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The Ten Commandments of The Booker, January 10, 2003
Guest_TSMAdmin_*
post Jan 17 2003, 04:24 PM
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What am I thinking?

Man that last article did not come off well did it? Seemed like everyone on the board was either telling me how freaking stupid I was or ... telling me how stupid I was. Boy, there wasn’t a whole lot of room for debate on that one. I was even called an attention whore, which was pretty interesting, considering, as a columnist, getting attention is part of the job description. Does anyone really write articles in the vain hope that no one will read them? Because I can do that pretty well too, hell I did that a bunch of times already in my ‘The Smart Marks’ career. Oddly enough, all those articles on moveset got very little discussion going anywhere but in my little head. I would also have to note that I’m not making up the wildest stories I can think of here to get you all hot and bothered, these are my opinions. It’s really just a waste of time for me to say, ‘Boy, that Eddie Guerrero sure can wrestle,’ because there isn’t really anyone that will disagree with that one. So why bother saying it?

I’m all for fans having a favorite wrestler and all, but this fascination with Raven is starting to get to wear a little thin. The guy shows up on RAW, on camera, for the first time in months and people start discussing the reformation of the Flock. Steven Richards teams up with Victoria and people talk about the reformation of the Flock. Someone even acts remotely dark or gothic in any way and people talk about the reformation of the Flock. You know something? The Flock, right now, would suck. Yes indeed. The whole gimmick was all a vehicle to make Raven get more over by having a bunch of guys worshipping him. But the thing is, Raven cannot really wrestle anymore. He hasn’t been able to for quite sometime now going back almost two years. He’s slow. He doesn’t have an exciting or psychologically balanced offense. Basically, the guy is a lackluster brawler who is not really worth pushing right now or ever again. So why bring back a stable to promote a guy that is not worth promoting? Doesn’t make sense to me.

You know what else doesn’t make sense? That some people are still complaining that Kurt Angle is not getting pushed enough when he’s WWE Heavyweight Champion. Like, being World Champion was like the most unbelievable over push ever when Big Show has the title because someone else should have the spot. But when someone worthy like Angle has it, the title means absolutely nothing all of a sudden? It’s a weird world when getting the WWE Title does not equate to a big push anymore. I mean, Angle is pretty much a sure thing to hold onto the thing until Wrestlemania where he’ll probably do a job to the verifiable prodigy, Brock Lesner. That’s three months, and more importantly, three pay-per-views that are going to focus on Angle title defenses. But, that’s not a big push to some people.

The Ten Commandments of The Booker

Folks, I do not know about you, but the state of the booking in The United States is appalling right now in my estimation. Everywhere you look, there is another company pushing someone based on how tall they are and not how talented they are. You look another way and there is another organization running yet another invasion angle where the fate of companies is decided by wrestling matches for some reason. There is even a company out there that still pays Vince Russo! Talk about crazy. So obviously there are promoters out there that need some guidance. As a clerk in the finance department of a defense contractor, I think it’s pretty obvious that I am just the person to give them the advice that they need to run their companies. So without even seeking any compensation at all, I will give you all the advice you will ever need, in ten little commandments that are absolutely guaranteed* to make good shows and generate income.

1) You Shall Push Your Wrestlers Before All Else

I have news for all the bookers out there… no football fan pays good money to see Jerry Jones stand on the sidelines. They don’t go to see the cheerleaders either. Or even to see an impressive display of pyrotechnics. Nope, football fans go to see, get this, football. Just like a wrestling fan is going to your shows to see wrestling. Putting yourself, your children, or even your pet above a wrestler is tantamount to cutting your own throat by putting the attention of the viewer on the wrong thin. The wrestlers are your largest and most important commodities and to put them underneath someone who isn’t is a mistake. It is the wrestlers that make wrestling different than anything else on television and anything you put together backstage can be done so much better by another television show, it is pathetic. But the wrestling is a unique element you find nowhere else. The actors on ‘Friends’ are not going to be doing moonsaults or powerbombs no matter how much Monica gets on everyone’s nerves. So, remember bookers, no matter how well you or anyone else can talk, they are not why people come to see to wrestling. So never, ever make a wrestler look bad compared to you or anyone other microphone jockey. You’re only hurting yourself.

2) Your Titles Shall Be Important

In other words, you are attempting to sell the appearance that your workers are engaging in an actual competition. And the highest level of that competition is going to be based on the winning and losing of title belts. So, for that competition to actually feel important, the title itself has to be important. The reason the Intercontinental Title got killed off, fans, is because it had been traded around so much that winning it ceased to actually be an accomplishment. At times, it seemed as though every worker on the roster had a run with it including The Godfather. And so, it never elevated a wrestler or a feud. And really, that is what titles are for, they are there in order to tell the fans that this match is the going to be the most important one you see tonight and these wrestlers are going to be the best.

