RTV Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame, Class of 2012 – Entrant #2: Booker T

Ok, so, at the time of writing, Booker T has only just finished, or may even continue a programme with Cody Rhodes, but when he left TNA as an active wrestler and came to the WWE to announce, I think that signaled the end of his full-time career, making him eligible for the Hall of Fame. Not only is he eligible, but he’s very deserving!

A lot of wrestlers are characterised as coming from ‘tough’ backgrounds to get them over as sympathetic babyfaces, but in the case of Booker T and his brother Stevie Ray, their background in the crime-ridden South Park neighbourhood in Houston, Texas, where he was brought up in part by his brother after both his parents had passed away by the time he was 14. Having had brushes with the law himself, and being a single father, Booker finally made his way to wrestling by being lent the money to go to Ivan Putski’s wrestling school. Booker’s background would continue to be an important part of his character throughout his career. After cutting their teeth with Putski, Booker and his brother went to WCW where they became the legendary tag team, The Harlem Heat. A heel team for the most part, the Heat were incredibly successful over a long period of years, winning no less than 10 WCW Tag Team Chamionships, beating teams as impressive as Lex Luger & Sting, The Steiner Brothers, The Nasty Boys, Public Enemy, Bam Bam Bigelow & Kanyon, and The Outsiders. Booker would later make it out on his own as a singles competitor, making a star of himself when the rest of the company was failing, becoming only the second African-American World Champion in history, going on to win the WCW title a total of five times, and a further World Championship in WWE. He was, indeed, one of the few stars to crossover from the enemy to WWE and make a success of himself, winning several championships aside from the World Championship, as well as the 2006 King of the Ring. Having gone to TNA in 2007, he was one of their most successful and popular stars before finally returning to WWE as an announcer in 2011 where he’d move on to the next stage of his career – though he’s still in great ring shape, having a good set of matches with Cody Rhodes and helping a new generation to get over. As one of the very few African-American world champions, and most successful and popular stars of the Nineties and Noughties, Booker T certainly deserves a slot in any wrestling Hall of Fame.

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