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I am sure many here may have gone through that prepubescent fad in their lives where they found interest in 'waching men grapple and throw one another off cages' - as your mum might put it. These of course were the days of the WWF attitude era, and at ten years of age I probably had a slight obsession with the programming despite how fake it maybe. Growing up many, myself included, would begin to throw out the old three inch wrestler figures and the rest in place of the new obsession.. namely, girls. However, I have over the past few years once again been keeping my eye on the wrestling industry ('WWE') and whilst this tracking the shows doesn't quite add up to an obsession, I am happy to have the guilty pleasure of watching the odd show.
Everybody on the internet has their own opinion and want to get it heard, and with the idea of wrestling rumour sites you also get a fair bunch of discussion forums. This is when in 2001, I discovered 3StrandWrestling - a new forum community that allowed for discussions spanning over all three strands of the wrestling business (at that time it was WWF, WCW and ECW). I find it increasingly difficult to find a good forum community, because whilst you want your opinion heard by a large amount of people, you do not want to have your opinion overshadowed by countless others with something to say on the topic. Luckily, jumping on board with this forum community early meant I got there just in time to become a recognised name.
I have never understood quite how someone can join up to a forum such as Digitalspy and expect to get anything from the experience, most of what is posted there is one liners and you have ever increasing numbers of pages to search through - I mean, that must take an incredible amount of dedication to even read half of what everyone thinks. Most recently I have been looking for a good forum to discuss hit television show, 'Lost', but unfortunately I have just been trapped between the two extremes. 4815162342.com is constantly busy, with many topics popping up discussing the same theories, and quite frankly most of them there are just idiots. LostUK on the other hand is a site I discovered that has quite a small community, but it is slow - perhaps on the edge of dying - and has a quite awful layout, attempting to be something it's not.
3SWForums.com is my happy medium, and whilst I stopped using the main site almost immediately after I found the forums, having a link directly to the community means I do not have to scramble around the now defunct site now I want to check things out. Quite frankly, 3SW is like no other forum I have ever joined before, and at one point was dubbing itself as one of the most intelligent and exclusive forum communitys on the internet - suggesting even having some sort of intelligence test for new members due to the ever increasing number of untalented 'newbies'. There has been tight groups between 'posters', not to mention the odd falling out, but there was always someone there that would be good to talk to. Even though I frequent the site nowhere near as much I still keep in contact with one of these posters as we have so many common interests in television shows, video games, etc.
Although primarilly a wrestling forum, 3SW is in no way shape or form afraid to expand away from its wrestling background, and general chat can sometimes become one of the key elements of the site. The beauty is though that this general chat is not in the form of threads going off topic, but rather everyone is always on topic 99% of the time meaning if you are looking for something you are not going to be bogged down by a lot of chat you don't want to read. Similar to Ciao's own 'product of the week', 3SW has its own 'poster of the month' competition. There have been changes over the years since it was established in 2002, and also disagreements over if the winner was really a worthy one, but the award still stays strong and at the end of every year a 'poster of the year' is crowned based off the past twelve months POTM winners. 3SW also holds annual awards for other areas, such as best topic starter.
Considering the forums have been established for almost eight years now there have been ups and downs, as well as changes to the admin and moderator staff. I was at one point even an administrator, many moons ago. The past couple of years have not beent he best for 3SW however, with certain members moving on and due to a lack of advertising I believe the forum no longer receives its hundreds of thousand views a month. This is partly down to the founder of the website shifting his interest to his own independant wrestling federation, known as IPW:UK. The man behind the curtain of 3SW is cerainly one with a lot of ambition.
One of the most glorious moments of 3SW's lifespan has to be the infamous 'prank' - I know what you're probably thinking, what is the point in a prank on a website? Well, it made for a hilarious ending to a weekend where the owner of the site faked selling to some long serving members. These 'new owners' then went on a spree of discussing changes to the website, such as a draft meaning posters could only take part in discussions in certain areas, not to mention a pink colour change. Over the few days this prank went on many members were furious and threatening walkouts, so when it all came to a head on the final day many were relieved and embarrassed by their behavior. Of course there were also the few that didn't read the whole post on the new changes to the site, so didn't get to the end where it said it was all a joke.
The fact that a wrestling forum can only have three separate boards for wrestling discussion is a testiment to these quick thinking members and shows how witty discussion can be held elsewhere. 'Creative Works' has also been a pinacle of the forum, where members have posted their own soap operas based off the members of the forum as well as showcased their graphic designing abilities. 'Entertainment' has always been the place to go to discuss the latest movies, whilst 'Sports' has satisfied those with an interest in American fantasy football. You also get your 'MiniGames' area for those who love the one word and reply games to pass the time when you have nothing better to do. All in all it is slightly a shame that the community is beginning to get stretched due to the recent lack of members, but there memories shall always live on.. and should IPW:UK fail I would expect a flood of new members in the next advertising campaign.