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[Wrestlepack][Let's Play - Original Choose Your Own Adventure!] Pushing Too Far - A Booker's Adventures

Regis

Interdimensional Monarch
Validated User
Going off script was never your thing. Not that you mind on your own account – what are they going to do, force you into retirement? – but Dorian might get heat for this. Let him do his thing. You roll out of the ring and slouch off towards the back.

Dorian’s voice rings out behind you. “At last… We… Have… VENGEANCE!” A roar from the crowd. “Vengeance for Dean Daniels! Vengeance for Floyd Black! Vengeance for Blitz Simpson! Justice is done!”

Holy shit. The kid just name-dropped your three biggest winning feuds. Floyd Black actually retired shortly after you beat him, come to think of it. Not an official career-ender, but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good story. You stagger through the curtain as the Vigilante continues his tirade. Bill Coleman immediately hugs you. Sentimental old fool.

“Great match, Stern, great match! You made that kid look like a million bucks out there.”

“Eh, he did his part. If he keeps learning at this rate he’ll be carrying rookies himself before too long.”
Your old friend releases the embrace but keeps one arm around your shoulder. “Come on. Let’s get out of here. The boys are taking you out once the show’s done, you are not paying for a single drink tonight. We’re betting on how long before you get bored and come back.”

“What? Fuck that. I’m not going to get bored. I’m retired now.”

---------------

Four years later.

“So you finally got bored?”

You grimace. You hoped Bill had forgotten that exchange by now. The Sternberg School of Grappling Arts has been a good way of filling your time and that plus the legit gym that runs out the front have kept you comfortably well-off since your retirement, but to be honest, there has been something missing.

“I’m not bored. I just… the kids aren’t getting the kind of exposure they need. I mean, it’s one thing running a free spot show for friends and family, but that barely counts. They need to know what it’s like to get out in front of a paying audience, they need to learn how to sell a show, and I can’t keep cold-calling every promoter who hasn’t blocked my number to sign my greenhorn rookies.”

“So you’re starting up your own promotion. I’m not investing, I’ll tell you that for free!”

You make a rude noise down the phone. “I don’t need money. I’ve got money. I just need someone to tell me that I’m not completely insane for trying.”

“I mean, I can’t say that for sure. Who are you working with?”

Who indeed? Choose two.

A: Darryl Bird, former manager, commentator, booker and general all-purpose irritant in the indie wrestling scene for the last thirty years. He’s an excellent heat magnet, mostly in kayfabe, and is very good at finding logical flaws in other people’s work. Also at pointing them out. Loudly.

B: Seth Chapman, aka ‘Blind Seth’. Not actually blind, but definitely an excellent referee, which is basically the same thing. He’s helped to book a few indie promotions over the years without getting much of a reputation either way, but he’s popular and knows basically everybody.

C: Carol Mitchell, more popularly known as Killer Kat. Another retired veteran feeling bored, though she never made it to the GWF. She’s booked her own top title feuds on a number of occasions, generally to a good reception. She’s itching to get back in the ring more than you, though she has also been joking about the chance to add to her list of title reigns.

D: Brandon Lowe, proud holder of the ‘biggest know-nothing in the business’ title since he first saw a wrestling ring. A feud is something families do on TV game shows and heat is what you want in the winter. He is, however, an actual accountant with a proven history of making sure that promotions don’t go bankrupt as long as they listen to him.
 

Dawgstar

Super Moderator
Moderator
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Darry Bird sounds like a Jim Cornette. We probably need a Jim Cornette. At least to keep us honest. And when we don't need to be honest, we can just ignore him. My second pick is harder, because I do like women's wrestling and it's always good to have a smart money man but it's easy to ignore how much a good ref can add to a match and if he's got connections...
 

Regis

Interdimensional Monarch
Validated User
Darry Bird sounds like a Jim Cornette. We probably need a Jim Cornette. At least to keep us honest. And when we don't need to be honest, we can just ignore him. My second pick is harder, because I do like women's wrestling and it's always good to have a smart money man but it's easy to ignore how much a good ref can add to a match and if he's got connections...
Are those picks, or simply musing on potential picks?
 

