The Untold Truth Of Booker T

"Can you dig it, SUCKA?" Thanks to those five words, as well as his in-ring ability, athleticism, charisma, and promo skills, Booker T became a true main-event talent, first in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), then in the WWE. Whether he was teaming up with his brother Stevie Ray in WCW as 10-time tag team champions Harlem Heat or winning titles on his own, Booker had such a lasting impact that he became one of the few people in WWE history to become a two-time Hall of Famer — first in 2013 as a singles competitor, then in 2019 as part of Harlem Heat, per Bleacher Report. When talking about his lengthy in-ring career, you've also got to consider the few years he spent in TNA in between WWE stints in the late 2000s, but as the same publication pointed out in a separate article, his run with the company now known as Impact Wrestling wasn't quite as noteworthy.

It's been years since Booker last saw action in a wrestling ring, but even as he focuses most of his attention on his "Hall of Fame" podcast with Brad Gilmore, fans still have fond memories of his matches, feuds, and promos over his two-and-a-half-decade career as an active wrestler. But there are also some things most fans might not know about the former world champion, may they be related to wrestling or his life away from the squared circle. With that said, here is the untold truth of Booker T.

He spent 19 months in prison for armed robbery

As recalled by The Undefeated, Booker Huffman grew up in poverty in Houston, Texas. By the time he was 17, he was a high school dropout and a single father, and he spent the next few years making ends meet through odd jobs, including one at Wendy's. After getting transferred to a different location that was much farther from where he and his brother Lash lived, Booker supplemented his income by selling marijuana on the side. He also started running with a rough crowd, including one friend who worked with him at the same Wendy's location.

Not long after Booker was fired from Wendy's, it was suggested that he and his friends rob the place while wearing their old uniforms. This led to a series of robberies over the first three months of 1987, where they ended up stealing between $400 and $4,000 during each of their 12 heists. Eventually, the so-called "Wendy's bandits" were arrested and incarcerated at the Texas State Penitentiary.

While Booker was given consecutive five-year sentences for armed robbery and aggravated assault, he only ended up serving 19 months due to good behavior. Now a free man, he and Lash started training to become professional wrestlers, an endeavor fueled by their lifelong love for the sport. Once they made their in-ring debut, they adopted the ring names they would use for most of their careers, with Booker simply becoming Booker T and Lash taking on the name Stevie Ray.

He deeply regrets saying a racial slur on live TV

As one-half of Harlem Heat with Stevie Ray, Booker T was initially a mid-card fixture in WCW who sometimes feuded with top-tier talents such as Hulk Hogan. It was during one such feud when he cut an intense promo on live television, delivering a menacing threat to Hogan and punctuating it with the N-word. It has since gone down as one of the most infamous on-air bloopers in wrestling history, and close to three decades later, Booker still regrets the faux pas.

Booker commented on his accidental use of the offending term on a recent episode of his "Hall of Fame" podcast (via WrestleZone), saying that while he doesn't "run away" from what he said, he still wishes he could "take it back." He noted that as a Black man, he grew up casually using the N-word when he was around his peers, but as he became older, he realized that using it as a public figure would set a bad example for young people.

"I was like, 'Oh my God, what am I doing here? Let me back up for a second.'" Booker continued, recalling how he instantly regretted his verbal slip-up. "Because there again, I never wanted those people to see me in that light ... So I just felt like I let a lot of people down that looked up to me, and I did not want them to think that was something that was okay."

The embarrassing Booker T gimmick you may have forgotten about

Booker T is arguably best known for being a five-time (repeat: five times) WCW Champion, and WWE fans may also have good memories of the time he became King of the Ring and started calling himself King Booker, complete with a fake English accent. Even in recent years, he's shown off these quirky personas in segments with present-day WWE Superstars such as The New Day (via YouTube). But there's one gimmick that Booker probably won't be reprising in the truest sense, and that's his role as "G.I. Bro," the leader of the latter-day WCW stable Misfits in Action.

Per WhatCulture, everyone in the Misfits in Action had goofy, military-themed names, and a few of them were blatant references to the members' ethnicities — aside from Booker becoming G.I. Bro, Chavo Guerrero was repackaged as Lt. Loco. Meanwhile, you had also the already punny Hugh Morrus getting his name tweaked to General Hugh G. Rection (seriously), and Tylene Buck, the faction's lone female member, getting renamed Major Gunns. Puerile as the gimmicks were, the stable miraculously stayed together for about a year before they disbanded, with Booker immediately returning to his previous character and ring name.

To be fair, Booker did go by G.I. Bro before he joined WCW, but as WhatCulture observed, it was an "obvious demotion" for an immensely popular wrestler, who, must we remind you again, was a five-time (you know the drill) world champion for the now-defunct promotion.

