Wrestler of the Day – March 1: Booker T

We’ll go to 110th Street today for Booker T.

Before we get started, I had to cut a TON of stuff off this list to keep it from being about 30 pages long. Booker has been around for over 20 years and has won so many titles in almost every company so I had to skip years of stuff at a time because there’s other, more important stuff. I have to do this every now and then because I don’t think you guys want to read novels about these guys.

Booker got his first major start in the Global Wrestling Federation out of Dallas. We’ll look at a match from his run there from some time between 1991 and August 1993.

Super Destroyer vs. Booker T

Destroyer is just a guy in a mask. Booker has a manager in football pads and a helmet for some reason. The announcers say we’re in a new year here and the Destroyer takes over with some forearms to the back of the head to start. Kerry Von Erich is in the promition at this point so it’s probably January 1993. Booker comes back with an armdrag into an armbar as the heel announcer makes fun of Kerry Von Erich.

We look at the announcers and miss Destroyer taking over but Booker comes back with a suplex for two. A spinning scissors kick gets two on Destroyer and we hit the chinlock. We miss even more stuff because of Booker’s manager running his mouth and come back to see Destroyer throwing Booker to the floor.

After a break, we get this gem from the announcer: “Don’t worry. You didn’t miss any action.” A side slam gets two on Booker and Destroyer chokes a lot. The masked guy slows WAY down and slams Booker’s face into the mat but he comes back with a dropkick and side slam of his own. Booker gets two off a rollup but Destroyer rams Booker into the manager’s helmet for the fast pin.

Rating: D. This was a pretty bad match with Destroyer being nothing special and Booker being athletic but not ready to carry a match on his own. The camera direction was more irritating than anything else with stupid cuts to stuff we didn’t need to be looking at. Maybe that’s why the company didn’t make it to 1995.

It was off to WCW soon after this where Booker and his brother Stevie Ray would be known as Kole and Kane respectfully. They were quickly in big time feuds, leading to an appearance in WarGames at Fall Brawl 1993.

Sting/Shockmaster/Davey Boy Smith/Dustin Rhodes vs. Vader/Harlem Heat/Sid Vicious

WarGames again. This is the mother of all gimmick matches in WCW and something that a lot of people with they would bring back in WWE, me being one of them. The idea is it’s 4 on 4 in a double cage match. Two people start us off, one from each team. They go at it for five minutes and then we have a coin toss (the heels will win). The winning team gets to send in another man for a 2-1 advantage. That last two minutes and then the losing team gets to send in its second man. After two more minutes the winning team gets to send in its third. You alternate until everyone is in and it’s first submission wins.

Harlem Heat are Kane and Kole here but I’ll be calling them by their more famous names. Vader is the other world champion here, the WCW World Champion. Animal is advising the faces here for no apparent reason. Dustin has really bad ribs here. Shockmaster is the hilariously infamous falling man that is more famous as Typhoon/Tugboat. Dustin starts without his partners wanting him to and gets Vader.

Dustin hammers Vader down surprisingly enough and pulls his boot off to beat on Vader even more. Well it’s resourceful if nothing else. Dustin is able to fight Vader off as well as anyone else has been able to do in a very long time. His ribs end that run though and there’s the Vader Bomb. Remember that you can’t end the match until after everyone is in the ring. That’s a great rule that makes sure there’s additional violence.

Rhodes fights back AGAIN and puts Vader down. That could be a heck of a Clash of the Champions main event actually. More boot shots (with the boot itself mind you, not a foot in it) to the head of Vader and Dustin is surprisingly in control. The heels win the coin toss which I literally think was a perfect record for them over the years. Dustin counters a dive off the top by Vader into a powerslam in a nice move.

Kane (Stevie Ray) comes in second. Dustin tries to fight them off but Vader gets a shot in to the ribs to take him down almost immediately. A minute in (remember everything now is just two minutes) and Dustin is in trouble. I’m not entirely sure why they sent in Vader so soon but whatever. Sting comes in but Vader and Stevie wait on him by the door like smart people would do.

2-1 is nothing for Sting though as he fights both guys off. I could watch Sting vs. Vader all day. Dustin is back up but is bleeding badly. His grandma is here tonight. Dusty’s mom is here. Let that sink in for a bit. Vader is sent into the cage and stumbles into the cameraman in a funny moment. Sid comes in to fight Sting in an old rivalry. Chokeslam takes Sting down and it’s all Sid.

The pops Sting gets for even the most basic moves are amazing. Vader and Sid ram Sting into the top of the cage for fun. With thirty seconds left it’s going to be the Bulldog in next. Yes Tugboat is batting cleanup. Davey comes in and Sid jumps him immediately. He fights off Sid and Vader by himself. He was a straight up tough guy in WCW if you haven’t seen any of his stuff there. In a nice touch Sting and Bulldog do to Sid what Vader and Sid did to Sting moments ago.

