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Flyin' Brian

Wrestling Bookers

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Something I've been thinking about recently:

1. Who is someone with booking experience that you would like to see have a chance to be in charge of booking a promotion again?

My vote goes to Paul Heyman. I doubt he'll ever be put in charge of WWE even if Vince were to pass away, but I wouldn't mind seeing someone bring him in and let him take over for a while, whether it's a promotion that could use a shot in the arm like Ring of Honor or something new. 

2. Who is someone without experience that deserves a shot at booking? 

My vote for that goes to Scott Hall. If he has his demons in check I believe he could be great at it, based on how much he is given credit for helping develop angles and characters that have been successful. (Crow Sting, Goldberg, NWO, reinventing himself as Razor Ramon)

What do you think?

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Now that he seems to have his life back in order from a personal demon standpoint, I'd like to see what Jake Roberts could come up with. His comprehension of psychology is unparalleled, in my book, and I wonder how it would translate on screen.

 

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I've never understood "Scott Hall = untapped creative potential". The only people I've ever heard lionising him are his best mates (who just happen to be world-class bullshit artists). I'm not buying a one-off "Hey, Sting. Brandon Lee's Crow gimmick is cool. I can't steal it but you should" as proof of anything but laziness - he didn't actually come up with anything himself; there's not a hint of originality, just plagiarism. His portrayal of the Razor character was nicked straight from a film, too, come to think of it.

And maybe his demons gave him what is considered his creativity? Either way, he comes across as a post-coma Gordy these days so I don't think he'd be able to contribute much. I'd give Heyman a shot at storylines (meh, why not? (rhetorical question)) and use Cornette for finishes.

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Hall has shown some keen insights about how to get himself over that I never considered before (he did lots of moves involving holding up the opponent for long periods of time--not just the Razor's Edge but also the fallaway slam/blockbuster/"sack of shit"--because they made for good magazine photos. Stuff like that). There's a difference between getting yourself over and getting others over, granted.

Now, Sean Waltman is definitely someone I'd tap into to be a finish/layout guy. Even in his teens working with Jerry Lynn on Minnesota indies, he was showing an ability to not just ape the latest HOT MOVEZ from Japan but also Japan juniors-style psychology--he's a rare wrestling tape-watcher who learned most of the right lessons instead of being all about movez and kickouts.

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Speaking of good finish guys, Johnny Ace used to be cited as one. How accurate is that? How overrated or underrated is he with finishes specifically?

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I second the Sean Waltman mention, he seems like a guy who really gets the parts of the business most folks don't I can't imagine why he's never been given a shot at being a producer anywhere, he must not want to do the daily grind anymore. 

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6 hours ago, C.S. said:

Speaking of good finish guys, Johnny Ace used to be cited as one. How accurate is that? How overrated or underrated is he with finishes specifically?

Worked in All Japan with the best wrestlers in the world and the best booker in the world for way too long to not pick up something. He also pretty much invented the Cutter, before DDP picked it up and made it the hottest finish in the world.

As far as booker goes, I honestly have no idea, only I'd pretty much not want anyone over 50 whose heyday was in the 90's or before and no one whose claim to fame is working for WWE only in the past 20 years. I want pro-wrestling from the future. 

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One important thing to keep in mind is that wrestlers who become bookers tend to book in their own image because that's what they know best. Jerry Jarrett loved skinny blondes who could bleed and sell. Bill Watts loved big strong ex-jocks. When Dusty got the book in the Carolinas, he turned the company into a blood circus. We see that even today with Gedo loading (many would say overloading) New Japan with Southern heel shtick. With that in mind, I like the Waltman suggestion. He seems like he'd be an effective bridge between wrestling's past and its future since the trend is toward smaller and more athletic workers.

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Women. I don't know who the best mind is out there. But if wrestling is serious about promoting women, give one the book.

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6 minutes ago, Al said:

Women. I don't know who the best mind is out there. But if wrestling is serious about promoting women, give one the book.

AJPW was booked by men. Having a woman booker for the sake of it (and only booking the women side of it) because #feminism is window dressing. If you're a great mind, either man or woman, just have the book and book the promotion, gender has nothing to do with it.

With that said, Missy Hyatt sure could probably have been part of any booking team at one point.

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I've probably derailed the topic irreparably :unsure:

But AJPW for all its glory forced women to retire at 26. Giving women a strong voice helps to quell those paternalistic tendencies and create more storylines to appeal to a wider audience, as well as give the women themselves more agency.

