Meltzer reported it last night. Dirty Dutch Mantell, who you may know as booker for IWA Puerto Rico and one of the best bookers in the world right now, is becoming NWA TNA's booker. He begins this Monday. He said on another message board that he will still work for IWA PR while with TNA as well.
I've never watched any TV that Dutch Mantel has booked so I can't say for sure whether I think this is a good move, but the idea of bringing in an old school wrestling guy to work with Russo can't help but be a plus. TNA seems to be going in more of a wrestling-over-soap opera direction, and I would think this would help strengthen them in that regard.
What has Mantel been behind that I might have seen?
this could be pretty good. I read a great article on Dutch a few weeks back. It was posted on another board. A link to the original article wasn't posted but it was credited to a newspaper. I've pasted it below:
======================= Ringside seat: IWA has what WWE lacks
By Scott E. Williams The Daily News
Published September 01, 2003
One of the most important jobs in pro wrestling is one you never see performed, only carried out.
The booker is the person who decides who feuds with whom, how things build and get settled. Historically, each wrestling company had a head booker and an assistant or two.
These days, World Wrestling Entertainment has two teams or writers — one for “Raw” and one for “Smackdown!” That’s right. It takes an entire creative staff to come up with stuff like Kane setting head announcer Jim Ross on fire, or “Rosey: Super Hero In Training.”
While WWE is floundering compared to its glory days, arguably the most successfully booked company in the world is thriving on a tiny island a few hundred miles off the U.S. coast.
Puerto Rico’s IWA routinely draws thousands to live wrestling events and huge weekly TV audiences. The company’s booker is Dutch Mantel, a 30-year wrestling veteran who said using simple approaches to slowly build grudge matches that people want to see was the way to make money in pro wrestling.
“I don’t watch WWE. I try not to watch any other wrestling,” he said. “First of all, I don’t find it to be good TV. I’m not trying to knock them, but I’m also not the only one who feels that way. You know, wrestling isn’t brain surgery. It ain’t rocket science. I think, sometimes, they make it harder than it needs to be.”
Like the WWE teams, Mantel’s crew puts out four hours of television a week. Unlike WWE, IWA consistently draws a huge audience, with a fraction of the skits, sometimes without even any talking.
“I have nothing against vignettes, if they’re clever or it serves a purpose, but I hate looking at something and thinking, ‘What the hell was the point of that?’” he said. “One time here, I cut out interviews. You know, one guy says, ‘I’m going to kick your ass,’ and the other guy says, ‘No, I’m going to kick your ass.’ Well, hell, don’t you think the fans know these two guys are going to fight already? So once, the station here cut me down to 44 minutes during an election. If we would have run lot of promos (wrestler interviews), we wouldn’t have been able to have any wrestling, so we did the whole show with only matches, no interviews, and we still did great business. We got a 17 rating, 51 share. I think it worked out to where we had 40 share of total viewerships, of everyone who was watching TV at that time.”
Mantel also said many in recent years had gone wrong by reminding fans “it’s just a show,” thus preventing them from the ability to put an emotional investment into what they were watching.
“I preface everything with saying this is just Dutch’s take, but you have to book for the fans, not for yourself. If you book for yourself, you’re gonna go broke. The art isn’t slowly dying. It’s dying pretty fast,” he said. “Don’t show me how you do the magic trick. I wanna think, ‘Wow, that’s clever.’ I like to see something and not know what’s going to happen.”
The IWA recently made inroads into the continental United States, with one of its TV programs being carried weekly by The Sunshine Network and Empire Sports. Check your satellite or cable listings to find out if the show is available in your area, and then settle back and watch some wrestling that won’t insult your intelligence.
The sad part is that the WWE reads articles like that and writes them off, with the logic of "This guy doesn't 'get it'. The American audience wants to see skits, so our way is *the* correct way for booking here. What an idiot."
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Originally posted by Tribal ProphetThe sad part is that the WWE reads articles like that and writes them off, with the logic of "This guy doesn't 'get it'. The American audience wants to see skits, so our way is *the* correct way for booking here. What an idiot."
Well, now we see if the 'idiot' can provide competition to the WWF/E. IF they can keep Russo reigned in somewhat, and have Dutch book so that things go from point A-B-C-D instead of Q-A-W-L-B-Z-and never going to C or D, this might be interesting.
Time to do a Red Sox pennant chase supply list: Arsenic: check. Cyanide: check. Booze: check. Fully loaded gun for full chamber Russian Roulette: check. Ok, I'm prepared, let the pennant race commence.
When IWA started, it was basically a lot like NWA-TNA,lots of good performers,one or two local shows a week to promote the product and not many story lines. Savio Vega was the main booker with Victor Quińones owner of IWA. As time passed, IWA was getting better, but couldn't beat rival WWC (Carlos Colon's promotion and Puerto Rican staple in wrestling). As time passed and Dutch Mantell started to book, the difference in the product started to change, IWA tried to imitate WWC in its booking beforehand, which is basically a tier style of booking, Carlos and his sons beats everybody and everything else is second hand. WWC top stars got tired of this kind of booking and started to go to rival IWA. Mantell's booking was straight up, if the people reacted to you, you were the main event. If you put the effort and show solidarity, you will be in the main event sooner or later. Sure enough, with the exile of Shane the Galmour Boy to the IWA, one could sense that the tide of PR wrestling started to sway IWA's way, and no doubt,two years later, and with the signing of PR superstar Ray Gonzalez to the IWA, they has dethroned WWC from its 30 year hold of the island wrestling.