Kole (Booker T) comes in so there’s just Shocky left to come. Everyone is in one ring so that ring is completely overcrowded. The announcers make fun of Shockmaster falling which is funny stuff. They finally split up a bit and the match gets more interesting as a result. Sting takes down Stevie but hurts himself in the process. Sid gets caught in a Figure Four but here’s Shockmaster to even us up. Tony: Hey he made it through!

He’s bigger than Vader which isn’t something you often see. He beats up everyone in sight and after just over a minute and a half he throws Booker in a bearhug and it’s over. Wow so Typhoon beat a multiple time multiple time multiple time multiple time multiple time world champion? Sweet goodness man.

Rating: C. That’s bad for a WarGames match mind you. It’s ok, but the lack of starpower kind of hurts this here. Sid is an afterthought and Vader got beaten down like a fat jobber. Dustin Rhodes looked the most impressive out there which is odd. This was kind of weak and did nothing to set up the next shows or anything. Shockmaster was gone almost immediately after this and no one cared.

Harlem Heat would win the Tag Team Titles several times in 1994, including once near the end of the year. Here’s a title defense from Clash of the Champions XXX.

Tag Titles: Harlem Heat vs. Stars N Stripes

Bagwell/Patriot are the challengers. And they’re late. Instead….here’s Ric Flair. He was retired at this point due to the events of Halloween Havoc. Heenan goes over to shake Flair’s hand, being the suckup that he is. Flair takes a seat in the front row. Here are Stars N Stripes. Booker vs. Bagwell to start with Bagwell hammering away. This is a return match after the Heat basically stole the titles.

Bagwell dropkicks him to the floor and the challengers clear the ring. The fans chant USA. Why can’t Harlem Heat be patriotic? They’re from New York which is certainly part of the United States. Patriot hammers away on Stevie and works on the arm a bit. Really basic tag match here and not much to say for the first three to five minutes.

Bagwell is getting beaten down at the moment, taking that spinning forearm smash for two. The fans show their anti-New York sentiment again. The announcers talk about why Vader has two seats at ringside since Harley Race isn’t here. Heenan: “Maybe he’s going to use the other chair to crack Hogan over the head.” A few seconds of silence pass. Tony: “Maybe he’s going to use the other chair as a weapon.” Heenan never got a break.

The champions keep beating down Bagwell but Sherri gets on the apron to keep the tag from being noticed. The American comes in anyway and everything breaks down. Sherri’s shoe comes in somehow and Bagwell gets an O’Connor Roll on Stevie. Booker kicks his head off to reverse the control though and the Heat keeps the titles.

Rating: D. Total meh match here. This felt like they were told there had to be a tag title match so here’s a quick one so that we can say we had one. It’s not that the match is bad but rather that it’s painfully boring. The Heat would hold the titles for like 5 months until the Nasty Boys won them after they lost them. Long story, don’t ask.

They would lose the belts multiple times in 1995 as well but get a title shot at Fall Brawl 1995.

WCW Tag Titles: Bunkhouse Buck/Dick Slater vs. Harlem Heat

The talented tag team is challenging here. The idea here is more about the managers though as apparently they like each other. The match is going to suck though. Oh and along with this, we only have Arn/Flair and War Games. We’re an hour and five minutes into the show. That simply can’t be a good sign. I also have issues with a guy names Dirty Dick. Also, they gave THESE TWO the tag titles after like 5 months of Heat vs. Nasty Boys?

I don’t like the Nasties, but they’re light years ahead of these morons. Booker and Slater start so at least the one good wrestler in the match is starting us off. Slater is one of those good old southern boys that allegedly was really talented but never shook either the southern stigma or the lack of talent to get over. Crowd is deader than Booker’s career at this point. Again I love how two hicks like this are supposed to be trained wrestlers.

There’s something amusing about that. Yeah the idea here is that Sherri has a bump on the head and isn’t herself. Somehow this was put on national TV as a mainstream wrestling company with angles like that. Wow indeed. Apparently Dick Slater is one of the best wrestlers in the history of the sport. I can barely laugh at how stupid that is.

On the floor the managers are playing this messed up cat and mouse game that is just rather creepy. The fans prove they’re still alive with a short and incomprehensible chant. It’s weird hearing them talk about Booker as a power guy. That’s most odd indeed. Heenan seems like he wants to talk about Buck being naked. Ok then. The heels are controlling most of the match here.

You can tell the match itself is pretty awful as I’ve barely talked about it. I’m trying very hard to think of anything else to talk about so that I don’t have to actually pay attention. Fact: I used to have this tape and this match cured my insomnia over a summer. I didn’t sleep regularly for a month but this match put me to sleep in five minutes. That’s saying something. We talk about WarGames to kill some time.

This match needs to end BADLY. And trust me, since this is WCW< I’m sure that will mean both possible things. Stevie gets the I guess you could say hot tag to get the crowd to do nothing at all. And here is that finish as Parker and Sherri get into the other ring and kiss. At the same time the Nasty Boys are here and rip Slater’s boot off to smack him in the head with it to give the Heat the titles. While this is happening, Sherri and Parker are still kissing. I hate this show.

