RECAP AND REVIEW: Heated Conversations with Booker T with Baron Corbin on what it’s like to be Raw GM, Vince McMahon’s reaction to his work, thoughts on social media and angry fans, the reception of former NFL players in WWE

Heated Conversations with Booker T

Episode 189: Baron Corbin Interview, Becky Lynch, Chuck/Tito PPV buys, RIP Dynamite Kid, GWB, Hennig

Release Date: December 8th, 2018

Recap By: James Hayes


Booker T and Co-Host Brad Gilmore welcome you to the show!

The guys are in Lost Wages, I mean Las Vegas this week. (Still not sure why.)

Let’s get into some wrestling.

Becky Lynch

Brad has noticed that everywhere he looks he sees Becky Lynch. He asks for Booker’s thoughts on “The Man.”

Booker says, “She has actually broken out and stepped out on her own. She was trying to be a babyface, but it’s hard to be a babyface from Ireland. We got guys in Reality of Wrestling from Australia. It’s hard to like a guy from Australia when you have so many guys from America on the show. When I went to Canada it was hard for me to get over because there were so many great Canadian wrestlers. And I was wrestling against those guys. I think it was that more than anything.” Brad says, “So she had to get in that heel bag?”

Booker explains further, “You got to be close to yourself. You gotta feel comfortable within your own skin. Sometimes women, at certain times of the month, they just don’t like to be bothered with. (What????) You know what I’m saying. I’m just keeping it real. Becky Lynch just letting it all hang out right now. She is on top of her game. She doesn’t got to be apologetic. She is in that mode where she is willing to step on toes and keep on walking, jack. I like the whole new attitude. I think it’s going to carry her over. No apologies. Sometimes I go through the airport and someone wants an autograph, and I just got some bad news, and I say, “I’m sorry, I’m a little busy right now.’ They are like, “Come on, man.” I’m like, “Back up off me, sucka! I will do you and I will do you real fast!” Because I become human. I’m sure Becky Lynch is loving being able to tell folks to back up off her.”

Brad asks would Booker ever really do that. Booker says he would not but Randy Orton has no problem telling fans “Shows over, pal.”

Becky Lynch speaks truth to power

Baron Corbin is here to talk about how he keeps the ship of Raw running smoothly.

The Baron Corbin Interview

Booker: The General Manager of the longest reigning episodic program on television today Monday Night Raw, give it up for my man Baron Corbin. How do you feel?

Baron: What’s happening, man? That was a good intro. I felt that.

Brad: That was good energy.

Baron: Usually, I get, “He’s Raw General Manager”, but you “Longest reigning episodic…” You built me up and made me look good.

Booker: This is what I really do. That other job is my side gig. I actually do this pretty well, but I appreciate you coming in. I know it’s early and you’re doing your rounds. I know exactly how you feel.

Baron: You’ve done it a few times.

Booker: The thing is you got to be on your P and Qs. You gotta be ready. And most of these guys throw questions at you, you don’t want to talk about. But, me, I’m different.

Baron: You got a little insight.

Booker: How does it feel being the General Manager of Monday Night Raw? I know this is not something you bought in for. You might feel like, “I want to be in the ring. I want to be doing this.” But to slip on a banana peel and find yourself General Manager…

Baron: It’s crazy because I kind of get to do double duty. I’m in the ring still and I‘m getting to be the active General Manager. I was given a lot of opportunities and I ran with it. I think I made a lot more of it than anyone thought I was going to. That’s why it’s gone so well. It’s opened up a lot of doors and a lot of eyes as to what I can do.

Booker: Hey man, all eyes are on the General Manager when things aren’t going right.

Baron: It takes me back to my football days at O-line. If you lose the game the O-line always takes the blame. I’m used to it.

Booker: Let’s go back to your college days. You played football. Is wrestling a second love or is this just the transition?

Baron: It’s cool because now being in the position I am I get to expose a little more of my backstory. I grew up watching wrestling. My Dad was a huge wrestling fan in Kansas City. Harley Race would always run shows there. My Dad was a huge Kamala fan. We got to see Flair when Flair was on the undercard. My Dad was going to shows. I got posters from before I was born like 81, 82, 83. We grew up watching it but I always gravitated towards the big guys like Bam Bam Bigelow and Bossman and I took that attitude into football practice. So, wrestling got me really good at football and then football got me into wrestling, so it’s kind of a full circle thing. Going back to O-Linemen, we loved wrestling for some reason. When I was with the Cardinals in Arizona we went to WrestleMania, I been going to shows at Kemper Arena. You have been there. It’s all kind of come full circle.

Booker: Hey, Monday Night Raw is in town tonight. Make sure you get down there and check it out. Every show is always bigger than the last one. Social media and professional wrestling right now. How do you feel about that? I don’t even look at my Twitter account.

Baron: You can’t.

Booker: No.

