Robert Booker Tio Huffman (March 1, 1965), better known as Booker T is a semi-retired American professional wrestler, professional wrestling promoter and color commentator, currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Since returning from an extensive medical hiatus in 2013, Booker makes occasional appearances on WWE programs. He is best known for his time in both WWE and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2013. He has also worked for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), and is the owner of the Pro Wrestling Alliance. Booker T found early success in WCW where he founded the very popular tag team Harlem Heat alongside his brother, Stevie Ray. He is an overall 6-Time World Champion, winning the WCW Championship on five occasions and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship once. He has held various World Tag Team Championships throughout his career. He recently introduced the Legends Championship in TNA, becoming its first champion. On October 19, 2009, Huffman was released from his TNA contract.
- 1 Career
- 1.1 World Championship Wrestling (1993–2001)
- 1.2 World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (2001–2007)
- 1.3 Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
- 1.4 Puerto Rico and Mexico (2009–2010)
- 1.5 Return to World Wrestling Entertainment and Face Turn (2011)
- 1.6 Smackdown General Manager, WWE Hall of Fame Induction (2012-2013)
- 1.7 Color commentator (2015–2016, 2017–2018)
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Wrestling facts
- 4 Championships and accomplishments
- 5 See also
- 6 External links
Booker Huffman, a single father working at a storage company in Houston, Texas, was looking to make a better life for himself and his son. His brother Lane suggested that he and Booker check out a new wrestling school being opened, run by Ivan Putski, in conjunction with his Western Wrestling Alliance organization. His boss from the storage company loaned him the $3,000 to pay for the wrestling lessons. Booker trained under Scott Casey, who helped to turn Booker's background in drama and dance into "sports entertainment", teaching the newcomer ring psychology and ring generalship.
Eight weeks later, Booker debuted as "G.I. Bro" on Putski's Western Wrestling Alliance Live! program. The character was a tie-in to the raging Gulf War and the WWF's Sgt. Slaughter angle. Even though the WWA met its demise some time later, Booker continued to wrestle on the Texas indy circuit, often with his brother Stevie Ray. They were spotted by Skandor Akbar who hired them to work for the Global Wrestling Federation (GWF), where he and Eddie Gilbert were involved. Gilbert teamed Stevie Ray and Booker T together as the Ebony Experience, and they won the GWF Tag Team Championship on July 31, 1992. During their time with GWF, they held the tag title a total of three times. Subsequently, Booker T and Stevie Ray left the GWF to work for World Championship Wrestling.
World Championship Wrestling (1993–2001)
Harlem Heat (1993–1997)
Booker and his brother Lane signed with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) after Sid Vicious recommended they sign with the company. In August 1993, they debuted as the tag team Harlem Heat, with Booker renamed Kole and Lane renamed Kane. They became heels and were on Harley Race and Col. Rob Parker's team in the WarGames match at Fall Brawl on September 19 against Sting, Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes, and The Shockmaster. They lost the match but were over as heels because of the caliber of faces they wrestled.
In 1994, they acquired the services of Sensational Sherri, dubbed 'Sister' Sherri, as their manager and changed their names back to Booker T and Stevie Ray, at their request. By the end of 1994, they held the WCW Tag Team Championship after defeating Stars 'n' Stripes (The Patriot and Marcus Alexander Bagwell) in December. After dropping the title to The Nasty Boys, Harlem Heat regained the belts on June 24, 1995.
Afterward, Harlem Heat got into a feud with Col. Parker's "Stud Stable" of "Dirty" Dick Slater and Bunkhouse Buck. Parker and Sherri were carrying on a love affair and Parker eventually left the Stud Stable in favor of the Heat to be with Sherri. Harlem Heat won the WCW World Tag Team titles at Fall Brawl 1995, defeating Dick Slater and Bunkhouse Buck. Their third title reign only lasted one day, but the duo regained the tag team title nine days later from The American Males (Buff Bagwell and Scotty Riggs). On the June 24, 1996 Nitro, Harlem Heat defeated Lex Luger and Sting to capture their fifth WCW World Tag Team titles. Prior to defeating Luger for the title, Booker got carried away during a televised interview, calling out Luger as well as Hulk Hogan. Three days after losing the tag team titles to the Steiner Brothers, Harlem Heat regained the straps back from the Steiners on July 27. On September 23, Booker T and Stevie Ray were defeated by Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge) but took the titles back for the seventh time on October 1.
