With the war between WCW/WWF (E), Booker T was one of many who witnessed the rise and fall of WCW. Even though it was hard for many on the WCW roster to admit to the defeat, Booker T took it as a career builder, where he learned how to hone his craft for the next promotion he wanted to go towards, which happened to be the WWE.
“It really was a war back then between WCW and the WWF,” Booker T stated on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast. “For me, I was always looking for a test, I always wanted to test myself. When I came to WWE, I was looking to test myself. I had a lot of money that I could have sat on and I said ‘Man, forget that.’ I wanted to see if I was just as good as the best guys in the world. I was willing to forgo all of that, but more importantly, prove to those guys in the locker room that I was worthy.
“I wanted to see where it went. But honestly, I was never worried when I came to the WWE, as far as if I was going to make it here, or anything like that. I always knew how good I was. I never worried about getting fired or anything like that. I was never one of those guys because I was talented, but more importantly, I was the guy who was willing to bring everyone up to a certain level… So, coming to the WWE, was just another challenge to me.”
Speaking of challenges and transitioning towards new horizons, Booker T did not hold back earlier this month, when he discussed his thoughts on The Revival turning down $700K apiece, due to how unhappy they’ve been with their tag team run as of late. Garcia asked Booker T if his opinion is still the same on this matter, and if he was in that position, would he do what The Revival did.
“We were just talking about that on my radio show just last week,” Booker T said. “If you offered me $700K, I would keep my mouth shut. I would take the money. They could tell me to stay my a** at home, and I’d be happy with that. At the end of the day, it’s about taking care of my family.”
Now that his focus is on being a mentor to younger wrestlers in the business, Booker T has spent a tremendous amount of time building up his school, Reality of Wrestling, to promote the newest and youngest generation of wrestlers. But the journey towards keeping the school afloat wasn’t so easy at first. Booker T reflects on the hardship he faced when he thought his school was about to close its doors for good.
“It was Christmas Chaos. We do Christmas Chaos every year. I think we’re up to Christmas Chaos 14 now. It was going to be our last Christmas Chaos. I didn’t tell any of the wrestlers. I didn’t tell anybody. We were going to tell them at the end of the night after the show was over with. We had been promoting that show like crazy. I got a buddy. His name’s Hilton Koch. He owns a furniture store. About maybe three years prior, I had invited him to one of my shows, when I was trying to get him to help sponsor it, give us a little bit of money, help us out. He came into the show and he goes, “Man, I just don’t think it’s going to work out.” I understand. We were a lot smaller and whatnot. Then when that happened, I changed the name. We were PWA at that time. I said, “We got to get rid of that name.” We sold everything.”
“We became Reality of Wrestling. Man, we were like, “Sounds good. This is good.” We started promoting this one big show, Christmas Chaos. We were, like I said, getting ready to close down at that point. I invited Hilton Koch out there again. I said, “Hilton, come check out the show, man. Got a big show going on tonight.” He was like, “All right, I’ll come check it out.” That night, I don’t know what happened, God must’ve just blessed us because we had a line so long, it was literally sold out that night. We might’ve had 600 people. Hilton called me on the phone, he said, ‘Hey Book, I’m here.’ I said, ‘Just come on in, man.’ He goes, ‘No, I’m in a line, man. It’s around the building.'”
As the rise of the school’s popularity increased, Booker T has his students to thank for making ROW alive and well again.
“My fans come to see my stars. That’s what’s so unique about Reality of Wrestling. We have the youngest roster,” Booker T mentioned. “I think in professional wrestling we just crowned the youngest female, 18 years old. She just turned 18 years old just Saturday night. That’s what we do. We think about young people, watching young people to aspire to be those young people. That’s what Reality of Wrestling is founded on, and that’s what makes it work.”
You can view Booker T’s full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory- Lilian Garcia with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.