His thoughts on his controversial WrestleMania XIX loss

After WCW went out of business in 2001, Booker T's next stop was the WWE, and he ended up winning one more world championship to add to the titles he won in WCW. There was, however, one notable time in which he failed to win the gold from the hated heel, and that was at WrestleMania XIX in 2003, where he lost to Triple H in a match for the World Heavyweight Championship. According to Bleacher Report, Triple H made some racially insensitive remarks to Booker in the weeks leading up to their match, remarking during a promo that "somebody like you ... doesn't get to be a world champion." And those weren't the only questionable comments made by "The Game" toward Booker as part of his villainous character.

Looking back on the feud almost two decades later, Booker explained on a February 2021 episode of his "Hall of Fame" podcast that he wasn't upset over having to take the loss at WrestleMania XIX. After all, that was an example of how the business works — much like the movies, not every wrestling storyline has a happy ending. "Sometimes when you're watching a movie, sometimes the bad guy wins," Booker said, as quoted by Wrestling Inc. "The movie goes off and the bad guy gets away with the crime. I've never once looked back and said 'man, I should've won that match.”"

Booker T had a mostly strained relationship with his oldest son

Not much is known about Booker T's oldest son, Brandon Huffman. However, multiple sources, including The Sportster, have noted that Booker and Brandon aren't exactly as close to each other as a father and son should be. The wrestler was frequently on the road during his time in WCW and WWE, spending less and less time with his firstborn as his career went from strength to strength. Booker apparently thought that Brandon was "learning more about him through 'WCW Nitro' video games on PlayStation instead of real-life [father-and-son] experiences."

In 2017, Wrestling Forum quoted an article from Crixeo, which detailed Booker and Brandon's strained relationship through the years. Here, Brandon openly discussed his troubled youth, where he sadly followed in his father's footsteps and was sent to jail for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. Showing tough love toward his firstborn, Booker refused to post bail and kicked him out of the house after he got out of jail. This had a profound effect on Brandon, who felt that his dad "turned his back" on him. The two Huffman men, however, were on the way to repairing their relationship at the time the article was published.

It seems that Brandon has long gotten over his rebellious phase and become a well-adjusted adult like his dad. As of 2017, he was working in the marketing industry, as noted by The Undefeated.

He ran for mayor

Booker T climbed to the top of the wrestling mountain on more than one occasion. While he achieved everything there was to achieve and remains a sought-out and trusted voice on all things related to wrestling, once upon a time, he also held other ambitions. In 2016, he announced on his radio show (via Houston Chronicle) that he was running for mayor of his hometown, Houston. If there was any doubt about him being serious, Booker then made it official by posting a full statement of his intention on his Twitter account.

In 2019, Booker spoke to Wrestling Inc. and explained how he had encountered challenges in his quest for mayorship due to his past troubles with the law. He revealed how the obstacles were proving to be more difficult than he initially expected; however, he would persevere much as he had before his entire life. Eventually, when the mayoral candidates were announced for the race in September 2019, Booker's name wasn't present on the list (via Houston Public Media).

He started his own wrestling promotion

After years of championship wins and Spinaroonies in the middle of the ring, Booker T decided he had a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with the next generation of wrestlers. In the mid-2000s, he set up a wrestling school and promotion known as Pro Wrestling Alliance; however, he rebranded it to Reality of Wrestling in 2012 (via Houston Chronicle).

Booker explained to Houston Chronicle how the plans for ROW were influenced by the work of the late Paul Boesch, a legendary promoter of Houston Wrestling (via Slam Wrestling). "It's been great to actually keep the dream of Paul Boesch alive in Houston, Texas," Booker said. "I watched it growing up as a kid — the magic of wrestling on a weekly basis. And more importantly, I got to see what Paul Boesch did working with kids around the city ... And giving back." Many wrestlers have trained with Booker over the years, with Kylie Rae, who appeared on both AEW and Impact Wrestling, being one of the most high-profile students to have cut their teeth in the business at Reality of Wrestling.

Booker T is best friends with the Boogeyman

Booker T and Marty Wright, aka the Boogeyman, had vastly different careers. While Booker established himself as a top superstar for both WCW and WWE, the Boogeyman largely achieved notoriety for his creepy vignettes and chewing worms on television. Let's just say that Boogeyman was never envisioned as someone who would headline a "WrestleMania" main event or become world champion, but he served as an entertaining part of the weekly shows and still remains a recognizable gimmick to this day.

