WWE Hall of Famer Booker T has compared AEW’s recent veteran signings to those made by WCW at the height of the Monday Night Wars during the 1990’s.
Booker T appeared with WCW from 1993 until the company’s closure in 2001. During that time he was a multiple time tag team champion, as well as winning the WCW World Championship on five occasions.
During his stay in Atlanta, Booker saw the arrival of many veteran wrestlers from WWE, something that he says didn’t always work to help the company’s existing stars.
Speaking on his Hall Of Fame podcast, Booker questioned whether AEW signing the likes of Paul Wight and Christian Cage was the right move. Commenting that AEW are seemingly pulling a “revamp of WCW.”
“Do you think this is the right move for AEW? Right now it seems like they’re pulling a revamp of WCW. As far as signing veteran talent. Guys well past their better years of their careers. Guys that perhaps the young guys can take either one or two ways; that these guys are here to help us or these guys are here to take our spot.”
The former WWE King of the Ring winner went on to recall his own feelings when WCW were signing veteran stars from the WWE, explaining that many of them only signed with the company to get one last pay cheque.
“I remember when a lot of those guys came over from WWE/WWF back then to WCW. I’ll tell you right now, I was one of the young guys, on the roster back then, I was coming up… A few of those guys came in, of course, guys like Hennig, guys like Bret Hart, I got a chance to work with them and they gave me some really good feedback, and I felt a lot of energy, from a few guys that came over.
But the majority of those guys that came over from the WWF, they were just coming to get a cheque. They were coming to get paid. Eric Bischoff was writing some big cheques back then.”
As Booker T neared the end of his own in-ring career, he left WWE and eventually wound up joining TNA. Again, referring back to his own experience, the former world champion revealed that there had been some resentment in the TNA locker room when he arrived, owing to his veteran status.
“I went to TNA. I can remember feeling the resentment in the locker room, like, you could cut it with a knife. It was smothering, it was that thick. I could tell that these young guys didn’t trust me. “
Booker went on to add that he ended up calling a meeting, to explain that he was actually there to help, and try and make everyone better and to pass on his experience rather than to take someone’s spot.
Following Paul Wight, formerly known as The Big Show, leaving WWE after over 20 years with the company, Christian Cage also moved to AEW, just weeks after appearing at the WWE Royal Rumble.
After joining AEW, Christian revealed that he had also held cordial talks with WWE, but that “he wasn’t sure where their heads were at creatively.”
If you use any of the quotes from this article please do so with a h/t and a link back to Inside The Ropes.