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Author Topic: Promoters signing wrestlers exclusively
Pat Laprade
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Hey there!

I have a question for you guys.

Aside from Vince Sr booking André and Quinn doing the same thing with Carpentier when he first arrived, were there any other promoters booking guys exclusively and getting a cut from it? And I’m not talking about the NWA champion or something like that.

Meltzer is thinking maybe Al Haft with Buddy Rogers, Fritz with Kerry or Roy Shire with Stevens and Patterson. That said, according to Bertrand Hebert who wrote Patterson’s autobiography, Shire would from time to time tell Pat to go wrestle some place, but there was never a cut taken by Shire.

Anyone can add anything regarding this? I’m trying to find other examples than Quinn-Carpentier/McMahon-Andre.

Thanks!

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Pat Laprade
www.quebecwrestling.ca
Co-Author of Mad Dogs, Midgets and Screw Jobs: The Untold Story of How
Montreal Shaped the World of Wrestling, February 2013 (ECW Press)
Pro Wrestling Freelancer for RDS and SLAM! Wrestling

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Crimson Mask from FL
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Well Vince Sr. booked guys all over the country and took a cut. Tim Hornbaker and others have covered this extensively.

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So long from the Sunshine State!

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Steve Yohe
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I've found that a lot of people don't understand booking offices. You have promoters & what we now call bookers, but the name used by many people thru history was "matchmaker". Promoters were owners & ran promotion, arenas & territories. Matchmakers (bookers) were employees of the promoter & didn't always have much power outside of running the cards & creating matches.

Then you had booking offices. This was company that had most of the major talent under contract or agreements. These offices supplied talent to the promoters. The booking office was the real power in every territory. But they didn't horde all the talent to just keep the wrestlers in their territory. The real money was in sending majors stars & sometime groups of wrestlers to promoters all over North America. They then got a percentage of each card they lent wrestlers to, and they didn't take the risks that a promoter took. If a card tanked they still got their cut, or agreed upon money. They really didn't have to do much at all. Just tell the wrestler where to go and maybe supply transportation. After 1936, with the wrestling dark age in effect, that's where all the money was.

When the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) was formed all the true members were owners of booking offices. The regular promoters who didn't own a booking office were called “affiliates”.

Some of the major Booking Offices in history were:

Farmer Burns office controled most of the major wrestlers of his time. It was primitive but members were Burns, Dan McLeod, Fred Beell, Frank Gotch, Tom Jenkins, Ole Marsh, Emil Klank,Charles Olsen, Jack Reynolds, ETC. Just about everyone during that period, including the GR guys from Europe. Promoters, who really were not wrestling people, would book their cards threw Burns, and he would sign the wrestlers & tell them were to go. If a problem took place, they would contact Burns. These wrestlers may have not signed papers, it all could have been verbal agreements. Everyone respected Burns, he had contacts, he was smarter than anyone, and he probably didn't ask for much money. Later Gotch may have broke off with Emil Klank, and formed his own office.

Jack Curley formed the first official booking office, and controlled the major stars, Joe Stecher, Wladek & Stan Zbyszko, Earl Caddock, and Ed Lewis out of New York City. By the early 1930's his booking office probably was being run by Toots Mondt. From 1917 to 1922, this was was a national booking office.

The booking office that was run from 1922 to 1926, by Billy Sandow, Ed Lewis and the other Bauman brothers had Toots Mondt, Stan Zbyszko, Wayne Munn, John Pesek, Mike Romero, Jim Londos, Dick Shikat, Dick Daviscourt, and others. This supposed “Gold Dust Trio” (name was never used until the book Fall GUYS came out) was never as big or as powerful as stated in books. But it was a booking office.

Tom Pack had a booking office that included Jim Londos, Ray Steele & everyone in St Louis. He had three different tours of wrestlers. One went into Texas for Morris Sigal, One traveled into the South (Memphis, Atlanta, etc) up into Indianapolis, stopped in Evansville & back into St Louis, and he sent major guys into Canada (Toronto, & Montreal).

Paul Bowser had a huge booking office that sent Lewis, Casey, The French Angel, Deglane, Malcewicz, Sexton, and whole group of wrestlers all over America, Canada, and France. In 1933, he formed a partnership with Curley.