They lost the Tag Team Championship to the Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) on October 27. Subsequently, they fired Col. Parker and beat him up and became full-fledged faces. They then entered into a brief feud against Parker's newest team The Amazing French Canadians, a feud they won. In 1997, they feuded with "Public Enemy" (Grunge & Rocco), The Steiners, and the nWo. In fall 1997, they fired Sherri and added a new manager, Jacqueline. They were briefly put out of action by the nWo and returned to feud with the "Faces of Fear" (Meng and The Barbarian). Stevie then took five months off from WCW to recover from an ankle injury and Jacqueline left for the WWF.
World Television Champion (1997–1998)
Huffman made the transition into singles action and won the WCW World Television Championship from Disco Inferno on the December 29, 1997 Edition of Monday Night Nitro. Booker feuded over the title with Perry Saturn and Rick Martel culminating in a gauntlet match at SuperBrawl VIII. Martel, the man that was originally supposed to win the match, went down early due to a knee injury, meaning the finish and the remainder of the match had to be called in the ring.
In the spring of 1998, Booker began feuding with Chris Benoit. Benoit cost Booker the TV title during a match against Fit Finlay. As a result, Booker and Benoit engaged in a "best-of-seven series" with the winner meeting Finlay for the title. After seven matches and interference from Bret Hart and Stevie Ray, Booker T won the series, and on June 14, regained the Television Championship. He was the first African American to hold the WCW World Television Championship and the only one to legitimately win the title (Stevie Ray also held and defended the title while Booker was injured).
During a match with Hart, Booker injured his knee and missed several months. When he returned, he quickly regained the TV Championship from Scott Steiner, who, in turn, defeated Booker in the finals of the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship tournament. Booker lost the Television title to Rick Steiner a month later at Slamboree.
Harlem Heat reunion; Misfits in Action (1999–2000)
By mid-1999, Booker had convinced his brother, Stevie Ray, to leave the nWo and reunite Harlem Heat. Harlem Heat defeated Bam Bam Bigelow and Kanyon for the WCW World Tag Team titles at Road Wild. They lost the WCW World Tag Team titles to Barry and Kendall Windham on August 23, but Harlem Heat regained them about a month later at Fall Brawl. When the Filthy Animals were stripped of the WCW World Tag Team belts due to an injury suffered by Rey Mysterio Jr., the title was put up in a three-way dance at Halloween Havoc. Harlem Heat claimed their tenth WCW World Tag Team title defeating Hugh Morrus and Brian Knobbs and Konnan and Kidman. By late 1999, a female bodybuilder named Midnight had joined Harlem Heat. Stevie neglected her help and started disputing with Booker over her.
Stevie Ray eventually challenged Midnight in a match that decided whether or not she would stay with Harlem Heat. After being defeated with a surprise small package, Stevie Ray turned on both Booker and Midnight to form Harlem Heat, Inc. with Big T, Kash, and J. Biggs. Stevie Ray and Big T dubbed themselves Harlem Heat 2000. Throughout this period, Huffman was referred to simply as Booker, as Harlem Heat 2000, won the rights to the name "T" in a match with Big T against Booker on February 20, 2000 at SuperBrawl X. Kidman and Booker T defeated Harlem Heat 2000 (Ray and Big T) at Uncensored 2000.
When Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff formed The New Blood, Huffman eventually completely changed his in-ring persona, joining General Rection's military-themed Misfits In Action stable as G.I. Bro, reprising his gimmick from his days in the WWA. He defeated Shawn Stasiak at the Great American Bash in a Boot Camp match. He later returned to the Booker T name.
WCW World Heavyweight Champion (2000–2001)
Huffman was elevated to the main event status in 2000. After WCW booker Vince Russo grew disgruntled with Hulk Hogan's politicking, he fired Hogan during the live broadcast of Bash at the Beach and announced an impromptu match between Jeff Jarrett and Huffman for the World Title. Huffman won the match, in the process becoming the second ever African American champion in WCW after Ron Simmons. He was then defeated by Kevin Nash on August 28 on Nitro. He regained the title a few weeks later in a steel cage match with Nash at Fall Brawl, but again lost the title, this time to Vince Russo himself in a cage match (Russo was speared out of the cage by Goldberg and won the title), Russo vacated the title and Booker won it for the third time in a San Francisco 49er Box Match against Jeff Jarrett on the October 2 edition of Nitro.
Booker's next feud was with Scott Steiner, to whom he eventually lost the title in a Straitjacket steel cage match. Steiner won by TKO when he put an unconscious Booker into the Steiner Recliner at Mayhem. Steiner was WCW's longest reigning champion in years, whilst Booker was briefly out with an injury. Booker returned to the roster and defeated Rick Steiner for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship at Greed, and on the final episode of Nitro, defeated Scott Steiner to win the World title for the fourth time.
