Booking Sins - SuperBrawl VII

Discussion in 'Pro Wrestling' started by Iafeta, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    No, not the PPV Sin (were we going to get Gluttony next?) Just silly booking in terms of heat management.

    So I'm watching Superbrawl VII last night. And the order of the card is thus...

    Malenko v Syxx for the CW title. Excellent match and really good finish IMO.

    Alright, so the crowd is relatively hot, so we go to a Six Man Luchalibre match. It's a botch fest. Absolutely no selling whatsoever. It features a freakin 4 way rowboat. Problems I have with this match, or Main one, you've seen more big stuff than most of the rest of the card will show, and you sold it like it never hurt. No one really gets over and the crowd wonder why the rest will be any different.

    Then they completely destroy the next hour of the card by booking a horrible match. Rey Mysterio v TV Champ Prince Iuakea. Now I've listened to Kevin Sullivan on why they gave a shock title win for Prince over Steven Regal. It was because Prince was a nice guy, clean cut. He wanted to show the boys that good guys backstage do go over. Problem is, the crowd A are burnt out, B, the chemistry is dreadful, C, Iuakea has the charisma of a wood beetle. See, I hear a lot about having "it". One of the keys is how you engage the crowd. Could be a taunt, reading the crowd and going with their reaction, could be a look to sell a move or tell a story... problem is Iuakea has none of that. So everything is done with the same face. You can literally see him remembering the spot order of the match in ring. The crowd dies... badly.

    So then Eddy and Jericho face off in a face v face match that has no heat. They seem flustered they can't get a pop. It's that dead. Mid match Jericho begins arguing with the ref for a nano second and the crowd shows life. They don't call an audible and understandably stay face v face. However, Jericho isn't booked to turn for a while, so the bookers never paid any heed to the crowd reaction which was painfully obvious.

    Just some thoughts on one show on things I think are badly booked or a lack of selling and psychology can completely destroy the card. Jericho and Eddy tried, but the crowd had already died off.

    See to paraphrase Hulk, I agree in that sometimes doing less and selling it right is more effective. Of course, I don't agree with the politics and then the complete lack of effort.

    Be interested to get your thoughts on booking botches.
     
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  2. Manurewa_Marlins

    Manurewa_Marlins Bench

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    Wrestlemania 16

    3 regular tag team matches, one six man tag and one triple threat tag.
    1 triple threat match, 1 four way.
    1 battle royal.

    Only one singles, a "catfight" which went two minutes between The Kat and Terri Runnels with Val Venis as the special guest referee.

    Garbage booking in retrospect. So much filler.
     
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  3. Big Pete

    Big Pete Referee

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    Let's go through Wrestlemania 2000...

    Starting with the opener, and if I'm going to be honest, I don't have an issue with this match one bit. The Godfather is a fan-favourite character, the WWF got their celebrity appearance in (Ice-T) and the match was used to showcase Bull Buchanan who they had big plans for.

    The hardcore championship scramble highlighted everything that was wrong with the division. Hardcore matches work when there is an emotional investment and you care about the characters suffering and inflicting punishment. When it's just a bunch of really green wrestlers performing a slaptstick routine for 15 minutes, it gets old very, very quickly. If it was up to me, I would have just scrapped the hardcore championship altogether and saved that match type for special occasions.

    T&A vs Al Snow & Steve Blackman was a waste of time. I understand wanting to get Test & Snow on the show, but there were other ways they could have gone about it. Between this and the other two matches, the opening was really rough.

    On the brightside, it was followed up by the Triangle Ladder match which was just perfect on the card. I can almost forgive the earlier matches because this delivered and played into the tag team renaissance of 2000.

    Even the follow-up match was fine as a cool-down match. Women's wrestling at this point was just a form of softcore porn, so it never led to any worthwhile matches but the crowd loved it for the time.

    The six-person intergender match was filler, but again it was just a way to get everybody on the show and it would probably be better than just having Chyna face off against one of the Radicalz and Too Cool facing off against the rest.

    Angle-Jericho-Benoit was a perfectly laid out match with a great story of Angle getting his comeuppance while retaining his heat. The triple threat stipulation worked for the angle that they were working and having Jericho/Benoit in the same match hid Angle's flaws at that time.

