WWE Hall of Famer and analyst Booker T. is enjoying his trips, experiencing firsthand the great companies out there.
The fun-loving performer is looking forward to appearing for Ronin Pro Wrestling on Saturday, Dec. 6 at the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale.
“It’s always cool to see the guys and making sure they’re doing well in their lives,” he said. “For me, the moment is for the fan. A lot of these fans from these areas and little pockets of the world never had a chance to see Booker T. up close and personal and shake his hand. It’s a nostalgic moment for me. They just want to hear me say, “Shucky Ducky Quack Quack,” in person. That’s the cool thing about it. Sometimes a kid has been holding a photo, and now he is a grown man who wants that photo signed. I get a chance to do that. Muhammad Ali was my idol. So when I got a chance to meet him, I was a kid all over again. No matter how old you get, you appreciate that moment. I appreciate the fans for what they’ve given to me.”
Booker, who has his own promotion, Reality of Wrestling, in Houston, thinks the independent scene is on fire these days.
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“You have a lot of good talent,” he said. “Of course, there are not a lot of spots on the WWE roster for all of them at one time. They are essentially going to be out there for a while, which is a good thing in a way. They get a chance to travel around the world and seeing what it’s like out there and get paid to do it at the same time and hone their craft. So when they make it to the WWE roster, they’ll be ready.
“I watched that kid Adrian Neville before he ever made it to the roster. That kid was awesome. This new kid, formally Prince Devitt, I saw him on the scene doing his thing way before he made it to WWE. He was awesome. Now you have other young guys who are going to have that opportunity to do that same thing.
“With my Reality of Wrestling, it’s about getting these guys prepared for what it’s going to take to make it on the television roster and make it in the locker room. I love what is going on in the independent scene. This is really my first year getting the chance to go around and see what it’s like in other places. I love what I’m seeing out there with Pro Wrestling Syndicate, Northeast Wrestling, Big Time Wrestling and WildKat in New Orleans. There is a lot of good stuff out there.”
The veteran’s advice to the younger guys is to be part of a group or learning situation, as well as linking up with a promoter who can get them seen. Booker credits the Global Wrestling Federation’s show on ESPN for giving him the exposure he needed to take the next big step in his career. The former multi-time heavyweight champion takes pride in his position in the business today.
“I consider myself an official scout for not just WWE, but the Reality of Wrestling,” he said. “If I can get these kids in Reality of Wrestling if they’re good enough, they’re going to be seen on television with me. I have a small national deal and local television deal here in Houston where we get seen. If I can get these guys down here and coach them. I tell the guys if they do get to go to a WWE show to be seen, it doesn’t become about luck then. It becomes to how prepared you are. You may look good. You may be something they want. You have to show them a little bit of something, so they see they have something to work with.”
These days Booker is also a regular on the WWE Network, providing expert observations for shows. He enjoys the atmosphere working with Alex Riley and Byron Saxton.
“It’s really cool,” Booker said. “During commentating, you have to be out there for two hours, three hours plus. It’s a hard job. So for me to be an analyst and talk about the situations the young guys are going to find themselves in. I love that part of the business. I’m love kicking it with Alex and Byron and creating that nucleus for what we have been doing, as well as playing my other role in WWE. Being a guy that tries to push these young guys, like a Seth Rollins and a Dean Ambrose. We want to take them to the next level and make them viable superstars that are going to carry the business for the next 10 years.
“I’ve talked to those guys all the time. I let them know what they’ve been doing properly and what they’re doing wrong. A guy like Bray Wyatt, he’s one of the guys that I’ve gotten in his ear. He really liked all the stuff I was telling him. So it’s not about me. It’s about these young guys. They are the ones we are seeing moving forward.
“I’m an ambassador. I’m a carpenter. It’s my job to give back to this business that has given me so much. This is my trade. I’ve been running my wrestling school for 10 years next year. It’s been a great thing to have started something so long ago and see it still flourishing. You’re talking about 50 students I work with on a weekly basis. I’m just trying to keep the business going.”
Among the favorites Booker liked to watch grow and evolve through the years was CM Punk. The “Best in the World” recently broke his silence about his exit from WWE on Colt Cabana’s “Art of Wrestling” podcast.
“With me personally, certain business should be between yourself and the person you’re doing business with,” Booker said. “You never know where you’ll have to go in the future. I’ve never been about burning bridges. I don’t know if he burned a bridge or not. I don’t know. It’s a personal thing more than anything for him to walk away. He had to have a certain feeling about something. It could be a lot of things, but it’s personal. For me, I can just say I’ve always looked at the business as a job. It’s never been nothing more than me getting a script and me going out there and performing.
“Of course, I’ve always wanted to make a decent pay like everybody else. You have to realize where I come from and a guy like CM Punk comes from. That may be the difference. Hopefully, Punk finds his way back to WWE. Me, personally, I was one of the guys who noticed his talent when I first saw him. I brought him to a wrestling show down here in Houston when he was a kid and before he was this ‘straight-edge superstar’ and all that stuff. I saw talent in him. Then when he did the whole pipe bomb thing, I saw even more talent in him.
“I felt he was really going to break out and last a long time in this business. I wouldn’t say a lifer, but a guy who was going to have a long career and give back. To see it abruptly end like that, there are so many fans out there that love CM Punk and want to see him in the middle of that ring. It’s the sad part.”
A hot topic of conversation regarding Punk is his pro-union stance on pro wrestling.