Rating: F+. This was just terrible. The ending sucked and the match was worse. Who thought that Buck and Slater were the best options? Seriously, the American Males were on the preshow. They’re not the best in the world by any stretch of the imagination but they’re better than Buck and Slater. It’s stuff like this that is freaking idiotic and gave WCW the bad name it had.

Booker would occasionally get singles matches, such as this one from June 10, 1996 on Nitro.

Scott Steiner vs. Booker T

 

This would be huge about four years later. Basic anything you can do I can do greater match to start as I think this is face vs. heel but I’m not sure. Both escape belly to back suplexes but Scott gets a double underhook suplex for no cover. Booker manages to get a boot up in the corner kind of like a superkick to put Scott down. Scissors kick gets two.

 

Off to a front facelock and Booker controls. Spinning cross body off the top gets two. Larry Z giving wrestling advice to Booker is really weird for some reason. Scott gets something like a DDT to break the momentum though and here comes Steiner. We speed things up and Scott gets a belly to belly to put Booker down. Frankensteiner is avoided which gets two for Booker. A top rope splash misses and Scott hits another belly to belly to end it.

 

Rating: B-. Not bad at all here with two guys that were still (kind of) young and motivated and could give you a good match at this point. Also nice to see some young guys out there having some time to show off. Booker wouldn’t mean much of anything for like two years though and Steiner would be about 18 months away, so call this a very early preview.

 

With more tag title reigns here and there, Harlem Heat was put in a “four corners” singles match at Spring Stampede 1997 for the #1 contender ship for the world title.

Stevie Ray vs. Booker T vs. Giant vs. Lex Luger

One fall to a finish here and the winner gets Hogan eventually. Luger vs. Booker to start which should be interesting. Feeling out process to start until Luger starts slamming Booker a few times. Off to Stevie who punches Luger down a bit but gets caught between Giant and Luger which goes badly as you can imagine. Off to Giant and Stevie looks scared. Stevie knocks Giant back and gets loudly booed but Giant comes back with a clothesline.

Booker gets thrown around as well and it’s time for a meeting on the floor. I keep forgetting this is a four corners match. That gets remedied by Giant vs. Luger who have a power lockup. Luger tries a slam but Giant falls on him for two. The tag in Harlem Heat and the brothers having to fight gets a big reaction from the crowd.

They lock up and Booker works on the arm. There’s a lot of non contact here which makes sense for the most part. Booker tags in Lex and all is right with the world again. Stevie comes back with strikes and it’s Booker with a side suplex to put Lex down. A knee drop misses and it’s Giant time. A big elbow drop misses and Stevie comes in sans tag. An ax kick by Stevie doesn’t work and neither does a side kick so they go to the knees to get Giant down.

Giant gets up with ease and a big boot puts Ray down. Off to Luger again for some elbow drops which get two. Belly to back puts Booker down but Stevie breaks up the Rack. Booker hooks a chinlock and the Harlem side kick gets two. Harlem Heat double team Luger and it’s back to the chinlock. Lex suplexes his way out of it but Booker breaks it up. Giant breaks up a cover off an ax kick but there’s no cover. Harlem Hangover misses and it’s Stevie vs. Giant. Giant kicks Booker to the floor and calls for the chokeslam but tags in Luger so he can win with the Rack instead.

Rating: C+. This wasn’t bad for the most part as it was really a tag match in disguise. That being said, it didn’t mean a thing as Luger wouldn’t get his title shot until August so this was kind of a waste of time. The match itself was pretty fun though as both teams played it like a tag match instead of the fourway which was the right idea.

The singles career would really launch near the end of 1997 as Booker received a TV Title shot the night after Starrcade 1997.

TV Title: Booker T vs. Disco Inferno

Disco is defending. He dances to start and is booed, so Booker raises the roof to a good reaction. A hard clothesline puts Inferno down as the fans are almost silent. Disco misses an elbow so Booker breakdances a bit before taking it to the floor. The champ is whipped into the barricade but catches Booker with a Chartbuster (Stunner) onto the top rope as they come back in. Both guys fall back over the top and out to the floor. This time it’s Booker being sent into the barricade as the crowd stays silent.

Disco breaks up the count before bringing Booker back in, only to be caught in a sunset flip for two. Off to a chinlock by the champion as we’ve had a grueling three minutes of action so far. Back up and a neckbreaker puts Booker down as the announcers talk non stop about Sting’s challenge. Disco gets caught by a spinwheel kick and a backbreaker to set up the Harlem Hangover for the pin and the title.

Rating: D. Not only did the match bore everyone to sleep but the announcers literally talked about the match for two seconds. Booker T’s singles career gets started here and would wind up having a TON of titles in addition to ten tag titles. The match mostly sucked though as there was no chemistry here at all.

