Reviewed by Steven Wilson of MainEventRadio.com
A year ago the wrestling world was abuzz over the announcement that Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff were going to TNA to shake up the company and bring it to the next level. A year later we all saw how that has turned out, as the Monday night wars part 2 was somewhat of a failed experiment, the re-launch button was nearly pressed again a few months later when Paul Heyman was in negotiations to take over the company, and now Dixie Carter’s mom, Janice has been put in charge of approving all new spending,. To say the least its been a rollercoaster year for TNA.
One of the individuals who had been with TNA for years, but found himself on the outside following the takeover by the Hogan-Bischoff regime is Dutch Mantell and now he is given his chance by Kayfabe Commentaries to show us how he would of booked the new TNA roster if he had been in charge during the latest installment of the Guest Booker DVD series.
As with previous installments of the Guest Booker series, this installment serves up more than just the guest booking purpose as it takes a look at the TNA booking structure prior to the Hogan/Bischoff regime and If you’ve been a fan of TNA at any time in recent years then you’ve probably found yourself scratching your head asking why something just happened or how they came up with such an idea, which is why this DVD is such an interesting watch.
Starting with the early days of TNA’s booking by committee, Mantell shares his frustration with getting some logic into the booking process and how the booking process often ended up being a court room more than anything as it was rare the individuals all agreed and everyone was throwing in their small ideas along the way. Mantell explains why the lack of a sole director in charge of TNA’s creative caused what is an exceptional roster to not be used correctly. However he does not come off as one of those disgruntled former employees which can often be the case in some of these DVD shoot interviews, in fact he is fairly politically correct in his comments and opinions.
Mantell also shoots from the hip when it comes to him being blamed for angles that drew “Fire Russo” chants, something that had been implied in Dixie Carter’s You Shoot DVD earlier this year, Mantell calls that pure BS and implores Russo to own up to the piss poor angles he is responsible for such as the Abyss/Sting Last Rites match that drew a big Fire Russo chant.
When it comes to his expectations for Hogan and Bischoff, Mantell expected a “hell of a lot more”, which is something I think many of us shared over the past 12 months, but could Mantell do better? Well that’s what the Guest Booker portion of the DVD attempts to show.
Mantell admits that being faced with such an inflated roster of 50 to 60 guys is a tough task as it’s a recipe for exactly what happened in TNA this year, too much to get over in such a small period of time. At the same time he would find it hard to send people home as it’s a time where your trying to make sure that you want the roster to be behind you, and thus its one of the reasons creative in TNA has always been overwhelmed and stretched.
Mantell then goes on to explain his vision of January 4th, which would have had Abyss with Jim Mitchell,who he had taken time to rebuild as a monster for the month leading up to the January 4th event and have him confront Hogan to start a major angle.
Mantell then share his plans for RVD, Jeff Hardy, Mr Anderson and Desmond Wolfe, however amongst the flaws is the fact that they don’t take into consideration that RVD was not accepting to a TNA spot until March.
One of the things Mantell preaches throughout his vision is the slow build and reveal of the new arrivals to the roster as opposed to blowing the load every few seconds.
Along the way he explains some of the flaws in what happened in reality, and how Jim Cornette would often point these type of flaws out in TNA’s product while he was still there, which eventually led to his hatred for Vince Russo exploding.
Overall this is an interesting watch for any TNA fan, especially those have been frustrated over the years with some of the booking decisions, so if you have a TNA fan on your holiday gift giving list you may consider this installment of the Guest Booker.
Guest Booker with Dutch Mantell – Exposing TNA is now available on DVD from Kayfabe Commentaries, for more information or to order your own copy check out www.kayfabecommentaries.com, and to check out my previous DVD reviews check out www.wrestlingdvdreviews.vze.com