As I've expressed in the post explaining the details for the LAW Apex Inaugural Openweight Championship Event, there are very many titles and very many events. Apex itself is a long-running event. And while I do find it to be a fun idea, the nature and structure of it mean that it will be some amount of IRL time before we crown an Openweight Champion. Before I even entertain the idea of additional belts after Openweight, I need to make sure that the current title scene is being handled well enough and that it's healthy and there are no community grievances for it.
Sometime later down the line, I could consider the idea. But the immediate priorities for me as an admin are making sure that the current tourneys, events, and title scene are in a good place. For anyone reading this that is insistent about specific new titles being introduced, like a mixed division title, or a smother championship, as those are titles people have brought up to me, if you can show me that there is a demand for these titles. That people are actively engaging in the mixed division or that there is enough user activity and demand for people to actively vie for a mixed title or a smother title, there may come a day where it can happen. But I need to know that the demand is there and I need to settle the more immediate matters first. I'll wrap up with what I feel is an important message regarding titles.
Thank you all for continuing to be a huge part of what makes LAW a success
And thank you for reading!