WWE Hall of Famer, Booker T, has broken his silence about the infamous WCW Spring Stampede 1997 promo on Hulk Hogan.
Following an attack by ‘Hollywood’ and the NWO, Harlem Heat – Booker T and Stevie Ray – were put out of commission for several weeks and upon their return, cut a scathing promo on the leader of arguably wrestling’s most popular faction stating that they were coming for him.
Now infamous for the slip of the tongue, the tirade ended in a racial slant by Booker T – who yelled the N-word – who immediately knew what he had said as he he clearly looked upset and annoyed at himself on camera.
Now, the former five time WCW World Heavyweight Champion has taken to his Hall of Fame Podcast to recall the promo and his feelings on it twenty three years later:
“I’m not fond of it or anything like that, but I don’t shy away from it. I don’t run from it or anything like that. Because I talk to young people about this all the time, you know, you gotta know how to change your levels, no matter where you at, you gotta know how to change your levels.
You gotta know how to play the part, you gotta know how to become the part. And for the longest in professional wrestling, a guy told me a long time ago, you gotta be a champion in the ring as well as out of the ring, you know, all the time. And you gotta represent, and I took that to heart. But there again, you gotta understand, I’m from the neighborhood, I’m from the ‘hood. And when I’m around, back then at least, when I was a kid, younger, when I was around my friends, I would say things like that, the N-word, and it was just a word that we used on the regular. As I got older, and I started realizing what I was doing, as far as being responsible for young people that look up to me.”
Booker T then continued to explain how and why the word was uttered on a live show which WCW had no chance of editing out:
“I was getting hot. You could tell, I was like a Baptist preacher, you know what I mean. And then it came out, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, what am I doing here? Let me back up for a second.’ Because there again, I never wanted those people to see me in that light. I never wanted those people to hear me use that term because there again, my belief is, if I use that term, if I’m saying it, what gives me the right to tell them they can’t say it? So I just felt like I let a lot of people down that looked up to me, and I did not want them to think that that was something that was okay….I wished I could take it back.”
At WCW Spring Stampede 1997, Booker T and Stevie Ray battled Lex Luger and The Giant in a 4-Corners Match to determine the number one contender to the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The bout was won by ‘The Total Package.’
Booker T will be one of the legends to return to WWE for the company’s Monday Night Raw: Legends Night on January 4.
Credit for the interview: Hall of Fame Podcast
h/t for the transcription: Fightful