Huffman won a total of twenty-three titles in WCW, making him the most decorated athlete in the history of the organization. Booker was also the reigning United States Heavyweight Champion and WCW World Heavyweight Champion when he accepted a contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (2001–2007)
The Alliance (2001–2002)
After WCW was bought by the World Wrestling Federation in March 2001, Booker T made his debut at the King of the Ring pay-per-view in 2001 attacking WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin during his match, promptly injuring him in his very first move in the WWF. He later turned heel and became a leading member of The Alliance during the Invasion storyline. During July 2001, in his debut match in the company, Booker defended his WCW World Heavyweight Championship against Buff Bagwell. At InVasion, The Alliance defeated Team WWF when Steve Austin joined the Alliance. On July 26, Booker gave up his WCW United States Title and handed it over to Chris Kanyon. He later lost the WCW World title to Kurt Angle, but he went on to win the title back on the July 30 episode of Raw. Booker kept the title until SummerSlam, when he lost the title to The Rock after feuding with him over the similarity in their gimmicks and their identical finishing moves, the Book End/Rock Bottom. Booker T won the WCW World Tag Team Championship for an eleventh time, this time with Test, and he also had a WWF Tag Team Championship reign with Test. At the Survivor Series, Booker T was eliminated third by The Rock after a roll-up and eventually The Alliance was defeated, causing them to disband.
In its aftermath, Booker remained a heel, and he joined forces with Vince McMahon and The Boss Man in December to feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin. After Booker T cost Austin a match against Chris Jericho for the WWF Undisputed Championship at Vengeance, Austin gained revenge by attacking Booker T in a grocery store by covering him in food.
Booker T's first WrestleMania appearance was at WrestleMania X8 against Edge. They feuded over who would appear in a fictional Japanese shampoo commercial. When the brand extension was introduced in March, Booker T was drafted to the Raw brand. Booker held the Hardcore Championship twice in May 2002, defeating Stevie Richards only to lose it to Crash Holly seconds later. He then re-defeated Crash and dropped the Belt to Stevie Richards a couple minutes later.
Teaming with Goldust; injury (2002–2003)
Goldust began trying to start a tag team with Booker, but Goldust kept costing Booker matches. With the nWo now operating in WWE, Booker T was eventually invited into the faction. His time there was short-lived, when he got (literally) kicked out of the group by Shawn Michaels, who believed Booker T was taking away from his own spotlight. Booker then turned face and found a partnership with Goldust and the pair teamed to battle the nWo. Booker and Goldust had a title shot against The Un-Americans (Christian and Lance Storm) at SummerSlam, but The Un-Americans retained after interference from Test. At No Mercy, Booker and Goldust battled Chris Jericho and Christian for the tag titles, but they lost the match with Jericho using the title belt on Goldust.
He spent the rest of 2002 teaming with Goldust. They won the World Tag Team Championship at Armageddon in a Tag Team Elimination match defeating the teams of Christian and Chris Jericho, Lance Storm and William Regal, and the Dudley Boyz. They held the belts for about three weeks, when they lost them to Regal and Storm. Booker and Goldust lost the rematch and decided to go their separate ways. The gimmick for Booker and Goldust was Goldust being a strange, yet dependable ally who Booker eventually warmed up to after initial skepticism. By 2003, however, Booker T's popularity had soared and he amicably separated from Goldust, at Goldust's request, in order to pursue the World Heavyweight Championship. In February 2003, he eliminated The Rock to win a battle royal for the number one contendership, granting him a title shot at WrestleMania XIX.
Booker targeted Evolution after Batista and Randy Orton attacked Booker's former partner, Goldust. Several weeks before WrestleMania, the incumbent champion and Evolution's leader, Triple H, cut a controversial promo on Booker T. Triple H downplayed Booker T's WCW success, pointing out that the WCW Championship had been held by non-wrestlers like Vince Russo and actor David Arquette calling WCW and its title "a joke". He said that "people like" Booker T would never win world championships in WWE. This promo is also often interpreted as racist as Triple H also made reference to Booker T's "nappy" hair and comments implying that Booker T was just in WWE to dance and entertain for "people like" Triple H. In the WrestleMania XIX press conference Michael Cole asked Triple H as to whether he had deliberately cut a racist promo, Triple H claimed this was not the case and that he was just referring to Booker's criminal past. A week later, Booker attacked Triple H in the bathroom, laying him out. However, Booker T lost to Triple H at WrestleMania XIX which has added to the infamy of the promo and feud, as by traditional wrestling booking standards, he should have beaten Triple H. For several weeks, he teamed with Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash in a feud against Triple H, Ric Flair, and Chris Jericho. At Backlash, Booker's team lost when Triple H pinned Nash after a sledgehammer shot.
