So You Wanna Be A Booker

I found this great article that has tons of wonderful advice for those looking to become a booker in professional wrestling! I’ve actually thought about doing that–this article isn’t exactly encouraging. But it’s informative nonetheless.

Here’s a couple of quotes that stuck out to me.

You are selling a product. The fans give you money for this product. If the fans are not interested in your product, they will not give you money. Without their money, you are out of a job. Therefore, your first and only responsibility is to the fans. Not your family; not your shareholders; not anyone else. This is because only the fans give money to you. Failure to follow this rule will result in a failure of your business.

This the Golden Rule of wrestling booking! I agree completely! Who wouldn’t? An addendum should be made though that when your product pretty much has a national monopoly that means you can put out any kind of shit you want and people will buy it because there’s nothing else of the same quality. But, that’s basic economics and why monopolies are a bad, bad thing.

Let the fans’ reaction be your guide. The crowd decides who is a face or heel better than any booker. If they cheer a wrestler, he’s a face. If they boo him, he’s a heel. It is almost impossible to make a crowd like a heel (not Love to Hate, there is a difference) or boo a face (X-Pac Heat nonwithstanding). Bookings should be made according to crowd reactions.

This is something that WWE fails to do, and fans hate it. You can’t force reactions, it has to be natural. This is absolutely right…the fans tell you what they want and you give them that. Again, demand. Basic economics. Honky Tonk Man is highlighted as a good example of this…first pushed as a face and then a heel because the fans booed him. It’s  just smart business to give your customers what they want from your product.

Wrestlers who have charisma and other talents, but only Five Moves of Doom should be booked in matches where this lack of working ability should be obfuscated. For example, John Cena should not be booked to throw punches. The Big Show should not be booked against a high-flyer, unless the point of the match is for Big Show to throw the high-flyer around and nothing else.

and

Wrestlers who routinely stink up the ring and draw X-Pac Heat without making any effort to improve should be dropped without consideration. No matter who they are, or who they are friends with. Your business will be better for it

SO MUCH THIS. Especially the getting rid of dead weight. To me, wrestling is about creating stars to draw in money. The more diversity of stars you have the more diverse the crowd you attract will be. That means more money, baby! If you ain’t cuttin’ it, especially if you don’t want to improve…gone!

Women can wrestle, so take advantage of this. Lingerie matches and their ilk insult 51% of the population, which are also 51% of your sales. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your demographic is entirely men. And remember rule one — you’re here to sell a product to the fans. If you hire good female wrestlers, and then book them like proper wrestlers, the fans will treat them like proper wrestlers. More than that, most fans want to see good female wrestlers and support them. Sexism and misogyny limits your audience. If you want to throw that money away, you have no business booking matches at all.

Hint, hint WWE!

The Internet Wrestling Community will complain about everything you do.This is acceptable and their complaints are to be largely ignored. After all, it is impossible to please everybody, and unless ratings, buyrates, and live attendance plummet then there is no reason to believe you are doing a lousy job. There are a lot of people writing about wrestling in the internet, and each of them has completely different tastes — the only things they share in common are that they are loud and opinionated. You will piss somebody off. Accept this.

And this is where the article goes slightly awry for me. Smarks and the IWC complain about promotions not doing everyone of the things mentioned in this article as DON’TS. It means we have an eye for this business…and we shouldn’t be ignored. That’s not to say that you should give every “OMG U SUCK @WWE! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!” tweet creedence…and I know I’ve written plenty of those myself. But, you should at least have an idea of what your IWC fans are thinking. If you are a wrestling fan talking about wrestling on the internet, you’re part of the Internet Wrestling Community…and since this is the internet age I’m pretty sure that’s most fans…

Plus, Smarks are the ones coming to see your matches. Especially if you’re an indie fed!

The author does give a suggestion of having an email (I wonder when this was written…it would be Twitter and Facebook now) where fans can message you with their thoughts. This is a wonderful idea! Not to steal their storylines, but to just a general sense of what’s working for your fans and what isn’t. Many wrestling promotions are doing this–as are the wrestling execs and even the wrestlers themselves–and it’s great to see! Social media really allows businesses to keep grounded about the reality of their product and what their customers are thinking.

I’m gonna finish with this, because it’s a great sentiment to put out there.

“Treat your jobbers well. Their self-sacrifice is the cornerstone of your business, and without them looking at the lights, your main-eventer will never get over. They are brave men, willing to sell their own glory to create yours; you, your performers, and your company owe them everything.”

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