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Who is the worst booker ever?


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#41 PeteF3

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:32 AM

I never made the connection, but Russo's increased influence in '99 coincides almost exactly with Vince being taken off television. Whether it was the IPO or not something was clearly taking up a lot of McMahon's time.

#42 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:38 AM

What are we arguing about ? That WCW never pulled the trigger when they should and that Hogan ruined any chance of mid-carder being elevated ? Of course. I think they were close to pull the trigger on Austin in 1994 though. He was getting closer and closer to the top of the cards. I believe eventually there would have been a Flair vs Austin passing the torch deal. I mean, they had Vader, who still ruled, Sting in his prime, Flair was past his prime, Steamboat was done, Rude was done, they didn't had many other options but to elevate younger workers at the time. Of course Hogan coming in killed it.


I'm probably alone here, but if it was between having the NWO and the Monday Night Wars and seeing what would have happened to the WCW that was building in 93-4, I'd take the latter every time.

There was still something distinctively NWA about that product, a real lineage back to Crockett and a real respect for "this great sport".

Hogan coming in changed all that almost overnight. We went from Spring Stampede (awesome) to Hogan vs. Brutus fucking Beefcake at Starrcade and Duggan squashing Austin in under 5 minutes.

I'd love to have seen a WCW where Hogan never arrives. Venutra probably would have stayed. Vader probably would have stayed. Hell, maybe we get some classic Bret Hart matches when he turns up. Probably WCW would still be around today in some shape or form. Who knows. I'd take 92 or 94 WCW over 96 or 97 WCW any day of the week. And I'm convinced there are a whole bunch of old rassling fans that Bischoff just killed dead in the water in 94 when Hogan came in. Not convinced those guys ever came back, not even during the Monday Night Wars. I'm talking about your old MSW fans, your old Crockett fans, your old Georgia fans. Bischoff and effectively all of WCW turned their back on those fans in 94.

It's a big "what if", but I still believe they were really building something there. It was a slow build, but they were moving in the right direction. Honestly, right now I'd take that over the big heel turn, Bash '96 and all the rest of it.

#43 Strummer

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:50 AM

I was just having this discussion yesterday actually. Can you imagine an old time JCP fan in late 1994 when the top heels in the company were Brutus Beefcake, Earthquake and Kevin Sullivan? It had to have been a point of no return for many

#44 Sean Liska

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 09:12 AM

I was just having this discussion yesterday actually. Can you imagine an old time JCP fan in late 1994 when the top heels in the company were Brutus Beefcake, Earthquake and Kevin Sullivan? It had to have been a point of no return for many


That's why ECW developed such a big buzz. The American hardcore fan had his home promotion taken away and needed a replacement.

#45 Johnny Guitar

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 09:14 AM

What are we arguing about ? That WCW never pulled the trigger when they should and that Hogan ruined any chance of mid-carder being elevated ? Of course. I think they were close to pull the trigger on Austin in 1994 though. He was getting closer and closer to the top of the cards. I believe eventually there would have been a Flair vs Austin passing the torch deal. I mean, they had Vader, who still ruled, Sting in his prime, Flair was past his prime, Steamboat was done, Rude was done, they didn't had many other options but to elevate younger workers at the time. Of course Hogan coming in killed it.


Whilst Austin should have definatley been elevated. I'm not sure if it would have happened even if Hogan never came in. Everyone knows about his problems with Bischoff and Hogan. But he also took alot of shots at Flair and Dusty too when he left. Which has kind of been downplayed or forgotten over the years.

I think Austin would have found himself in pretty much the same position Luger was in, in 89-90.


Has anyone ever explained why Russo seemingly got a lot more control than he had before around the end of '98? Just Vince being deluged with IPO stuff? Patterson was still around and had the power to serve as a filter, didn't he?



yeah always wanted to know this. The in ring time on RAW just plummets around September



My guess is that ratings were up. Summerslam pulled a monster buyrate and Russo had played a part in some of that. Vince delegating some power makes sense, especially if he's distracted with the IPO stuff and being a full time onscreen character.

It wouldn't be the first or last time that Vince has let the wrong person grab his ear.

#46 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 09:49 AM

Whilst Austin should have definatley been elevated. I'm not sure if it would have happened even if Hogan never came in. Everyone knows about his problems with Bischoff and Hogan. But he also took alot of shots at Flair and Dusty too when he left. Which has kind of been downplayed or forgotten over the years.

I think Austin would have found himself in pretty much the same position Luger was in, in 89-90.