Afterward, Booker set his sights on the Intercontinental Championship. After losing a battle royal for the title at Judgment Day, Booker feuded with the champion Christian. After a few matches, Booker defeated him to become the new champion. About a month later, because of a nagging back injury, Booker lost the Intercontinental title back to Christian at an untelevised house show. Booker, meanwhile, was out of action until September.
SmackDown!; United States Champion (2003–2004)
When Booker returned in 2003, he announced he would be on Team Austin at the Survivor Series which would determine if Eric Bischoff or Steve Austin would be the General Manager of Raw. Booker's team lost the match, so Austin lost his position as Co-General Manager of Raw. Booker then entered a feud with Mark Henry, the man who eliminated him in the Survivor Series match. Booker defeated Henry at Armageddon.
On the February 16, 2004 edition of Raw, Booker T and Rob Van Dam defeated Ric Flair and Batista for the World Tag Team Championship. Booker and Van Dam held the titles for a month, even defending the belts at WrestleMania XX in a 4 Corners tag team match. They lost the belts eight days later on Raw back to Flair and Batista.
On March 23, 2004 he was "traded" (along with the Dudley Boyz) to the SmackDown! brand in exchange for Triple H, but as part of a new storyline, he appeared unhappy with the move. Later on, Booker T bragged about how he was the biggest star on SmackDown! and turned heel when he began to feud with The Undertaker. Booker tried to utilize voodoo magic in order to try and overcome his "supernatural" foe; however, it did nothing to prevent him from losing to the Undertaker at Judgment Day.
In mid-2004, Booker T set his sights on the United States Championship along with its champion, John Cena. After Cena got on the bad side of General Manager Kurt Angle, he did his best to get the title away from Cena. Cena successfully defended the title at The Great American Bash in a four-way elimination match against Booker, René Duprée, and Rob Van Dam. After General Manager Kurt Angle stripped Cena of his title, Booker took advantage of the situation and won an eight-man elimination match to become United States Champion. Booker and Cena participated in a best-of-five series of matches for the United States Championship. It culminated at No Mercy, where Cena won the title.
Pursuit of the WWE Championship (2004–2006)
On October 21, SmackDown! General Manager Theodore Long placed Booker in a six-man tag team match with Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio against John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL), René Duprée, and Kenzo Suzuki. JBL expected Booker to betray his partners, but instead Booker pinned him, thus turning face again. Booker T faced JBL for the WWE Championship at the Survivor Series on November 14, but lost after he was hit in the head with the championship belt. The next night, Booker T demanded a rematch, citing Orlando Jordan's interference. He was then joined by Eddie Guerrero and The Undertaker who also wanted a shot at JBL's title, prompting Theodore Long to make a Fatal Four Way match for the WWE Championship at Armageddon. Once again, Booker failed to win the title, as JBL retained it.
He then briefly teamed with Eddie Guerrero and feuded with Heidenreich.Booker won a 30-Man Battle Royal dark match at WrestleMania 21 last eliminating Raw's Viscera and "Masterpiece" Chris Masters. Subsequently, Booker was part of the tournament to name a new number one contender and made it to the Final Four. After Kurt Angle eliminated Booker, he returned the favor, costing Angle the match against JBL. The storyline then turned to a sexual nature, as Angle began stalking Booker's new wife, Sharmell. Booker defeated Angle at Judgment Day. On the May 26 edition of SmackDown!, Booker participated in a "Winners Choice" Battle Royal, with the winner choosing his opponent for the next week. Kurt Angle won and wanted to wrestle Sharmell. Booker protested, and the match was made into a Handicap match. Angle won by pinning Sharmell in a sexual position. The next week, Booker gained revenge on Angle, defeating him with a Scissors Kick.
On June 30, JBL defeated Christian, The Undertaker, Chris Benoit, and Booker T. During the match, Booker got specifically involved with Christian. Booker later defeated Christian at The Great American Bash. Booker T began teaming with Chris Benoit, eyeing the United States Championship again. Meanwhile, after a series of matches with MNM, Sharmell introduced some heel characteristics unknown to Booker. Benoit was allowed to pick his next challenger to see who would face him at No Mercy, so Booker, Christian, and Orlando Jordan tried to impress Benoit by winning matches. He could not choose, so he made it a Fatal Four-way for No Mercy, where Benoit successfully defended his title. On the October 21 edition of SmackDown!, Booker T defeated Benoit for the United States Championship, due to an unseen assist from the evil Sharmell. Theodore Long later showed footage of Sharmell interfering in Booker's matches. Later, Booker and Sharmell went to apologize to Benoit and give him a rematch, but instead, he attacked Benoit, and busted him open with the U.S. title officially turning heel once again. Booker then boasted that he had been fully aware of what Sharmell had been doing and had been playing dumb to fool everyone.
