It’s different wrestling world we now live in.
Back in the day, professional wrestlers would travel from city to city like a circus, with performers who acted like nomads and put on great acts to hordes of fans who watched in amazement. Matches were booked where the strong survived and in a rare instance, the underdog would pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
Today, even with the abolishment of Kayfabe, matches are booked to play to the strengths of the crowds. There are more “Davids” winning matches and Goliaths who are kinder and gentler. The most important person in this dance is the booker who decides everyone’s fate.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa defined a booker in 1956 as "...any person who, for a fee or commission, arranges with a promoter or promoters for the performance of wrestlers in professional wrestling exhibitions."
Booking is also the term a wrestler uses to describe a scheduled match or appearance on a wrestling show.
Over the years, due to different regions, promotions and fans’ sensibilities, booking has become somewhat of a lost art.
Given that almost every angle has been explored and rehashed in time, finding new and innovative ways to get characters over has become a chore. Still, there are some “bookers” who got it right and made wrestling into what it is today.
Here’s a look at the five greatest bookers of all time:
#1 Vince McMahon
Regardless of what has happened with WWE over the past five years or so, there has never been a better booker in this business – period. Even before McMahon bought WWE from his father, he was working behind the scenes to produce a better product.
When he took over and created sports entertainment, which led to the creation of Hulkamania and later WrestleMania, McMahon showcased talent in ways others had never thought of. He made The Rock, Steve Austin and John Cena household names.
McMahon also produced vibrant pay-per-view events and created one of the greatest characters in wrestling history – The Undertaker – and of course, his own character, Mr. McMahon. There likely will never be another owner/promoter with such a keen foresight of the constantly-evolving pro wrestling business.
For the most part. McMahon has tried to keep up with the times.