The phrase "Booker T and his Red Bulls" takes us on an unexpected journey. For this tale, it’s one not far into the past about a time when two wrestlers, new to WWE, learned the ins and outs of the system through trial, and in this case, error.
Booker T and His Red Bulls – A Tale of Etiquette
Locker rooms shared by professional wrestlers are founded on the concept of locker room leaders and having respect for the veterans of the business who paved the way. As with any career, you pay your dues, earn your stripes, and earn respect by being a hard worker and a considerate, reliable individual.
If you ask a veteran to watch your match that night, you listen to their advice and use it to better yourself.
Never forget to shake hands with everyone you encounter backstage.
Be thoughtful and develop positive relationships with backstage personnel and crew members on that same road with you each week.
And with each show, there’s catering set out for the crew. The same old song and dance for each show, you fill up your plate with protein, carbs, and the occasional dessert.
If there’s a community ice bucket filled with bottles of water and Gatorade, it’s likely encouraged that you take one. But if you see two cans of ice-cold Red Bull accompanying the rest, do not even think about touching them!
Booker T reserved a section of his autobiography, "My Rise To Wrestling Royalty," to discuss how the short-lived tag team The Gymini (consisting of Mike and Todd Shane) drank those two cans because they thought it was a community cooler for the locker room.
Booker T has a legendary resume, which includes being a five-time (five-time!) WCW Champion, a WWE Hall Of Famer, and he continues to pass on his knowledge to the next generation with his Texas-based promotion, Reality of Wrestling.
Whether he’s been backstage as a competitor or, in recent years, on the commentary team, anyone who likes their job and hopes to stay with the company knows to be respectful of the seasoned veterans.
When traveling from town to town, the roster meets at the arena before that night’s show. Sometimes it’s a more casual and laid-back live event, while sometimes, it’s a grueling day of television. Imagine that you made it through a fifty, sixty-hour workweek, and you’re looking forward to a moment of comfort in those last few drinks in the fridge or the leftovers that you were set on eating, but you find them gone because someone consumed them. You would be rightfully fuming.
Booker T’s Pre-Show Ritual
"Many wrestlers have pre-show rituals they do to help them focus on the match ahead," Booker T explains. "Although it was just two Red Bulls, for me, they represented two important steps in preparing to head out to the ring."
They were SmackDown’s newest tag team at the time. They still had some things to learn about handling oneself in a backstage environment alongside Booker T and other legends, including Kurt Angle and The Undertaker.
"I was holding back my anger as much as possible," Booker T recalls, "but looked at Mike’s brother [Todd], who was visibly shaken. ‘That cooler is where I store my Red Bulls. Everybody in the locker room knows that. Now I don’t have any cans to get ready for the match. I’m going to cut you some slack since you’re new. But now you know, so stay out of that cooler!’"
Despite being Simon Dean’s muscle and brick powerhouses on television, the twins displayed a sincere showing of remorse after taking Booker T’s Red Bulls.
"They both apologized profusely. The very next show on the road, the twins handed me a pack of Red Bulls and apologized again, and I let them off the hook."
A Lesson Learned
They say you can’t change what you did, but you can learn from it, and you can respond to what you did wrong by choosing how to handle the situation directly after. Though their stint in the WWE was short-lived, The Shane brothers handled themselves well in this instance.
Being on the road three hundred days a year, you develop a certain bond. Trust and respect can take years to earn and can vanish just like that if you’re not wise about what you do. If you don’t show respect, you may be shown the door.
The world of social media and podcasting has opened eyes and ears to more discussions and stories regarding Booker T and other legendary wrestlers. MVP and Ken Anderson have discussed this on their respective podcasts. Shane "Hurricane" Helms has said on more than one occasion on Twitter not to drink Booker’s Red Bulls if you know what’s good for you. Even the Undertaker himself has referenced the cold, refreshing cans of wing-delivering energy. So if you happen to be backstage as an extra or in any capacity and Booker T happens to be backstage that night, do NOT drink his Red Bulls!
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