Booker would lose the title to Finlay about five months later before entering into a best of seven series against Chris Benoit to be #1 contender. Booker would win the seventh match through some shenanigans and offer Benoit one more chance. This is from Great American Bash 1998 and the winner faces Finlay later in the night.

Booker T vs. Chris Benoit

The winner gets a TV Title shot tonight against Finlay. Feeling out process to start with Benoit hooking a very quick armdrag to take over. Booker might have a bad knee coming in after the match on Thursday but he comes right back with an armdrag of his own. Benoit bails to the floor and it’s right back to a standoff a few seconds later. Booker grabs a hammerlock to take Chris down before hooking a half nelson into a rollup for two. Benoit fights up and cranks on a hammerlock of his own, only to be elbowed in the face.

Benoit is sent into the corner and peppered with more forearms before charging into a boot to the jaw. Chris will have none of that and takes out the bad knee with a dragon screw legwhip to get his first real advantage. They head to the corner for some WOO inspiring chops from the Canadian before he elbows Booker in the face for two. We hit a chinlock on Mr. T. as Tony compares Booker vs. Benoit seven times to Finlay fighting guys like High Voltage. There’s a snap suplex for two on Booker as things slow down a bit.

Benoit’s belly to back superplex is countered into a cross body for two but Benoit comes right back by stomping Booker down and putting on another chinlock. Booker fights up again but a hard knee to the stomach puts him right back down. Benoit drapes Booker’s ribs across the top rope for two but doesn’t seem sure how to follow up. Back to the chinlock as the fans immediately start cheering for Booker again. Off to a surfboard hold with Benoit’s knees in the back but Booker fights up and scores with a powerslam.

T goes up but Benoit steps to the side to avoid a spinning cross body ala Samoa Joe in a nice counter. A Crossface attempt lands right in the ropes so Benoit goes right back to the chinlock. Booker elbows up and hits an enziguri to put Benoit back down. There’s the snap spinebuster followed by a flapjack, allowing Booker to spin up. The missile dropkick is broken up with Booker getting crotched on the top, allowing Chris to superplex Booker down in a great looking crash.

Neither guy can immediately follow up though until Benoit gets a very delayed cover for two. Here are the rolling Germans but Booker breaks it up before the third. Instead Benoit busts out the dragon suplex for a very near fall. Booker is sent into the corner and tries the spinning sunset flip but Benoit is still in the middle of the ring in a nice bit of psychology. Benoit suplexes him down again and hits the Swan Dive but still can’t cover. Booker comes back with a side kick to the back of the head, setting up the missile dropkick for the 100% clean pin.

Rating: B. This would have been better with a minute or two cut out to lower the chinlockery levels, but even with them this was a great opening match and a perfect way to fire up the crowd. It’s one of those matches where both guys come out looking great though I would have liked to see Booker win more. Still though, very few complaints here.

From later in the night.

TV Title: Booker T vs. Fit Finlay

Booker doesn’t have any elbow pads or gloves on here which is a weird look for him. There’s an undefined extended time limit over the usual ten minutes here. Booker sends him into the buckle to start followed by an awkward looking clothesline. A kick to the face gets two for Booker but he misses an enziguri, allowing Finlay to hook a leg lock. Back up and Finlay forearms his way out of a headlock, only to have Booker come back with a flying forearm for two.

Some chops put Finlay on the floor but he comes back in to block an ax kick and go after the leg again. There’s a half crab followed by a regular crank on the leg to keep Booker in trouble. Finlay slams the knee onto the apron and wraps it around the ropes for good measure. Booker comes back with the spinning sunset flip out of the corner for two, only to have the champion come back with another leg crank. He wraps Booker’s knee around his neck ala the Brock Lock before going off to a kind of half Liontamer.

Booker rolls away and just pounds Fit in the head with right hands, only to have Finlay come right back with a shin breaker and another leg hold. They head outside again where the referee has to stop Finlay from getting a chair. The knee is wrapped around the post and Finlay hits a Vader Bomb for no cover. Instead he yells at the crowd and kicks Booker’s knee even more but stops to yell at the fans.

Booker comes back with a spinwheel kick and a powerslam before hitting the ax kick. He spins up so Finlay clotheslines him inside out. The tombstone from Finlay is countered into an AWFUL looking sequence where Booker was supposed to backflip into a tombstone of his own, but instead he fell down and got covered for two. Back up and Finlay misses a charge into the “post”, allowing Booker to hit a kneeling piledriver (Finlay was facing forward but Booker dropped to his knees like a tombstone) for the pin and the title.

Rating: D+. And there goes the really good match streak. The match wasn’t horrible but you can only watch Finlay lay on Booker’s leg and pull on the ankle so many times in thirteen minutes. The ending was HORRIBLE too with the sequence being botched and the ending coming out of nowhere. Also Booker not selling the knee at all after coming in with a bad knee and having Finlay work on it for ten minutes was inexcusable. I think everyone knew Booker would win here after taking the series, which made him look like a star.