    Kane & Rikishi vs D-Generation X made sense for the storyline they were telling, although I would have preferred Kane & Test for D-Generation X for personal preference. In a vaccuum, not a great match but as a buffer between the Intercontinental and WWF Championship match it worked.

    The interesting thing about the WWF Championship match is how this match came to be. It was similar to SummerSlam '99 where they kept toying with the main event, even suggesting it could be Chyna vs Austin at one stage just to keep fans interested in the weekly television show. When it was all said and done, it gave us Rock v Show v Foley v HHH and the match was a mess. Show got eliminated early, which meant Foley had to turn heel mid-match, partner up with HHH despite just being retired by the guy so they could put some heat on Rock. It fell flat with the crowd and the finish was really underwhelming with Vince turning on The Rock to give HHH the victory. Apparently the original plan was to have a similar finish as Backlash 2000 with Austin showing up, but they had to delay their plans, leading to the finish we got. Had the match had a stronger finish, I believe the show would be looked back at more fondly.

    While it's far from one of the best Wrestlemanias, I still find the show watchable and far better than Wrestlemania XV which was a stinker.
     
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  4. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    Am I being over simplistic? Heels get heat on them, baby faces chase the heels and eventually avenge the evil and send the crowd home happy at a major show. This is a nut shell is why I feel the nWo did not work. As much as in WCW for whatever reason heels made better champions, the Horsemen worked because they would put the right guys over after getting significant heat on themselves.

    I like big moves in cruiserweight matches. But take the time and sell the moves. Work a story. Play to the crowd.
     
  5. Big Pete

    Big Pete Referee

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    An important distinction should be made between Cruiserweight Wrestling and Lucha Libre. Lucha Libre is a faster style that promotes a hit and run mentality, particularly in tag matches. Meanwhile Cruiserweight wrestling is a happier medium of traditional pro wrestling and athletics. The style was popularised by Mark Rocco in the late 70s and found it's way to Canada, Japan and eventually the USA.

    WCW Lucha Libre was fine in a vacuum, but it was really niche and no different from the minis wrestling you would see in the WWF at around the same time. Cruiserweight wrestling had more bones to it, especially when guys like Dean, Eddie, Rey, Jericho, Benoit, Graffitti, Armstrong and Liger were involved.

    I still think Eddie/Rey is a Top 10 WCW match of all-time which when you consider WarGames '92, Vader/Sting, Funk/Flair, Flair/Steamboat, Steamboat/Roode, Rock and Roll Express/Midnight Express etc. it says a lot.

    The nWo did a lot of things right on paper, but ultimately ego and poor booking ruined the group. For all the mistakes they made, everything would have been fine if Hogan had have kept the belt only to drop it to Goldberg in '99. Unfortunately contract disputes and politics messed that up.
     
  6. Shaun Hewitt

    Shaun Hewitt First Grade

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    World War 3, 1998 - This was my favorite PPV as a 10 year old, and I still enjoy it I think more for nostalgia than anything. That said, some of the booking was terrible.

    Starts off with an alright match, (unbeaten) Wrath V Glacier. Right from the get go, you know Wrath was going to win. They were never going to feed him to Glacier. 2 workers who I personally liked however, and despite the predictability, I enjoyed it.

    Then a typical nWo v wolfpac match, one without any meaning whatsoever as its Konan vs Stevie Ray. Match felt liked it belonged on Nitro.

    Miller/Onoo Vs Hayashi and Saturn. Out of this match, and these workers, how the hell is Saturn, Perry Saturn taking the damned freaking pinfall. This isn't too long since his work in the flock. Guy was the best of the 4 and takes this...

    Juvi V Kidman.
    Juvi joins LWO, this match itself is great. Best match of the night. Easily.

    Scott Stiener V Ric Stiener
    Another 'brother feud' (Harlem Heat...). At this stage, I don't think they actually managed a 1 v 1 match between the two, and this match is a few minutes of utter shite. Essentially a 2 on 1, as nWo supply their own ref and bagwell is free to interfere. Goldberg comes out to save they day. If i remember correctly, there wasn't even a payoff match at Starcade.