Lou Daro used all the other booking offices. Los Angeles was controlled for short periods by the other offices but he also had his own booking office. He sold that to Toots Mondt around 1935, and Mondt developed it into the biggest office in the world, until he screw thing up so bad he lost his license in 1939 & driven back into New York City. Mondt was never an actual promoter. He was mostly owned booking offices, and he did his best to stay out of the newspapers. In LA, his office was held under his brothers names. He was a NY guy like Donny Trump & he worked things like Trump. The LA office went to Nick Lutze and then to Floyd Musgrave and Johnny Doyle.....later a deal was made so it was held by Doyle, Cal Eaton, Hugh Nichols and Mike Hirsch together. That is a long story, which we are going to leave for another project. (Read Tim Hornbaker's NWA book.)

Jack Pfefer was a major booking office to a million outlaw promotions, lighterweight groups and the South plus NYC & even MSG in the 50's. Sometime he promoted in arenas. Besides his main group, which could change names at the drop of a hat, he had some major wrestlers like Buddy Rogers, Dave Levin, The Swedish Angel, and Billy Darnell, that he rented to major promoters who needed a main eventer.

Fred Kohler had the biggest office of the 1950's because he controlled national TV. Cards all over the country were using his TV stars in main events with matchups created in Chicago.

All the small promoters in the Mid-west used other booking offices and had there own small one. The creation of the NWA could be said to be a unification of the mid-west small booking offices. They were mad at Tom Packs because his office talent cost too much, and the NWA took the side of Muchnick in the St Louis War. With in months, the NWA was taken over by the big time booking offices, and it became a tool to insure everyone of the rights to their territory and arenas, and to control talent and it's cost. Lou Thesz saw this, and ended the St Louis War because he was afraid that the NWA would give St Louis to Muchnick, and everyone in the NWA would be on Sam's side.

Complicating all of this, was the state Commissions having rules that outlawed promoters from running the booking offices. Also there was laws stopping wrestlers from being promoters. They didn't want the different positions over lapping. So Lou Thesz's stock in St Louis was under his father's name....and Indianapolis was owned by Mrs Bruiser & Mrs Snyder...,and Mrs Rocca owned stock in NYC.

But the point of all this, is to say, that every territory has a booking office, that is separate from promoters they serve...but is, most of the time, run by the richest promoter in the biggest arena in the territory. Sometimes.

In some territories, the booking office controls the major storylines. So it dictates who is champion and what matches the minor arena can't run.

And don't mix the term booking office with the booker. Two different things.

I'll go to bed now & shut up.

Steve Yohe

[ 01-13-2019, 04:36 AM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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Steve Yohe
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Today, it's just WWE & NJW, and I don't know if booking offices exist anymore. Your just under contract & control of the WWE. I guess there is a section in the WWE office that tell wrestlers when and where they are working, but it's a little different....I would guess.--Yohe
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Pat Laprade
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Well, we didn't have that in Montreal with Quinn. Maybe that's why I get confused with all this. The only known guys Quinn was taking a cut were Yvon Robert when Quinn first arrived, before Robert had points in the office, and then Carpentier. But even Carpentier, when he realized that Quinn was too greedy, decided to split from Quinn as his manager. But he continued working in Montreal. And no one was taking a cut on his payoff.

The 1970s were no different. Johnny Rougeau didn't take a cut on any of his guys, neither Grand Prix.

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Pat Laprade
www.quebecwrestling.ca
Co-Author of Mad Dogs, Midgets and Screw Jobs: The Untold Story of How
Montreal Shaped the World of Wrestling, February 2013 (ECW Press)
Pro Wrestling Freelancer for RDS and SLAM! Wrestling

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Pat Laprade
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quote:
Originally posted by Crimson Mask from FL:
Well Vince Sr. booked guys all over the country and took a cut. Tim Hornbaker and others have covered this extensively.

Do you have any examples of whom McMahon was taking a cut from?

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Pat Laprade
www.quebecwrestling.ca
Co-Author of Mad Dogs, Midgets and Screw Jobs: The Untold Story of How
Montreal Shaped the World of Wrestling, February 2013 (ECW Press)
Pro Wrestling Freelancer for RDS and SLAM! Wrestling

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Crimson Mask from FL
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Just look at anywhere say Rocca was booked outside Capitol from '57 on. That all went through the McMahon booking office. I don't have ledgers but he wasn't doing it for free.