Despite their positions on the card, Booker revealed to ComingSoon that he loved the sheer fun of their "WrestleMania 22" match and considers the Boogeyman to be a close friend. "That guy we're the best of friends," Booker said. "But it's not a month almost that don't go by without Boogeyman, well, Marty Wright, that's his real name, calls me and goes, 'Man, I really appreciate everything you did for my career.'" He added that helping to elevate other personalities in wrestling is an important value that he instills in each and every single one of his students.

He thought Bobby Lashley was going to be his heir

Much like Ron Simmons had done so years earlier, Booker T continued to pave the way for Black wrestlers as main event talent and world champions in the industry. Naturally, as his career winded down, he took a look around the locker room and identified Bobby Lashley as the wrestler whom he believed would continue to blaze the trail and break new ground for African-American performers.

"I always said Bobby Lashley was the heir apparent to Booker T," Booker told Yahoo. "When I left the company, I thought Bobby was going to pick up the baton and run with it." While Lashley achieved a certain degree of success in his first WWE run, he had to wait for his 2018 comeback to prove that "The All Mighty" was the real deal and a bona fide superstar. Booker agreed with this sentiment, admitting that he very much enjoyed Lashley's time with the Hurt Business, which culminated in him becoming WWE Champion.

He looks at Muhammad Ali as his role model

Nowadays, Booker T is a role model for the younger generation of sports entertainers. Despite the challenges he experienced in his youth, he overcame the obstacles and focused on achieving the goals he set out for himself. He created a storied and celebrated professional wrestling career, and now others can look at what he did and use it as inspiration for their own ambitions. When Booker was interviewed by Consciousness Magazine, he revealed that legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was his role model growing up, and that's why he believes he holds a responsibility to act sensibly for the people who look up to him now.

"He was like my idol; I mean he couldn't do no wrong," Booker said. "I used to get into a lot of trouble and my mother couldn't tell me to do right nor my brothers and sisters, preacher or the pastor; nobody could. I would have said if Muhammad Ali said that exact same thing that everybody else was saying, I would have taken it and I would have run with it."

Sid Vicious brought him into WCW

Before becoming WCW World Champion, Booker T spent most of his WCW career in the Harlem Heat tag team with his real-life brother, Lash, who took up the ring name of Stevie Ray. Booker and Stevie Ray were no rookies in the business by the time they arrived in WCW, but the leap to the big league came courtesy of fellow competitor Sid Vicious, who also used the name Sycho Sid in the WWE.

Appearing on Kristian Harloff's "The Big Thing," Booker credited Sid as the person who launched his and his brother's career. "The person that was instrumental in my brother, in our, in my career, was Sid Vicious, who put us on the map," Booker said. "He was the guy who let us live in his apartment for like three months. Sid Vicious was the guy who made sure my brother and I got raises on a regular basis. Sid Vicious is the guy that I give all the credit for my brother and I getting in WCW." So while Sid might have appeared as an untrustworthy and violent heel with a powerbomb obsession on television, he looked after his friends behind the scenes.

He credits his wife for the King Booker gimmick

In 2006, Booker T defeated Bobby Lashley to win the" King of the Ring" tournament (via YouTube). Immediately, he developed a new heel gimmick where he referred to himself as King Booker, and his wife became Queen Sharmell. He created a fake English accent and pretended to be the monarch of WWE, as he used dastardly tactics to win his matches and eventually the World Heavyweight Championship. While he might have been a reviled character on television, he was lauded for the sheer entertainment value of the King Booker era and his ability to reinvent himself.

After Sharmell was included as an inductee into the 2022 WWE Hall of Fame, Booker gushed about his wife to Sports Illustrated, saying she was the one who made the King Booker gimmick work in the first place. "There's no King Booker without Queen Sharmell," he said. "That run never, ever happens without Sharmell. It was all built around her. And that's the mother of my kids, my partner in life and my soulmate. She's going to get her props at the Hall of Fame."

Booker T only found out he was going to be WCW World Champion minutes before the match

The world of professional wrestling is unpredictable. While it is all predetermined, sometimes the bookers and creative teams change their minds over a proposed direction. In the early 2000s, WCW was infamous for its erratic booking and constant change of plans. These issues were a result of a power struggle between creative honcho Vince Russo and Hulk Hogan, who had creative control stipulated in his contract, as revealed by Booker T in an interview with Wrestling News Source.

At 2000's "Bash at the Beach," Booker faced Jeff Jarrett for the WCW World Championship. However, he didn't know who was scheduled to win that match until the last moment because Hogan reportedly wanted to win it somehow. "I let everything play out," Booker said. "I found out maybe 5, maybe 6 or 7 minutes before I went out that I was going to win the title and that I was going to be champ that night." He added that he wasn't even excited about winning the big one because of all the uncertainty surrounding it. When the fans celebrated after he won, though, he felt it.