    Nash V Hall
    Hall gets kicked out of the nWo, gets a beat down. Nash comes in for the save, Hall extends a hand for a shake, Nash leaves. No match, No Reunion. Hall becomes 'lone wolf'

    Jericho V Duncam Jr
    Alright match, crowd weren't really into Duncan Jr, may have been better to have Jericho face someone like Malenko for this. So so

    World War 3
    Given the amount of jobbers in the match, I thought they booked Nash well. I really enjoyed this one, more so than the previous WW3s. 1997s ending was enjoyable, but it was fairly farfetched having equal nWo and WCW at the end, and even worse in 1996 having all of nWo v Luger. Nash was at his height as a face. Bigelow tries to interfere here, not sure what his intention actually was and Goldberg again comes out. He NEEDED to be on the card, the crowd are THAT hot on him, his pops!

    Hart Vs DDP
    Good match, until the WCW style booking occurs.

    Had the none matches actually went ahead (Nash V Hall and Stiener Vs Stiener), we could be talking about a different tone for the PPV. Goldberg NEEDED to be here somewhere. Even if it was facing Bam Bam.
     
  7. Manurewa_Marlins

    Manurewa_Marlins Bench

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    Pete, a lot of it could have been scrapped or rerouted into more meaningful singles. I would have kept the triple threat ladder match, the triple threat 2/3 falls match and possibly the opener with Ice T, but thats about it.

    Main event I'd have gone with Triple H and The Rock in Hell in a Cell. Possibly have Mick referee the thing.
     
  8. Big Pete

    Big Pete Referee

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    Didn't HHH just have a Hell in a Cell against Foley at No Way Out? I don't see any reason why Rock v HHH would have to be a Hell in a Cell match. There were a lot of ways the WWF could have skinned the cat but since Rock v HHH had to sell 5 of the next 6 PPVs, I could understand their approach.

    While I ended up writing an essay, the main point I wanted to get across is that the WWF nailed all the major components. Yes, the card could have been balanced a lot better, but given the state of the company I really don't have any complaints with what we got.
     
  9. Valheru

    Valheru Bench

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    I agree with Pete, WM16 wasn't the best mania in history but was certainly more bearable than the likes of 15, 11 and 9. It was a touch odd that there were no singles matches but in most cases that made sense given the storylines of the day.

    The main event failed but there were 2 matches that were stellar which makes it a passable show.
     
  10. Manurewa_Marlins

    Manurewa_Marlins Bench

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    Yeah I guess yoall are right.

    Conceded. ;-)
     
  11. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    See that's the point on the WCW cruisers. The blokes you have there sold the importance of a move. It makes the style slower, doesn't burn the crowd out, and doesn't take the lustre off the fact the uppercard guys are (rightly) selling hard on moves that maybe aren't as complex.

    In WWE they send you through NXT and Developmental to acclimate to their style. Now I'm not professing that you need to make them monotone vanilla midgets, but just teach them a bit of psychology.

    Rey, Eddie, Jericho, Malenko, Alex Wright, Ultimo Dragon, Jushin Lyger, Pillman when he was there, Juvi (some of it was really good, big moves and then sell he's the underdog smaller guy - some of it resorted to lucha rubbish), Syxx, all excellent cruisers. Some of them needed to be mixed more into the upper midcard outside of the cruiserweight division better, but I rate all of them a mile better than the luchas purely from a psychological booking standpoint.

    Hogan should have jobbed clean to a dominant Sting at Starrcade. I don't think he needs the title to get a huge PPV buyrate off Goldberg v Hogan. I heard a good point this week. When Andre jobbed to Hogan, Andre (obviously with his health in mind) knew it was right to do business and pass the torch. When Hogan jobbed to Goldberg, the torch wasn't passed to Goldberg. Goldberg was working semi mains at PPV against rubbish opponents while Hogan still Main evented.
     
  12. Big Pete

    Big Pete Referee

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    I'd give La Parka a shout out as well. He seemed to be one of the few who understood you needed a personality to get over and his shtick made him a fan favourite.