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Steve Johnson
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To add to what Steve said, Pfefer was promoting and booking wrestlers all over the country for years. He didn't own a territory in the sense VJM did.

But Gagne did and sent guys out to Mid-Atlantic and elsewhere for a cut, which they sometimes paid him and sometimes didn't.

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Pat Laprade
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Thanks guys. I appreciate your input.

Steve Johnson, and I’m guessing that Verne was doing it before 1973, right?

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Pat Laprade
www.quebecwrestling.ca
Co-Author of Mad Dogs, Midgets and Screw Jobs: The Untold Story of How
Montreal Shaped the World of Wrestling, February 2013 (ECW Press)
Pro Wrestling Freelancer for RDS and SLAM! Wrestling

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Steve Johnson
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Yes, I have several interviews describing that before then.
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Steve Yohe
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My thinking is that Montreal got there talent in the early period from Bowsers Boston Booking office (Sonnenberg, O'Mahoney, Lewis & that group)....and then it used Tom Packs St Louis Booking office (Longson, Thesz, Managoff, etc). But it also had it's home grown talent and home settlers...like everyone.

In the mid-1950's the only thing of value in Toots Mondt's NYC Booking office was Rocca.

The booking office idea is made clear in Scott Teal's new MSG book.....and in Tim's NWA book...if you look around enough. The term isn't usually used....and it gets mixed up with "The booker". It's not a words talked about & a lot of people don't know about it. That's why I wrote this dam thing.---Steve Yohe

[ 01-15-2019, 02:27 AM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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Matt Farmer from WA
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Pat it was also common where an office would take a cut or a "booking fee" to book talent for Japanese offices. For example both Fritz and Stu Hart were being paid these annual fees to "book" their boys for tours in Japan.
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Steve Ogilvie
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Roy Welch had a booking office in the south if I recall correctly.

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Steve Yohe
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JWA used the LA booking office mostly run by Charley Moto. I think AJW turning to the NWA, made the LA territory switch from WWA to NWA.---Yohe
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diamondmd
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Ogilvie:
Roy Welch had a booking office in the south if I recall correctly.

Welch had one of three major booking offices that covered the Southern states in the 40s and 50s. He was based in Nashville, Billy Romanoff was based in Jackson, Mississippi and Joe Gunther was in Birmingham. They provided talent to the major promoters throughout the south with the exception of Florida south of the panhandle. Welch bought out Gunther in 1953 and Romanoff in 1955.

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djangoska
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Did Roy Welch ever send talent to Houston?

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Majority rule wont work in a mental institution.

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diamondmd
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I don't think he did directly, but many of the guys that wrestled throughout the south also cycled through Texas.

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1bruiser
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Roy Welch was also partners with Nick Gulas. If Nick had anything to do with the booking office, I don't know.
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diamondmd
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Well when I refer to Roy Welch I mean Mid-South booking which was he and Gulas. They had their own territory as well as the booking office.

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Steve Yohe
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I find it hard to understand the Welch operations. --Yohe
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diamondmd
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Yohe:
I find it hard to understand the Welch operations. --Yohe

Pretty simple. Welch and Gulas joined together in the 1940s promoting wrestling based in Nashville. It evenutually grew to include Tennessee plus various cities in Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, Indiana and Missouri. Mid-South booking provided wrestlers to those cities. In 1953 they bought out Joe Gunther and started a separate promotion based in Mobile. Roy's son Edward and brother Jack ran that promotion, which eventually grew into the Gulf Coast territory. They used a combination of Tennessee wrestlers and home grown talent. The promotion eventually ran South Alabama, Northwest Florida and parts of Mississippi and Louisiana.

Welch bought out Billy Romanoff's Jackson, MS booking office in 1955 and folded it into the Mobile office, providing wrestlers to Mississippi and Louisiana promoters as well as the Gulf Coast area.

In January 1959, Roy's nephew Lee Fields bought the Gulf Coast territory from Roy. Fields ran the Mobile booking office until Janaury 1978 when he sold it to Ron Fuller, Welch's grandson.

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