On November 25, Booker T fought against Benoit for the United States Championship. The match ended when Benoit superplexed Booker and two referees made a three count on either competitor, claiming that their wrestler had won. Booker was stripped of the belt by Theodore Long, because of the confusion of who won since they pinned each other at the same time. Long decided to put Benoit and Booker against each other in a best of seven series, just as the two had in their WCW days. Booker took an early 3-0 lead. In a must win match during Armageddon, Benoit was able to defeat Booker T to bring the series to 3-1. At a house show on December 2, however, Booker was injured, and he did not wrestle again until after the "Best of Seven" series with Benoit was completed. Booker was scheduled to face Benoit in Match 5 of the Best of Seven Series at the SmackDown! tapings the following night. At the beginning of the show, General Manager Theodore Long said that Booker would have to forfeit. Both Booker and Benoit protested, with Benoit not wanting a cheap victory. Booker managed to persuade Long to allow him to choose a stand-in for the matches. Booker selected Randy Orton, over an unhappy Orlando Jordan, as his stand-in. Benoit was able to beat Orton in two matches. Orton, however, was able to defeat Benoit in the final match to win the series and the title for Booker T, who held the title until No Way Out where Benoit won it back.
After losing the title, Booker was involved in a feud with The Boogeyman, who continually scared Booker and Sharmell over the next few weeks. The feud culminated in a match at WrestleMania 22 on April 2, where both Booker and Sharmell lost to the Boogeyman in a handicap match. The feud came to an end on the April 7 edition of SmackDown! where it was announced that Booker and his wife had taken out a restraining order on the Boogeyman.
King Booker and World Heavyweight Champion (2006–2007)
Booker next entered the King of the Ring tournament on SmackDown!, advancing through to the finals due to a bye as his semi-final opponent, Kurt Angle, was unable to wrestle. The finals were held at Judgment Day where Booker defeated Bobby Lashley. Upon winning the King of the Ring tournament, Booker T changed his ring name to King Booker. Under this name, he went on to form "King Booker's Court", which included Queen Sharmell, William Regal, and Finlay. Over time, King Booker began to act as if he were a real king of "The SmackDown! Kingdom", including mannerisms and appearance of a typical English-style king, with the members of his court being real citizens of England and Northern Ireland. His new persona included wearing a crown and speaking in a faux British accent, thus referring to himself as "Book-ah". This was intentionally broken whenever he was riled up, which always drove him to making a tirade in the former Booker T style. King Booker even went as far as having Lashley kiss his "royal" feet. As a result, Lashley defeated King Booker in a steel cage match to retain the United States title.
King Booker won a #1 Contenders battle royal to win a World title shot at The Great American Bash. Booker won the World Heavyweight Championship from Rey Mysterio at the event, after Chavo Guerrero hit Mysterio with a steel chair. This win caused him to proclaim himself as the "King of the World".
In spite of the break-up of his Court, King Booker defeated Batista on the October 20 edition on SmackDown, due to interference from WWE Champion John Cena and then ECW World Champion Big Show. At Cyber Sunday, King Booker retained his World Heavyweight Championship after Kevin Federline interfered and hit John Cena with the World title belt. King Booker became the "Champion of Champions" in a match that marked the first time in which the World Champions from Raw, SmackDown, and ECW fought against each other. Booker lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Batista on November 26 at Survivor Series. After losing the World title, Booker then feuded alongside former royal court member Finlay against Batista and John Cena, which led up to Armageddon where they lost. While competing in the Royal Rumble match, Booker was eliminated by Kane. A frustrated Booker then returned to the ring illegally and eliminated Kane. This started a short feud between the two resulting in a match at No Way Out, which Kane won. King Booker then won a Money in the Bank qualifying match, defeating Kane (with assistance from The Great Khali) and earned himself a spot in the match at WrestleMania 23. At WrestleMania, Matt Hardy set up Sharmell for a Twist of Fate during the Money in the Bank match with the briefcase in King Booker's grasp - thus forcing him to choose between a guaranteed title shot and his wife. He chose to defend his Queen and lost the match. On the April 6 edition of SmackDown!, Booker attempted to take revenge. However, he lost the match against Matt Hardy, and Sharmell declared her disappointment in him and slapped him. In an attempt to impress his Queen, King Booker then attacked The Undertaker but was Tombstoned on an announce table. Booker was then taken off television to deal with a knee injury.
