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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The King Is Champ! Long Live The Champ!
July 28, 2006 by Joe L.


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Booker T...World Heavyweight Champion...again. Just saying that gives me chills in my spine.

If I were to tell you that Booker T would finally claim the World Heavyweight Championship in the WWE, you would think I was on drugs. In critics' views, chances of Booker T winning the World Heavyweight Championship was as great as getting in the ring with Great Khali without being injured.

But these are the same naysayers that believed that Chris Benoit and Rey Mysterio would never be a World Champion and look what happened: Benoit main-event at the twentieth WrestleMania, won the title from Triple H and held it for nearly five months while Mysterio won the same coveted belt at this year's WrestleMania and became the smallest World Champion in the history of professional wrestling. Circumstances over how they won these titles are irrelevant: they climbed to the top of the mountain, earned their title shots and won, shutting up all the bitter Internet marks who do nothing but whine and complain. It's safe to say that Booker T, too, climbed to the top of the peak and soundly defeated Rey Mysterio to become the six-time World Heavyweight Champion, similarly giving every single critic a verbal pause.

Do I think Booker T deserves his title run? No way. I BELIEVE and know that he deserves a title reign, deserving it more than any wrestler in the WWE roster. It frustrates me when Booker repeatedly nabbed title shot against various opponents and came short. It angers me that he had been neglected to the midcard over and over and over again. It infuriates me that he did not become the World Champion the moment the miserable Invasion angle died out. Booker may have won other golden belts but the one that he should have been holding the whole time was the top prize: the World Heavyweight Championship. Now all of a sudden, it has happened at last. Could the WWE creative have finally snapped out of it? Could they have realize that Booker was deserving of a title run? It does not matter if they did or not but someone in the back with common place somehow managed to convince them that Booker would be a worthy World Champion instead of Mark Henry. And thank God because at least Booker T will retire into wrestling knowing that he won the World Heavyweight title in the WWE at long last. And he earned it.

Anyone who thinks Booker T is washed-up as a worker or an entertainer in general can eat it. Booker was and still is by far one of the most entertaining wrestlers to exist in the industry. Fans who have been followed Booker will forever remember his tenure on RAW with Goldust, providing fun segments that involved analyzing motion pictures, pulling off funny segments with the nWo (who could forget Goldust's mocking of X-Pac as a greasy rat?) and being a great tag team in a roster that was deprived of tag teams. Yet despite all these credentials, Booker never won a World Heavyweight title. Sure, he won many secondary championships but everyone knows that Booker T as World Champion made more sense than Booker T as Intercontinental Champion. Despite never winning it and despite repeatedly doing jobs, Booker continued to be over because fans knew he was a great wrestler and knew that he should be a World champion. They believed in him, even today. He was more appealing than the RAW main events at the time.

Even on SMACKDOWN, the booking of his character was nothing short of ridiculous. When he was drafted to SMACKDOWN, I thought he would finally be given the spotlight he deserved. After all, this was the same brand that made the late great Eddie Guerrero the WWE champion. But that never happened, at least not back then. The moment he was brought in, he was squashed. From the Undertaker to John Cena to JBL to even the freaking' Boogeyman, Booker's days on SMACKDOWN were even worse than on RAW. It's as if he was just brought there to suffer. But fans were still behind him and they were into his character, face or heel.

This was not the first time Booker T has been constantly neglected in a wrestling company. Even in WCW, where he won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship several times, he was bantha fodder to many wrestlers and spent most of his time with Stevie Ray. Although he was part of one of the best tag teams in Harlem Heat, Booker T proved to be equally impressive in singles competition as in the tag team division. His "Best of 7 Falls" rivalry with Chris Benoit showcased the man's incredible talent and his feuds with the Steiner Brothers, Stevie Ray and M.I.A. proved that he had what it took to be a star. It did not matter how poorly booked he was; Booker T worked hard, he had great passion for wrestling and fans were always into him. They wanted him to be the top dog of the company, not Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash or Diamond Dallas Page.