Lee Casebolt

SUCH a BOY
Staff member
Moderator
RPGnet Member
Validated User
A and D. Heat magnets are good and not going broke is better. The other two are fine and potentially useful (though the title reign jokes give me pause), but I need heat and financial stability and if I can get Bird to keep his "that's fucking stupid!" commentary to backstage, so much the better.
 

ranson

"Two Sheds"
RPGnet Member
Validated User
B and D. I'll take middling fair competence and good connections along with solid accounting. Thats more than most Indies have.
 

Regis

Interdimensional Monarch
Validated User
So with three votes apiece, Brandon and the Birdman become our partners!

---------------

There is a long pause.

“So… you’re working with a man who can tell you why every promotion for the last fifty years failed but never yet made one succeed, and an accountant who wouldn’t know a wristlock from a wristwatch, and you want me to tell you that you’re not crazy?”

“Jesus Bill, remind me why I even talk to you?”

“Because I have half an idea what the hell I’m doing, you dumb kraut. I get wanting to give your students some ring time, but god damn, you’re just going to run yourself into the ground and get really damn poor into the bargain doing this shit.”

“Look, Birdman knows the business and Lowe knows money. Between the two of them they cancel out.”

“Yeah, and if I lend you ten bucks and then steal it straight back off you that cancels out too, it doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea.”

You give the phone the finger. “Fine. It’s a crazy idea. I’m crazy for doing this. It might all go horribly wrong, same as everything. Could it work?”

Another long pause.

“…Sure. Why not. Look, Stern, if anyone can make it work it’s you. If all you want is to get your students some ring time in front of a paying crowd, why not? I’m just saying, don’t get too crazy about it all. Everyone thinks they’re going to be the next alternative to the GWF. Just try to focus on not going bankrupt, yeah?”

“Thanks Bill. That’s mostly what I wanted to hear.”

---------------

One week later.

The boring practicalities are underway. Getting Brandon Lowe on board has made the administrative side of setting up a promotion a cinch. Now you, him and the Birdman are sat around your kitchen table.

“So the big issue,” the Birdman says, continuing a monologue that’s been rolling for some time, “is how to make this thing last. Nobody in their right mind is going to pay to see your half-trained students stink up a ring.”

“My students are very well trained!”

Birdman waves the comment away with his e-cig. “Sure, sure. Every parent thinks their kid’s an artistic genius. The point is, nobody gives a shit how good they are, nobody’s ever heard of them. Nobody gives a shit. You wouldn’t be able to fill your living room with paying customers.”

Brandon interrupts. “No wrestling promotion of any size ever turned a profit in the first twelve months of operation. Usually it’s closer to eighteen. Advertising is the key to turning that around, and the data is very clear, familiar faces are what sell tickets.”

Birdman waves dismissively. “Stop getting accountancy all over the business, nerd. Anyway, even when you get back in the ring it’ll take more than one good name to get a buzz going.”

Brandon nods. “Agreed. Older, more familiar names have a proven track record of selling tickets.”

“And a proven track record of ego, politics and working like they did twenty years ago. No thanks.” Birdman turns to you. “We need to skip that bullshit and bring in younger talent. Good indie names. Your students don’t want to be nostalgia acts, they want to be these guys! Show them what the next stage looks like.”

“Veterans make better teachers,” you counter. You’re not entirely sold on that line of reasoning, but something about Birdman makes you want to argue with him. “We could go for both?”

“Too expensive,” Brandon cuts in. “It would damage our profit margins. We’d need to rework a lot of things and get very lucky to start making money like that.”

“And that’s where booking good shows comes in,” Birdman retorts. “Give the people a good card, get some buzz going, and they’ll start paying up.”

Brandon shrugs. “Not my business. I’m just here to make the numbers work. It’s your decision, Mister Stern.”

Damn right it is. So how will you round out your roster?

A: Independent stars. They’re cheaper, younger, and show the students what they’re aiming for.

B: Veterans. They sell tickets, and will jump at the chance to teach their skills to aspiring wrestlers.

C: A mixture of both. It’s more expensive, but we get the best of both worlds and hopefully can parlay it into better press.

And there’s something that’s being assumed, but you’re not quite sold on yet: are you getting back in the ring yourself?
 
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