We’re going to jump WAY ahead now as Booker stayed in the midcard singles scene for years as the company crumbled around him. Hollywood Hogan would do…..something at Bash at the Beach 2000 (long story) but the short version of it is he left instead of main eventing the show for the title. Booker was put in due to his years of hard work and received a shot at Jeff Jarrett.


WCW World Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Booker T

One has to wonder why the guy that would wind up leaving as champion would have jobbed to a midcarder earlier but that would imply logic so there we are. Oh and they have the other world title there, as in the original one. Tony says he hasn’t seen it in years because the top is bent. And it just happened to be there tonight. Right. Either that or they got it to the arena in like 30 minutes. So it’s a pizza? See if this had happened say two years ago (as in Booker being in the main event) this could have meant something. We get a nice technical sequence as Booker is completely over.

We hit the crowd and walk around for a little bit with very limited actual offense or anything like that. Again, why are we having to do this? Are you telling me we can’t have these two give us a solid in ring match? And there are the weapons to really suck away any real chance of this being awesome. Jarrett piledrives him on the announce table. Now here’s the thing: the violence like this in a match is fine.

This is a big match so they’re going the extra mile. There’s nothing wrong with that and I can understand relaxing the rules for it. The problem with that is literally every match tonight has had a run-in or weapons used. It makes things like this seem less special or less intense. Even ECW had gotten that message by this point and had toned it down.

Now that being said, this is a solid match, but the lack of drama hurts it as ONCE AGAIN WCW blows the chance to show a feel good moment on PPV. Here’s the thing: Booker is clearly popular. Him winning the title tonight is going to be a big moment. The problem is that NO ONE KNOWS THIS IS GOING ON, other than people that bought the PPV.

Instead of announcing Booker as the title shot, they went with Hogan and wound up giving us Booker, rather than taking a chance on Booker as a draw. We hear about how this isn’t about politics and is about athleticism. If by that they mean desperation then I’d agree. Somehow this is Jarrett’s match of his life. Just….no. It’s figure four time as I’m tempted to predict a Flair run-in here.

Tony and the other announcers talk about how much Booker has had to go through here, including the grating of the political thing with Hogan earlier tonight. Did ANYONE know how to think in this company? The Axe Kick connects and Jarrett more or less no sells it for no apparent reason. And now, le sigh as down goes the referee. A belt shot to Jarrett gets a long two. We get a bunch of low blows and chair shots and now Jarrett just says screw it and this the Stroke on the referee. The Book End hits and another referee counts the pin.

Rating: B. Again, this was a good match. The problems surrounding it however made anything we could have gotten out of it completely pointless and useless though. Also like I said, Jarrett would pin him the next night anyway. This was a solid match and the moment was cool, but the levels of idiocy it took to get here absolutely astound me.

Booker would win the title A LOT before WCW went out of business. He won it here in July for the first time and for a fourth time in March. During his first reign he had a memorable defense on Nitro. Earlier in the night Goldberg had mauled Booker and the referee stopped the match in less than three minutes, but Booker kept the title. He didn’t want to be remembered like that and demanded a rematch later in the night.

WCW World Title: Booker T vs. Goldberg

Booker jumps him in the aisle but Goldberg knocks him right back down. As they head into the ring, Booker hits the ax kick and Goldberg is in trouble. Never mind as he clotheslines Booker down and into a 360. A powerslam puts Booker down and Goldberg pounds on the cut from earlier. Jeff Jarrett comes out for no reason and hits Goldberg with a chair as this is anything goes. SINCE FREAKING WHEN??? That makes Goldie mad so here’s the Cat to kick Goldberg in the face. That gets him nowhere either so Booker kicks him down for a second and the Book End (Rock Bottom) retains the title in less than three minutes.

Goldberg immediately pops up and spears Booker down and hits a Jackhammer to stand tall to end the show.

Thankfully Booker would be out of that mess in March and move on to the WWF, where he would face The Rock at Summerslam 2001 for the WCW Title.

WCW World Title: Booker T. vs. The Rock

Rock has bad ribs coming in due to a Bookend (Rock Bottom) through a table. Rock fires off right hands to start but has to chase Shane around the ring. Booker jumps him coming back in but gets sent into Shane, setting up a Samoan drop for two. Things settle down a bit and Rock clotheslines Booker down before hooking a side roll for two. Rock wins a slugout and sends Booker out to the floor.

They head over to the announce table and Rock gets in a blatant low blow. Now it’s into the crowd with Booker sending Rock’s ribs into the barricade to take over. Back to ringside and Booker loads up the announce table but Rock comes back with right hands. Booker easily reverses a whip into the post and Shane takes off the turnbuckle pad. Back in (finally) and an elbow to the face gets two for the champion.

