As noted, professional broadcaster and pro wrestling enthusiast Sam Roberts recently caught up with WWE Hall Of Famer Booker T on Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast. Among other things, Booker discussed how he transitioned from WCW to WWE, current WWE Champion AJ Styles' success in WWE, being optimistic about WWE talent, and whether Ronda Rousey will change the WWE landscape.
According to Booker T, performers have to make it in the WWE locker room before they can make it in the WWE ring.
"I was willing to take a back seat." Booker explained, "you've got to be willing to, and I tell my students this all the time, you've got to make it in the locker room before you ever have a chance of making it in the ring. And I'm for real when I say that right there. When I got to WWE, I knew how talented I was and I was willing to go out there and prove myself in the ring by going out there and having five-star matches on a nightly basis. But, I was willing to go through the character-building as well."
In Booker's opinion, Styles is a great example of what Booker did in transitioning to WWE and that is leaving the past behind him and being even better in WWE.
"When I look at a guy like AJ Styles, he's a perfect example of somebody who left everything behind and came to WWE and picked it up and come to WWE in a-whole-nother level." Booker elaborated, "AJ Styles, right now at this point in his career, he's better than he [has] ever been. And all the stuff that we've seen AJ Styles do in the past, as far as his in-ring prowess, he's better now as a performer than he [has] ever been and he can do a whole lot less. Do you know what I mean? And that's my thing. I was willing to fit in, take that script and make it the best I possibly could."
Booker shared that he is optimistic about the future talent in WWE.
"I praise guys like Elias, going out there doing their thing, Jason Jordan, right now, man, I'm sick about Jason Jordan being on the shelf. I wanted to see him go out and have his WrestleMania moment. Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, rising from the ashes of what he was doing, the independent scene for 15 years. The Finn Bálors of the world that I've seen do remarkable, spectacular things. With Neville many, many years ago." Booker added, "I'm very optimistic, man. These guys, they're talent. That's truly what these guys are. I see the independent world moving."
Additionally, Booker told a story about greeting an anxious Adam Cole at an autograph signing before 'The Panama City Playboy' signed with the black and yellow brand.
"I was at a show maybe five, six months ago," Booker recalled. "I was doing an autograph signing and Adam Cole was there rolling in. He had his bag. I said, 'hey man, when are they going to sign you, man?' He goes, 'man, I'm just waiting. I'm just waiting for them to call me. I can't wait for them to call me.' I said, 'look, brother, they're going to call you, man. You're talent. They're going to give you a call.' Then, at the [Royal] Rumble there, I saw him in the back. He came up to me and he goes, 'Booker!' I look at him. I go, 'what's going on, man? You made it!' He goes, 'yeah, man. I made it.' I was so happy to see that kid make it and live his dream out."
On the subject of whether Rousey will change the WWE landscape, Booker indicated that it is a tall order, especially with top talent like WWE SmackDown Live Women's Champion Charlotte around.
"Right now, as we speak, I can honestly say, 'I don't know,' [if Rousey will change the landscape of WWE]" Booker admitted. "Ronda Rousey has always had an attitude towards a lot of people she rubbed the wrong way. Coming into the business, there are a whole of things to change, of course. Can she change the landscape? That's a tall, tall order because we have some awesome, awesome women in the WWE as far as performers go. I don't think there are any in the world, around the world, as good as Charlotte, so I'm going to tell you right now, she'd better bring her game, she'd better study her game, and then, be well-prepared because that's the only luck she's going to have in this business as far as surviving, as far as having staying power. Can she do it? Of course, she can. I think she can. I'm banking on her. I'm pulling for her, so in the end, we'll see."
Check out the podcast here. If you use any of the quotations that appear in this article, please credit Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Sam Roberts' Wrestling Podcast