Brad: Stay away from that.

Baron: Because it gives a bunch of idiots, in reality, a bunch of opinions that they think is valid. And they don’t know how to express it appropriately, the language, the insults, all those things. It just makes the world seem so unhappy. If you read the Twitter feed it makes the whole world seem like it’s beyond miserable. I think now, unfortunately, it ’s a necessity. It’s a form of exposure and advertisement. My Instagram, my Twitter, is a form of advertisement for me and my business. My brand. It’s just crazy how negative it is. I could have 20 people say, “Baron Corbin should wear a red shirt tonight.” If I wore a red shirt those same 20 people would say, “He looks terrible! It should have been blue.”

Brad: Right.

Baron: There’s no pleasing it. And I think Twitter gives people a place to say whatever they want because there are no repercussions to their actions. If you took all these people who said this stuff and put them in front of me their attitude changes.

Brad: Right. It’s anonymity.

Booker: It’s crazy Brad and I were in the studio working one night, and we went through the whole show and had fifteen minutes left and literally didn’t have anything to talk about. “What are we going to talk about? What’s going on in the UFC?” We are googling news topics. Brad goes, “You and Corey Graves, you always look like you are hot. Let’s talk about that.” Literally, I go on a rant about Corey Graves. I say, “I’m gonna catch him. I’m not gonna do anything to him at the airport. I’m not gonna do anything to him at the job or anything like that. But if I catch him at Starbucks… I’m gonna whoop his a**.” The next thing you know Forbes, USA Today, literally everybody picked it up. When did saying you are going to whoop a man’s a** become news?

(Sports commentators don’t fight each other. Bob Costas never threatened to whoop Marv Albert’s a**. If he did, it would be news.)

Baron: Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer is news right now. It’s crazy. (It’s Christmas.)

They laugh.

Booker: It’s always a stigma about guys that play football. Especially with myself. I’m one of the guys that claim the stigma. It’s hard for the guy that played football to actually make the transition to professional wrestling.

Baron: It is.

Booker: And I think it’s because you guys been playing since Pop Warner, Junior High, High School, College. Y’all just been zoned in. BANG! Hitting somebody. ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK! Then when you get in wrestling a guy says, “Hey, watch the hair, brother.”

Everyone laughs.

Baron: Right. It’s definitely a transition. I think a couple things. It’s definitely a physicality. Because I’m a physical person. Sometimes we can get ahead of ourselves, but I’ve done a good job of transitioning because I’ve had guys that have complimented, “Man, you’re amazing to work with because you’re not killing me.” That sort of thing. I think the hardest thing for pro athletes to transition after growing up fighting and stuff like that, is that you are always told to never show emotion. Don’t show you’re hurt. Don’t show you’re tired. Don’t show any of that to your opponent and now our entire industry is built on emotion and getting people to feel what we are feeling.

Brad: And make sure the people in the back row know.

Baron: From the front row to the nosebleeds to understand you are in pain, you are hurting, you are tired…

Booker: Yeah.

Baron: …you are angry. So, I think that gets lost in a lot of guys that try to come over from professional sports. It’s finding that emotion. Because it took me a while to find it. It’s hard.

Brad: Did you feel a coldness from the locker room when you first got in?

Baron: One hundred percent. But I think that’s anything. Any competitive business whether it’s the UFC, NFL, or WWE. It’s a competitive business and everyone wants to be the best. There’s a new guy coming in and there is a buzz about him? He’s a pro football player? You instantly have guys that don’t like you and that’s because they are afraid you are going to take their spot. I poured salt in the wound. “Yeah, I’m gonna take it. I get paid more than you.”

Brad: You ran with it.

Booker: That’s what you’re supposed to do. I use to tell them suckas, “Follow this. I’m top 5 in the world. Everybody knows it.” They used to say, “What number are you? You say you top 5.” I say, “It doesn’t matter, man. I’m just hovering.” Brad, go ahead.

Brad: I was gonna say, that you talk about being the Raw General Manager. You talk about coming from football. It’s physical. Don’t express a lot of emotion. Was it hard to go out there and know your script, the promo, and be able to go out there and do it on live TV?

Baron:” Yeah, definitely nervous the first few times.

Booker: I’m still nervous.

Baron: It’s crazy, but I think they are letting me have fun with it. And do it my way. Do it like me. Vince loves it. For the last 4 weeks, I’ve been the first 15 minutes of Monday Night Raw. That’s a John Cena spot. That’s a Roman Reigns spot. And I’m doing it. It’s a great opportunity and I love the challenge of being able to do that every week and fill it. Right now people hate me for it and I love it. They despise that I am on their TV six or seven times a night and that’s the best thing for me because then they are following everything I’m doing. It’s awesome and very exciting in a nervous way. That’s what I do. That’s why I’ve always been good at what I do. It’s because I’m really good under pressure.