“Unions are something wrestlers have been talking about for many years,” Booker said. “We would probably wish there was a union, but you have to understand wrestling is not a regulated sport. It’s not football or anything like that. There has been a lot of talk about wrestlers having insurance and whether WWE should provide it. I’m not trying to hide behind any cloak or anything like that. I say this because I run my own business. It’s hard to say how you would run a business if it was yours.
“That’s the hard part right there. Would you do all this stuff everybody says should be done? It’s a hard question. I have to put myself in the shoes of a businessman and wonder how I would run it if it were me, so they can still succeed. There are a lot of variables that play into it.”
With his business and position with WWE, Booker believes his days as a regular in-ring competitor are behind him. However, this doesn’t mean we will never see another Spinaroonie again. After all, the Royal Rumble is coming up.
“I just came off the Survivor Series pre-show pose-down,” Booker said. “It took about a month to get myself in shape for that. It’s been about a four-year layoff. Not a total four-year layoff, but having the twins, regrouping and going in a different direction doing the daddy thing has changed things. I’m trying to help out [my wife] Sharmell with the little ones. I feel like I’m getting back in shape. By the Rumble, I know I’m going to be looking really good. Never say, never. You just got to be prepared.”
Whether Booker enters the Rumble remains to be seen, but fans can plan on seeing his book on shelves by WrestleMania time in 2015. “Booker T: My Rise to Wrestling Royalty” will be the follow-up to his autobiography, “Booker T: From Prison to Promise,” and chronicle his 35 title wins over his illustrious career. He says it covers WCW, WWE, TNA and even his Hall of Fame induction.
“Never in a million years would I have thought I would have been able to go where I’ve gone in my career,” Booker said. “It’s almost way too soon for me to be in the position I’m in, but I’m loving my position. Being able to give back and teach the game to these young guys, I’ve always wanted to be in this position. I was thinking about retiring when I was like 30 years old. All these wrestlers talk about having one more run in them. I don’t’ think I got one more run. I don’t want one more run. I don’t want it. To do a Rumble, I can do that. One night, where I can go in and it will be over real quick. I’d be happy with that.
“I don’t want to be one of those wrestlers that wishes to put their boots on when I’m 60. I don’t want to look at any of my old outfits then. My wife wants me to keep all my old outfits. I want to sell them all. I want to put them on eBay. You think I’m going to be 70 years old with all these action figures and outfits looking back at Harlem Heat’s glory days. It’s really for my grandkids. It’s been great. I’ve had the greatest life the last almost 25 years than any man could ask for. It’s a dream. I wouldn’t trade it in for the world. I always wanted to do the work and make it to the other side. That’s where I’m at in my life. It’s a great place.”
Ronin Pro Wrestling, www.roninprowrestling.com, brings hard hitting, high-flying action to The War Memorial Auditorium for the organization’s Fort Lauderdale debut on Saturday, Dec. 6.
This will be Ronin Pro Wrestling’s third live event, following two over the top shows at the Miami Airport Convention Center. During September and November, many superstars, legends and talent have been announced for the Fort Lauderdale show including: Booker T, Bobby Lashley, Shane Douglas, Alex Chamberlain, Rhino, Justin Credible, Crazy Mary Dobson, Donovan, Joel Gertner, Jesse Sorensen, Mad Man Pondo, Edward Malken, Leva Bates, Romeo Roselli, Shawn Prime, Mikaze, and more.
A full day of events are planned, starting with a FanFest from 4-7 p.m. with a main show bell time of 7:30 p.m.
All talent booked for the event will participate in the FanFest, sign autographs and posing for photos. There will be exclusive wrestling matches during FanFest. Former ECW talent Joel Gertner will serve as host, announcer and the voice of Ronin for the main show, which currently includes nine matches.
Donovan vs. Bobby Lashley.
Rhino vs. Alex Chamberlain vs. Romeo Roselli
Edward Malken vs. Shane Douglas
Leva Bates vs. Crazy Mary Dobson
Justin Credible vs. Mad Man Pondo vs. Jude Mackenzie vs. Milo Beasley
Mikaze vs. Mr. 450
Shawn Prime vs. Jonny Vandal
T.E.C.H. (TC Read and Mike Monroe) vs. The Fanboys (Jaison Moore and Shane Swyft)
Oliver Cain and Jesse Sorensen vs. Joey Bricco and Swole Buff Swellington
Ronin Pro Wrestling is brought to you by the team behind Florida Supercon, www.floridasupercon.com, Magic CIty Comic Con, www.magiccitycomiccon.com, and Animate! Miami, www.animatemiami.com, which includes their Florida Super Championship Wrestling events, www.facebook.com/FSCWrestling.
Florida Supercon, Magic City Comic Con and Animate! Miami are the three largest comic-con type events in South Florida, with more than 43,000 individuals in attendance for Florida Supercon 2014. For the past five years, the organizers have presented Florida Super Championship Wrestling events at their conventions and partner events, with more than 30 wrestling cards booked.
The War Memorial Auditorium is a historic venue for wrestling, having hosted promotions such as ECW, NWA, MLW, ROH, dating to the 1960s.
Tickets for Ronin Pro Wrestling are available on Ticketmaster and The War Memorial Auditorium box office.
The War Memorial Auditorium is at 800 NE 8th St, Fort Lauderdale, 33304.
For complete information visit www.roninprowrestling.com
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http://www.realityofwrestling.com for more on Reality of Wrestling.
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