    The best 'lucha libre' style match was Souled Out '98. At times it really is nothing but fireworks, but the finish is fantastic and the fans get really into it.

    I'd also throw Chavo Guerrero Jr on the list. He came in as a rookie but by 98 he started to find himself as a performer and by the end of it he was arguably the best worker on the roster. His feud with Sugar Shane was really good stuff. In fact, that whole Three-Way feud they had going with Three Count, Jung Dragons and some other group I can't remember were usually the highlights of the entire show right at the end there. No surprise that a few of them went onto do bigger and better things.
     
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  13. Scott Gourley's Lovechild

    Scott Gourley's Lovechild Referee

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    I was never a huge WCW fan. But listening to the WHW podcast, christ almighty there were a lot of screwy finishes in WCW, even on PPV. Every second match seems to end in either a DQ or with outside interference.
     
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  14. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    Totally. I don't mind a screwy finish if...

    1. It doesn't headline your biggest PPVs such as Starrcade
    2. The screwy finish is to build heat and garner sympathy for the babyface
    3. The babyface gets into a chase and gets vengeance

    Sting in 1997 ... his storyline centres around screwy finishes. Problem is they didn't let him dominate and go over Hogan clean. If he goes over clean, the fans get what they came for. It would also be a perfect pivot to set them up long term.

    A lot of the screwy finishes though were to protect egos. They were politically maligned.

    Having said that, the NWA in terms of Dusty booking JCP centred on the Dusty Finish. If you do it sparodically it's fine. But they over did it and virtually killed hot towns.
     
  15. Shaun Hewitt

    Shaun Hewitt First Grade

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    If used correctly, screwy finishes are good ways to advance feuds.
    Timing is key, also quantity which wCw had way off.

    BTW, this is coming from a guy who was a wCw fan (although, I enjoyed WWF, I prefered wCw)
     
  16. Manurewa_Marlins

    Manurewa_Marlins Bench

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    Finishes with shenanigans are fine if they advance the storyline, and these situations should only take place on tv or 'B' payperviews, in my opinion, as I believe the major shows (Mania, Summerslam, Starrcade, Great American Bash etc) should be the conclusion to storylines. That being said, if there is legit long term planning in mind i.e. Austin not quitting at WM13 leadign to a double face turn and escalation in the Austin/Harts feud, or say Taker being screwed at Royal Rumble 1998 which was the final straw in him refusing to fight his brother, then hell yeah it can work. It needs forethought though. Being screwy just to be screwy is the worst.
     
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  17. Big Pete

    Big Pete Referee

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    Time to take a look at WWE Battleground.

    So the show opens up with a championship match and straight away we're off to a bad start. Why? Because the fans have just received a pay-off and we still have 3 hours of Pro Wrestling content for them to sit through. The opening match in Pro Wrestling is a tricky spot to book. You don't want to give the fans the worst match on the card, but by the same token, you want to build the show naturally. Giving away the final of a long-standing feud where the babyfaces finally get their big win is such an anti-climax. The match itself was a lot of fun, they had a couple of good spots planned out but maybe one too many false finishes where it began to seem too choreographed. There's an art-form to false finishes and that appears to be dead since guys kick out of major spots all the time and it becomes a big your turn my turn type of deal.

    Next up we had Shinsuke Nakamura taking on Baron Corbin. Again, I'm not sure how wise it is to have two of the major stars of your brand clash this early on the show. It informs the audience that they're prelim guys or that the match itself is going to be a farce which is what it ended up becoming. I think you can file this match under the classic TNA, booking for television ploy where you rip fans off on PPV, just so they can get their pay-off on TV. Sure enough, Nakamura picks up the win two days later on SmackDown which feels silly. There's a reason why the NRL scrapped the Grand Final replay and it wasn't to retroactively spite Wayne, it's because by then, interest is low. One thing I will say is, if you give a match 12 minutes and then give the fans this sort of finish then it takes away a lot of the drama. Cut the match in half and focus more on the post-match angle. Have Shane flip his lid, or have the entire commentary team react like Corbin just ripped a lot of fans off. Something to convey the drama going on.