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2 hours ago, El-P said:

As far as booker goes, I honestly have no idea, only I'd pretty much not want anyone over 50 whose heyday was in the 90's or before and no one whose claim to fame is working for WWE only in the past 20 years. I want pro-wrestling from the future. 

Yeah, maybe 10-15 years ago I'd have been interested to see Raven or Shane Douglas do it (Shane did in XPW for a hot minute), but not today.

Most of the guys I'd have picked a couple of years ago get to do so now in AEW. 

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A female booker is an interesting idea, a lot of people in the Impact thread seem high on Madison Rayne, maybe she would be a good choice. Being involved with commentary and production I’m sure is a bonus. 

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My answer has to be a guy who I don't think would ever have any interest in being a real coach/booker/agent but, for my dollar, is the most spot-on guy I've heard talk at length about wrestling: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

You can go back to his podcasts from 4-5 years ago and he sounds like he'd fit in right here on this board. Whether it was asking "What is a Seth Rollins?" (I think it was only in his last run that we finally saw a legit answer to that question) or his regular post-PPV analyses with Wade Keller, his takes were always really good and, more than anything, constructive. Like, he'd criticize a match or say he didn't like something - but give a valid explanation for where it went wrong, what they could've done to fix it, where a guy or gal needed to...pause...for a beat...to get the audience back or bring the match to a higher gear. And unlike Shawn or Triple H, Austin's answer was usually something subtle like a small smirk, a look over the shoulder, a small gesture, not forced histrionics. As much as I've loved Roman Reigns' latest run, for example, I'm not sure I like guys crying in the ring as a high spot.

Again, I don't think Austin has any interest whatsoever in having any sort of office job. He's got plenty of money and I don't think he feels there are any unfulfilled tasks or goals in the business. He's just a fan now and clearly a fan that still watches stuff, not just WWE, for enjoyment semi-regularly. 

But yeah, in some alternate reality where Austin really was paralyzed after SummerSlam 97' and then just became a backstage producer, I'm guessing he'd have been very, very good.

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2 hours ago, Al said:

But AJPW for all its glory forced women to retire at 26.

Sure, but that's another time another place. And honestly that wasn't really enforced past the generation of the 70's, the big stars of the 90's who came up the previous decade kept on working (well, Zenjo was almost killed in 97) and even Chiggy and Jaguar came back eventually. Still, the fact remains the biggest and mosts serious female promotion ever did not need a woman as a booker to draw, and draw the biggest female crowds ever (until they switched to mostly male crowds in the 90's).  It's not a matter of gender when you're talking about booking. It's about being a booker with the right ideas for the times and the talent you have.

2 hours ago, Al said:

Giving women a strong voice helps to quell those paternalistic tendencies and create more storylines to appeal to a wider audience, as well as give the women themselves more agency.

Agree, but the bolded part is true of all talent though. That's getting rid or the idiotic 40 writers, and yes in this specific case it's also allowing female workers to not do stupid shit no female would do or say and also prevent the truly embarrassing stuff Russo booked in WWF and TNA (the era of every female promo being "slut, skank, bitch", basically).

As far as appealing to a wider audience, again I don't see why it's related. Even the female performers themselves don't aways appeal to females, and why should they ? In Japan Chiggy did, because the product was geared toward young girls while Aja & Toyota (and their generation), much less so because they were all about out-working the guys in AJ & NJ at the time and that was for the hardcores.

Anyway, I'm rambling. There's no way to know what former female wrestler would be good in the role, really, because unless you do it... Gail Kim I believe does agenting in IMPACT. Considering the work they have done, maybe she would be good in that role, but who knows. 

2 hours ago, Migs said:

Yeah, maybe 10-15 years ago I'd have been interested to see Raven or Shane Douglas do it (Shane did in XPW for a hot minute), but not today.

Yeah, same here. I can see Shane as an agent though. Raven probably would still be good in creative in some sort though. But booking ? Nope.

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Daniel Bryan. From what I've gathered, he's had a significant amount of influence over his angles since he returned. He knows how to get them over, got himself over as a heel after being the most over face in wrestling before he had to retire, and has shown that he has a good eye for talent. Hell, he could even reeducate the audience to accept more matwork, taking his matches with Gulak into consideration. 

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