10 QUESTIONS FOR BOOKER T

Ken Hoffman gets in the ring with former WWE world champion Booker T

Booker T brings hall of fame swagger to ESPN 97.5 FM. Photo via WWE.com

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

WWE superstar and master of the devastating Spinerooniemaneuver Booker T is the newest member of the Gow Media family, hosting the Hall of Fame show Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights on ESPN 97.5 FM.

The show, with co-host Brad Gilmore, airs live from 9-11 pm. While the main focus of the show will be WWE happenings, mixed martial arts, and boxing, Booker T isn't exactly shy about giving his opinion on politics, sports, and whatever else.

The show's title is a natural. Booker T was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a solo performer in 2013, and next month will be inducted again as part of the Harlem Heat tag-team with his brother Stevie Ray. For the record, Booker T (Robert Booker Tio Huffman) and Stevie Ray (Lash Huffman) are real-life brothers, but they weren't raised, nor ever lived in Harlem. They're from the South Park section of Houston.

ESPN 97.5 program director AJ Hoffman says, "Booker T and Brad bring an energy and excitement to the table. They want to be here as much as we want to have them. We think the show will bring new ears to 97.5, and they'll be a perfect fit in our station's brash culture."

Between breaks of his show, I cornered Booker T and hit him with 10 Questions.

CultureMap: Which is more frightening, fighting Triple H in a WWE ring, or battling him on TV's The Weakest Link?

Booker T: Oh, The Weakest Link for sure. Wrestling is easy. But a TV game show like The Weakest Link is a pressure situation. You've got to be quick on your toes. You might say something you wish you didn't say, like what happened to me. It was nervous time, sweaty palms, butterflies, the whole thing.

CM: Are you serious about running for mayor of Houston?

BT: Absolutely! I'm very serious. My ultimate goal is to be the mayor of Houston. It might be too late for me to get in the 2019 race, but a mayor's term is only four years. It looks like 2023 will be my time.

CM: What is the worst injury you've suffered as a sports-entertainment performer?

BT: Several years ago, I slipped a disc in my back in Australia. I was working a match, nothing out of the ordinary, but when I woke up the next morning I couldn't move. I was out for two months and had to take two epidurals.

CM: What is your relationship with WWE now?

BT: I still work for WWE. I'm currently an analyst on pay-per-view shows and ambassador for the company. My contract runs through 2029.

CM: You run an independent wrestling promotion called Reality of Wrestling in the Houston area. Most of your performers are young men and women new to the business. Do they have the same fire and intensity that you had coming up?

BT: We try to instill that. Not everybody is going to be like me when I was entering the business. In Reality of Wrestling, we have a lot of ambitious guys who want to get to the next level. We push them as hard as we can. If they don't have fire in them, they don't last very long. I'm extremely tough on them.

I don't accept any excuses. I didn't accept any excuses from myself. I was a single dad when I started in the business. I was working six days a week. I had a beat-up car. I never asked anyone for anything. I worked my butt off to get where I am today.

CM: You grew up very poor, and you struggled as a young man. Your life is very different now. Are you enjoying success?

BT: It's a funny thing. I enjoyed life when I didn't have a whole lot. You don't miss what you never had. Life is the same for me, I'm just able to pay my bills now. I've never wanted to be flamboyant or front everything I have. I have two beautiful kids, a boy and girl twins, a beautiful wife (former wrestler Sharmell), and a nice home. I was happy growing up poor, and I'm happy now. I'm blessed to have this life.

CM: Your most famous move is the Spineroonie. In the middle of a match, you would bust a break dancing move. Tell me the first time you did that in a ring.

BT: I did it during my very first match. I used to do it in practice, just screwing around. I was a break dancer back in the day. It was very natural for me. So I did it during my first real match. It changed the whole momentum of the match.

I knew it was something that would stick with me forever. It's actually easy to do in a ring. Under the mat, there's a pretty hard piece of foam, and there are 2-by-4's under that. It's pretty sturdy and it gives me good balance, so I'm not going to break any skin.

CM: Name the wrestlers who you most admired growing up. Did you get to compete against them?

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about Booker T's favorite wrestlers growing up.

THE WRESTLING REPORT

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Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio shows www.nerdthugradio.com!

Money in the Bank was this Sunday and while it was a solid entertaining pay per view, the big developments that came out of it were Brock Lesnar winning the Men's Money in the Bank contract, Bayley won the women's Money in the Bank contract, then after Charlotte beat Becky Lynch for the Smackdown women's title, Bayley swooped in and took it with an immediate cash in of her title match contract.

Fast forward to Raw and it feels very business as usual, the mixing of the superstars is just the new normal although they still are attached to the individual show branding, by that I mean Lars Sullivan came down to do an in ring interview on Raw but had a Smackdown logo by his name for some reason. Mick Foley came out and introduced a new 24/7 title that is open to everyone who basically shows up to work at the WWE, it's a watered down version of the old Hardcore title which is a nice call back but honestly, the belt isn't all that desirable looking. After Titus claimed it from a scrum of "B" and "C" list wrestlers, Robert Roode then took it from him and before Raw was over R Truth had taken the title from him.

Smackdown starting off with the return of Big E is great, making the New Day whole again and letting them enjoy and have fun with Kofi's title run is great. R Truth and the 24/7 title returned and it's a funny bit but surely this wasn't the point of the title, was it? I don't see the WWE introducing a title simply to be funny about it. Becky Lynch and Bayley tagging together was a good match against Charlotte Flair and Lacey Evans, the match between Kofi and Sami Zayn was quick for a title match and then Dolph Ziggler running out was an interesting surprise. The rematch between Roman Reigns and Elias isn't what anyone was asking for and honestly the whole Shane McMahon is the bad guy bit is a little overplayed to me.

This week while it was a much better week than the ones building up to Money in the Bank, the reality is that the overall content hasn't been as good as it should be. Now they're shoe horning the next Saudi Arabia pay per view with a Goldberg vs Undertaker match, it's fairly obvious this is to play up the 90's nostalgia that's happening in Saudi Arabia and honestly its not exciting. Playing up these matches with video promos, no build up or story involved, it's lazy and disappointing.

Feel free to check out my digital short story The Wilson House or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help fight cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio or support our Patreon Page. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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