I had the privilege this week to interview current Smackdown General Manager, Booker T, about his new book, "From Prison To Promise", his position as the Smackdown GM, the tag team division and its future, his grade as color commentator, and more. Below are some of the highlights, but be sure to check out the full Booker T interview on the VOW Network at www.vowlive.com.
On the new book, his goal in writing it, and what it's about:
"It's about a journey and just keeping on walking toward that light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, you'll get there if you keep moving that way. It's a story of triumph, and overcoming. And bad decisions as well, and making those mistakes and learning from them..."
On racism during his young life:
"I never had to deal with racism as a kid, by the grace of God somehow. I really never ran across a lot of it. Of course, just say for instance, my brother and I, we used to go to this hobby shop -- I wrote about that in the book -- called Broadway Hobby Shop, and it was in Pasadena, Texas. Pasadena, Texas was where they had the headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan, and we would go out there. The hobby shop was where my brother would race his cars - slot cars - and there was a lot of white people out there, but we never ran across racism even in that setting. Why, I don't know. I didn't run into racism until I got into the wrestling business..."
What fans/readers would be most surprised to read about him in the book:
"You know, people see me smiling all the time..they see me pretty much happy all the time. I never carry a frown around. But people would never imagine this is the life that Booker T went through. Some of the things that I'd seen growing up..living with on a day to day basis..trying to go to school and still have this turmoil of a life swirling around me. And then, people see me now being successful, being on television for the last 22 years, people intend to buy into that stereotypical way of life people want to see themselves as..and the thing is, you can see yourself in my position, but you got to work really, really hard to get there. Anything worth having is worth working really, really hard for.."
On the transition into more of a non-wrestling role:
"You know really, I've done everything I want to do in the business, and I've never wanted to be one of those guys who are holding up the process for the young guys. I really feel like it's important for us to get them off early, trying to create that superstardom early....the Dolph Zigglers, the Cody Rhodes, the Randy Ortons..the list goes on and on....guys that are going to carry the business into the future. And it's my job to keep this business going accordingly.."
On the criticism regarding his announcing ability:
"People are gonna have their opinions..the thing is, I've always said, as long as they're talking about you, that's good...Being in that commentary role, people really need to understand how hard of a job that really is. Even for me, being a professional performer and professional wrester in the ring, still didn't prepare me for the booth. But the thing was..I don't know if people ever noticed..I never called myself a commentator. I always called myself an analyst...I was just having fun, trying to bring some fun to the commentator booth..something we don't have. Even now, I watch Michael Cole struggle without me being out there, without having someone to bounce off of. So, for an overall, if I were to give myself a grade, I would give myself a C+."
On Kevin Nash's comments about Benoit and Guerrero and whether or not needing larger wrestlers (physically) are a thing of the past:
"I think it is a thing of the past...I mean, you look at bodybuilding. Bodybuilding was huge back in the 70's and the 80's. You don't hardly hear about Mr. Olympia anymore, unless you're a part of that culture, unless you're a part of the bodybuilding world...wrestling is never gonna be like that, ever again. I think maybe the statement of wrestling died when Eddie and Chris, at that moment [their hug at WM 20 as stated by Kevin Nash]..I think that was overstating a little bit, maybe...maybe like politicians do, maybe [Nash] misspoke..."
You can listen to the full interview with Booker T online, but primarily, be sure to grab a copy of his new book, "From Prison To Promise", available in stores everywhere and at Amazon online. As I stated in the beginning of the interview, I'm not a huge reader, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have even more respect for Booker T as a result. I think you will too if you take the time to read it.
Thanks again to Booker for the time to talk with me.
WIN A FREE COPY OF BOOKER T'S BOOK: I have a couple extra copies of Booker's new book available. To win one of these free copies, all you have to do is follow me on Twitter @RealityofChris and tweet me something with the hashtag, #BookerTBook. The deadline is this Sunday and I'll announce the winners on Twitter the following Monday during Raw!