INTERVIEW: Maffew of Botchamania – “Wrestling is Amazing in 2016”

Botchamania

Boasting more catchphrases than The Rock in his prime and more nerd culture references than you could shake a Spirit Bomb at, Botchamania has become a phenomenon with wrestling fans around the world. It isn’t hard to see why: I’ve lost many a working afternoon to its charms.

Having recently surpassed 300 editions, the show is probably even more popular than WWE’s own Superstars and Main Event, which really isn’t all that impressive of a feat. Still, Botchamania is a vital part of wrestling culture – where else could we be reminded that 200-pound men can be clumsy bastards sometimes?

The popularity of the show is constantly on the rise, even bleeding through into the mainstream of WWE programming. Dolph Ziggler recently dropped a reference on live TV and chants for it could be heard at NXT Takeover Dallas during a pretty ugly botch.

As a fan of the show, I reached out to Maffew, the Brit behind the madness, to see if he would be interested in answering a few questions. He gladly obliged.

Hi, Maffew. How are you and what was the last thing you ate?
Hi Cultured Vultures! I’m grand boss, it’s a sunny day in Newcastle and I’m eating Tandoori Chicken in a seeded bap. They’ve started selling Naked superjuices in the big bottled in this country too so I’m downing some big purple.

For the uninitiated, can you tell us what Botchamania is and how it was started?
“A bunch of wrestling clips where bad stuff happens and video game music plays” works for me.
The term ”Botchamania” was coined by current Chikara referee Jon Barber as he made the first two videos with a mate. Then someone called JoeyNightHeat made the third video and I assumed anyone could make one so I started in 2007 So I made fourth, a fifth, a sixth and never really stopped. If I’d have known I’d still be making these years later I probably would have changed the name. The video game music, constant Simpsons references, JESSSSUUSSSS etc. are all me but the name and idea of wrestling fuck-up compilations I can’t take.

You recently crossed 300 editions, which is quite impressive. I can’t even commit to breakfast. Did you do much to celebrate?
I was too busy thinking about the next video. And the one after that. Botchamania can’t stop as every week there’s about 128 hours of wrestling and you’re only as good as the last thing you made. It’s motivating.

You always seem to be in the crosshairs of WWE when it comes to copyright, despite all content falling under fair use. How many channels have you had to create and has it ever come to being more than a stern word from them and YouTube?
I lost count but I’m sure there’s been as many YouTube accounts as Owens vs. Zayn matches.

Everyone asks me if I’ve ever been threatened or told to stop or even sued. No, not ever and I doubt I ever will.

Or maybe those are famous last words.

On the topic of copyright and fair use, the YouTube community have been mightily pissed about it lately, leading to movements like WTFU. Any thoughts?
Ha, it’s their footage! They have every right to say ”oi, stop that”.

In order to maintain copyright/trademark over something, a company/person needs to enforce their ownership of it or risk losing it. Because of this, the copyright issues don’t bother me. I’m the bad guy in the situation, I agree my videos should be taken down.

You poke fun at wrestlers, but has there ever been backlash that has had you worried? Iron Sheik given you any beef on Twitter?
Very few wrestlers vent publically about Botchamania, either because they’re smart enough to know being talked about (even negatively) means I win, or they have better things to be worrying about. CZW wrestler Joe Gacy took me to task on Twitter one time and it didn’t go well for him.

Botchamania Joe Gacy

Botchamania Joe Gacy

Botchamania Joe Gacy

Botchamania Joe Gacy

Botchamania Joe Gacy

In fairness, Gacy got good and is currently one of the few CZW wrestlers to get a positive reaction from their crowds so good for him. He explained in an interview later that he was confused at the positive reaction the CZW wrestlers gave me when I went to the Arena in 2012 and if I was him, I’d have felt the same way.

And no, neither Iron Sheik nor his relatives that run his account have given me grief. I have nothing but love for the way Sheik has marketed himself these last ten years.

Who is your favourite wrestler at the minute?
Oh come on, there’s way too many. In no order: Kevin Owens, EC3, Grado, The Amazing Gulaks, Jack Gallagher, Zack Sabre Jr., Jimmy Havoc, Dalton Castle, Rampage Brown, El Ligero and I’ll stop there or I’ll be here all day. Wrestling is amazing in 2016.

And your least favourite?
Joe Gacy.

Nah, just kidding. I’d say any of the dozens of wrestlers on the American Indie scene that insist on trying to make a match seem epic by doing ten million moves basically advertise themself to WWE. ”Look at my range!”

There’s the right way of doing it (Young Bucks, Ricochet, Marty Scurll etc.) and then there’s…well, I’ll be nice and not name anyone. But moves for the sake of moves is fast-forward material to me. Muting the match and playing the theme from Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out helps too.

It seems like there’s been quite the shift in the way WWE do things since WM 32. They look as if they’re putting an emphasis on wrestling over “sports entertainment”, pushing the indie guys that little bit more. What do you think, is it the dawn of a new era?
I’m in two minds about it, because it’s great having all these great matches every week but at the same time I enjoy the gimmicks/backstage segments/promos as much as I do crazy highspots. Turning Raw into PWG is fine, but WWE also needs to remember to have characters be characters and not just star ratings. I much prefer ”I hope this guy wins because I like him” than ”I hope these guys have a good match”.

What goes into making a video? It looks like an assload of hard work.
A lot of wrestling watching! Thankfully accessing wrestling gets easier every year thanks to outlets like the WWE Network, HighSpots, Smart Mark Video etc. Lots of note-taking too, my desk sometimes resembles a serial killer’s.

I wouldn’t say it’s hard work, but it’s very time-consuming. As is responding to tweets, e-mails, FB messages and the like so people don’t think you’re a crazy weirdo.

You’re on Patreon, a platform we love too. How are you finding it? Posting exclusive content to pledgers is a great idea that we might have to steal from you.
People messaging me saying things like ”I’m really sorry I’ve had to stop supporting you via Patreon but money’s tight at the moment” really hit me. I’d reply ”Christ, don’t worry about it, buy food instead!” but Botchamania means a lot to enough people that they’re willing to pay a little to say ”thanks for the hard work”. There’s no bigger compliment and I’m happy as hell I discovered Patreon. It’s expensive being a wrestling fan.

I’m very lucky and grateful for Patreon’s aid and all the people who watch the videos, donators or not.

And finally, if you could change one thing about modern wrestling, what would it be?
Hm, good question. ”Less talk about trending on Twitter” on commentary is all I can think of.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Huge fan of the show and hope you stick around for 300 more editions.
Always a pleasure to talk to people who ask nicely.

And yeah, I think I’m cursed to make these until Botchamania 500.

Oh poor me boo hoo.

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