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Booker

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For the wrestler, see Booker T
Vince-Russo

Vince Russo is one of the most controversial bookers.

A booker, as the term is used in wrestling, is a person who puts matches together and determines basics about their content, such as relative overall length, who the eventual victor will be, and many of the moves which will be made during the match; in other words, the match's "plotline." The booker also plans other aspects of the show, including interview segments and other backstage skits or promos between matches.

Pro wrestling is not strictly "scripted" in the way that a play would be. Considerable room is left for improvisation, especially in the case of talented veteran performers; at times the wrestlers may not strictly follow the intentions of the booker, especially where actual injury has occurred. Injuries like this can force a quick ending to a match, and also may not have the same results as the original booking.

Talented bookers are key to any successful promotion. It is this element, even above athletic performance, that generally determines the success or failure of a promotion. Even so, the booker must have wrestlers of sufficient skill to work with to make the matches appear to be at least somewhat plausible.

Bookers often perform in the event in some way. The most notable example is World Wrestling Entertainment's Howard Finkel, who helped book shows, announced matches, and even wrote magazine reviews of shows. On the other hand, Vince Russo is viewed by many to have inserted himself too heavily.

Booking

Booking, in the sense used in professional wrestling, is the process of laying out in advance the general storyline of the match, to include what the eventual outcome will be. Booking may be very detailed and include a more-or-less precise length for the match and what moves, techniques, and holds will be employed by which wrestler or wrestlers and at what point in the match each will happen.

The power of a group or individual to set matches and storyline is said to have booking power. A promotion's creative team has booking power by definition, but official bookers are not the only people said to have booking power; a wrestler with a lot of backstage clout, who has allied with other wrestlers backstage to assert influence (see The Clique), who is friends with members of the creative team, or whose contract gives them creative control over their character (e.g., Hulk Hogan), may be said to have booking power. Backstage politics may play a large role in who gets to control the direction of matches and storylines.

"On the Fly" Booking

Another method is called "on the fly booking" which means that a show will be booked on the night that it is to be put on.

On the fly booking was often used by WCW during the Monday Night Wars. This was done because WCW had a large undercard talent roster which would have been time-consuming to write dedicated storylines for. This time period also saw the rise of the Internet wrestling community and the management at WCW perceived a need to keep the details of upcoming storylines from leaking out.

This method of booking's drawbacks became visible quickly when WCW storylines would often seem disjointed and not carry over into next week's show.

In light of WCW losing the Monday Night Wars, on the fly booking is rarely practiced except in cases where a wrestler does not show up at a scheduled event or at some independent wrestling shows where the talent is not part of a permanent roster.

Wrestling figures who are or were known bookers

See also

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