Heated Conversations with Booker T
Episode 192: Booker In-ring Return, All Elite Wrestling, Mayweather Fight
Release Date: January 5th, 2019
Recap By: James Hayes
Booker T and Co-Host Brad Gilmore welcome you to the show!
It’s the first show of the new year and they are starting off hot.
Booker says, “ALL IN is official, man. Got a big show coming up in Florida, in a stadium or something like that.” Brad clarifies, “Yeah. They are doing a rally to formally announce the new promotion, which is All Elite Wrestling.” Booker says he is just gonna call it All In.”
Brad says that would have been a good name too. Then he says, “You need a name that could be on an arena, like Joe Lewis Arena or The Booker T World Gym Arena or the name of an airport, George Bush Airport. All Elite is being backed by the Khan family, who own the Jacksonville Jaguars and a professional soccer team over in Europe. I don’t remember the team. They are billionaires!”
Booker has heard that they got long green duckets. “Ted Turner, back in the day was the guy that had the dollars, the duckets that can actually fuel a company. He did it for a long time. I had a 9-year run. Guaranteed scratch. That’s the question. Does this family really know what they are jumping into with professional wrestling, as well as the circus atmosphere of the professional wrestler?”
Brad feels that unlike The Carters or Ted Turner this company owns sports franchises, so they are more familiar with sports entertainment. Booker does not really agree, “It’s a huge gamble for someone to take upon themselves. I say big props. This is something that the wrestling world has been looking for, for quite some time, since WCW’s demise in the early 2000s.”
“TNA came close though, “Brad says. “Let’s not disrespect them. Y’all were there since ’08… Booker interrupts, “I was just looking at something on Wednesday night at the school, we do film study, and I pulled up the old Samoa Joe/Booker T Victory Road match in Houston Texas. The place was sold out! It wasn’t a seat in the house that night. And I remember doing shows overseas with TNA. We actually sold one arena out two nights in a row. I was like, ‘These guys got a Hell of a chance.’, and then the direction went in different places and the company is where it is today.”
Brad agrees but also says, “At least it’s still a place. It’s not what it was… Booker interrupts, “It’s a viable company for young people to still go to and be seen on TV. And gets some money and the exposure is worth its weight in gold. A lot of guys are gonna make their way to AEW. They are gonna need talent. It’s not gonna be stars in the beginning. You have to create stars.”
Brad says he was impressed with the presentation of ALL IN. It was presented as a big deal. He believes if they continue to trend in that direction they have a shot.
“Of course they are familiar with sports but wrestling is year round. Guys get hurt all the time. This family got a lot of money. Who is gonna pay those bills? People gotta get flown in every week. I give them three years. Those first three years will be important to see a return on their money. Nobody wants to run into the Ted Turner situation. He’s running around with Jane Fonda. I remember Hog Wild. Ain’t nobody buy a ticket. Nobody watched that PPV. Nobody cared. It was a whole lot of money being spent. I got paid whole lotta money,” Booker says.
Despite his concerns, Booker is rooting for them. He thinks Cody is a visionary. Like his Dad.
“I hope AEW fulfills all it’s dreams and becomes that company to compete for that number one spot here in America. I heard Goldberg may be a part of it, and Chris Jericho, and Brandi Rhodes. Everybody in the family got jobs,” Booker laughs.
Brad believes money is only a part of it. You have to have the mind to produce a good product.
Booker vs. Samoa Joe at Victory Road
Booker Got Beef Part 2
Booker confronts Rex Andrews “I was there to talk some sense into this young man. Seventeen years ago this kid comes walking into my gym, the biggest thing on him was his ears. He had a lot of heart and ambition. He wanted to be something. He looked like a Russian. I made him a Russian. He said, ‘Look I’m gonna take this thing as far as I can.’ That let me know right there this kid may have a knack for what this is all about. Then he moved from Dothan, Alabama. A place I worked many times in WCW. And then I could see the growth in this kid. But I really didn’t know how good he was going to become. I sent this kid to India. I sent him to Japan. I let this kid represent Reality of Wrestling around the world. I think he can go to WWE and make a whole lot of money. But there are channels, man. You don’t become a black belt overnight. You start at one level, hope and pray to become a black belt. Sometimes you think you are better than you actually are.”
“I was watching Lucas Mccain, The Rifle Man. The Rifle Man is a bad dude, but Sammy Davis ran into town one day, the only black Cowboy I ever saw on tv. He was bad. Sammy rolled in and nobody wanted to mess with him. You see everybody look the other way when he came in. And he told Mccain, you know Micah had taken off that weekend, and Lucas was the Sheriff just for that weekend. I don’t know how it happened that he was Sheriff when one of the baddest gunslingers in the world walks in, and he told Mccain, ‘I want you to throw that badge down in the dirt. If you don’t I’m gonna have to kill you.’ Lucas said, ‘I can’t do that.’
One thing you gotta understand is that Sammy was bad but he was stepping up to another level: The Rifle Man. This dude is extraordinary. He was like Bruce Lee.”
“So, you are saying Rex is like Sammy Davis Jr?” Brad asks Booker, who confirms Brad’s assumption and says the kid does not know what he is getting into.
