Booker T is among the wrestling greats returning for “Legends Night” on Monday’s edition of Raw, and the two-time WWE Hall of Famer is looking forward to sharing the ring with one of his own wrestling heroes.
“Ric Flair means so much to me,” Booker says. “Flair is one of my mentors. I got a shot with him in the ring back in the day, more than 20 years ago, only because he saw something in me and wanted to test me. He was a legend back then, and now I get to be in the ring with him again.”
A star in WCW, TNA and WWE, Booker T is the 55-year-old Booker Huffman. He remains hungry for more success in wrestling, but not with another run on WWE television—though he would be open to wrestling one more match for Vince McMahon’s global operation.
“If a call was to come for some big show, with some big check, I’m always willing to listen,” Huffman says. “Outside of that, I’m not making any phone calls.”
Huffman has kept himself in elite condition, but his motivation extends well beyond pro wrestling.
“I have no itch to scratch to get back in that ring,” Huffman says. “I’m in the gym every day, but my goal is to stay healthy. My next championship will be walking my little girl down the aisle. She’s 10 years old, and that’s the walk I want to make.”
Another of Huffman’s goals is to continue to grow his Reality of Wrestling school in Texas, building fundamentals and laying a foundation for the industry.
“My dream is for us to be the Triple A of pro wrestling, a springboard that helps create the next generation of stars,” Huffman says. “I want to build our own territory and fuel every pipeline of professional wrestling, allowing people to live their dreams, ones they never imagine.
“I remember my first trip going to wrestle in Tokyo. Going to Japan gave me a different view of the world. Before that, I’d thought it was a big deal to leave my neighborhood. I want to give my wrestlers the opportunity to change their lives, too.”
The chance to return to Raw and make appearances on WWE’s kickoff shows always leaves Huffman with a lesson or helpful anecdote for his students, and he was able to bring plenty of those back after the Undertaker’s farewell ceremony at Survivor Series.
“My students at Reality of Wrestling know the blueprint,” Huffman says. “Preparation is the only luck you’re ever going to have, and we know to be ready so we don’t have to get ready. That’s only reinforced by looking at the way Undertaker worked throughout his career. Nothing was handed to him; he earned his spot.
“I wish we had that ’Taker celebration at a sold-out Madison Square Garden, and maybe one day we can recreate it. But it was still such a great moment. Undertaker has meant so much for this business, and hopefully the young talent should really look at his career and take something from it to help them.”
Although Huffman no longer appears weekly on WWE programming, he still watches the product closely. For him, an indicator of true success in the ring is the way a talent connects with the audience, especially in this virtual era.
“Look at Bayley; she is good at everything,” Huffman says. “The younger talent should watch her work in the ring, listen to her promos and take notes. She has really created something special. And there are so many others that really stand out to me. Drew McIntyre. Roman. Big E. Miz, he sat under the learning tree. He gets it. Kevin Owens, that’s someone with a lot of season on him. He knows what it takes.
“Sami Zayn is also one of my favorites. His entertainment has always been there, his wrestling has always been there, but now it’s even more special because he’s put it all together. He knows exactly what he’s supposed to be doing, and he is incredible to watch every week.”
Looking back on his career, there are no questions regarding how Huffman arrived at this moment. While he remains honored to be on “Legends Night,” Huffman knows exactly how he arrived at this moment.
“I’m the last one to ever read my press clippings, so it’s humbling to be involved in a ‘Legends Night,’” Huffman says. “In wrestling, you need to act like a champion inside the ring, but that’s the blueprint for success outside the ring, too. My biggest thing has always been putting in the work. If you do that, you’ll always get better.
“That’s what I work on instilling into the heads of my students. You need to put in the work to succeed in this business. I’m so humbled to be part of this group, and I know how I got here. I put in the work.”
Huffman would neither confirm nor deny whether there will be a spinaroonie in store for Raw viewers on Monday evening, but he did promise that it will be a reunion worth watching.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Huffman says. “Hulk Hogan will be back, Mark Henry, Big Show. Like ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage would say—and I wish he was here for this—always expect the unexpected. So get your popcorn ready, it’s going to be good.”