On the latest edition of his Hall of Fame podcast pro-wrestling legend Booker T responded to Bully Ray’s criticism of AEW, where Ray referred to the young promotion as very “indie-rific” at times. Hear what the former five-time champion had to say on the subject, which includes him comparing AEW to the early days of TNA. Highlights are below.
Why AEW does what works for them:
“One can look at this in so many different ways. The way I look at it is, NXT, they go out there and they wrestle. They do the best that they possibly can trying to bring the realism into the performance. But wrestling is so many different things. First thing, like I said, it’s not MMA, it’s not boxing. You know what I mean? It’s not that form of contact sport. Professional wrestling has always been, you know, entertainment based. And one thing you can rest assured on is in AEW, every match is not going to look the same because those guys are, you know, a fluctuation of indy guys and more experienced guys. More experienced guys like [Jon] Moxley are going to look totally different than some of the other guys. So, I go back to TNA with the six-sided ring. Wrestling is, what I always say is, to be able to do the same thing everyone else is doing a little bit different.”
Compares it to the six-sided ring during the early TNA days:
“The six-sided ring was something different. That’s what attracted you to TNA wrestling back in the day, plus the young guys AJ Styles, Samoa Joe. Those guys brought something to the table. AEW, they’re doing the same thing that everyone else is doing, but they’re trying to make it look a little bit different. And I think, you know, with the nucleus of wrestling that we have right now, that’s very very important to what you’re trying to create and and what you’re trying to build. I always said if TNA would’ve stuck to the six-sided ring and gave those young guys the ball and let them run, and they had some good guys in the production room writing the show for these guys, these guys could’ve went at it — TNA could be huge right now. Remember how popular TNA Wrestling was on Spike TV? Back then, they were doing 1.3s, 1.4s, 1.5s [in million viewers]. So, the thing is, I agree with Bubba Ray in a lot of aspects, but in this business, you’ve got to be able to figure out how to do the same thing everyone else is doing a little bit different, and I think that’s what AEW is doing.”
Says ECW was successful despite not having the best wrestlers:
“Can you go back and think about how crappy those wrestlers were in ECW and how popular that show was? Those guys weren’t the greatest wrestlers in the world. I mean, c’mon! And they put on a great, great show. And hat’s my point right there why I totally disagree with Bubba coming from a place like ECW, where I thought Mike Awesome could actually work until I got in the ring with him. OK? And then I go, ‘Wait a minute. This guy can’t work.’ You know what I mean? But Paul Heyman made those guys look like they knew what they were doing.”
Full episode is below. (H/T and transcribed by 411 Mania)