Booking is the term used behind the scenes in professional wrestling promotions to refer to the act of scripting a wrestling match or event. The person doing the booking is referred to as the booker. The booker will generally do some or all of the following things:
- Deciding who will wrestle whom
- Deciding who will win in each match, and how.
- Writing speeches and dialogue, also known as promos for the performers to recite before or after the match.
- Scripting events that happen in the ring area before, during, or after the match, such as a heel using a foreign object to gain the upper hand in an underhanded sort of way.
- Scripting angles and storylines in general
In the past, it was fairly common for the booking to be handled by the big name wrestlers in the promotion. In the NWA in the 1980's, for instance, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, and Ole Anderson were just a few people who did booking, to varying degrees of success. In Japan, it is still common for active or recently-retired wrestlers to handle booking, such as Ultimo Dragon in Toryumon, Mitsuharu Misawa of Pro-Wrestling NOAH, Super Delfin of Osaka Pro, or any number of bookers of New Japan Pro-Wrestling. While wrestlers do have a stronger understanding of the business, the booking power frequently corrupted the booker, or at least attracted already corrupt people.
Nowadays, in the US (which is to say, in the WWE), booking is handled by a staff of writers, which includes former wrestlers, Hollywood writers, and members of Vince McMahon's family.