A knee drop to the face has Rock in trouble and Heyman wants a Spinarooni. JR: “It sounds like something from Chef Boy-Ardee.” We hit the chinlock for a bit before Rock comes back and hooks a Sharpshooter. Shane is pulled in again but Booker gets in a cheap shot for two. A slingshot into the exposed buckle has Booker in trouble and Rock gets two off a DDT. Shane puts a chair in the ring and picks up the WCW Title. The referee goes to get rid of the chair and Shane lays out Rock with the belt. This brings out the APA to lay out the Boy Wonder.

Both guys in the ring are down and Shane is knocked silly. His eyes rolled back in his head while laid out is a great visual. The Bookend lays out Rock but the referee is with Shane so the delayed cover only gets two. Rock’s clothesline and the belly to belly get two and there’s the People’s Elbow but Shane comes back in for the save. Shane gets a Rock Bottom on the floor (eyes open again) and Rock hits the spit punch on Booker, only to walk into a spinebuster. The ax kick sets up the Spinarooni but the Rock Bottom connects for the pin and the title for Rock.

Rating: B. The match is good but I doubt even Booker’s mama gave him a chance in this match. Overbooking the match helped and Booker didn’t look like a jobber or anything but at the end of the day it was fifteen minutes of killing time until the obvious ending. Still though, good match that got stuck being on after a classic.

We’ll skip all of 2002 which was mainly spent in tag team wrestling and nothing singles matches. In early 2003, Booker pinned World Heavyweight Champion HHH and earned a shot at the title at Wrestlemania XIX.

Raw World Title: HHH vs. Booker T

HHH is in his manly purple trunks here. They fight into the corner to start with Booker smacking HHH in the face a few times to take over. A backdrop puts HHH down but he comes back with a clothesline. The champion goes up top but just like his mentor, he gets armdragged down with ease. A clothesline puts HHH down for two but Booker goes up and gets knocked down to the floor for his efforts.

Booker gets sent into the announce table as the referee tells HHH to get back in, complete with some very salty language from the referee. Lawler keeps making jokes about Booker being an ex-con as HHH gets two off a neckbreaker. Booker tries to fight back with right hands but gets caught in a spinebuster for two for the champion. A suplex is escaped though and Booker DDTs him down for no cover.

Booker pounds away on HHH before taking him down with a forearm. A spinning variety of said forearm gets two but HHH comes back with his lame sleeper, which was the move he was trying to get over at this point to no avail. The facebuster staggers Booker but he comes back with a quick spinebuster for two. HHH tries going up again but jumps into a jumping superkick for two.

The Harlem Side Kick misses HHH and Booker crashes out to the floor. Flair gets in some shots before sending Booker back in for a freaking Indian Deathlock as we continue the trip back to 1974. Since the hold goes on forever and I have a chance to look at it, the question occurs to me of why does that hold hurt? Their legs are in the exact same positions, so why would it only hurt Booker?

Anyway Booker gets to the rope for the break and we get to the work over the leg to set up the Figure Four because we need to pay tribute to Flair every 18 seconds portion of the match. A rollup out of nowhere gets two for Booker and he counters the Pedigree, only to be kicked into the referee in the corner. Not that it matters as the referee counts a quick two off a rollup anyway.

A big back elbow puts HHH down and the scissors kick looks to finish but Booker can’t cover. The delayed cover gets two and Booker goes up top. He has to knock Flair down, allowing HHH to load up a superplex. That gets broken up too though and it’s the Harlem Hangover (flip legdrop) for a very close two thanks to Flair. Not that it matters though as HHH kicks him in the leg, hits the Pedigree, covers 30 seconds later and retains the title.

Rating: C+. The match wasn’t horrible but TOTALLY the wrong booking here. There was zero reason to have HHH go over here other than he wanted to. Booker had been built up perfectly over the last few weeks and every sign pointed to him winning here, but instead HHH absolutely has to go over to set up that EPIC Kevin Nash feud in a few months.

We’ll skip the rest of 2003 where Booker won the Intercontinental Title and 2004 which was spent in the tag team and midcard scenes again and a long feud with John Cena over the US Title. That brings us to Judgment Day 2005 as Kurt Angle has said he wanted to have wild animal sex with Booker’s wife Sharmell, leading to a showdown.

Kurt Angle vs. Booker T

Cole says he’s usually impartial but he hopes Booker wins here. That’s very funny considering the way Cole is now. Booker hits the ring and drills Angle as you would expect. Kurt tries a front facelock but Booker rams shoulders into the ribs. Angle finally takes over and hammers away on Booker. Not much of a beatdown given how mad Booker was.

Off to the chinlock already which is rather early here. Ah good they’re already out of it. Booker stomps away in the corner as this is working for the most part. Seated dropkick puts Kurt down and he’s bleeding from the mouth. Angle tries the ankle but can’t get it on yet. Booker drapes him over the rope and hits the axe kick to send them to the floor and Kurt is reeling. The fans chant what sounds like Obi-Wan for some reason.

