Booker T talks going to WWE, winning WCW title for the first time, Bischoff, TNA, WWE return

WWE SmackDown General Manager Booker T recently spoke to Raj Giri of Here are some highlights from the interview:
WrestlingINC: And there were a lot of stories about
the night you won the World title at Bash At The Beach in 2000 when
you beat Jeff Jarrett. Howw far in advance did you know you were going
to be winning the World title that night? What was the backstage
atmosphere like?
Booker T: "The backstage atmosphere was chaos pretty
much. Not with myself, I really didn't care. It wasn't my ball, so to
speak, I was just playing in the game. The beef was with Russo and
Hogan and creative control Hogan had in his contract -- I'm not sure
exactly what that was. But, I knew that Hogan wanted to win the title
that night.
"I'm not sure if he was trying to step on my grave or throw a monkey
wrench into me winning the championship; it was just something that he
felt was owed to him at that time. So, I let everything play out. I
found out maybe 5, maybe 6 or 7 minutes before I went out that I was
going to win the title and that I was going to be champ that night."
WrestlingINC: How did you react when you were told?
Booker T: "Well, I found out that they were planning
to do it. Then, when everything got thrown up into the air, I thought
I wasn't going to be winning it. Then, they told me to stick around
because I was going to be winning it. Man, I just wanted to get it
over with. They had their [questions] and I had my questions as well.
"My questions were: are the fans going to even want me to be the
champion? [Laughs.] Those were my thoughts. I didn't care what they
were thinking. So, I just let everything play out and then when it was
time to come out and win, all my questions were answered.
"Those fans went crazy, everybody raised the roof, everybody was happy
that I won -- even after the controversial night. Everybody was still
partying at the end of the night and happy that Booker T had finally
crashed the glass ceiling.
WrestlingINC: What were your thoughts on the final
Nitro and finding out that WWF had bought WCW?
Booker T: "Man, I knew it was going to happen. I
mean, we all knew it was coming. For me, it was just another day at
work to be honest. I never really worried about my spot or anything. I
never really worried about how talented I was or if I could get in or
anything like that. A lot of guys were worried about what was next for
them but I knew what was next for me.
"I knew that WWE was coming-a-calling and it was time to me to go and
prove how good I really thought I was. So, I was willing to do that. I
was willing to step right in, leave all my accolades behind and start
all over from the bottom and prove that I belonged. So, it was just
another day at the office for me."
WrestlingINC: When they were doing the WCW revival,
it didn't seem planned out that well. How much did you know about what
they planned to do with WCW when you signed?
Booker T: "No, not at all. I never delved into that
part of the business. I never cared about what the company was going
to be doing with who or what -- storylines, angles, none of that
stuff. I never got involved in that stuff when I was active because it
just wasn't important to me. The only thing that was important to be
was what my role was that night and that was it. Then, I would go out
at do that, make sure I concentrated on getting that done. The rest of
it pretty much just fell into place."
WrestlingINC: You also got the singles push and you
challenged Triple H for the title at WrestleMania 19. It seemed like
for a point there that you were going to win the belt until Kurt Angle
was able to face Brock Lesnar. Did you hear anything about you going
over and then those planned changed?
Booker T: "You know, I'm sure there was talk. You
know, I have no control over that. I know a lot of people wanted me to
go over, a lot of people thought I should have gone over because of
the way the angle was being played out. As far as him saying that he
was better than me and people like me shouldn't be in that position.
"But, for me, it was a platform to talk about my background and put my
real life out there. And to help some people out with my book and
whatnot. That was just the beginning of it, winning was a state of
mind. I thought I won because I was on the main stage in WrestleMania
and I got paid a lot of money to do it. [Laughs.]
"So, a lot of people say I should have won. But, I think if I would
have won, when I finally did win as King Booker, it wouldn't have been
the same. For me, I think everything has happened for a reason. And it
always seemed to have happened at the right time."
WrestlingINC: You were pretty much on top and having
your best WWE run and then you went to TNA for a few years. How would
you describe that run with TNA?
Booker T: "Eh, it was like a vacation, like a paid
vacation. I didn't do much there and I wasn't in a lot of angles or
anything there and they didn't know what to do with me. I really
wanted to help the AJ's and the Bobby Roode's and guys like that but
they didn't have any direction.
"So, for me, I just came to work, did my antics -- I had an African
accent there. [Laughs.] So, I'd come to work, do my deal and go home
for two weeks. So, it was easy and I needed the detox, I needed a
"And still be on television. I didn't want to not be on television
because, like I said, out of sight is out of mind. So, I just wanted
to take a break but still be on television to keep people thinking
about me. Even though the television exposure was not that relevant, I
was still doing my thing. I was still in the mix and wrestling on a
fairly regular basis. So, I was still in the game, I didn't let the
machine get all rusty.
"But, like I said, taking a break was something that I needed. I had
been going strong for about 17 years straight without a break. Thank
little bit of a break was something that I needed just to re-energize
WrestlingINC: Having worked there for Dixie Carter
and having worked for Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon, how would you
compare the three and their styles?
Booker T: "Man, like night and day really. Dixie
Carter, she's a nice lady, a really nice lady. She's got a good heart
and she really wants to do the right thing for the guys. Does she have
the right guys doing things? That might be another story. Is Eric
Bischoff the right guy for the job? I don't know, you've got to weigh
your options as far as that right there. Look at the track record.
"As far as working for Vince McMahon, it's always been a business.
It's always been a working relationship, I tried not to become friends
or anything like that with anybody that I'm working under. I always
know that it's about business, it's not about friendship. That's
Vince, he's always about business. It's all about getting the job
done, it's all about going out and being number one every week no
matter what.
"I adapted that concept myself into pretty much everything that I do.
I just go out and work the hardest and be the best."
Booker also discussed  his backstage fight with Batista and who came
out on top, if there is still any heat with Batista, why he didn't
want to leave WCW for the WWF, WCW folding, signing with WWE, if he
was going to return to TNA to re-form the Main Event Mafia, returning
to WWE, when he was approached about being inducted into the WWE Hall
of Fame, his other projects and much more. You can read the full
Booker T interview at:

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