    Speaking of another match that lasted too long, the women received 11 minutes and the bulk of it focused on Lana & Tamina. It's really difficult to care about the women's division when nearly half of them can't work and the ones who can are pushed to the side. Also, how is it a division when there isn't 10 women on the roster? Either way this was a real low point in the division and after the fiasco at Money in the Bank they really needed a strong showing here. Granted, they did redeem the Money in the Bank angle a lot, but you can't keep short-changing the fans on PPV otherwise it's going to create a negative perception.

    Owens/Styles was mostly fine, I just wonder if the finish went as intended? Given the way the title went back to Styles' two days later there seems to be a lot of conjecture. Otherwise from a booking stand-point I didn't have a problem with this match, maybe I would have bumped it higher up the card just to safeguard the credibility of the championship.

    Cena/Rusev was a match that went far too long, with a silly stipulation that really wasn't necessary. They were clearly banking on the past history with both performers, but I think it comes off too much as a repeat than an actual must-see confrontation and they would have been better off just having a vanilla match. Have Rusev dominate the bulk and have Cena win, albeit it weakly to show that Cena has some ring rust and isn't the powerhouse he appeared to be back in February. Rusev can always rebound later and beat some established babyfaces.

    Zayn/Kanellis was a piss-break match. Again, this is the type of booking I don't like because you're basically telling your fans not to care about the action. It's a shame really because I actually liked that they went in a different direction, gave Zayn a well deserved win and Kanellis has to earn his keep on the roster. It's just match placement and this should have been third on the card.

    Punjabi Prison was an awful gimmick that turned out to be completely unnecessary and turned into this 27 minute slog that was tough to sit through. Both guys tried to come up with spots, but what can you do when the gimmick is so awful? They should have tweaked the match, canned some of the more gimmicky aspects of the match' and just had it be Mahal v Orton mano e mano except right at the end done the Kahli shock. Or better yet, canned the match, have Mahal take on a fan favourite like Sami Zayn in the sub-main event and have Orton take on Mahal's entourage and given the fans a break. You can't keep putting on Orton/Mahal and expect it to mean something the third time around. If you had McGregor/Diaz fight at UFC 197 and then again at 198, there's no way McGregor would be a bigger draw after that. Another screwy finish, which was the forth on the show isn't great either. You can get away with one, maybe two but when you get to three or four it just reminds fans how big a farce this form of entertainment is and they tune out. It'd be like if in Game of Thrones the Lannisters would always prevail due to some incompetence from a meaningless character. You can't keep screwing the fans over time and time again and expect them to care.
     
  18. Valheru

    Valheru Bench

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    Good write up Pete. I am particularly interested in the concept of what should and shouldn't open a PPV. I think the general formula is it should be your 2nd or 3rd best match of the night? In a perfect world the main event will always be 4 plus stars and then 2 other quality matches in the exact middle of the show and at the start.

    I also agree that there shouldn't be a massive payoff at the start unless it is leading to something later in the event like Lesnar/Show at rumble 2003 and HHH/Bryan at WM30. In this case (battleground) though I am not sure what other match they could have put there, perhaps the Owens/Styles match keeping in mind it looks like it was meant to be a Styles win?
     
  19. Big Pete

    Big Pete Referee

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    The best opening match guy in the business is Tye Dillinger. Not only is he a quality worker, he's a fan favourite and he's master the 10 minute match formula which is the perfect entree for any show. Guys like him, Gable, Tyler Breeze etc. are who I envision in the role and you could put them with any heel and it'd serve it's purpose.

    That was the biggest problem with the show. It was a 7 match card, that probably needed to be more like 9-10 where a lot of B & C storylines received top billing like The Usos vs The New Day.

    Sticking to my Game of Thrones comparison, while Jon Snow is the main character of the show, sometimes you have to end the show on a Samwell Tarly, The Hound, Bran etc. because you can't come up with 60 different episodes where Snow's storyline over-shadows everyone elses. By alternating the focus, you're creating bigger stars while giving fans the necessary time to remain interested in the big angles.
     
  20. Shaun Hewitt

    Shaun Hewitt First Grade

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    I think either Zayn/Kanellis or Cena/Rusev should have opened the show if i'm honest. Cena/Rusev because of the god awful gimmick.
     

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