WWE Hall of Famer Booker T has spoken about the difference in the focus of WCW and WWE, saying WWE was more interested in character building than wrestling ability.
Following WWE’s purchase of WCW in 2001, Booker T was one of the first WCW stars to appear on WWE TV and was put into prominent feuds with the likes of ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin from the outset.
During an appearance on ‘Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw‘, the six-time World Champion spoke about the transition from WCW to WWE, and how the wrestling ability he was previously known for was overshadowed by his more entertainment-focused segments in WWE, such as battling Stone Cold in a grocery store.
“It’s funny you bring that up because nobody mentions my wrestling [laughs], a lot people actually have said that I was just a mediocre wrestler. The thing is, I knew how good I was in the ring and I knew in WCW I was the ‘ultimate wrestler’.
“When I came to WWE the first thing they did with me was put me in a position where it was all about character building, ‘let’s see exactly how good of an entertainer this guy could be’, and with wrestling that’s what it is. It’s not UFC, it’s not boxing, it’s professional wrestling. It is to be embellished, it’s what we make it. So, when I got a chance to get that blank canvas and make something out of it, like Booker T and Stone Cold in a grocery store, I say, ‘man this is magic’. Or me and Goldust, ‘Oh man, I could do something with this’.”
He went on to explain that making anything he was given as good as it could be is something he still misses.
“I was always looking to make whatever I had as good as I possibly could make it, that’s what I miss I think more than anything.”
JBL then mentioned that it was strange that Booker T and Steve Austin, two phenomenal wrestlers, are best remembered for the grocery store incident rather than a match. The King of the Ring winner responded positively, saying it allowed them to entertain both the fans and themselves.
“That’s exactly what I’m talking about! You know, Stone Cold Steve Austin who’s a legitimate badass okay, you got Booker T, I’m pretty tough myself, two Texas boys! But we were able to go out and entertain not just the fans, but entertain ourselves.”
During the same discussion, Booker T also opened up about the moment The Undertaker gave him permission to change in the WWE locker room.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit ‘Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw‘ with an H/T to Inside The Ropes for the transcription.