Booker: I liked that “pressure”. I know you got to get out of here. I know you got your rounds to make. I’m gonna let you get out of here, but I got to ask you his question. With all the criticism, especially, after last Monday Night, that it was perhaps the worst show anybody ever seen in the history of television!

Brad: Listen to Twitter that’s what they said.

Baron: Just because they are the loudest they are not the majority.

Brad: Good point.

Booker: My thing is, you being the General Manager, the guy that is beholden, what would you tell all of those critics?

Baron: It’s good that people do speak their minds. It’s my show and if you want to change it come and try. That’s what I say. Come and get it. But, tonight we are going to step it up and put something fresh out. We are always out there to put on the best show possible. I want tonight to be better than last week. If you are not getting better you are getting worst.

Booker: I’m former General Manager myself.

Brad: Smackdown.

Baron: You’ve done a little.

Booker: The way I answer that is, To all you suckas out there that think you can do my job I wish… 52 weeks out of the year and I’m out here doing this like it’s supposed to be done. Making them pay, my son. Making them say…

Brad: …get it, I don’t want none.

Booker: I had enough. You see Tyson Fury just had a fight just last week with Deontay Wilder and it was a barn burner! You might didn’t get what you wanted at the end of the night, but you got to see fireworks in the middle of all of that destruction. Hey man, just stick around for what’s next. We will be back next week and the week after. Barry Bonds cannot hit a home run every time! Come on, man. Stick with me on this.

Baron laughs.

Booker: Hey, this is Baron Corbin guys, and I want to thank him for coming in.

Baron: Thanks, bro. I appreciate it.

Booker: Get up out this mug.

Baron Corbin becomes acting General Manager


Booker says, “All legends. Dynamite had a lot of problems in his life. He put his body through a whole lot. His wrestling style was not conducive to running around and doing the spinaroonie late in your life. I tell you that. But as far as entertainment goes those guys The British Bulldogs Davey Boy Smith, and Dynamite Kid they were truly… I don’t think they get enough respect. I definitely would put The Bulldogs in that top five category.”

Booker speaks on Larry “The Axe” Hennig.

“I’m sure he’s up there right now celebrating with his son. He is with Curt Hennig. right now. It’s been a long road. As a Dad to lose your son, what he’s been going through for years. I was reading that his daughter said he was ready to go. That’s a real man.”

Booker also recognizes the passing of George Bush. “GWB, he definitely was an honorable man.”

Tito Ortiz vs Chuck Liddell buy rates

Tito said it was 200,000 buys. That was the goal that Oscar De La Hoya and Goldenboy MMA set.

Rumor has it was close to 25 to 30,000. It’s about a million for PPV revenue.

Booker says Oscar was the worst host he has ever seen for any event ever in history. Both guys agree it was not really a good look for anyone involved.

For more of the show including how Booker got into GWF, and a breakdown of the Wilder vs Fury fight hit the link at the top!

Before The Final Bell:

Brad asks, “You’ve gone on auditions for acting roles?“

“I tell you, man, I went and did this role for, me personally I got so much respect for these guys that go out and do the acting thing, The Rocks of the world, guys that can go out there and get into that grind. I remember going to do a commercial and it was for AT& T. It was a boxer and I still got that on tape,” Booker answers. Brad says, “Oh, I have seen this commercial. It’s on Youtube.” Booker continues, “It’s crazy because it was so many guys at this audition. It was like a cattle call.

It might have been 25 guys in this one room and they all were auditioning for this one spot. I’m sure they had more guys coming in and auditioning. I was like, “The heck is going on here? ”They tell me to take my shirt off, throw a few punches, and smile. ‘What the Hell is going on?’ I got vampire teeth. I know I ain’t getting this job. But I look good. I’m like Muhammad Ali. I was fast, mobile, agile, versatile. They look at me and think they may have something. Then it’s, ‘Thank you, very much. I’m like, ‘Is that it?’ I roll out and in the lobby, there was this one boxer. He was a real boxer. I can’t remember his name. I was dressed like I am now. He had the trunks, the robe, the shoes. I was like, ‘I hope you get it because I know I’m not.’ A few days later they call and I got the role.”

Booker T The Thespian (I can’t find the AT & T commercial. You’ll have to settle for these instead. Thank me later.)

Hilton Furniture spot

Hungry Man spot

Rating: 8.0 out of 10

Overall Observations:

Baron Corbin is one of my favorites so it was interesting to hear his thoughts on the current product, his current role, as well as how he got into WWE. This was the rare show where the focus is more on pro wrestling than anything.

I like that.

See ya next week!

About James:

Based out of New York, James Hayes is an independent filmmaker and podcaster, currently working on a true crime series focused on African American crime. When he needs a break from the seriousness of true-crime he turns to pro wrestling. James has 27 years of following the sport. Here is a link to his film credits, as well as his Twitter @JamesHa34395813.

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