Despite their allegiance through King Booker’s Court, Booker T allegedly wanted to have a genuine fight with Finlay over ‘The Belfast Bruiser’ being too stiff a worker.
Shortly after being crowned the King of the Ring in 2006, the renamed King Booker would take both Finlay and William Regal into his Court as Sir Finlay and Sir William Regal, respectively. During this time, the stable found great success; Booker T was the reigning World Heavyweight Champion while at one point, Finlay was the United States Champion.
Being aligned with ‘The Belfast Bruiser’ was seemingly where Booker T preferred to be when it comes to Finlay. The two-time WWE Hall of Famer discussed the famed striker on his Hall of Fame podcast, acknowledging how stiff Finlay could be in the ring.
Booker went so far as to admit wanting to legitimately fight Finlay after Finlay reportedly kicked him so hard that it left Booker T sore for weeks:
“I got a chance to have the Fit Finlay experience a few times – and, I must say, I wasn’t a fan of Fit Finlay in the ring, his working style or anything like that. Just because, when you were wrestling someone like Fit, you had to be ready. I hear these guys talking today as far as having matches, five-star matches – Fit didn’t think about that kind of stuff; [the] only thing Fit thought was beating the hell out of you. I remember one time I almost wanted to fight Fit Finlay. I literally wanted to fight Fit Finlay.”
Although Booker T refrained from stating when, exactly, this alleged incident occurred, he only wrestled two singles bouts vs. Finlay. Finlay won the first on SmackDown’s 6 October 2006 broadcast, with their second encounter going to a double count out on the pre-Royal Rumble episode of the blue brand the following January.
A key figure behind the scenes for WWE, Finlay first joined the company in 2001 following its purchase of World Championship Wrestling. He initially served as a trainer, helping train the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton alongside being in charge of the Divas’ training before resurfacing as an in-ring talent by the middle of the decade.
The 64-year-old remains contracted to WWE today as a backstage producer. A short-term absence in April 2020, cited as budget cuts on the infamous Black Wednesday, was followed by Finlay eventually returning by the end of the year.