Booker T is a retired professional wrestler that had an immensely successful career in WCW, TNA and the WWE. While he has not been featured in a match since 2012, Booker T is still heavily involved in the business as a commentator and promoter. He is widely considered to be one of the best performers of all-time.
Life Before Wrestling
Booker T was born in March 1965. He grew up with his seven siblings in the small town of Plain Dealing, Louisiana. Both of his parents tragically died before he was a teenager. Booker T lived with his older sister and brother in Houston in the final years of his adolescence. His natural athletic ability allowed him to become a star player on his high school football and basketball teams.
After graduating from high school, Booker T started working at a local fast food restaurant. Since this was not a lucrative career option, he transitioned to a job at a storage facility. He continued to work at the storage facility until discovering a new wrestling school in the area in 1989. Booker T and his brother Stevie Ray joined the wrestling school after getting financial help from Booker’s boss. After eight weeks of training with Scott Casey and Ivan Putski, Booker T performed in his first live event as a character called G.I Bro.
Career in WCW
After successful careers as an independent wrestler in Texas, Booker T and Stevie made their debut in World Championship Wrestling in 1993 as the tag team Harlem Heat. The brothers won the WCW Tag Team Titles a total of 10 times. Harlem Heat was disbanded in 1997 as both brothers attempted to build their careers as singles wrestlers.
Booker T instantly found success on his own. He won the WCW TV Title when he defeated Disco Inferno in December 1997. Booker T continued to rise up the ranks in WCW. He eventually won the WCW Heavyweight Title at Bash on the Beach 2000 with a win over Jeff Jarrett. Booker T had 21 separate title reigns during his career in WCW, which makes him the most successful wrestler in the history of the company.
WWE Career Highlights
WCW went out of business in March 2001, so Booker T made the transition to the WWE. His main event status in WCW did not initially translate to success in the WWE. After spending a few years in the tag team division, Booker T finally got his shot at the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania XIX. He lost the match to Triple H.
Booker T eventually became Heavyweight Champion by beating Rey Mysterio at The Great American Bash in 2006. His reign as champion lasted 126 days before losing to Batista at Survivor Series. Booker T left the WWE less than a year later, but he would briefly return in 2012. His last match was at WrestleMania XXVIII in a 12-man tag match.
While he only held the top championship one time during his WWE career, Booker T held 11 other titles during his time with the company. Booker T is currently one of only 19 wrestlers to win all four of the top titles in the WWE. His amazing career was honored with an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.
Signature Wrestling Moves
Every professional wrestler uses signature moves to put away their opponents, and Booker T was no different. He primarily used two finishing moves during his career. The Book End was a one-armed suplex. He also regularly used an axe kick to the neck of a bending opponent to win matches. Booker T is also famously known for his celebratory spin that he dubbed The Spinaroonie. This celebration was often done after landing the axe kick or winning a match.
TV and Film Appearances
Booker T made had his first appearance as an actor when he played himself in the film “Ready to Rumble.” He has also appeared on the television programs “Charmed,” “The Weakest Link” and “Family Feud.” He currently hosts a weekly sports radio talk show every Saturday night in Houston. Booker T also makes occasional appearances on WWE television as a guest commentator.
Booker T has been married to his wife Sharmell since 2005. Sharmell briefly spent time as Booker’s manager near the end of his wrestling career. The couple has two children together, Kendrick and Kennedy. The kids were born as twins in 2010. He also has a son named Brandon with an ex-girlfriend.
Booker T and Stevie Ray opened a wrestling school called Reality of Wrestling. The company opened in 2005 and is still going strong today. The top students get to perform for a live crowd roughly once a month. Booker T has announced plans to run for mayor of Houston during the 2019 election.