– WWE’s website has a preview of WWE Magazine’s new interview with Booker T, which is in stores now. Here are the highlights:
You’re an announcer, occasional in-ring competitor and mentor to the next generation of Superstars. How difficult is it to juggle all of these responsibilities?
It’s not very difficult at all if you’ve got love for the business and love for the youth. My whole thing is about giving back. It’s about keeping the business going and helping the young guys, like Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. These are the young men who are going to be competing at WrestleMania for the next 10-20 years.
Do you feel that todays Superstars have a tougher time because there are so few veterans in the locker room to turn to?
I honestly feel like its my duty and responsibility to try to step into their place and fill that void. So many of those young stars right now are just spinning their wheels—not sure which way to go. They’re just receiving so much mixed information, and they’re not it from a guy who has actually been there contesting that main event atWrestleMania. You have to have someone to teach them what it takes to go out in front of the WWE Universe and become not just a player, but also a Superstar.
So, in your opinion, what’s the biggest sin a new, would-be Superstar can commit?
To not show respect. One of the lost arts of this business is respect. That’s truly one of the things that made this business what it is today. Respect is Number One for me. I came up in a company the South, and I was one of the few black guys on the roster. I had to earn respect from guys like Ric Flair. It didn’t come overnight. But I will never forget the night Ric Flair came right up to me and said, “Kid, I’m passing the torch to you.” For Ric Flair to talk about passing the torch—well, that meant I had gained his respect after all those years.