The Rifleman with Sammy Davis Jr.
Rex insulted Booker by saying he wants to fight the man Booker used to be.
Booker warns, “That man is always lurking near. I never want to bring him out. I never want people to see the old Booker T. The guy that can get down and dirty! You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. Rex Andrews pulled my card. How you gonna tell a man he can’t go out and test himself every now and then? If you noticed, I rolled around with him for a little bit, and I literally outclassed him. A little takedown. I hadn’t been in the ring in a while and the kid is pretty good. But when I got out of the ring I had a smile on my face.
Next Saturday night, the 12th, Rex Andrews gets in the ring with a 35 time Champ. I’m sure all week Rex is in the mirror checking his game. He’s gonna walk out the curtain and try to have that confidence, but deep inside I know how he’s gonna feel. He won’t know how to handle it because he’s never been in a moment like this before. I have been in the ring with the greatest champions in the history of annals. I’ve been to the mountaintop. Do I have anything to lose? I want you people to watch. I haven’t wrestled in four years. I’m hoping that muscle memory kicks in. I hope my skill is still intact. I remember years ago I stretch like ten guys (in our gym).”
Brad says he heard about the amazing awful night.
Booker continues his pitch.
“One night only. The place where Reality of Wrestling was put on the map. All my students wonder, ‘Can Book still go? Or is he just talking?’ I want to prove to my students that their sensei can still “go”. My son, Kendrick James is so excited about next week he can not contain himself. We have been playing 2K16 all week! He won the 10 Man Battle Royal, 20 Man Battle Royal, and the 30 man Battle Royal, like his Dad. I’m looking forward to letting my son, Kendrick seeing his Father go out and perform inside the squared circle. I’m sure he’s wondering how Dad is gonna do. He will remember this for the rest of his life. I’m gonna have some fun. It’s not about the title it’s about a fight. It’s about stepping up and showing the world. And I don’t want the suckas chanting, ‘He’s still got it.”
Brad tells him to prepare to be disappointed because he will, no doubt, hear that chant.
Booker looks like a man possessed in this new training video!
Floyd in Japan
(Floyd had an “exhibition” match in Japan where he KO’d Tenshin Nasukawa.)
Booker says, “So many doubters, talking about this is a scam. What’s the scam? Floyd knew he wasn’t going to fight that kid. Why go over there? I don’t know if you heard everything that Floyd said about the way the fight was presented to him in the beginning.” Booker continues, “Floyd said, ‘If it’s a real fight it’s 12 rounds. Not three. You know my number is not nine million. Let’s make it an exhibition. Three rounds? I can do three rounds in my sleep.'”
Booker believes Mayweather when he says that it was legit. And they (the promoters) were foolish to think this kid had a shot against a man “that’s never been knocked down”.
Brad feels it didn’t help Nasukawa at all. And Booker says, “It didn’t pay off. It was a bad decision. In every sense of the word. The kid’s punches were bounces off Floyd like spitballs.”
(I prefer Chael Sonnen’s take on this fight. He thinks it was just a work, evidenced by the manner that Mayweather viewed this kid, who had several legit wins, as a non-threat. He took the McGregor fight more serious, although Conor was much more of a novice. I agree. If this fight was any more staged or ridiculous Vince Russo could have booked it.)
Before The Final Bell:
“Mean” Gene Okurlund
Brad says the voice of the ’80s passed a few days ago at the age of 76. In his opinion “He was the best backstage announcer ever.”
Booker agrees, “A lot of great memories. He’s done it all. I remember one time doing an interview with Mean Gene when he first came to WCW. I whacked the mic out of his hand. I know Mean Gene was like, ‘This is amateur. What have I gotten myself into.’ He always loved me. He was there for my infamous… when I dropped the N-word.” Brad laughs and says, “He played it like a complete pro.” Booker agrees and says Mean Gene no sold the whole thing. “I tell you, It was a night to remember. Mean Gene will be missed, not just in the wrestling business, but life. You are not gonna hear one bad thing about Gene Okerlund. He was a soldier in this war. He definitely will be missed by me.”
Brad was especially sad to hear about Gene’s passing because he was a big influence for him being a wrestling announcer. “RIP to the great Hall of Famer,” Brad says.
Below is a fun clip of Mean Gene interviewing Harlem Heat.
Rating: 7.0 out of 10
This was a fine show. It is fun listening to Booker hype his big return to the ring. It’s a balance of not burying his young opponent, but not overpraising him either. Booker is a pro and manages to pull it off.
Beyond that, there is nothing special here. It feels a bit repetitive. It almost feels like we’ve had these conversations before. I think they could mix it up and experiment a bit more. Maybe bring back live callers? Perhaps more interviews with the newsmakers of pro wrestling? I’d like to see some of the WWE women sit down and talk to the guys about how they have become the breakout stars of both Raw and Smackdown.
Or something like that.
This one is still worth listening to if you have always been a Booker T fan and can’t wait for his first match in years.
See ya next week!
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 https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2026980/, as well as His Twitter @JamesHa34395813.