Kurt manage to send Booker into the post and we go back to him in control. Back in the ring now as Angle gets some knee lifts. Suplex gets two and Kurt locks in a side choke. Booker escapes the hold but misses a side kick so Kurt can get another suplex. Good stuff so far here so I apologize for the lack of jokes. The American hero fires off some European uppercuts. Kurt sold out!!!

More mat work by Angle as he tends to do a lot of. The idea of Booker going on pure adrenaline at first and Kurt getting through that and letting Booker make a mistake is a nice story for the match. Booker fights up and gets a spin kick, making Kurt hold his face. Comeback commences with Booker using his odd set of offense. Angle Slam doesn’t work but the Book End gets two.

Spinarooni by Booker but this is the SERIOUS Spinarooni I guess. Booker tries the axe kick but Kurt gets a clothesline and some Germans. Belly to belly gets two. Kurt tries the Angle Slam but Booker rolls through into a kind of small package for the pin. The reactions from Cole, Booker and Angle makes me think that really wasn’t the planned finish but at least Booker won.

Rating: B. Good stuff here but the ending hurts it a bit. The story being told in there was a solid one and the whole thing worked rather well. I’d have liked the actual ending but things happen at times and at least the ending, Booker winning by pin, happened one way or another. Good match again here, which is a running theme tonight.

A year later, Booker would face Bobby Lashley in the King of the Ring tournament finals at Judgment Day 2006.

King of the Ring: Booker T vs. Bobby Lashley

Booker beat Matt Hardy and got a bye to get here. Lashley beat Mark Henry and Finlay. Booker gets shoved down to start and they circle each other. I mean they circle each other A LOT. Lashley takes over with power shots and Booker can’t outmove him. A shoulder hits the post though and Lashley crashes to the floor. We go into the slowdown stuff here as Booker takes over on the arm.

Lashley fights back with a clothesline and stands around a lot. Sharmell interferes which gets them nowhere so they do it again and Booker takes over. Bookend gets a long two. This is rather boring stuff. Powerslam gets two for Lashley and the fans get WAY into it all of a sudden. Spinning heel kick sets up the axe kick for two. Lashley gets the spear but here’s Finlay with the club to Lashley’s head to let Booker hit the Bookend for the crown. He would win the title next.

Rating: D. I didn’t like this one at all for the most part. They felt like they were in the beginning of the match the entire time and it never worked for the most part. A D might be a bit low but at the same time I wasn’t thrilled with it in the slightest. It never got going at all and the whole thing was carried by Booker to say the least. At the time I never got the point of having Booker win but he was by far better at this point and in the long run it turned out to be the right move I think.

The win would turn Booker into King Booker. The new gimmick gave him confidence and Booker won a battle royal, earning a shot at the World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio at the 2006 Great American Bash.

Smackdown World Title: Booker T vs. Rey Mysterio

The King and Queen come out with some kind of car thing. It has a throne on it as well. Eh I don’t think anyone really knew what was going on here so who cares. Booker’s entrance takes about 5 minutes, reaching near Undertaker territory. Rey points to the sky because Eddie is the point of this title reign. Booker: “Eddie can’t help you now.” Long stall to start.

Booker uses the size and power advantage to take over but Rey speeds things up and hits a legdrop for two. JBL and Cole get in an economic debate and Cole is accused of being a socialist. Now remember what I said they did for the first section of the match? Repeat that for the next few minutes. Rey knocks him to the floor and hits a seated senton off the top. A springboard splash gets two.

The challenger is really having issues with someone smaller than him and therefore the match is kind of struggling. A superkick and clothesline get two each for Booker. He works on the arm for some reason and then drops Rey as he tries a jumping snapmare. As in Rey tried it and Booker just shoved him off. Booker goes total rudo and hits Three Amigos for a very delayed two.

The axe kick misses but Rey misses the 619. A BIG kick to the head gets two for the champ and he loads up the 619 again, but Sharmell makes the save. That earns her an ejection and pretty much no reaction from the crowd. Booker gets in a good shot for two and the bulldog is countered into a belly to back suplex for two. Rey takes out the knee and hits a rana to take over. Springboard cross body gets two.

Tornado DDT gets the same. He tries a rana out of the corner but Booker counters and launches Rey into the referee. With him down the seated senton and 619 connect and the frog splash looks to finish but there’s no referee. Booker hits a low blow and Bookend but there’s no referee still. Dang those guys are fragile. Booker’s chair shot misses and Rey dropkicks it into his face. Here’s Chavo to pick up the chair and of course he turns on Rey, cracking him with the chair and giving Booker the title.

Rating: C+. Not a horrible match but the first five minutes or so didn’t really work at all. They were trying, but the problem was due to the size difference. Booker’s title reign was nothing particularly good but he was just holding it warm for Batista anyway. Not a bad match, but you feel like you’re waiting for the real main event after this instead of getting ready to leave the arena, which isn’t good.

