The Add-A-Ball Wrestling Federation is a series of pinball tournaments held amongst friends (and rivals) at Add-A-Ball Amusements in Seattle. There are no buy-ins, pay-outs or IFPA points as the main (and only) point of it is the fun. There is also no actual wrestling. It’s a unique format which has attracted as many fans as it has participants and can be seen as an example of not only an outside-the-box way of enjoying pinball, but as one of the activities that makes Seattle the real center of the national pinball scene. WOOOO! -ed
THE ADD-A-BALL WRESTLING FEDERATION
By Ro Chelle
In Seattle there are endless pinball entertainment choices, but Add-A-Ball (AAB) is the only sanctioned arena in the World Wide Pinball Wrestling Entertainment Association (WWPWEA). Developed among Seattle’s pinball underground, the Add-A-Ball Wrestling Federation (AABWF) is a dedicated effort by two friends to bring true drama and high stakes competition back to pinball as a sport. Challenges are public and targeted, most often initiated via the internet, so a healthy rivalry is established to the benefit of fans and players alike. You may ask, what do wrestling and pinball have in common? Start pulling that thread and it becomes clear how seamlessly the two sports fit together. Fast-paced action, head-to-head competition, fearless athleticism, shocking victories, jaw-dropping upsets, and most importantly: shit-talking. Bragging rights for the AABWF are more hotly contended than any other format in the history of pinball.
Initially devised by Paul Williams and James Frost-Winn, who share passions for pinball and World Wrestling Entertainment, the wrestling concept immediately took on a life of its own. Whether fans of the current WWE universe or nostalgic for last century’s WWF heyday, the player vs. player dynamic of pins lends easily to the parallel. Taking no prisoners in its first season, the AABWF sparked competitive creativity amidst every type of player. Originally offering a Hardcore belt to the singular champion, the Heavyweight and US Title belts appeared soon after. A tag team belt found its way into circulation due to a monthly split-flip tournament held on second Sundays at AAB. Over time, four more titles were added to the milieu as new contestants established new criteria for victory.
While some belts have caveats to challenge, most of them are open to anyone that can make a case for themselves. That said, it takes a delicate balance of suave and skill to easily walk among the belted. Many challengers have only held leather for minutes before another comes to claim their prize. Even with the One True belt, where the current holder gets to choose custom rules of battle, opponents can steal titles unexpectedly. One retired Hardcore champion offers this advice to rookies: “Establish your character before anything else. Offer challenges without even worrying about belts. Just be there for pure competition.” He believes that is the best way to establish yourself as a true contender. When asked why he chose to retire, the anonymous AABWF veteran would only say, “I decided to stop fighting Paul and let him do his thing.”
More information on the nefarious Paulocracy™ and other AABWF details, such as the original constitution, can be found at www.facebook.com/742107149310186/
This article originally appeared in Skill Shot issue 54