On the June 11 edition of Raw, King Booker (along with Queen Sharmell) was drafted from SmackDown! to Raw as part of the WWE Draft. On July 16, King Booker came to the ring using Triple H's theme music "The King of Kings", even using his video. King Booker then declared that neither Triple H nor Jerry Lawler could be known as "The King". Booker then began a feud with Lawler, defeating him on the August 6 edition of Raw where the loser had to crown the winner the next week. When the time came, Lawler refused, declaring that Triple H was still a king and announcing that King Booker would battle Triple H at SummerSlam. Booker then attacked Lawler, throwing him into the ring post and hitting him with a TV monitor. At SummerSlam, Booker lost to the returning Triple H. On the August 27 edition of Raw, Booker had his last match in the WWE against WWE Champion John Cena in a non-title match which he lost by disqualification when Randy Orton interfered.
In August, he was linked to Signature Pharmacy, a company thought to be distributing performance-enhancing drugs. He was then suspended by WWE for violating its Wellness Policy. He denied using any drugs and being a customer of Signature Pharmacy. In October 2007, Booker T requested his and Sharmell's release from their WWE contracts, which the WWE granted.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
Feuding with Robert Roode (2007–2008)
At the Genesis pay-per-view on November 11, 2007, Huffman debuted in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) as Sting's mystery partner in a tag team match against Kurt Angle and Kevin Nash for the World Heavyweight Championship, reverting to his Booker T character. His wife, Sharmell also debuted, interfering in the match on Booker and Sting's behalf when Karen Angle interfered on behalf of Kurt Angle and Nash.
On the November 29 edition of Impact!, Booker said he came to TNA to test his skills against the young talent, take TNA to a higher level, and win the World Heavyweight Championship. Robert Roode came to the ring and challenged Booker to a match, claiming he has been pushed down by washed-up wrestlers and has-beens. Booker won his Impact! debut match, but afterwards, Christian Cage and Robert Roode beat down Booker until Kaz made the save. At Turning Point, Booker and Kaz defeated Roode and Cage when Booker pinned Cage. Booker and Sharmell won a mixed tag team match against Robert Roode and Ms. Brooks at Final Resolution. After the match, Roode punched Sharmell in the face, leading to a match at Against All Odds. An interesting side note about the punch is that while it was intended to be a work, Roode had in fact made contact with Sharmell during the punch, dislocating her jaw and causing her to be off TV for a few weeks, therefore making it into a shoot. The rivalry, however, went ahead as planned where Booker and Roode wrestled to a double-count out at Against All Odds, which saw them brawl to the parking lot. Roode defeated Booker in strap match at Destination X after hitting Booker with a pair of handcuffs. In a special live edition of Impact!, Booker T and Robert Roode had another outing, this time with the fans being able to vote on the stipulation of the match. At Booker's request during a pre-match promo, the match became a First Blood Match, beating the Last Man Standing and I Quit stipulations. Booker T would go on to win the match-up. At Lockdown, Booker T and Sharmell defeated Robert Roode and Payton Banks after Sharmell pinned Banks with a roll-up.
The Main Event Mafia (2008–2009)
Booker T turned heel for the first time in TNA at Sacrifice by attacking Christian Cage and Rhino from behind with a steel chair. This came about as a result of losing a tag team match up against Christian Cage and Rhino, with them furthering themselves in the Deuces Wild Tag Team Tournament. Booker then competed in the King of the Mountain match for the World Heavyweight Championship at Slammiversary. He was seconds away from winning the match, when Kevin Nash stopped him and performed a Jackknife Powerbomb; Samoa Joe would later go on to win the match. On the next Impact!, Booker challenged Joe to a title match at Victory Road, which Joe would later accept. Also around this time he reverted to a gimmick similar to his King Booker gimmick albeit while proclaiming himself a supposed king of Africa. The match at Victory Road ended in a draw after Sharmell replaced the referee and counted after the match was already over. At Hard Justice, Samoa Joe defeated Booker after a guitar shot, thus reclaiming physical possession of the title belt, which Booker had kept after Victory Road. Later he introduced the TNA Legends Championship and became the first official champion and defended it on numerous occasions before losing it to A.J. Styles.
