I might catch a ration of crap for this, but I support Booker T on announce on Raw. Let me back up. I'm the one who wrote TNA Blog Zone for years, and verbally abused all Booker T said and did while on TNA Impact. I couldn't say enough negative about the man, but as soon as he returned to the WWE, his brain seemed to return to him, and he went back to being quite a decent guy.
That night that JR was drafted to Smackdown was a horrible day for all, and further showed how badly JR had been treated by the WWE, but I see this move by King to be something completely different. Since King's heart attack on announce, he really hasn't seemed like the old King we loved and loved to hate at various times. With the addition of JBL on announce, King had become quieter and quieter, letting JBL and Cole do the majority of the work. Three men announce teams can work really well when all three of the members are loud enough to make the trio into something that melds into a thing of beauty, but this trio never really did that. King felt more and more like a third wheel. With the announcement that he was struggling with his diverticulitis, I was wondering what that would mean for his announce work. I wasn't at all surprised to hear that he wouldn't be on announce this past episode of Raw, but I was a little surprised to hear it would be Booker T to sit in his spot.
I went into Raw with an open mind, and was quite pleasantly surprised. The only times I've really focused on Booker T was during PPV Pre-Shows. Booker T has a wonderful understanding of the wrestling industry, and has been involved with a number of companies other than WWE, with his work in WCW and TNA. I might not have been Booker T's biggest fan since I first saw him as part of Harlem Heat in WCW, and I surely had nothing nice to say about him in TNA, I've recently looked back and learned a lot about Booker T and his career and am blown away at how great his work in WCW really was.
The Monday Night War series has reminded us of all the huge contracts that the biggest names in WCW were able to lock down; how so many of those top guys had creative control over their characters. That creative control really screwed over the smaller and younger guys who didn't have the pull to get those contracts for themselves. We saw a number of those younger wrestlers head to the WWE, but Booker T stayed loyal to the WCW to the end. I hadn't remembered what a team player, hard worker, and amazing wrestler Booker T was in WCW until I really started watching his work on the WWE Network. Other than his time as GI Bro, Booker T worked his ass off, proved himself, and worked his way to the top through hard work and perseverance. Even though Booker T had built himself into a main event player through all he did in WCW, he had to start all over again in WWE when the Rock asked Booker T, "Who in the blue hell are you?" when he first appeared in WWE. That was possibly the biggest slap to the face they could have given Booker T, but he persisted. Booker T went on to win KoTR, the IC Championship, the US Championship three times, numerous Tag Team Championships with a variety of people, the Hardcore Championship twice, the WHC, and a most hysterical relationship with Goldust, and that's just in the WWE.
Due to a falling out with the WWE, over the Signature Pharmacy scandal, Booker T left for TNA. While that might not have been a great career move, I'm sure he learned a lot about the industry, how other companies are run. Things seemed to go well for him there early on, but toward the end of his three years there, Booker T was obviously doing everything and anything possible to get out of TNA. He was acting quite unprofessional on air, and in the process, making a total ass of himself. When it was announced that he would be returning to the WWE, many of the newer fans didn't know what to expect from the man, but from his first moments, when he re-debuted in the 2011 Royal Rumble Match, Booker T has been nothing but professional.
While Booker T did some ring work upon his return to the WWE, it wasn't long before he stepped into more scripted managerial roles. Being Smackdown GM was much more Booker T's time in his career, and has recently said that the Superstars now are suited to be in the ring, and he just cannot keep up with them at this point in his life, so he's doing other things within the company. Too many wrestlers don't recognize when it's time, so I give Booker T huge props for realizing he's in a different point in his life, and doing what works best for him.
Now, I'm not slapping King down for anything he's done on announce, ever, but I've been worried about him lately. Listening to announce, much of what has been going on has been between Cole and JBL. Cole playing the face, JBL going all out heel and siding with The Authority. King gets his comments in now and then, but they're not as strong, nor as on point as he used to be. He really seems to have lose a lot of his power, his speed, and his timing since his heart attack. I understand that what happened to King on announce that night was quite traumatic and scary, but he really hasn't seemed like himself since. I've honestly been wondering for a couple months if maybe he should only be announcing PPVs, and let Cole and JBL run announce on Raw together. I honestly hadn't even thought of adding a third, because coming up with the right dynamics between three people is quite difficult, but, maybe, Booker T could round out the trio beautifully.
On announce panels before PPVs, and while he's quite knowledgeable, and very eloquent, the whole 'Shucky ducky quack quack!' thing really drives me crazy. I'll admit I was worried about how that would translate to working with JBL and Cole, but I was delightfully impressed. Booker T didn't overpower the conversation, sit back and stay out of the conversation, or say anything really daft. Normally I'd think that's a solid success, but Booker T was more than that on Raw last week, he was really good. Only time will tell how this trio comes together as a unit, but I have hopes that these three could be quite interesting and enjoyable long term.
Queen of WNW