In late 93 / early 94 he, along with Dustin Rhodes, was still being talking about as "the wrestler of the 90s" and as a big future star. I mean Austin wasn't just there on the upper midcard, he was properly hyped.

I've got no reason to believe that they wouldn't have kept pushing him.

I don't see why they couldn't have had Austin in a new Horsemen in 94/5. Flair (world), Austin (US), Arn and Pillman (Tag). That's not a bad stable. At some point Austin is sick of being in the Tully role and wants a shot at the World title. Instant feud.

If Hogan doesn't come in, I see literally no reason for this not to happen.

Sting / Austin would have been great. Austin (face) vs. Flair (heel) backed by Arn and Pillman and possibly a turned Dustin Rhodes as the 4th Horseman.

By 96, he's a main eventer and a draw in his own right.

There's no reason either why Lex Luger and people like Savage wouldn't have come into WCW - and those would have been main event angles too. Maybe Luger / Austin as part of a wider Sting feud, while Flair / Savage is happening, then switch to Austin / Savage dream feud as we have Sting vs. Flair part 986.

Theoretically, Vader is still around too as a constant alternative main event heel.

Why wouldn't something like this have played out?

#47 Cox

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:44 AM

I was thinking about this today, and while I would never, ever argue against Vince Russo being the worst booker in history, I do wonder if the Nitro formula devised by Kevin Sullivan wound up doing its own share of long-term damage to pro wrestling as we know it. When Nitro started in 1995, Monday Night Raw featured far fewer competitive matches than it does now. It wasn't a total squashfest like the syndicated shows, but the format was far different from what we see now. Nitro changed that by upping the ante and airing more competitive matches, and rarely featured out and out squashes. The reason they were able to air so many competitive matches is because WCW signed so many people to contracts, really 200 or more wrestlers, that it would have taken years to burn certain matchups out, so they could run out fresh matches all over their TV. WWF didn't have that luxury, because Vince from '95 to '97 could not afford to put together the kind of roster that could keep up with the Nitro formula. They had to drop the squash format, but with a smaller roster, there was a finite number of new matchups he could put on free TV before burning them out. If this was a war of attrition, WCW would have won, and I wonder if that was in part their strategy - wear out Vince by having an almost endless series of new matches every week for free on Nitro and later Thunder. It didn't work because WCW had a lot of other problems late in the 90's, but it seems like a good strategy in theory anyway. But now we're in 2012. The Monday Night Wars raised the bar for what's acceptable on a prime time wrestling show. Stars need to be on every week. Most stars need to wrestle every week. Rare is the time where WWE doesn't have their top wrestlers in a match. And like the 90's, there is only a finite amount of matches the company can run before those matches become stale and harder to draw, which means WWE has to bring back old stars like Rock and Lesnar for major PPVs to draw buys on PPV. I don't want to let WWE off the hook for failing to make a single star in the past five years other than CM Punk, but at the same time, it's hard to not burn out big matches on PPV. This is how we get to Cena vs Big Show headlining on Sunday, and while I think they've done an OK job building to it, and I think the match will be great, it's going to be tough to draw any sort of buyrate. The Nitro style of gunning for ratings and running big matches every week on free TV was definitely good for wrestling fans, but I'm not so sure it was good for the long-term health of wrestling.

#48 Loss

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:52 AM

But my point was that was that it wasn't Hogan's fault that management gave him way way way too much power?


WCW agreed to terms to bring in Hogan. Hogan never did anything that he didn't have contractual power to do. Without a doubt, he had too much power, but had WCW not agreed to his terms, he never would have signed. Hogan brought both positives and negatives to WCW. So I do blame Bischoff for acquiescing, because Hogan had more influence than he should have. As long as he was drawing though, what was good for Hogan was usually good for WCW. When they became two different things, that's when there was a problem.

That said, while I don't blame Hogan as much as I blame Bischoff, that doesn't mean Hogan is blameless. It doesn't mean Nash is blameless. They played a part in WCW's decline in popularity. As a result, they killed what was a pretty good gig for themselves and others, and it had an impact all the way to the front office people who lost their jobs. It's perfectly reasonable to call them selfish while acknowledging that management let them get away with too much.

Consider this: Guys like Hiroshi Hase and Bill Dundee have booked themselves as midcarders during booking runs they've had, so the idea that anyone would do it is not quite true.

I mean Vince in 93 didn't put up with that BS for long and he was out the door. Sure he massively pandered to Hogan's ego in the 84-91 run -- specifically total and utter bullshit like winning the 1990 Rumble when he was already champ rather than let someone like Perfect get the rub.


