On episode 213 of Talk Is Jericho, Booker T talked about getting his start in WCW from Sid Vicious, what his best of seven series against Chris Benoit meant for his career, and gaining respect in the WWE locker room when he came over from WCW.
Apparently Booker T, and his brother and former tag team partner, Stevie Ray, were brought to WCW by Sid Vicious and they lived with Sid in Atlanta, Georgia for approximately three months when they were starting out in WCW.
"[Sid] wanted to help us and a lot of people really don't know that part of Sid Vicious. Sid has always had a reputation of being a hardcore guy. He'll leave a building on a whim to go play some softball. And all of that is true! But he brought us in [to WCW]. He said, 'I'm going to do everything to get you guys into WCW and I have a project that I'm trying to get into the office. I want to do some office work and you guys are my first project' and we were like, 'cool, man'. He said, 'whatever I've got to do, I'm going to get you here'. Six months later, we were in Atlanta, Georgia and not only did he bring us to WCW, but he put us up in his apartment for about three months. He made sure we got a raise every month."
Booker T admitted that he and Stevie Ray learned a lot from Sid and he has remained grateful for the opportunity.
"It was awesome to have someone like Sid backing us all the way and I always give Sid a lot of credit." Booker T added, "I remember Sid telling us, 'you know, guys, you're not going to get any promo time. They're not going to give you guys any promo time, but make sure you cut your promo on the way to the ring. Just cut it all the way to the ring. That's your promo. Get in that camera's face and cut it'."
Although Booker T could not pick a favorite match of his from his professional wrestling career, he acknowledged that the best of seven series of matches he had with Benoit were a turning point in his career.
"Those matches gave me a chance to see how good I was. Chris pushed me to a level that no one had ever pushed me to, to make me go out there and rise to something special and I'm like, 'wow'. The best of seven matches with Chris [were] second to none in my career. I say all the time, those were the matches that made people look at me and say, 'man, maybe this guy [has] got it. Maybe he can go to the next level.'"
Booker T went on to credit all Canadian professional wrestlers with whom he has performed.
"I never knew how good I was until I got in the ring with Benoit. But the thing is, not just Benoit, I tell people all the time, the Canadians, period, [are] always able to bring something out of me that no one else has been able to bring anything out. It has always been like we've gone to the same school. We trained the same way, the same guidelines. And I don't know. Just about every Canadian I've been in the ring with has been like that, but the best of seven was by far something that I never could have imagined doing."
According to Booker T, he took a 50% buyout of his WCW contract to make the jump to WWE rather than waiting till his contract expired before moving onto WWE.
"I took a buyout. I literally didn't wait any time. I was, like, the first guy to leave the company and walk in the door. I could take a 50% buyout or I could have sat out the duration of my contract and took the money. A lot of guys did that. Just about every one of the other guys did that unless their contract was up. I still had, like, a year and a half left on my contract and I was making a lot of money. And I was willing to bank on myself there again and my talent. Ric Flair always said, 'a wrestler's worst enemy is time off', so I didn't want to sit out and lose my momentum."
Booker T claimed that he lasted with WWE while many other former WCW talent did not because he knew what to expect going into WWE and he was prepared for the frigid reception he would receive from the WWE locker room on his way into the company.
"I was prepared for that and a lot of those [WCW] guys [were] not prepared for what we were getting ready to expect and that was to get beaten up, bruised, battered, and torn. And if you didn't have tough skin, you [were not] going to last very long there. It was about raising the WWE flag by winning the war. It was about shutting Ted Turner's group down. I knew that. I understood that. It's just the way life is." Booker continued, "coming from WCW, I wanted to prove to the [WWE] guys in the locker room that I was worthy of being there. I wanted to be a part of the group. I wanted to be part of the team. I wasn't just coming there and I didn't want to bring my accolades from WCW and say, 'hey guys, I'm here now. Accept me. I'm the five-time champ.' Naw, I wanted to go out there and say, 'hey guys, I'm going to pull my weight.' And I did that. It was maybe a year and a half or so before Undertaker came and [said], 'hey Book, come over here and dress with us in the WWE locker room.'"
In addition to these topics, Booker T talked about wanting to change his name when he was a youth, the infamous grocery store brawl with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, and much more. Click here to listen to the podcast. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Talk Is Jericho