The Monday Night War was the greatest boom period in modern pro wrestling history. The war went back and forth from 1995-2001, when Vince McMahon finally purchased WCW. With the announcement of AEW airing on TNT, it has led many to think another battle is upon us.
One WWE Hall of Famer is looking forward to the ‘war’. Booker T, speaking on his “Hall of Fame” podcast with Brad Gilmore, feels that AEW can try and compete with WWE, but he doesn’t think that is a route the organization wants to go.
“One thing about companies out there right now is they can bring it if they want to go that route,” Booker stated. “I don’t think they want to go that route. I think they want to carve their own niche and stay in their own lane and do their own thing. That would be the smart thing to do because WWE has the most talent in the world. We got everyone on the roster and it wouldn’t be that hard to flip the script and go a different route. The Ricochet’s, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Kingston, those guys can really go. You sit back and say do we really want to let them loose that is the question.”
Booker T worked for WCW during the war before signing with WWE. During that time, WCW beat WWE for 83 weeks in a row in the Monday night ratings. He also worked for Impact Wrestling and competed against WWE again, a fact not lost on the two-time Hall of Famer.
“I was a part of it when that happened with WCW, during the 83-week run and it was good. But, I’m going to tell you those horses back in WWF(E) started running and I must give to Triple H and those guys man,” Booker explained. “We would be watching it on a monitor and those guys would be blood, sweat and tears man, they were going all out. Me personally, I would love to see the war come back if that’s what we gotta do then that’s what we gotta do man.”
Many have wondered how TNT would use the wrestling product. Many have pointed to the AOL/Time-Warner merger as a reason WCW failed.
“It’s not something they are unfamiliar with, they know what they are going to get out of professional wrestling,” Booker said. “They don’t know what they are going to get out of this product, but they are willing to move in and see if this AEW can bring something new and totally fresh to the table. So many people want to see exactly what’s going on.”
For many pro wrestling fans, competition is something that has made WWE product stale. However, with AEW’s debut event coming up this Saturday and a TV deal already inked, an alternative is on the way.
“I’ve been listening to a lot of talks saying wrestling is back. If that’s the case man, it’s going to step up everyone’s game everywhere. Everyone is going to have to start thinking in a different direction,” Booker advised. “It’s always going to be sports entertainment. But for me, at the end of the day, the payoff was always going out there and giving it to these guys right in the middle of the squared circle. Giving these guys a moment that they are going to remember for the rest of their lives. I’m talking about a moment that is frozen in time, in their minds because it was something they have never seen before in their lives. That’s what wrestling was and hopefully, that’s what wrestling always will be. Hopefully, the bar will be raised in the weeks and months to come.”
AEW detractors have said they are a long way from being real competition. Regardless, Booker T feels like WWE is ready for the competition and the battle.
“It’s not a competition or anything like that,” Booker stated. “But from a wrestling perspective I know when I was in WCW and I was watching WWF/E, I wanted to be better than those guys. I wanted to know if I could compete with those guys, I wanted to know exactly how good I was. That is where we are right now, the guys are going to have to think totally different as far as How do I make the fans come out here and cheer my name, how do I make the fans think of me as an entity. The this is awesome chant is out the window. Wrestling is back. The war is on and I’m looking forward to seeing exactly what happens with it but from the outside.”
You can listen to Booker T’s comments above and below. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Hall of Fame Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.