Was that really a power play by Hogan? Perfect had gone around the horn on house shows with Hogan and was one of his worst-drawing opponents. Why would they give him a rub when he had just proven he couldn't draw on top? They were building toward Warrior and Hogan needed to be as strong as possible going into that match.

#49 Bix

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:24 AM

FWIW, Dundee being a mid-carder while booking Mid-South was mandated by Watts since they felt that otherwise he would've booked himself on top in ridiculous situations. It's really the only territory he booked where him being on top wouldn't have made sense, though. He was already on top in Memphis, he needed to be a top guy in Chattanooga/GCW Superstars, he was the best worker in Kansas City during his run there and a good pick to groom Sam Houston, and in Knoxville/USACW he didn't book himself on top, IIRC.

#50 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:21 PM

I mean Vince in 93 didn't put up with that BS for long and he was out the door. Sure he massively pandered to Hogan's ego in the 84-91 run -- specifically total and utter bullshit like winning the 1990 Rumble when he was already champ rather than let someone like Perfect get the rub.


Was that really a power play by Hogan? Perfect had gone around the horn on house shows with Hogan and was one of his worst-drawing opponents. Why would they give him a rub when he had just proven he couldn't draw on top? They were building toward Warrior and Hogan needed to be as strong as possible going into that match.


All I know is that Perfect was booked to win that Rumble for months until the night of the event.

If it wasn't a powerplay, why the late switch? Hogan could have suffered a screwy elimination and easily kept his heat. There's no good reason for Hogan to win. But then so guess they were never logical with booking the Rumble till 92. Dibiase should have gone over in 88, and Studd won.

I'm on my phone here so can't look it up but did Hogab win it in 91 as well? That's insane.

#51 Sean Liska

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:24 PM

The Nitro style of gunning for ratings and running big matches every week on free TV was definitely good for wrestling fans, but I'm not so sure it was good for the long-term health of wrestling.


The TV rights fees make it a good thing. They can afford the drop in PPV buys. I don't think a TV show full of squash matches would survive in today's entertainment world where everyone demands instant gratification.

#52 Ricky Jackson

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:31 PM

Hogan winning in 91 was the right call (send the fans home happy with USA triumphant on a night Slaughter won the belt), 90 maybe less so (could've ended the match with Perfect eliminating a brawling and distracted Hogan and Warrior), but you can't argue it wasn't what most fans wanted.

#53 PeteF3

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:49 PM

Is Perfect being booked to win the Rumble actually true or is that Scott Keith horseshit again? I mean, they already seemed committed to a Perfect/Beefcake feud (and that's beforehand--no other reason to book Beefcake vs. Genius otherwise), so why work a Rumble victory into that? I do sometimes wonder if they might not have been better off switching Hogan and Warrior's roles after the big face-off (where it's Warrior who accidentally-or-does-he eliminates Hogan instead of vice versa). The live crowd have seen at as a Warrior heel turn which wasn't what they wanted to get across, but give him a long enough fight and comeback with Rude and Perfect and I think that would have been forgotten/forgiven by the end of the match.

#54 Al

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:34 PM

How about dividing this up between eras? Booking a live 2-3 hour television show every single week is a far different animal from booking a regional territory. I could see the former format eating up a good booker alive because there's a ton of stuff to worry about beyond the in-ring product. But who would be the worst booker of the regional days, or pre-1995 or so?

#55 gordi

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 12:36 AM

How about dividing this up between eras? Booking a live 2-3 hour television show every single week is a far different animal from booking a regional territory. I could see the former format eating up a good booker alive because there's a ton of stuff to worry about beyond the in-ring product. But who would be the worst booker of the regional days, or pre-1995 or so?


I cast my vote for Al Tomko, who booked Gene Kiniski's old Vancouver territory into the toilet by relentlessly pushing first himself and then his two sons, and by absolutely losing track of every single story-line he ever started. He was a nice enough guy, though, by wrestling promoter standards... and his kids were not bad in the ring... That being said: I doubt that there was a worse-booked wrestling show on TV in the 1980s than good old UWA All Star Wrestling out of BCTV studios.

#56 Johnny Guitar

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 04:20 PM

Whilst Austin should have definatley been elevated. I'm not sure if it would have happened even if Hogan never came in. Everyone knows about his problems with Bischoff and Hogan. But he also took alot of shots at Flair and Dusty too when he left. Which has kind of been downplayed or forgotten over the years.

I think Austin would have found himself in pretty much the same position Luger was in, in 89-90.


