To have the boss call you into his office could be a good thing or maybe not.
For WWE’s Booker T, it was all good, gladly accepting Vince McMahon’s offer recently to become the WWE SmackDown general manager.
“Vince McMahon gave me the news, and my initial thoughts were ‘OK,’” chuckled Booker T, ready for the challenge. “More than anything it was a great honor to be named general manager of SmackDown by Vince McMahon, a guy who I respect so much, a guy I learned from, a guy who’s mentored me so many years. It was a great, great day for me. It really was.”
Booker T’s wrestled through many big storylines during his WCW and WWE career, but Sunday begins a new chapter, his first pay-per-view as a G.M., and it’s one of the big four.
WWE’s SummerSlam pay-per-view is 8 p.m. EST, emanating from the Staples Center, home to NBA’s showtime Los Angeles Lakers.
Booker T’s met many legendary sports figures like Muhammad Ali and football great Gayle Sayers, and Sunday could be another magical moment for the sports fan. Maybe.
“I’ve met Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I’ve met Shaq [a former Raw guest host]. I wouldn’t call us friends, but we know each other very well,” Booker T said. “Magic Johnson, I haven’t gotten a chance to meet him just yet, but I definitely hope to and get that picture with him so I can put it up on my wall.
“You can’t sleep on Magic, the guy who did it so gracefully with that million dollar smile. He did it the way he wanted to.”
WWE does, too, putting smiles on many faces including athletes and celebs, especially in L.A., Southern California, Hollywood. Charlie Sheen, Ashton Kutcher, Jenny McCarthy, Shaq, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rose McGowan, Arsenio Hall, Tito Ortiz, Cheryl Burke, Slash, Piers Morgan, Lacey Schwimmer, Trace Adkins, Marlon Waynes, Nancy O’Dell, Snoop Dogg, Magic Johnson. You never know who may appear when WWE’s in town.
Don’t worry WWE fans. Although a Magic meeting would be great, Booker T’s not looking to stargaze at the Staples Center. He’s focused to help entertain the tens of thousands of fans in attendance and millions more watching on pay-per-view.
• SmackDown’s cornerstone matchup at SummerSlam features World champ Sheamus against Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez).
SmackDown’s cornerstone is World champ Sheamus, but Alberto Del Rio is not far behind.
Booker T said: “It is the flagship Friday Night SmackDown World heavyweight champion Sheamus going up against... a guy who’s so unpredictable in Alberto Del Rio, a guy who’s so technical, a guy who’s so sound in the middle of the ring. That matchup is the one that I’m going to be highly, highly anticipating.”
Booker T not only respects Alberto Del Rio.
“That Lambo [Lamborghini] he was in was awesome,” he said. “Alberto Del Rio coming to WWE, the guy’s got a lot of class, but more importantly, he goes out in the middle of that ring and steps up every week. He believes he is better than everybody else from the entertainment standpoint, and it shows — even when he’s just walking to the ring. I love what the guy is doing. I love the showmanship and style. His in-ring presence, the guy has it all.”