In the wake of Reality of Wrestling and Impact Wrestling's joint Deep Impact show, WWE Hall of Famer Booker T answered some questions on a media call that Wrestling Inc. was on hand for. Booker hopes that this cross-promoting event will bring further exposure to the wrestling school that he has invested so much of his life into.
"I still work for [WWE] of course, still doing the Kick-Off shows. We just did Stomping Grounds last Sunday," mentioned Booker. "Of course, Reality of Wrestling is where my heart is - just trying to take that to the next level and cover Texas. As far as independent wrestling goes, I want to give the fans a territory that they can look forward to seeing some quality wrestling on a weekly or monthly basis. So, I'm just having fun and enjoying life."
With the landscape of professional wrestling shifting and with new promotions gaining momentum, Booker believes that the industry is currently brimming with opportunities.
"I think that's what the wresting business is right now," Booker explained. "I mean, wrestling is on fire right now, and to be able to cross-promote... We're giving the fans what they want to see more than anything, as well as, I've got a good crop of hungry, hungry guys and girls down here that just want to get their feet wet. And it's always better to get it done with some quality workers, like Impact! So, I'm looking forward to it. It will be good."
Wrestling Inc.'s own Nick Hausman asked Booker about how, if at all, WWE responds to him working with Impact Wrestling. Although he wasn't fully certain, Booker thinks that the influx of Impact stars signing with WWE as of late proves that the two have a decent working relationship.
"I can't say what the WWE and Impact relationship is but I can always speak for Reality of Wrestling as far as Impact goes. That's not Booker T, that's Reality of Wrestling; of course I own the company and we don't discriminate as far as a company goes," Booker noted. "There's a lot of guys from Impact, formally known as TNA, that work for WWE right now. I think the door is open. There's a lot of fluctuation going on in wrestling right now and it's great for the young guys to actually be able to dictate how their future careers are going to go. I like that!"
Booker then repeated something similar to what he said earlier this year, stating that wrestling is at a high point even greater than the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW.
"Wrestling, right now, I believe, is at it's all-time high," Booker continued. "I'm talking about even the [Monday Night] Wars between WWE and WCW back in the day. I think wrestling, right now, is bigger than it's ever been and I think, right now, the people that are going to capitalize more are the performers - the wrestlers, and the fans, the consumer that actually wants to watch it. So, everybody wins in this situation."
Three stars that have found varying levels of success in WWE since leaving Impact Wrestling are AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Bobby Roode. All three were apparently taught by Booker himself before they finally made their debuts in WWE. Booker thinks that losing such enigmatic stars, as well losing their six-sided ring, are significant reasons that Impact doesn't reach as large of a target audience anymore.
"I mentored those guys, man. Those three guys right there, they were my main pupils: AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode," Booker recalled. "Those were the guys that I really wanted to get my hands on and say, 'Hey man, you guys have a lot of talent. You can go wherever you want to go in this business and do whatever you want to do.' And I just thought, TNA has so many diamonds. Not in the rough - Diamonds that they could have just polished up a little bit and really let run that company. Like I said, they lost their momentum, they lost their focus, as well as losing their vision, especially when they went away from the six-sided ring. I just thought that was their identity. But I do believe in the young talent and I believe in young people."
At Booker's Reality of Wrestling school, he attempts to find the unique attributes that each student brings to the ring. He takes his teaching job very seriously and expects his students to respond in a similar manner.
"We emphasize on everything [in the pro wrestling business], first and foremost. I understand, training over the years with so many different types of students, that you can't judge a book by it's cover," Booker explained. "You look at a guy from the outside appearance and you say, 'Nah, he ain't got it', you may be missing out on the best talent you ever had. So you have to definitely be cognizant because everyone's got their own unique talent. But I do tell these guys that it's not a game or anything like that; like, it's not playtime or anything like that. You can't show up not prepared! Not prepared to go out there and study, not prepared to go out there and work out, not prepared to do everything you can to advance yourself to the next level and that takes a lot of discipline. I tell guys, 'Look in a mirror! That's the one thing you can't lie to - yourself.' You can't lie to yourself."
The students at Reality of Wrestling are thrilled to have an opportunity to work with Impact Wrestling stars and, hopefully, promote themselves to a new audience. Booker mentioned how the announcement has inspired his students to push their boundaries so that they may be able to have a match at Deep Impact next month.
"The [roster] was very excited [about working with Impact]. This is something that we've been working to do for a long time," Booker said. "Reality of Wrestling is not something that just popped up over night; we've been doing this thing now for fifteen years almost. Going on fifteen and working on our techniques, we're trying to make the action quality better, and better, and better. And then for Impact to want to work with us? We're creating a buzz, ya know? People out there are recognizing and hearing about what we're doing in a small city in Texas, right outside of Houston.
"So, my guys were really, really excited. That's what's really cool about Reality of Wrestling, is that it is a competition between all of my guys," Booker continued. "Because now they compete to see who's going to be on that show. Only the best talent has the chance to compete with the best talent. It keeps my guys on their toes and everybody is hungrier now in ROW than they've ever been because it's going to be a while before opportunities like this come back down the road because this is something we plan on doing on a regular basis. If not with Impact, there's a lot of other promotions around the world."
Booker T's Reality of Wrestling and Impact Wrestling present Deep Impact this Saturday, July 6th. It will be streamed live via Twitch and ImpactPlus. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please include a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.