Booker T On Jerry Lawler’s Heart Attack, WWE Hall of Fame, His TNA Run
Promoting his autobiography, From Prison to Promise: Life Before the Squared Circle, Booker T spoke to Joshua Modaberi of Wrestling101.com to discuss the book, his twenty-plus year career in professional wrestling and more. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
Being backstage on the night Jerry “The King” Lawler suffered a heart attack during Raw: “I was in the back watching on the monitor and then realised something wasn’t right and I’ll tell you it was scary and we just have to thank God Jerry is a strong man and a fit guy to pull through that, most guys his age wouldn’t have been able to pull through but Jerry Lawler has always been pretty straight laced, he’s never been a drinker, he’s always lived his life clean.
“The WWE doctors were right there and in the right position to take care of him, and when they brought him to the back I was only a few feet away and it was really scary seeing the doctors beating on his chest trying to keep him alive.”
His personal highlights in World Championship Wrestling: “Starting from the beginning and having Sherri Martel as our manager, and I think she was the greatest manager in the business, to having us under her wing definitely gave us the belief that we were legitimate stars because everybody Sherri had been with before us all of those guys were stars, so we just fell into good company.
“As for some of the matches as Television Champion, I had great matches with Chris Benoit and Fit Finlay, then going on to win the big one, the World Championship, against Jeff Jarrett, that was a highlight in my career. But there have been so many highlights in my career it is hard to single out one and say that was it. But to start off in WCW at the bottom of the totem pole and to finish off on the final night right at the top of the totem pole that gave me self-gratification.”
His two-year run with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling: “The way I would explain my time in TNA would be like a vacation, I was detoxing from the rigorous WWE schedule and the hours spent on the road. I just needed time to step back and not think about myself so much but try to help the next lot of guys coming up in the business. That’s what I went to TNA for, I was hoping to help the next generation of stars come up and it was great working with guys like Bobby Roode, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe and giving them some of my knowledge.
“However the company then started to focus on the older guys and my experience there was a good experience but I don’t feel I got as much out of it as I could have.”
Why he doesn’t want to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame until he reaches a certain age: “Yeah, that’s just my thing, I don’t think I’m ready for it, I’m not ready for the Hall of Fame yet. I’m not ready to make that walk, I’m not ready to make that speech yet, I really can’t tell you why because I’m not sure but do I think I have a ton of wrestling days left in me, no, that’s not it at all.
“I just think guys should reach a certain prestige before they get inducted into the Hall of Fame. People talk about what I’ve done in the business with all the accolades and the titles but I still think there is something left for me to do. Maybe it’s going to do a speaking tour, talking to kids in trouble and turning their lives around or some charity work. I’m just not ready for it just yet, and I want to be ready when it happens.”
Booker T also discusses the wrestlers who inspired him to become one himself, tag team wrestling, the major difference between WCW and WWE, working with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, his role as General Manager of SmackDown, and his career highlight in WWE, among other topics. The full interview is available here.