Amazingly, he did not win his first WCW World Championship until 2000, which proved to be last year for WCW before folding in early 2001. But when Booker won the title from Jeff Jarrett, it was as if these unbearable years of frustration for this man was worth it. Booker's triumphant title win was not only one of the few highlights for the dying WCW but the ultimate highlight of the man himself: for him to win a championship that has been worn by Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race and Big Van Vader is like a dream come true. But it was not a mere coincidence that Booker won the championship. It was his strive to earn respect by working his ass off while never succumbing to politics that proved to be one of the factors in which his long overdue World title reign was given to him. And to think he not only won it once but five more times in one year. Amazing.

Similar to WWE, Booker has worked incredibly hard but has yet to have won the World Heavyweight Championship. It has been so long overdue that winning it only once did not matter, as long as fans saw through it that Booker became a champion. When SMACKDOWN was completely devoid of its major stars, Booker seize the opportunity to win the resurrected King of the Ring tournament and earned him a main event push, plus a very fresh gimmick. This gimmick, King Booker, is hilarious nostalgia, a throwback to the arrogant self-proclaimed kings of wrestling (not you Jarrett) as diverse as Harley Race, Ted DiBiase and Haku. This gimmick has given a new breath of fresh air for Booker's character as well as a title shot.

That title shot, which he finally garnered at long last, culminated in his triumphant World Heavyweight Championship victory over Rey Mysterio at this year's Great American Bash. While the PPV proved to be anything but great, Booker's World title victory mirrors that of his first WCW World title win over Jeff Jarrett at the Bash of the Beach, an authentic celebration. After four years of being de-pushed, pushed and buried, Booker has at long last rose to the top and nab his overdue World Championship.

So everybody, get on your knees and bow before the King.

ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!! ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!!

by Joe L. --- [View Joe L's Column Index]..


Jon Rosaler wrote:
Hey, Joe. I've written to many of your columns in the past and this one intriegues me by far. King Booker T pretty much saved 'The Plauged American Bash' with his typical unfair way to win. I've only watched for four years, but I know several wrestling promotions like Kyle XY knows History. Booker deserves the title, bottomline. Whether he loses it to Batista, Kurt Angle or even Chris Benoit, I'm glad we got to see him a WWE World Champion.
Craig Ferguson wrote:
What are u talking about? Booker T may deserve the title but King Booker most certaintly does not! The WWE has yet agian shown how they can corrupt a great character and turn him into a another JBL. Bookers entrance is longer ......longer than the Undertakers but not nearly as entertaining i have to switch the channel and im sure a majority of the fans do to. Although his in ring skills are still increadable he has resorted to being a second rate heel coppying the edge and lita skit agian half as entertaining if that. So i say bring back the Booker T and drop the King.
Dish wrote:
Excellent collum. I must say I agree with 100%. It's about time Booker's gotten the title that is rightfully his. After years of serving this business, it is at least fitting to give him the title. I can only hope his reign lasts and lasts. ALL HAIL KING BOOKER!
Andrew Webber wrote:
Awesome column! I couldn't agree more that Booker is the most deserving WWE Champion in a long time. The only thing that saddens me is that his reign may be to late. I believe his WCW Title reigns came to late and unfortunatly this may be the case again. It's nothing to do with age. it's all about timing. I think it would had been better if they would have put the title on him clear back at WrestleMania XIX when he had all that momentum heading into his match with Triple H, but either way he is one of the greatest wrestlers in the last 10 years and is a very deserving champion! I wil bow to the great KING BOOKER!!!!
Joe Tobin wrote:
As a long time Booker T fan I am overjoyed that he's finally won the big one on Smackdown! Booker has always been a favorite of mine in WWE. When Smackdown did a tour in Australia and came to Adelaide 2 years ago in a card that included Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, John Cena and The Big Show but it was Booker T who I was really there to see.

When Booker and Goldust won the tag titles I was ecstatic (I still have the PPV on tape) and unfortunately I missed Great American Bash so the joy is a little less.

I hope Smackdown come to Adelaide again so I can bow down and pay homage to King Booker.