In late 93 / early 94 he, along with Dustin Rhodes, was still being talking about as "the wrestler of the 90s" and as a big future star. I mean Austin wasn't just there on the upper midcard, he was properly hyped.

I've got no reason to believe that they wouldn't have kept pushing him.

I don't see why they couldn't have had Austin in a new Horsemen in 94/5. Flair (world), Austin (US), Arn and Pillman (Tag). That's not a bad stable. At some point Austin is sick of being in the Tully role and wants a shot at the World title. Instant feud.

If Hogan doesn't come in, I see literally no reason for this not to happen.

Sting / Austin would have been great. Austin (face) vs. Flair (heel) backed by Arn and Pillman and possibly a turned Dustin Rhodes as the 4th Horseman.

By 96, he's a main eventer and a draw in his own right.

There's no reason either why Lex Luger and people like Savage wouldn't have come into WCW - and those would have been main event angles too. Maybe Luger / Austin as part of a wider Sting feud, while Flair / Savage is happening, then switch to Austin / Savage dream feud as we have Sting vs. Flair part 986.

Theoretically, Vader is still around too as a constant alternative main event heel.

Why wouldn't something like this have played out?


Could something like this have played out? Absolutley. But its all a big what if?

Luger was properly hyped back in the day and look how it turned out for him.

Austin/Sting would have been great. Austin even pitched that feud to management. And they shot him down.

Austin had a ton of potential, but for reason or another WCW management didn't want to capitalize on it. The only people who seemed keen on making Austin a star where Ricky Steamboat, Paul Heyman and Bret Hart.

#57 Bob Morris

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 07:46 AM

Catching up on topics... * Regarding Russo: I think the best way to describe him is Homer Simpson in the episode "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" in which Herb lets Homer design a car his own way, with the end result being an embarrassment. In other words, Russo is fine to contribute some ideas but you don't want him overseeing the entire process. * Regarding Hogan: It's been detailed in the thread about Dave Meltzer writings that Hogan's creative control only applied to the finishes of his matches, but then Dave goes on to basically say, "Stars have power." So it wouldn't have mattered what creative control was in Hogan's contract... because he's a star, and given Bischoff not being a proper "boss," Hogan would have gained power anyway. Stars have power and that's the nature of the business. * I don't think Vince McMahon being involved with the IPO or anything else had anything to do with Russo gaining power. I think it had everything to do with Vince McMahon being a mark for the entertainment side of the business. So when Russo kept giving him that, he gained influence and Pat Patterson lost some of it. Once Russo left, you could tell Patterson's influence was returning -- it wasn't simply "more time for matches" but "matches flowed better." Plus the writers who took over generally did a better job with storylines being built instead of the "short-attention span theater" Russo was notorious for. * Kevin Sullivan actually did a good job with booking the midcard early on. One thing people need to remember is that, while guys like Benoit, Malenko and Eddy were familiar to hardcore wrestling fans, the average WCW fan who started tuning it wasn't as familiar with them. They each got over at some point, but it wasn't immediately upon arrival. The problem with Sullivan was, after all his work with Brian Pillman just led to Pillman getting his release and going elsewhere, he was desperate to recreate the magic and everything backfired on him, from Nancy and Chris truly becoming romantically involved to the whole Sullivan/Benoit angle just taking too long to wrap up. I agree that the Radicalz were likely just using Sullivan's appointment as the main booker as their reason to get out of WCW because they were just tired of the backstage issues. And, yes, much of the Sullivan stuff in 2000 was pretty dull, but that's in part because of those talent defections, in part because Sullivan really wasn't in touch with what the audience wanted, and in part because I think Sullivan was one of many in WCW who truly didn't care any more.

#58 Matt D

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 05:11 PM

Re: Hogan. One thing I fully believe is that Hogan in WCW would have been coaxed into agreeing to something in advance and then the day of come in and say, "hey brother, that's not going to work." leading to last minute rewrites. Yes, wrestlers/bookers/whatever said that, and they're never the best sources, but I completely believe it.

#59 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 06:00 PM

From what I understand most times Eric had no idea what was going to happen until the day of the show anyway. Nitro seemed to be booked on the fly.

#60 artDDP

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:08 AM

My guess is that ratings were up. Summerslam pulled a monster buyrate and Russo had played a part in some of that. Vince delegating some power makes sense, especially if he's distracted with the IPO stuff and being a full time onscreen character.

It wouldn't be the first or last time that Vince has let the wrong person grab his ear.


I agree with this. At the time, the WWF was riding a rocket ship of mainstream publicity and huge success and McMahon just put his trust in him.




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