Booker has since formed the Mafia's resident tag team with Scott Steiner, the two setting their sights on the TNA World Tag Team Championship. At Victory Road, Steiner and Booker defeated Beer Money, Inc. to win the World Tag Team Championship. Then at Hard Justice, Booker T and Steiner retained the World Tag Team Championship against Team 3D. Prior to No Surrender, Booker and Steiner and British Invasion won a match to gain the man advantage at No Surrender's Lethal Lockdown match against Team 3D and Beer Money, Inc. Even with the man advantage, Booker T and Scott Steiner along with British Invasion lost to Team 3D and Beer Money Inc. at No Surrender when James Storm of Beer Money, Inc. pinned Doug Williams of The British Invasion. At Bound for Glory Booker and Steiner lost the TNA World Tag Team Titles to the British Invasion in a four way Full Metal Mayhem Tag Team match, which also included Team 3D and Beer Money; during the match Booker was taken out on a stretcher. Afterwards it was reported that the PPV had been Booker's final appearance with the company, and his and Sharmell's profiles were removed from the official TNA roster. On May 21, 2010, Booker T made a one night return to TNA at a live event in Lake Charles, Louisiana, replacing A.J. Styles, who was unable to attend the event due to travel issues, and wrestling Rob Van Dam for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in a losing effort.
Puerto Rico and Mexico (2009–2010)
Booker T debuted in the International Wrestling Association on Histeria Boricua, a special event held on January 6, 2009. There he was booked against Carlos "Chicano" Cotto, the incumbent IWA Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. The match was won by Cotto, who reversed a "Book End" attempt and scored a pinfall victory. On September 16, 2010, Booker T made his debut for Mexican promotion Perros del Mal. In the main event of the evening he teamed up with Dr. Wagner, Jr. and El Mesías, who represented rival promotion Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA), against El Hijo del Perro Aguayo, Damián 666 and Halloween. After Aguayo had pinned El Mesías, Booker turned on Wagner, unmasked him and joined Perros del Mal.
Return to World Wrestling Entertainment and Face Turn (2011)
On January 30, 2011, Booker T (along with Kevin Nash) returned to WWE as a face to take part in the Royal Rumble. Booker entered the match at number 21 and was eliminated by Mason Ryan. At the February 1 tapings of the February 4 episode of SmackDown!, Huffman debuted as the show's new color commentator, working beside Josh Mathews and Michael Cole. He was also revealed to be a coach in the returning Tough Enough competition.
After Tough Enough ended, Booker would spend months peacefully talking on Commentary (aside from Michael Cole's constant harsh words) Booker would "accidentally" start a feud with "Dashing Again" Cody Rhodes after Booker apparently insulted Cody. And would have his second match since returning to the company in a draw after Cody attacked Booker. He would have his second Official match since returning at TLC 2011, losing to Rhodes after two attacks. Although Booker would fight well, he would lose after two Beautiful Disasters. Booker would beat Cody the next Friday he would challenge Cody to a rematch for the Intercontinental Title the following week which Rhodes accepted. The following week, Booker lost to Cody after a failed Book End into a Cross Rhodes. Following this, Booker would go back to commentary. At WWE Tribute to the Troops, Booker once again attacked Rhodes during a match with Daniel Bryan, costing Rhodes the match. On the December 23 episode of SmackDown, Booker distracted Cody Rhodes during a match with Zack Ryder by singing a parody of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer about Rhodes which cost Rhodes the match. On the December 26 episode of Raw, Booker defeated Rhodes in a non-title match. On the January 6, 2012 episode of SmackDown, Booker challenged Rhodes a second time for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, but once again failed to win the title. Booker T along with fellow commentators Michael Cole and Jerry "The King" Lawler all participated in the 2012 Royal Rumble.
On the March 26 episode of Raw, Booker T saved Teddy Long from an attempted attack by Mark Henry, Thus becoming the sixth and final member of Team teddy for WrestleMania XXVIII. At WrestleMania XXVIII, Team Johnny defeated Team Teddy. On the July 9 episode of Raw, Jerry Lawler won by pinfall in a WrestleMania XXVII rematch, the Anonymous Raw General Manager reversed the decision and disqualified Lawler, Booker T interfered in the match by grabbing Michael Cole and throwing him back into the ring and Cole won by disqualification.
Smackdown General Manager, WWE Hall of Fame Induction (2012-2013)
On July 31, it was announced on WWE.com that Booker T was named the new General Manager of SmackDown by Vince McMahon at the taping of Friday Night SmackDown. Booker would quickly add Eve Torres and Teddy Long to his staff as his assistant and senior advisor. In January 2013, he would return full-time to the commentary desk, serving as color commentator on Saturday Morning Slam (while still serving as SmackDown GM). It was announced on the March 18, 2013 episode of Raw, that Booker would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He was inducted by his brother, Stevie Ray. On the April 19 episode of SmackDown, he became angry with Teddy Long for making a match yet again having done this in the past few weeks only for Big Show to arrive and thank Teddy for doing a better job than Booker further infuriating him. On the April 22 episode of Raw, he again ridiculed Teddy for making a match for the World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules, retaliating by making it a triple threat match.
