GUEST BOOKER with RAVEN
Reviewed by Brad Dykens
A few short years ago, the Guest Booker concept single-handedly put Kayfabecommantaries.com on the map with a trilogy of high-praised DVD’s featuring the likes of Kevin Sullivan, J.J. Dillon, and Gabe Sapolsky. The idea behind these “shoot” interviews was to take some of wrestling’s most celebrated “bookers,” and present them with the task of rebooking a certain era of professional wrestling’s past – but usually sticking them with some kind of swerve. After venturing off into different areas, coming up with a couple more unique concepts, KC director Sean Oliver has finally brought back the popular Guest Booker brainchild. For the first time, the subject of the DVD was not an established wrestling booker – but probably should be. Raven has seen and done it all, growing up in the business, spending time in WCW, WWF, ECW, WCW again, WWE again, TNA and many others in between. Despite being knocked around in the violent world of extreme wrestling, and indulging a little too much in the drug culture, Scott “Raven” Levy, has somehow managed to maintain a remarkable level of intelligence – you know, for a wrassler.
Raven sits down in a hotel room with cameras rolling, faced with the scenario of reorganizing the ECW product in 1996 – with the special twist that Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had jumped to Paul Heyman’s ECW instead of Ted Turner’s WCW. As if that would ever happen; but for all intents and purposes, it’s an interesting state of affairs. How would you book the Outsiders in ECW? If you think about it, the possibilities are endless. Raven works out almost of a full year of matches, including who beats who, who gets screwed, and what goes down at the big super card matches. Booking doesn’t happen over night, so you have to give the poor guy some slack for being put directly on the spot. It’s just so darn interesting to watch the ideas spill out of Raven’s mouth as he verbally juggles several different trains of thought – in the pursuit of perfection. Where else can you get a glimpse inside the mind of a wrestling genius?
For the life of me, I don’t know why Raven never officially took a booking position in any wrestling promotion. Now that his career is winding down, perhaps that is the perfect fit for him. Maybe he just doesn’t want the responsibility. The guy really knows what he’s doing and could parlay his experience into a very impressive small-scale product. Pick up the “Guest Booker with Raven” DVD and experience the mind of genius at work.
Reviewed by Brad Dykens ([email protected])
Courtesy of Alan J. Wojcik from http://alanwojcik.com
Sunday May 19, 1996 Madison Square Garden in New York City, 2pm house show. Hunter Hearst Hemsley defeats Razor Ramon AKA Scott Hall while WWF champion “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels defeats former champion Diesel AKA Kevin Nash. What happened next will forever be known as the “curtain call” as the four real life friends held an unauthorized farewell. Hall and Nash have decided to leave for further their careers a bit down the road. A few weeks later both men arrive and are introduced to the rabid fans of the world famous ECW Arena in Philadelphia.
No this didn’t really happen but the crew over at www.KayfabeCommentaries.com asks the question what if Hall and Nash didn’t go to the former World Championship Wrestling and be part of booker Eric Bischoff’s monster New World Order gimmick that led WCW to overtake WWF in the ratings. Producer Sean Oliver isn’t doing the hypothetical arrival on his own. He enlists the man who was ECW World champion in 1996 and a brilliant mind in the business, Raven to be the booker of their arrival. The end result is a 90 minute DVD in their Guest Booker series subtitled Raven Booking Hall & Nash in ECW.
Oliver sits Raven down with a copy of the 1996 ECW roster, a wipe board, some markers and plenty of paper. Raven is told to book Hall and Nash’s arrival in June until the first ECW PPV Barely Legal in April of 1997. That is where the fun begins as Raven races through the entire program rewriting wrestling history. I have to be honest despite growing up in New York and living there until 1996 I was never an ECW fan and had to use several resources to get the lay of the land in the promotion during this time frame. The DVD requires you to suspend reality that Hall and Nash left WWF to get respect they didn’t get as Raven suggests in the feature, instead of the number one reason anyone went to WCW in 1996…Ted Turner’s humongous checkbook.
I will not give away Raven’s booking moves but he makes some interesting choices. Some people will object to the way he introduces the two men to the ECW faithful in the Arena but that is the point of the DVD to give Raven’s version of the booking not Paul Heyman or anyone else. The funniest part is when he basically kicks Oliver out of the seat in front of the dry erase board and takes over. Raven uses every single minute of time allotted to him and then enjoys a meal on camera as the credits roll. Raven should be booking somewhere in the US and being used to better the business.
The item is available through www.KayfabeCommentaries.com for $20. Also through their site you can other great DVD’s with Missy Hyatt, Honky Tonk Man, Tito Santana, Greg Valentine and more in the Guest Booker series with JJ Dillon, Gabe Sapolsky and Kevin Sullivan.