Booker T on the NXT wrestler he hopes will be called up in the WWE Draft, AEW running Wembley Stadium, how his in-ring style was influenced by kung fu movies, Roxanne Perez’s anxiety storyline

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Forbes interview with guest Booker T
Interview conducted by Alfred Konuwa
Available at

Booker T on wanting to find his WCW Television Title belt: “That one right there was the one that kicked my career off as a singles wrestler, and it let me know that I could do it. I really didn’t know if I could do it until I got a chance to be out there on my own and see how good I really was. And that moment was frozen in time in my mind to where that championship was really the one that put me on the map and let the fans really get behind me and push Booker T to the next level. When I won that title, it definitely gave me a connection with those fans.”

Booker T on how his in-ring style was influenced by kung fu movies: “I was a big fan of the Shaw Brothers productions and karate movies and stuff like that. I didn’t take a lot of my moves from wrestlers or anything like that that, all of my moves came from some movie that I watched and I tried to create something. Then I was a break dancer back in the day, so the Spinarooni came into play.

“As well as I took karate—I never actually competed or anything like that—but with Shaw Brothers productions, I watched so many of those movies. Man, I knew The Centipede, The Toad, The Tiger Style, The Crane—I knew every one of them. Having my own style was very, very important. And I talked to my students about this as well. I say ‘in professional wrestling, you’re going to be doing the same thing everybody else is doing, and you’ve got to figure out how to do it just a little bit differently in order to be noticed.’ That’s what I was trying to do.”

Booker T on connecting with Roxanne Perez’s anxiety storyline: “Mental illness is true. I’ve got one of my students, his name is Kevin Bernhardt, and he came in. And he was one of my first wrestlers. He was about 160 pounds, and he just couldn’t make it. He was a kid who had anxiety problems as well, so I made him my writer for the show, and then he started producing the show, and then he started editing the show and then he started working with all the guys. He’s been with me since day one. Eighteen years. I’ve put him under so much work, he forgot that he had stress! (laughs)

“I’ve walked it. I’ve been in it. I know what it’s like to lose your parents early, I know what it’s like to not have anything, I know what it’s like to be locked up. So, to be able to fight through it—which so many people quit in the middle—They feel like ‘there’s nothing. Why should I fight? What’s there for me?’ But if you keep walking towards that light, you might find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That’s what this life thing is all about and it’s tricky.”

Booker T on cohesive tag teams: “I think fans need to see a tag team as a tag team almost from the beginning in order to really take them as a true tag team. When you put people together, sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t. But that’s what makes NXT a little bit different than the main roster. When you see the Gallus Boys finally make it to the main roster, you’re going to know exactly who they are. You’re not gonna mix them up with anyone. When you see Pretty Deadly make it to the main roster, you’re going to say ‘Oh, that’s Pretty Deadly.’ You’re not gonna say ‘that’s Kit Wilson and Elton Prince,’ you’re gonna say ‘that’s Pretty Deadly,’ but you know who they are. I think that’s what the main roster needs to focus on a little bit more.”

Booker T on why he wants to see Grayson Waller called up in the WWE Draft: “The one guy I’ve really got my eye on is Grayson Waller. Just because he’s got the maturity to actually step up to the main roster and be able to handle that thing a little bit differently. He’s a little bit more seasoned than a lot of the guys in NXT. So I really feel like if Grayson Waller was to get a call-up throughout the Draft, I think it would be a pop for the crowd. I really don’t think people realize how over this guy really is. He’s over, man. Just his music alone and his walkout and his swag, man. He’s a guy who really could make a huge splash.”

Booker T on how AEW All in will fare in Wembley Stadium: “I don’t want to discount those guys as far as how well they’re gonna do or how many tickets they’re going to sell. But I do know that this is a big move going to Wembley. Just to get in Wembley and do something like that, it’s big for that company. It reminds me of the WCW days, like ‘man this thing is really getting hot.’ The bigger AEW gets, the bigger the wrestling business is gonna get, I think. But this is a true test for that company and we’ll see exactly what grade they get after the show.”


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