Batista would take the title from Booker a few months later and then spend months chasing the title. After a quick feud with HHH, he would head to TNA in 2007. Booker would chase the world title there as well in a series with Samoa Joe, including this one from Victory Road 2008.

TNA World Title: Samoa Joe vs. Booker T

They’re trying to make this an epic match but I’m not getting the Austin/Rock vibes here. And now let’s have another video package. Now let’s watch both of them walk from the back. Why can’t Joe be this much of a monster now? We hear the beginning of his music and go to ANOTHER video about Joe. Seriously, is this necessary? Also why did he put the belt on his other shoulder during the video?

 

We get the IF JOE WINS WE RIOT sign. No, you won’t. See, in ECW it’s effective because they would have actually rioted. These people won’t and they know it. To kill more time we do big match intros. They chop it out and we’re just in the feeling out stages of course.

 

The fans are about 80% behind Booker here which is exactly what you would expect of him. We hit the floor and Booker takes over and busts Joe open. We’re at shot of Sharmell #8 after less than ten minutes. This is far from epic but it’s not bad I guess. Joe goes aerial a bit which wasn’t bad. There’s a lot of striking in the middle of the ring here and there goes the referee.

 

That’s so clichéd it’s not even funny anymore. We head to the floor for more chops and strikes that aren’t anything special. Joe does get a nice Ole Kick on the floor (Youtube it). Ok, we know what Sharmell looks like. We don’t need to see her every 18 seconds. Joe gets slapped by her and beats up her body guards. Oh and the referee is still down and hasn’t moved and therefore could be dead but no one checks on him. Great guys in TNA.

 

Booker is busted too. Ah there’s a second referee. Joe beats both of the other referees up. They were kind of going for an Austin/Taker insanity thing here and it’s not working really. The idea is he can’t beat Booker and he’s snapping and just beating the tar out of him for it.

 

Security hits the ring and down they go. Sharmell is in the ring as I know where this is going. He puts Booker in a choke and Sharmell screams for help. And cue Sting. There’s Bound for Glory’s main event. Sting gets him to leave and then he goes back to the ring to beat on Booker more.

 

Joe flips him off and says F you which earns him some bat shots. West asking why Sting is doing this cracks me up. Sharmell counts a three and Booker takes the belt. That would set up a cage match between Booker and Joe next month. The announcers being in SHOCK, yes SHOCK I say, ends it.

Rating: C-. While I’ve seen far worse, this wasn’t much at all. The whole insane brawling was a bit much and Joe snapping like that sucked. It set up next month and Bound For Glory even better but at the same time it was just boring. Joe was still decent here and the crowd was white hot though so points for that. Like I said, I’ve seen worse.

 

Booker would wind up being in the midcard scene (introducing his own Legends Title) and the tag team scene (Scott Stiner) before becoming a legend (Main Event Mafia) as always. He would head back to WWE and appear in the Royal Rumble, eventually becoming an announcer and then GM. This led to Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes taunting him and a feud between the two. From December 26, 2011.

Booker T vs. Cody Rhodes

Non-title here. Cole and Jerry has an actual lighthearted argument over who sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Hiptoss gives Booker an early advantage and a slam gets two. Snap suplex gets one. Axe kick misses though and Rhodes takes over with a neckbreaker. Out to the floor goes Booker and we take a break. Back with Booker taking over. He spins into the corner though and an elbow takes him down. Off to a crossface chickenwing

Clothesline gets two for Cody. The fans of course chant for Booker and Cody is getting frustrated. Booker fights back and it’s boo/yay tonight. Cody dropkicks him down and works the arm. Camel clutch goes on and Booker gets sent into the corner. He gets his feet up though and looks like he needs oxygen. Side slam gets two. The Jack Brisco sunset flip doesn’t look that good as it gets two. Rollup gets two for Cody. The Beautiful Disaster looks to have been short and it gets two. Cross Rhodes is countered but the side kick misses. The axe kick hits though and it gets the clean pin at 12:06.

Rating: C. The sloppiness hurt it and I’m not sure I like the idea of Cody losing clean. Booker looked kind of old here, but it’s what, his fourth match this year? Not bad and I guess the rematch is coming at the Rumble? Also the booking isn’t bad as he lost when he got beaten down before the match but wins when it’s even. That’s not as bad.

We’ll FINALLY wrap it up there. Booker has been around so long and had some much success that I easily could have done twice as much here and probably had them all be major title matches. The guy is definitely talented but he’s on the lower end of the main event scene. That being said, he was one of the true feel good stories in WCW as he rose up from nothing of note and became a tag, midcard and world champion over the course of several years. He did the same in WWE (though in a different order) and then did some decent stuff in TNA. Booker was and is still great and he has an astounding 35 championships in his career. Check him out, but he’s more of a guy that was consistent rather than great if that makes sense.

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1 comment

  1. #MrScissorsKick says:

    That you for this KB. I’ve seen most of Booker’s stuff and this was good. Thanks again man.