I had the pleasure of recently interviewing Booker T to promote the upcoming On the Line: Road to Summer of Champions V event. We discussed a variety of topics from his student, "James Harden," to fan criticism of his color commentary on Raw.
On a recent episode of Raw, James Harden was able to give Curt Hawkins his 200th straight loss, due to being attacked by Baron Corbin. Booker T shared this thoughts on Harden being on Raw, and his reactions to having that opportunity.
"My thing is for my guys to get a chance to be in that environment. They're young," said Booker. "Most of my guys, they're really, really young and no where near ready for that next level. A couple of them are, but one that had a chance to get that experience, to see what it's like to be in catering, see all the stars walking around and get ready to perform that night, what them guys do to get in gear.
"And being one of my guys to actually get in the ring shows that they trusted him enough to actually get in there and do [his] job right. I talk to my guys all the time. Every time you're asked to do something, it's a test, and in order to pass that test, you gotta know the answers. For my guy to actually get a chance to get in the ring and let me know he knew the answers, he passed."
Booker added that Harden was both excited and nervous about the opportunity, and nervousness is an advantage for a professional wrestler to use for their benefit.
On Sunday, another one of his former students, Ember Moon, will have a chance to win the Money in the Bank contract in hopes to because the Raw Women's Champion. Booker shared his thoughts on the success of Ember Moon.
"It's awesome, but you know, I've said it many, many times; I can't take the credit for Ember," said Booker. "She deserves all the credit, she put in all the work, I didn't do any of the work for her. When she first came to me, she was an inspiring wannabe professional wrestler. She was wide-eyed and ready to go, and wanted to do anything. She proved that she was worthy of being in that ring. And not just proving that she was worthy of being in the ring, but working at the top level.
"That's the thing right there. Getting in there is one thing, but being able to work with the elite performers, it takes having that it factor for those [women] to want to work with you. If they don't want to work with you, you're not gonna get in that position. So, she's definitely worked herself into [her] position. I'm proud every time is see her go out there and perform."
After deciding to retire from full-time competition, Booker has been placed in several roles since retiring, including the SmackDown General Manager, Raw and SmackDown pre-show analyst, commentator on SmackDown, as well as an analyst for the pay-per-view pre-show events. Booker's recent WWE duties placed him as a color commentator for Raw, before Jonathan Coachman came in to fill the role. Booker's style of commentating was very polarizing, with some applauding and some criticizing. Booker shared his thoughts on the fan criticism.
"As you notice, I can talk just like I'm talking to you right now on television if I wanted to, but that's not the role I choose to play on television, because that's not the real Booker T that the people know on television," Booker said. "The intelligent speaking, the guy who is trying to use the right pronunciations for every word that he says. You know, I don't think that would be real for me to actually go out there and do. So, for me to play my character, but know my role, and know that it's not about me, it's about those performers. I think that's the most important thing, I think that's what I brought to the table more than anything, and I think that is something that's needed. So, you'll be seeing me periodically still, bouncing back and forth between my duties on Monday Night Raw. I'm not gone indefinitely or anything like that.
"I like being a part-timer. I like having my time sporadically like it is now, because I can look it from a totally different perspective, not just about the stats that the guys have had over the past month or two months, but I can look at it from more of an analyst perspective as far as what these guys need to do to get to the next level. What this guy needs to do if he actually wins the match to set himself up for a big title match. What it's gonna feel like inside to actually get ready for that first big title match. I can talk from that perspective without actually talking about what's going on in the match that night. It's actually pretty cool."
The On the Line: Road to Summer of Champions V event is scheduled for July 14 at the Booker T World Gym arena in Texas City, Texas, with a bell time of 7:00pm. You can hear the full interview below.
Source: Pancakes and Powerslams