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WrestleMania Headliner Booker T on NOLA and the Path to the Pros
Tonight, the WWE is coming to New Orleans to stage a House Show. The event will be a little scrimmage before the sports entertainment titan makes their annual hajj to WrestleMania in NOLA come 2014. With tickets on sale November 16, wrestling legend Booker T a.k.a. King Booker was dispatched to the Crescent City to hype the spectacle. NoDef dispatched local comedian, podcaster, and NOLA's number one WWE fan to talk about the 'rastlin' with the SuperStar.
Booker T, enthused as always, had lots to say about NOLA, WrestleMania, and the path to the pros.
On WrestleMania compared to other events...
Next year, I'll be here in the Bayou City, the Big Easy because so many people from around the world want to be a part of this event.
WrestleMania is the biggest deal of them all [major sporting events.] I mean its the spectacle of a lifetime. If you ever have the chance to be a part of it. I mean you guys got to experience the SuperBowl and now you're going to be able to experience WrestleMania. It's going to be awesome. Compared [to the SuperBowl] as far as what's the biggest. Let me tell you WrestleMania is the biggest spectacle that I've ever seen and been a part of.
On the difference between front row and top row...
Top row and front row that's two different things right there. I think back from Atlanta to Miami to NYC, how big it got over the last three years. This year's not going to be any different. Last year, that set, was like five million dollars. We had a life size statue of liberty. So, I can only imaine what it's going to be like. Every seat in the house is going to be a good seat. But, the front, to be up close and personal with those superstars coming out of that tunnel is just an awesome feeling. Just to be a part of that is like the Miz says, “Awesome.”
On NOLA as WrestleMania venue
You know just to be in the SuperDome, that right there is nostalgia. That right there is history as well... To be here in New Orleans, the city has got a lot of history itself. And to put aside the food? (laughter) A lot of those guys, they got to watch their appetite because they come down here to perform, and-- (laughter)
These guys are hyped and they're excited... To be here in this city is going to be a great time.
The thing is the Superstars, guys like Randy Orton, guys like Daniel Massey, those guys are working all year to get to that one big stage. So, it's really hard to focus on that big stage until you get there. You really got to put yourself in position: to put yourself on the card, to put yourself in a good position on the card, to put yourself in a high paying position on the card. So, those guys are really, really focusing on making it through the year to make it to WrestleMania. To me the icing on the cake is where it's going to be [NOLA]. Of course, there's going to be a lot of parties going on. There are going to be a lot of beautiful women out there and that part I'm experiencing and that is just icing on the cake as well. And, those guys are just excited as I am to be here in New Orleans. It's our first time on the Big Stage in New Orleans, and you guys are going to have people from all over the world. It's going to be a party. It's going to be great.
On being most decorated wrestler in WWE history...
The accolades are great. Putting the work in is great. But, I still feel like there is so much more work to do. You know, it's not about me anymore, it's about the young guys of WWE and the new SuperStars... the list goes on and on. WrestleMania is safe for the next 10,20 years with the guys that we have coming up in the business right now.
On WWE's new performance center in Orlando...
I haven't had a chance to get there as often as I need to. I have my own facility in Houston. I'm trying to filter the wrestling business. You know, more and more students are trying to get it from all different perspectives. But I'll tell you the training center is something that we've needed for quite some time just so the avid fan always wonders 'How do I get into this business?' And for us to promote it! Now, we have our own form of something that you can come down and be a part of, try to get into this business. You know there are a lot of kids out there that I feel like we might be losing. We need to advertise a little more and show these guys that you can have a great career in professional wrestling, and the longevity is great as well.
On predictions for WrestleMania...
Everybody's wondering if the Ultimate Warrior is going to go in [the Hall of Fame,] that's one thing... Ultimate Warrior is probably the one guy that people have been wondering for many, many years, just like Bruno San Martino. It would be great to take his place in immortality. He deserves it. Hew was great for what he did for the time in wrestling... Back in the day, those guys really were trailblazers, they were one of the reasons that I wanted to be one of those guys.
Prediction of headliners in WrestleMania 40...
Dean Ambrose versus Dolph Ziggler
On his favorite part of WrestleMania...
The biggest event of WM for me is always going to be the main event. You know, 'Who's going to headline the main event?' 'Who's going to headline WrestleMania?!' For myself, I always that dream, that want, that need to headline WrestleMania...I got a chance to do that with Triple H, and it was an awesome, awesome feeling. To just know that one guy, a fresh, young guy hopefully, will get a chance to do that, to wonder what's in their feeling, what they're going through, because I know, I've been there, to be a HEADLINER at WrestleMania.
On how becomes a peripheral character (Diva, Manager, Ring Announcer) in the WWE World...
First and foremost, you got to go to the proper school. The proper training is first and foremost. There are a lot of rinky dink operations out there. There are a lot of so-called promoters out there. They’re trying to get money and not teach anything. And, the thing is they can't teach anything. They can't go out and work a match, and see when you walk back through that curtain and say, 'Hey good job out there, but you might want to try this.' They can't tell them that because they've never done it before. So, make sure you get trained by someone who is reputable, someone who has been in this business. A lot of great coaches, they might not have played in the game, but they were on the team, and knew what it took to get to that point...
On Houston Sports?
But the SuperStars have to focus and work all the time... For 17 years I didn't watch a football game unless I was watching in that arena while lacing my boots up and getting ready to perform for my fans. WWE SuperStars, they're like doctors. They got that stethoscope on 24/7. They got the beeper like back in the day; it could go off at any time and you got to be ready. That's the life of the WWE SuperStar. These guys are the hardest workers in the world today.
Full audio of the interview can be heard here. Chris Trew is the host of "Trew 2 the Game," a weekly podcast focusing on NOLA sports. New episodes every Tuesday.
-Correction: Dolph Ziggler's named was misspelled in the original article, and it was updated at 3:55p.m. on September 29.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Elizabeth Davas, Ian Hoch, Lindsay Mack, Anna Gaca, Jason Raymond, Lee Matalone, Phil Yiannopoulos, Joe Shriner, Chris Staudinger, Chef Anthony Scanio, Tierney Monaghan, Stacy Coco, Rob Ingraham,
Cheryl Castjohn, Sam Nelson
Brandon Roberts, Rachel June, Daniel Paschall
Michael Weber, B.A.
B. E. Mintz
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