Color commentator (2015–2016, 2017–2018)
On January 5, 2015, Booker T would make his return at the announce table of Raw, along with Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton (April 6, 2015) until June 1, 2015. On September 10, 2015, Booker made his return at the announce table of SmackDown, alongside Cole (December 22, 2015), Jerry Lawler and Rich Brennan until December 31, 2015, when he left to become the analyst of Raw Pre-Show. After the Superstar Shake-up in April, Booker T would make his return once again at the announce table of Raw alongside Michael Cole and Corey Graves as a heel until Royal Rumble 2018, when David Otunga was filming the movie Katrina. On April 23, 2018 and May 14, 2018 episode of Raw, Booker T returns to the commentary desk to fill in for Jonathan Coachman.
Booker was born the youngest of eight children, in Houston's tough South Park neighborhood. By the time Booker was fourteen, both of his parents had died, and his brother Lane "Stevie Ray" Huffman stepped in to raise him and his siblings. In high school, Booker Huffman was a drum major.
Booker married his first wife Levestia on February 21, 1996. Booker presented her to the WCW Monday Nitro crowd the night after his WCW Championship title win at WCW Bash at the Beach 2000. Levestia was also used to further the feud between himself and Jeff Jarrett when Jarrett hit her in the head with a guitar. However, they divorced on May 8, 2001.
Booker has a son from a previous relationship, Brandon, with whom he has a strained relationship due to his time spent on the road. Booker married his girlfriend of five years, Sharmell Sullivan, in February 2005. The couple welcomed their twins, a boy and a girl, on August 5, 2010. Booker and his brother Lane opened a wrestling school in Houston in 2005.
Huffman had backstage problems in 2006 at a SummerSlam pay-per-view commercial shoot. It was reported on WWE.com that Huffman got into a real life fistfight with Dave Batista. The fight was believed to stem from the idea that Batista considered himself to be better than the rest of the roster due to his main event status and relatively quick climb to achieve it. It is believed that Batista provoked the fight, though Huffman appeared to get the upper hand until they were pulled apart by various other superstars. According to sources backstage, both men were left bloodied and bruised. Huffman swore revenge, but the two seemingly put it behind them.
Booker is a convicted felon who spent nineteen months in prison after pleading guilty to armed robberies at Wendy's restaurants in Houston. Booker and his partners wore Wendy's uniforms during the holdups since they had been working there for 2½ years. Because of the gunmen's uniforms and familiarity with the fast food chain's operations, police suspected the robberies were inside jobs—and it didn't take long before Huffman and three other men were found. Booker pleaded guilty in December 1987 to two aggravated robbery counts and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was released in July 1989 after serving about one-third of that term, and was placed on parole until April 1992.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- 110th Street Slam (High-impact delayed spinebuster)
- Forearm smash, sometimes from the top rope
- Harlem Hangover (WCW) / Houston Hangover (WWF/E) (Diving somersault leg drop)
- Arm twist followed by a hook kick
- Harlem Sidekick / Houston Sidekick (Jumping superkick)
- Heat Seeeker (Missile dropkick)
- Jumping high-angle hook kick to an oncoming opponent
- Spinning Crescent kick
- Spinning wheel kick
- Repeated Knee Strikes to the head from a double collar tie clinch
- Running knee drop, with theatrics
- Russian legsweep
- Sidewalk Slam
- Sunset flip out of the corner, as a counter to an oncoming opponent
- Tag teams and stables
- Wrestlers trained
* Entrance Themes
- "Rap Sheet" by Rene De Wael and Didier Leglise (WCW,WWE,AAA; 1993-2006, 2011-present)
- "Rockhouse" by Frank Shelley (WWE; used while part of the NWO; 2002)
- "Dead White Guys" by Joseph Saba and Stewart Winter (WWE; 2006-2007, 2018; as King Booker)
- "Sucka" by Dale Oliver (TNA; 2007-2009)
- "Main Event Mafia" by Dale Oliver (TNA; used while part of the Main Event Mafia)
Championships and accomplishments
- Southern Championship Wrestling Florida
- SCW Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship
- Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
- World Championship Wrestling
- World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
- SmackDown General Manager
- World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- WCW World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Test
- WWE United States Championship (3 times)
- WWE Intercontinental Championship (1 time)
- WWF/E Hardcore Championship (2 times)
- World Tag Team Championship (3 times) - with Test (1), Goldust (1) and Rob Van Dam (1)
- King of the Ring (2006)
- 16th WWE Triple Crown Champion
- 9th WWE Grand Slam Champion
- WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2013 & 2019)