A booker is probably one of the most important jobs in any pro wrestling promotion. Some promotions have come and gone, but who really is the greatest booker of all time?
Well that’s the question we’ll explore further…
One of the first names that will always come to people’s minds is none other than Vince McMahon. It makes a lot of sense, but is he really the best? The short answer is no.
Why isn’t Vince McMahon the GOAT? Well… There’s factors to this, but the fact is that he is overrated as a booker. Yes people will mention the Attitude Era, but the Attitude Era had a lot of bad booking that stars like The Rock and/or Stone Cold help hide. An example is Mae Young giving birth to a hand.
Another big problem with Vince’s case about being the best booker has to do with his booking in the last 15 years. To say it nicely, it’s hasn’t been the best. Had Vince McMahon been a better booker, the rise of AEW would’ve never happened. But it did.
Vince McMahon is the most successful promoter, but he’s not the best booker.
Inoki is an interesting name. He formed what is now the biggest promotion in Japan – NJPW – and the second or third biggest promotion in the world. Inoki saw a lot of success as a booker. But what disqualifies him as the best booker can be described in one word, Inoki-Ism.
I know what you’re going to ask, what the hell is Inoki-Ism? Antonio Inoki always had the idea of mixing Pro Wrestling and MMA, and that right there was one of the dumbest decisions in pro wrestling history. Because of this idea, NJPW entered some very rough years. What is known today as the dark ages of NJPW.
While we are talking about NJPW, a name that could be considered the best booker is Gedo. The booking of Gedo helped NJPW turn things around from their dark ages and expand the popularity around the world.
Gedo is without a doubt the best booker of the previous decade. In the last decade we saw:
- The formation of Bullet Club
- The rise of Kazuchika Okada
- The expansion of NJPW into the west
- And more…
Recency bias works for him, for better and worse. NJPW has struggled these last few years to get the attention of fans and the quality of shows has been debatable at times. Especially regarding EVIL’s IWGP World Title reign…
The founder, promoter and booker of AJPW… Giant Baba! The highs of the King’s Road Era of AJPW are very hard to match. At that time, the quality of AJPW would surpass the best work any promotion had at that same period of time.
Baba new how to push his stars, and took his time with The Four Pillars of Heaven (Misawa, Kobashi, Take & Kawada). He booked them against all-time great wrestlers like Stan Hansen. In terms of long term storytelling, Baba was the best, he was also a successful promoter.
What do you think of the list? Let us know in the comments section below!