WWE Hall of Famer, Booker T, has lifted the lid on the person responsible for keeping him in the wrestling business when he was ready to quit in 2006.
Prior to his King of the Ring victory, from which he would adopt the much loved King Booker persona, the former five time WCW World Heavyweight Champion was more focused on his personal life after growing tired with his career inside the ropes.
While feuds with the late Chris Benoit over the WWE United States Championship produced classic matches, Booker would begin to fall into mediocre storylines with The Boogeyman and Bobby Lashley who he eventually defeated to in the Final of the 2006 King of the Ring.
Following his marriage to Sharmell Booker T decided that it was time to hang up his boots thanks to a lack of passion and an unwillingness to be away from his spouse.
However, as Booker T told Chris Van Vliet in a sit-down interview, that WWE were nothing other than accommodating to the newly married couple and solved his problems with one simple answer:
“I was going to quit WWE back in 2005-2006. I was leaving the business and because of Sharmell, I got married. I didn’t want to be on the road and Sharmell being at home. I talked to [WWE] about it. They said, ‘Why don’t we hire Sharmell?’ I was like, ‘That will solve a whole lot.’ They hired Sharmell and she came on the road.”
The addition of Sharmell to the side of Booker T eventually gave his character a complete overhaul which began with a slow burning heel turn purported by the star’s new wife. The culmination of this new direction was King Booker, one of the most underappreciated gimmicks in modern day wrestling, and a reign as WWE World Heavyweight Champion:
“It kind of manifested as far as the King Booker and Queen Sharmell thing just because I call Sharmell, Queen, all the time. That’s the way I represent her in the world around people. She was always wearing the gowns, former Miss Black America. It’s like, ‘Why don’t we do the King of the Ring thing and make you King.’ I became King. I think I won two matches and I was anointed King.
They made me the King, but it was all I think it was driven and motivated around Sharmell and me being King kind of made sense. It’s one of those angles that could have been an asterisk at the end of my career. Me, Booker T, being a clown, acting stupid.”
Unfortunately for Booker T, the momentum he gained as King was derailed by both Batista and Triple H.
In October 2007, the star requested his and his wife’s release from the company after his name was linked to the Signature Pharmacy scandal – which named wrestlers it had sold performance enhancing drugs to – and the company suspended him for violating their wellness policy. An accusation Booker T has always vehemently denied.
Credit for the interview: Chris Van Vliet
h/t for the transcript: Wrestling Inc.