This year they have had at least 10 sell outs of 7 thousand and more, without the help of any outside super star. That is just incredible considering that they do it every weekend on this island, so people just keep heading back to the shows because the quality is so great. The great mix of using new stars (like Ricky Banderas and El Leon Apollo) and veterans (Chicky Starr, Savio Vega, Miguel Perez), straight up exiting booking and the need for quality program made Mantell's booking the best move the IWA owners ever made.
NWA-TNA has all the qualities as the IWA, and I do think Mantell can be a great asset to the company. But TNA desperatly needs to get a national show in TV to make the long climb against the monster that is WWE, but as it happened here, the WWC didn't even bother to better the product because they thought the IWA was another little promotion trying to get a piece of the pie. 5 years later, the pie is now on IWA's side. If WWE isn't careful, one never knows. I hope the best for Dirty Dutch and he knows he always has a home here in PR.
edit: typos and stuff
(edited by MedallaGuy on 20.9.03 1757) SavioVega4Life
My order of dates and stuff isn't going to be as accurate as Medalla guy here since I never could get a steady supplier for Puerto Rico and untill Ray Gonzalez left WWC I wasn't that into IWA. But its the internet so no harm in throwing out semi uninformed opinions.
While I endlessly will pimp Dutch Mantell as a worker, I'm of mixed feelings as to Dutch Mantell as booker. In Memphis he was always something of a comedy booker. As he booked alot more around comedy stuff than around heat stuff. He was always effective at creating new faces, and doing face turns but he did alot of comedy.
He was one of many bookers who came and went during USWA's dieing days. USWA was kind of oddly fun to watch in the end since there was so much back stage politics constantly going on that every match kind of had multiple political meanings (that you as watcher were always trying to decipher)..All of a sudden one guys crew of friends would show up than an other. But during Dutchs run he did introduce the Dutch 7/11 character a joke on Austin 3;16 and I think Piper calling himself living legend or some such.
Unlike Russo's comedy or Disco's comedy, Dutch's comedy has always amused me andd at minimum made me laugh and hasn't interfered with the wrestling. That said the last thing TNA needs is more comedy bookers.
Dutch's Puerto Rican booking had alot less comedy (maybe because of the language barier).
Dutch was involved with the 94 Eddie Gilbert, WWC booking that had the Hurrican Castillo turn which ruled hard. I need to watch that again to remeber how done. But it elevated Castillo big time.
I think he booked the Ray Gonzalez heel turn around 97 where Ray turned on Carlos Colons Army and it was HUGE. HUGE HUGE HUGE. Just an amazing heel turn. In my mind it way rivals Hogans heel turn. Hogan's had complete shock value. Ray you could see it coming but still blew you away.
Its possible that Youngblood booked the Ray Gonzalez turns on Colon Army but I'm pretty sure it was Dutch.
When Dutch left WWC for IWA I didn't get into much of his early booking. He did alot of WWFish things. Like the shitty 24hour comedy hardcore rule. Shorter TV matches than WWC (which normally had every match go over commercial break) and lots of backstage shennanigans. Plus they had El exotico (really good junior who works flamboyant gay character) do a TV section where he would do really Russoish shoot on opposing shows workers. Plus lots of catfights.
I don't know how much of that was Dutch's doing, and what was other folks. But I remember the 24hour matches being especially unpleasant, especially in a fed that had really solid hardcore brawlers.
Dutch did do the Apollo face turn which was really well layed out and was neat as the crowd was rabid in anticipation of the turn. Instead of being a surprise turn, you knew it was going to happen just couldn't wait for when.
Slowly alot of the Russoish WWFisms dissapeared. The backstage stuff all built well and made sense and IWA got to be more and more fun for me to watch.
WWC realized that Ray Gonzalez got ratings just for talking so hed do longer backstage bits (as opposed to the little short quick cut ones that IWA does).
I think the WWC firing of Invader 1 made a big difference. While Invader 1 may be a killer he was a better booker than others. And once he left WWC seemed to fall apart and the loss of Ray Gonzalez was just a huge blow as he was to WWC, what Flair was to NWA/WCW in 89/90.
I think loosing Ray Gonzalez was pretty much the nail in the WWC coffin that ended it all.
I don't much like alot of the Ray booking in IWA were hes a cheat to win face who never booked as strong as Banderas when I last watched. But the way Ray was brought in, turned on Vega, feuded with Vegas army, and the Ray face mic work were super. Much like the other turns that Dutch done before there arer lots of other secondary characters who get moved with the turn. As Gonzalez got a protege, who became super over because of the association. The crowd slowly gets more and more rabid for one of Vewgas valets to turn on Vega and join Gonzalez, etc.
Everything is done slow so the crowd is salivating waiting for the payoffs to happen. And well the payoffs always happen.
So theres alot to like about Dutch booking. He does good character development. Things make sense and build slowly with both short term and long term pay offs. The booking respons to the crowds and is always aimed at identifying what it is that the crowd is into and than building on that. the booking never hits you over the head or tries to push things down your throat.
But I do worry about the comedy. The last thing TNA needs is more comedy even good comedy. I wouldn't be happy if TNA signed a great comedy writer like Paul Mooney to write for Ron Killings. TNA seems to have a backstage enviroment where I imagine he will be steered toward and encouraged to do more comedy.
Lance Storm's Highlight Reel? I love it. And it would get Austin in a role that suits a man in his position...as a foil for a feud between two wrestlers, rather than mired in a storyline that is exclusively wrestler vs. non-wrestler.