Heel or face - Booker T is the king. Long live King Booker! Long live King Booker! LONG LIVE KING BOOKER!!!!!
Big Daddy wrote:
It doesn't matter who the Champ is. They are going to give the title back to Batista.
Jonathan Preston wrote:
Its about time!!! Booker T has been in the WWE for what 5 years now and hasn't touch world title gold? Well it finally happened at the Great American Bash, and I like it!!! I admit, I agree with Big Daddy when he said that Batista is going to get the belt back, but I'm happy that Booker T finally got the World Title belt in the WWE. Besides, Rey Mysterio a WORLD Champ? Please, you got to be kidding me. Half the guys on the Smackdown roster can whup Mysterio and they made him World Champ? Anyways, thank goodness Booker is the champ because he deserves it!!!!
Johnny C wrote:
I totally agree with your article 100%. I've watched booker T duke it out in WCW from his Harlem Heat days to his 5 Time, 5 Time, 5 Time World Title reign. When i saw Booker was coming to WWE after WCW went under i was glad because i was a long time fan of his. I mean he's one of the most hard working and one of the better actual wrestlers today and his promos are hilarious, everytime he gets on the mic i laugh the whole segment and now that he has sharmel its twice as funny than before. He defanantly deserves this title run...so...ALL HAIL KING BOOKER
Joshua Cobb wrote:
I have to agree somewhat with this column, I suppose. I classified Booker T along with the likes of Chris Benoit as a seriously underused Smackdown force. I guess I'm glad to see him finally get the big title, but it came at a pretty stupid time. His King Booker character is absolute mindrot and I'm sure there's not many of us who can stand it, especially when we're hearing JBL - aka Mr. Worse-Than-Michael-Cole - prattle on like a jackass about him during his half-hour long ring intro. And I think the timing was horrible: They have Booker repeatedly humiliated in a failure to get the US Title, so they give him the biggest title right after? I'm not buying that.

I'd like to see Booker T have a title in a nice face run, or at least a different heel character than this crap. I really can't stand heel characters, because inevitably, they all have to resort to cowardice to win, and their gimmicks are usually pretty retarded. And as one replier already said, it really doesn't matter: Batista is going to be getting the title anyway. At least whenever they pry him off of Kennedy.
Dartagan67 wrote:
Finally, they showed some love to Booker & reward him with title. Now he doesn't to just say 5 time!, 5 time!, 5 time!, 5 time!, 5 time! WCW champion anymore. Hail to the Bookerman!!!
TombstoneCity1387 wrote:
This is my first time responding to a colum on this site and I have to say that I'm quite displeased. I do agree, however, with Craig Ferguson's response to this article. Booker T was always one of my favorite wrestlers ever since I got back into wrestling back in early 1998 (of course, he was in WCW at the time). His old ring music (Can You Dig It, Sucka?) had an awesome rythym and I could just tell that it was not only getting him pumped up for his match, but also was doing the same for the fans at the arena as well as everyone watching at home. But now I have to say that I am disgusted with this whole "King" gimmick. It's really making me want to vomit every time I hear that cheesy, sappy music and having to listen to William Regal chant "All Hail King Booker!" over and over again makes it unbearable. I, much like Mr. Ferguson, have to change the channel when I hear that horrid music come over the speakers. I really do wish that Booker would go back to his fan-loving ways like when he was over on RAW back in late '03/early '04. Now I find myself believing that WWE's creative writers (at least on the SmackDown! side of things) are in a coma.

Oh, and one more thing: to say that Booker "soundly" defeated Mysterio at the Bash is an even bigger joke. Get your facts straight, pal. If it wasn't for Chavo smashing Rey with that chair, Rey would probably still be World Champion.
Jimmy D wrote:
Despite how ridiculous I think the "King of the World" gimmick is, it is great to see Booker get back to the top and as World champion once again, he deserved it even with. Come to think of it, I think all of the top heel gimmicks should be kinda weird (JBL's wall street tycoon gimmick, Edge's sex addict gimmick). Also Manuel, I totally agree with you that Booker is the new leader of SmackDown!, and hopefully he takes that title all the way to WrestleMania. Just to add something, the No Mercy main event became a Fatal 4 way including Batista (the #2 wrestler behind Kurt Angle in my opinion) and Booker's friend Finlay, and the Boogeyman, who embarrassed Booker at WrestleMania 22, has been re-signed. As of now, you can see that a lot of SmackDown! superstars have a bone to pick with Booker at the moment, and we can see some great rivalries in the future. I love Booker T, the spinerooni master. But I hell no I won't bow to the King Booker.\\
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