BluRay/DVD Reviews

THE BOOKER

By • May 14th, 2014 •

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In the squared circle, two titans battle to the cheers and jeers of an arena of frenzied fans while an announcer spouts colorful commentary. High flying leaps, body slams, baby faces and heels, chiseled chests and bountiful bosoms, and a whole lot of trash- talkin’ are the staple of professional wrestling. From its humble beginnings on the carney circuit to the New York Stock Market traded empire that Vince McMahon Jr. built known as the WWE, so many dreaming hopefuls wish to reach the stratosphere of sports entertainment stardom. And while only a select few stake their claim in achieving the coveted top spots, the rest relentlessly flounder at the bottom of many promotions that are arguably neither worldwide, wrestling, nor entertainment; and they’re content with it.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Platinum Championship Wrestling. PCW! PCW! PCW! What began as a school is an impassioned quest to build a preeminent wrestling organization. Unlike the New York State Lottery where all you need is “a dollar and a dream,” rasslin’ takes a considerable amount of dreaming and many, many dollars. Eventually, dreams are shattered by circumstance and lack of luck or in this case, musing is duping oneself with a dubious pipe dream.

Filmmaker Michael Perkins documented Steve Scarborough’s life over a four-year period in Georgia. The linear story chronicles Steve’s background, his pursuit of wrestling in Japan, the trials and tribulations of starting a wrestling school, venturing into promotion, aspirations for televised events, and a brief look into a couple of the wrestlers’ personal lives.

Kudos to anyone that can successfully have their production viewed by an audience and distributed. THE BOOKER is more like a work in progress. The letdown is that if the wrestling disease does not course through your veins, you will not sit through this film. With four years of footage and PCW still in existence, a revisit and re-cutting could make this an interesting film. No-budget micro-productions are forgiving to dirty lenses and inaudible clips, while relieved of the constraints of investor obligations. After all, this subject is the wrestling world, so let the mayhem ensue.

The film prompted comparing and contrasting the legendary icons of the sport to the personalities documented in THE BOOKER. At the top is the promoter Steve. He is deficient in the personality, exuberance, and vibrancy which compel fans to buy tickets, merchandise, and pay per views, that pitchmen such as Vince McMahon Jr., Jimmy Hart, Lou Albano, Gordon Solie, and Jerry Lawler mastered. Absent are the machine gun rapid fired fervor, insults, and inventive oration. Former Minnesota Governor Jessie Ventura is one luminary who creatively crafted verbal bombardments to entice and enrage.

Sadly, PCW’s Steve can best be described as lackluster. With honesty and unfiltered divulgence of his financial woes, he is always teetering on the brink of financial ruin realizing his passion, which is admirable albeit fruitless. He does raise the decibels backstage when upset over the matches and during a meeting with his wrestlers. It’s not in his character to yell, it’s somewhat laughable. He’s less orchestra leader and more like a David Koresh cult figure type with his band of followers.

Steve Scarborough admits that decades ago there were no wrestling schools. It’s evident that the majority of his wrestlers do not mirror those who battle it out on TV. His school is part of the epidemic plaguing America – “My kid is the greatest!”- in every facet of sports and talent. There are parents paying for their 300-pound fat daughters to take ballerina classes with delusional visions of twinkling toes on stage at Lincoln Center starring in The Nutcracker. None of the tight-wearing, boot- strapping PCW wrestlers will be on the card with John Cena. Wake up, it’s not happening. But, then again, to some, this is just a hobby.

Killer Kowalski ran a wrestling school where Triple H trained to climb the ranks of the wrestling world and traded nuptials with WWE heiress Stephanie McMahon. Gino Caruso in Northern New Jersey runs ECPW. Travel the turnpike south to Larry Sharpe’s Monster Factory. These guys worked in the business with numerous connections. Jimmy Valiant’s BCW continues to thrive in Virginia. OVW has huge success with its developmental programs. It seems as though none of this founded success will ever stem from PCW.

So why does Steve do it? He wants to preserve the past, the aspects of the sport as they existed when he was younger. A supporter of such belief is the greatest champion of all – Bruno Sammartino. Respectfully, both men are incorrect. Wrestling must continually evolve according to the times. Unfortunately, wrestling will always be regarded as the bastard clown of fighting sports, regardless of the demanding physical endurance and skill that it takes to become a professional wrestler.

Promotions such as Combat Zone Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and TNA continue to exist in a WWE dominated world. Billionaires and paupers have tried their hand at the wrestling business. Legions of fans will always pledge their allegiance. Even President Jimmy Carter is a self-professed wrestling fan. Dedication by men such as Steve Scarborough will ensure that a trail of defunct promotions will continually align the path of failed childhood dreams.

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