Sunday, February 27, 2011

Guest Booker with Greg Gagne [KayFabe Commentaries]

The Good
Overall, I'd say I'm a fan of Greg Gagne. I thought he was a very good worker, I thought he was a solid babyface and I believe he really knows the AWA-style of pro-wrestling. In shoot interviews, he is enjoyable to listen to for sure. He is extremely blunt, he has sharp insight and he can be funny at times. His series with Gary Cubeta has been excellent, so I figured in the guest booker seat, he'd make a strong showing. He did bring many of the aforementioned good qualities to this and really explained the AWA method of booking, which is perhaps the closest we'll ever get to understanding Verne's logic for things. I recently heard Bill Irwin give his take on Verne's approach that I thought had great merit, but it was not discussed here. Basically, he felt Verne kept around the stars of his generation because he was in denial about the generational shift that happened. The Crusher, Mad Dog Vachon, Baron Von Raschke and others still had some steam, but seeing them 10-20 years past their primes going toe-to-toe with the Road Warriors, Hulk Hogan and other `roided up comicbook-like stars just turned off their audiences. Greg Gagne approach here is so revealing in regards to why the AWA machine failed to compete with the the WWF juggernaut.

The Bad
While guests on Guest Booker vary in their preparedness, Greg Gagne seemed completely unprepared and embarrassingly so at times. This series works if a booker comes in with some thought out ideas that they can explain, so as to expose their booking mind. When Greg tries to get Sean Oliver to book things, you know things are going poorly. He lacks the conviction and passion that is needed to get himself over as a great mind. He seems to cop out by saying that AWA basically on shot four angles per year, which I have a hard time buying. Regardless, it shows why their old-fashion style lost out against the booking of the WWF. Instead of making a case that more current pro-wrestling is over-booked and over-planned, it seemed like his generation under-booked and under-planned and that's why that style died out. Greg Gagne is not a bad interview, just like he was not a bad wrestler, but this one was an underwhelming effort.

The Rating: ***1/2

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