In the last 18 months or so of WCW’s existence, there wasn’t much to cheer about. The company had become such a mess…man. Despite the fact I’ve written a book about it (TWICE – pick up the new version here!), when I start writing an induction like this, even I, RD Reynolds, master of matter wrestling disasters, am still taken aback.
Those last 18 months we hard. But there were a few things you could count on, one of which was Booker T. He was just coming into his prime, and he was great in the ring, always fun to watch. Yeah, Booker T was the man. Booker T…
There was a period we weren’t allowed to call him Booker T. We just had to call him “Booker”. Why?
That’s our subject today!
It started out when he and his brother, Stevie Ray, were having issues in their tag team, Harlem Heat.
The storyline was that Stevie felt that Booker had lost touched with his homies in the hood.
Here at Souled Out 2000 we get footage of Stevie Ray hanging out in said hood, hugging people, shaking hands with the homeless, and regaling us with stories of living in cardboard boxes. Not sure it was the intent, but Stevie sure came off like the good guy here. Not sure why you’d have Stevie, who’d been a heel for years, as the sympathetic character, but as you’ll soon learn, that’s the least of our concerns.
Here he is at Old Mr. Harris’ Barbershop. You know you’re in the hood when there ain’t no fancy swirly pole – heck, they’re lucky to even have a painted one.
Stevie explains that Booker is too good for the brothers here. Don’t email me for being non-PC; that was what the man said. Better than when his brother called the Hulkster the n-word, I guess.
Finally, it’s time for the brothers to square off, and Booker heads to the ring…
Oh man, Midnight.
I had completely forgotten about MIDNIGHT.
Midnight was one of several female bodybuilders WCW brought in to be their version of Chyna. See also Asya. The difference was this girl was actually pretty athletic, threw a decent drop kick, leap frog, that kinda thing. I mean, she wasn’t the next coming of Rey Mysterio or anything, but she was better than, say, Stevie Ray. Maybe that’s why she was a source of friction between the two brothers.
She’d show up when the lights went out and a bell sounded. Sound familiar?
So the boys have a fight (read: Booker bounces around like a ping pong ball for his brother), which is only to be interrupted by…
…a man who appears to have eaten Ahmed Johnson, wiped his greasy hands on his massive belly, then went back up to the buffet to eat Ahmed Johnson again. The newly dubbed “Big T” joins up with Stevie Ray to become Harlem Heat…2000!
As an aside…oh how I loved the late 90’s. We got all kinds of things brought back and tagged with the 2000 logo. In fact, arguably my favorite video game ever was a 2000 game: Tempest 2000. Yes, on the Atari Jaguar of all things. That system may have sucked, but that game is absolutely amazing. It is certainly the greatest shooter I’ve ever played..
Back to WCW, yeah, we get Harlem Heat 2000. You know what would have been great? If Russo had brought in Erik Watts and Chad Fortune as Tekno Team 2000 2000. You know, so I’d have had something else to induct.
But Stevie Ray and Ahmed Johnson weren’t alone, as they also brought along a manager…or should I say, an attorney.
Why yes, that would in fact be the former Clarence Mason of the WWF, rechristened “J. Biggs” in WCW. A legit attorney, he somehow decided that plying his trade in the pro wrestling business was the best way to keep his docket full. And he was about to file his biggest, and most ridiculous, lawsuit ever.
As Booker T was coming to the ring on Nitro, suddenly his music was cut off. Book looked about confused, and Mr. Biggs came out on stage to clarify the situation, explaining that the music he had been using was owned by “Harlem Heat, Inc.”, and as he was no longer a part of said business entity, he could no longer use that as his entrance theme. In a show of solidarity, however, HH Inc. had gotten Booker new music, a pop instrumental which Biggs claimed was “meaningless music.” Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never listened to the Harlem Heat theme and thought about any deep meaning.
Still, we should all give mad props to Stevie Ray raising the roof while it played.
Which was better than what Big T did.
But the music was just the beginning of poor Booker’s legal issues. I could write something here trying to explain this next part, but honestly, the audio you will hear upon clicking this hyperlink will tell the story far better than I ever could.
(It also gives me the opportunity to use the term “hyperlink”, and if there’s one thing I love more than horrible wrestling, it’s horrible antiquated computer nomenclature.)
You heard correctly (assuming you did in fact click the HYPERLINK) – Booker T could no longer be called Booker T because somehow Harlem Heat owned the letter T.
Let me repeat that:
HARLEM HEAT OWNED THE LETTER T.
Before I say more, I wonder if Mr. Biggs and his clientele considered the worldwide ramifications. I mean, right off the top of my head, if you lived in Tacoma, you now live in Acoma.
Bad joke out of the way, this is quite possibly the single most idiotic bit of dialogue I have ever heard in a wrestling program.
And consider the ground THAT covers.
The stupidity continues as Biggs sends Stevie and Big T away, saying he doesn’t need them, and then heads down to the ring to confront Booker (no longer T) by his lonesome. And the boys don’t argue – they just saunter backstage. I’d make some snide remark like “maybe catering closed in the second hour and Ahmed didn’t want to miss it”, but hey, I’ve had weight issues myself in the past and thus I am above such things.
Anyway, it winds up as you’d expect. You’d think a lawyer would be smarter than this.
This being WCW, the insanity continues as Biggs somehow gets Booker arrested for having Harlem Heat gear in his bag the following Nitro. This would be “contraband.” I somehow doubt he’d actually be arrested for that, but whatever.
This all leads to Superbrawl, where “ownership of the Harlem Heat franchise” was on the line as Big T battled Book. More importantly than that, however, may be the fact that an atomic drop, wherein a knee hits the anal area, is now cause for a neck brace. Not even sure where to start with that, so let’s just move on, namely to Booker’s new music, which has morphed from 80s pop to a Leave it To Beaver knockoff.
So the two have a horrible match, as poor Ahmed can barely move at this point. Booker hits something resembling a missile dropkick, goes for the cover, and the lights go out. In the past this was the cue for Midnight to show up…
…and sure enough she does.
Except she’s gained 350 pounds.
And a penis.
Seriously, it’s some guy we’ve never, ever seen before! DOUBLE YAY!
I’d note that perhaps bringing in a no name would help WCW because, well, you wouldn’t have to pay them much, but this is the same company that brought in an unknown named Swoll and paid him $400,000 a year, so I’m not holding out any real hope here.
Anyway, Booker loses and thus the bad guys get the name and the letter T. Biggs notes that Booker couldn’t defeat the “scales of justice”, and then points to Stevie (300!), Big (350!!!), and CASSIUS (450!!!!!). Surely doomsday not only for Booker, but ALL of WCW!
Of course not.
They lasted approximately two months before disbanding. Ahmed, Clarence Mason, and Cassius all vanished, and Stevie was rarely seen after that.
And Booker? He’d get his last letter back, of course. Music too. But not immediately. Instead, he hung out as plain ol’ Booker for a while before morphing into…
See, that was the thing when WCW was collapsing. You’d get something idiotic, and you’d wait for it come to an end, thinking things would then get better.
But they rarely did.
Speaking of…what should I write about next?