3) The Wrestlers That Are Over Shall Get The Biggest Pushes

Lots of times, people will say such things as “Wrestler X does not need the World Title” when discussing who should be heading up a company. And that is a complete and total mistake. The fact of the matter is that either the most beloved face or the most reviled heel in the company should hold the World Title. Those are the people that the fans actually want to see battle it out for the richest prize in a company. Think about the most profitable periods of history in WWE history, and you’ll find it will be when Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin were at their peaks and where running around with the heavy pieces of metal. Now, I realize that sometimes you have to push someone before they can get over to some extent. But to push them all the way to the top of a promotion is a dicey prospect at best and the history of doing just that is incredibly poor in many respects. So remember, the top of the card is only for the most over people in the company, save the experiments for chemistry class.

4) Older Wrestlers Shall Not Make the Dollars
Old legends are great for the live crowds, because live fans love seeing things from the past that haven’t been around for some time. But the thing is that it does not translate into ratings or Pay Per View buy-rates for the most part. The fans at home typically don’t care for nostalgia as much since they don’t have the excitement of having a couple hundred other people to feed off of. The folks at home actually want to see a good product and not wrestlers that are five to ten years past their primes. Seeing Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair kicking ass at 45 might be fun for some, but it does not draw in the demographics that promoters need to turn a profit in the larger picture. And having your twenty something up and comers doing jobs for guys with man teats that were wrestling The Crusher twenty years ago. Leaving the older set as a special attraction in meaningless tag matches and everything will be just fine.

5) The Weight of Your Wrestlers Shall Not Matter

The amount of talent and drawing ability has absolutely nothing to do with their size or lack there of but with the personalities that are contained within the person. The era of Andre the Giant is over as the average size of wrestlers has generally scaled upward as far as height is concerned. Right now the WWE has, what, six or seven people that are 6’6’’ or more? It has ceased to be a drawing point anymore, especially since the WWE does not have the cartoon atmosphere of the eighties where a new monster was setting out to destroy the superhero Hulk Hogan. By the same token, smaller wrestlers have gotten better and better and, most importantly, have gotten better at connecting with the crowd. Rey Mysterio has done a masterful of doing this in between knee injuries and would be an inspired choice to give a serious push in the correct direction. Chris Jericho has also managed to make that connection as a face contender to the World title and should be giving the opportunity to do it again.

6) You Shall Allow Wrestler’s Ideas and All Ideas Shall Be Treated Equally

A good idea is a good idea no matter who comes up with it. I don’t care if Test walks up to a promoter and says he has something. It would take something like 20 seconds to hear it out and find out if he actually has something or not. Why shouldn’t you encourage everyone in the promotion to have input? By the same token, I’m pretty sure every idea that Triple H has is not a golden one. Just allow everyone a similar opportunity to present their ideas and the morale problems between wrestlers should be minimal while still allowing fresh ideas to freely flow throughout.

7) The Internet Shall Be Thy Friend But Not Thy Boss

The Internet is great place for wrestling organizations to get a sense of the pulse of the fans. And to go out of your way to tell them that they do not matter like the WWE seems so adamant at doing is pretty stupid. But to cater entirely to them isn’t really a successful way to go either, since the fans on the Internet are commonly interested purely in the work rate aspect of the workers, and do not pay enough attention to the marketing and merchandising aspects of a wrestling organization. So, I guess if I should make this all into one tidy little blurb. I would say that the Internet is a great source of finding out who can work a match for the most part (even though the Net seems to be unwilling to give the larger power wrestlers a fair opportunity). So, use them for that sort of evaluation and make sure to help cultivate that fan base without completely writing the show for them and alienating the regular fans.

8) Celebrities Shall Not Wrestle, Characters That Celebrities Play Shall Not be Allowed in The Building

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Watching Dennis Rodman wrestle might make for some mainstream media coverage but hurts the product and always causes wrestling to look worse than it did at the start of the promotion. Having Chucky menace Rick Steiner is even worse. Keep the celebrities on the sidelines like Vince did for the majority of the Wrestlemanias and you’ve done the best you can with them without messing with your core fan base.

9) Women That Cannot Wrestle Shall Not Wrestle

Why have a piece of eye candy wrestle for ten minutes when you don’t make Chris Benoit walk out in a Speedo? It is not the reason you hired the people. It’s as silly as having you announcers beat up active wrestlers. Oh wait, the WWE does that too. It’s any wonder they are doing so very well right now.

10) Hardcore Divisions Suck, Don’t Have Them

Don’t have them. It only raises the question why weapon shots hurt so much in non-hardcore matches and almost nothing during them. They also take away the impact of a falls count anywhere match would have on a true blood feud that would actually warrant their use.

And there you have it, ten simple rules of making your promotion acceptable to all types of fans. As always, e-mail me at [email protected] if you have any comments. Or just start a thread, a thread might be better. Or ignore the whole thing... whichever makes you happy. Enjoy!

* This is not a guarantee

Make sure you check out my archives, including the Albert article!!!
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