WWE’s annual Royal Rumble matches are always filled with surprises, but according to one WWE Hall of Famer, entering the match was a surprise even to him!
Booker T is regularly featured on WWE‘s kickoff shows ahead of premium live events, and speaking on his Hall of Fame podcast, a text message he received as he was appearing on a panel ahead of the Royal Rumble was his only notice that he’d be entering the match at number 21. He jokingly claimed he’d have won and secured his spot at WrestleMania had he had more preparation.
“I was sitting at the table, on the Kickoff Show, and I got a text message. It was the invite telling me, ‘Book, you’re in the Rumble.’ Me, I’m old school. I went down in the Winnebago, right, so something told me, ‘Bring your gear. Make sure you’re ready. Just so you don’t have to get ready. Stay ready.’ Boom, there it was.
“The text message came through, I said okay, here we go. Just like when I won my first world title, I had about ten minutes to warm up. So that’s what happened. I wasn’t warmed up, I went to the ring cold. I didn’t have that gloss, I didn’t have the sheen on me. I wasn’t lathered up and ready to go. I didn’t get a chance to jump rope for 45 minutes to get the heart rate up, get the blood flowing. I didn’t get a chance to do that.
“I would have won that damn Rumble if I would have been able to prepare properly. That last-minute text message definitely slowed me down a little bit.”
Booker T’s WWE Royal Rumble Appearance Came As A Result Of Rey Mysterio’s Injury
One man who was noticeably absent from the Royal Rumble was Rey Mysterio. Despite his theme music played, the lucha libre legend did not make an appearance, and his son Dominik instead appeared wearing one of his father’s masks to mock him. Mysterio was injured as a result of his match with Karrion Kross on SmackDown, and according to Booker T, that was the reason he got the last-minute text message asking him to participate.
“I didn’t have my invitation yet. I think Rey went down, and I think they had to fill that spot. Who better to call than me and say, ‘Hey, let’s give Book a shot at this.’ Like I said, I had my gear with me. I’m old-school. All you young wrestlers out there, don’t show up without your gear, man. I won my first singles championship because Rick Martel did not bring his gear. You gotta be ready. I was ready.
“I was almost ready, and I think I went out there and just got caught up in the moment, that 50-plus-thousand, they were cheering my name. Everybody was wanting it, everybody was feeling it. They had to have that Spinaroonie, so I said let me give it to them early. I didn’t know what I was gonna have in the tank left late in the match. So I said if I’m gonna give then the Spinaroonie, let me do it now because I don’t know how this thing is gonna play out.”
In the end, Cody Rhodes was the one to win the men’s Royal Rumble match and secure his chance to face Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39. Meanwhile, another WWE Hall of Famer who returned as a surprise was Michelle McCool, who made her entrance from the crowd where she was seated by her two children. She was eventually eliminated by Rhea Ripley, who won the women’s match and will face Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania.