Heated Conversations with Booker T
Release Date: June 30th, 2018
Recap by: James Hayes
This is our first recap of Booker’s podcast Heated Conversations!
In case you didn’t know, Booker T is a FIVE time World Champion. He is the most decorated wrestler in WCW history:
– 4 time World Champ
– 6 time TV Champ
– 10 time Tag Champ with his brother Stevie Ray (Harlem Heat)
– 1 time US Champ.
In WWE Booker has been:
– 1 time World Champ
– 1 time Intercontinental Champ
– 3 time US Champ
– 2 time Hardcore Champ
(I think he has held more championships than any other African American wrestlers.)
Book starts off talking about how Stone Cold name dropped him on his podcast, regarding his history of self-promotion. Booker would go around the locker room calling himself “Top five”. Apparently, it caught on because other guys like Chris Jericho and Chavo Guerrero also started doing it. Sometimes, it did get him heat with a few of the boys, like Steve Regal. Regal believed he was the one that was top five. He’d talk under his breathe and frown at Booker, but never actually confronted him. Why? He had a 300 pound back up in the form of Stevie Ray.
Booker conceded he was not the best wrestler from a technical standpoint, but he was the best entertainer. (Fair enough)
Speaking of the good old days. Booker discussed going out with Brian Knobbs in Tokyo. He always wanted to hang out with Booker. But Knobbs had a rep and Booker wanted to keep his nose clean. Finally, Booker agrees to hang out with the Nasty Boy. So one night they sneak out and end up at some club called The Rolling Stone. It’s like a underground bunker. Booker got beyond drunk and they didn’t return until the next morning. Booker looked as bad as he felt. Eric Bischoff confronted them about what they did the night before. Booker lies saying he went to bed early. Knobbs tells the truth when this situation is begging for a lie. He informs Bischoff that they just got in, and last night, Booker got smashed. Caught in a lie, Booker was not happy.
No hard feelings. Still friends. Booker says to this day, Knobbs is the only one who can say “certain things” to him and live.
Staying in the past, Booker complained about all the crappy rings he was trained in, and even now the rings at a lot of indie shows are not safe. It’s fine for boxing. The ring needs to be stable, but for wrestling, not so much. He remembers back in his Texas All-Pro Wrestling days, he was in a ring that was so hard the guys could barely do bumps. In fact, Ahmed Johnson (going by Mo Deeb at the time) drew the short straw to test out one of those rings and almost broke his back coming off the top rope. Johnson’s career was almost over before it started.
Early injury is something Booker T always feared when he started out. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, on the day he debuted at Global Wrestling Federation, he blew his knee out and was told by doctor’s that he needed to have reconstructive knee surgery. If not, his knee would never recover. It never did, because Booker ignored the doctor and continued to work. Obviously it didn’t hinder him, but to this day, his knee is still not quite right.
Booker briefly talks up his own promotion, Reality of Wrestling. They believe only WWE, ROH, and TNA have better production values, and now that he has wrestlers like Stone Cold (who put the promotion over big time) and DDP congratulating him, he feels they are hitting their stride.
There is a link below in case you have never seen it. It’s pretty good. In fact this is the place where former NXT Champ, Ember Moon, was discovered.
Without any attempt at a segue or subtle transition, Booker starts to talk MMA. Bellator just signed Lyoto Machida. Big sign. Booker thinks it’s Dana White’s fault. He trash talks his fighters and now they are all leaving because of the drug testing, and the verbal insults by the promoter.
He says whoever thought “Big Country” Roy Nelson, Frank Mir, and Rampage would leave UFC for Bellator? Many complain it’s simply the way Dana runs things. Scott Coker, who runs Bellator, is doing a great job at taking UFC’s scraps and shining them up. Booker’s co-host, Brad Gilmore, believes Coker and Bellator are also beating UFC at turning pro wrestlers into MMA fighters. Obviously, UFC has Brock. But Bellator has Jack Swagger (who has not even fought yet) and Bobby Lashley (who is now back in WWE). By the way, Booker agrees with me that Swagger has done nothing to deserve the benefit of a doubt. He is in Bellator because he is running out of high profile options. Although, I think he is performing at Lucha Underground as Jack Hager.
As for UFC vs Bellator? I think Dana couldn’t care less about finding more wrestlers to compete in the UFC, especially after the CM Punk experiment blew up in his… um… everyone’s face. Booker says Bellator has bigger MMA stars than UFC. Brad Gilmore disagrees. Jon Jones. Conor McGregor. Daniel Cormier. Booker aint buying it. “Those guys are either inactive or just plain ugly, like DC.” (Wow!)
Rashaad Evans, at 38, has decided to retire. He competed from 2008-2018. They both agree it’s time. The Sugarman has lost his last 5 in a row! And 7 of his last 9. Rashaad fought for “love of the game.” Booker gets it, but says Rashaad’s mind was lying to him, and then reality set in during the fight. “Age catches up to you real quick! Look at Anderson Silva.”
He argues UFC does not take care of it’s talent. “If you put your top guys against each other someone’s gonna get hurt!”
Booker then drifts into childhood memories to further his argument. He remembers being a fan of old timers like Jake the Snake, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, and the Junk Yard Dog. He didn’t care if they fought top guys or not because he just wanted to see JYD’s Thump and Jake the Snake’s DDT.
(It’s a weird comparison considering one is a shoot and the other is not. Also those guys don’t seem that much older than Booker.)
Finally Booker addresses something that has personally bothered me for years. Why didn’t he go over Triple H at Wrestlemania XIX? He gets this question everyday. The answer is simple. It’s not his company. He doesn’t make the rules. He didn’t write the story. What was his choice? Stay or leave and go work somewhere else. (I assume that now because Booker has his own promotion, he would do thinks differently. Let’s hope so. Burying a talent for weeks with thinly, or not so thinly veiled racism, only to have them actually lose the feud, is a great way to alienate certain members of your fan base.)
Right before the final bell, Brad Gilmore asks Booker “If Brock Lesnar was in your promotion would you book him differently?” Booker responds that “Brock would be doing a lot more PR work. He would be working the talk shows. He would be earning that paycheck. But… on the flipside Hulk Hogan did not appear on television much either. So it’s not unprecedented. However, I agree with fans that Brock should be seen more. Whether it is inside the ring or out.”
This was an okay episode. No major news or guests. Just the laid back, easy chemistry between Booker and his young co-host. This podcast is like no other in pro wrestling. With it’s mix of Hip-Hop, MMA/ NFL analysis, and culture discussions, you don’t really need to be a pro wrestling fan to enjoy it. However, if you are, there are other episodes I would recommend you sample before this. Check these out if you want to really get a sense of how entertaining this podcast can be, while keeping a focus specific to pro wrestling news:
Booker T makes for a much better podcast host than color commentator. He just seems more at ease. He clearly enjoys it and his enthusiasm is contagious. It also helps that Corey Graves is not in his ear mocking him at every pause. Graves should be more respectful to a King.
See ya next week!