Booker T comments on diversity in AEW, picks 2021 wrestlers of the year

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR


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Booker T’s wrestlers of the year in 2021 were Roman Reigns for WWE and Bryan Danielson for AEW.

In an interview with Forbes, Booker T said that the body of work Reigns put together and the stories he told were unmatched by others. He said that Danielson’s compelling work in the ring set him apart from peers in AEW.

“My wrestler of the year was Roman Reigns,” Booker T said. “The reason I said Roman Reigns as Wrestler of the Year was just because his body of work and everything he had accomplished over this last 365 days really told compelling stories and what not. AEW Wrestler of the Year probably is going to be Bryan Danielson, just because of how compelling he’s been from a realistic perspective, coming into that company and really putting wrestling on the map and really compelling matches as well. He would be my AEW Wrestler of the Year.”

Booker T also took time to comment on criticism of AEW for the diversity on their roster.

“I’ve heard [concerns on diversity issues] about AEW, and me personally, it’s really hard for me to criticize a company that’s only been in existence for three years,” Booker T said. “One thing about this sport, just being real, it’s always been dominated—as far as wrestling talent goes—by white guys. White girls. I always have this argument with people as far as when I was doing it. I was one of the few Black guys who was in this sport and doing it at a certain level. I kind of slipped on a banana peel and found professional wrestling. When I found it, I tried to open doors for the Big E’s and Bobby Lashley’s of the world. When you come from the neighborhood, especially back in the day, professional wrestling is the last form of entertainment as far as our way out. It’s gonna be football, it’s gonna be basketball, it’s gonna be rapping, it’s gonna be something other than professional wrestling. But when kids saw Booker T doing it, they thought “man, this might be the way out, so we’re gonna start gravitating toward professional wrestling.”

“AEW’s got Jade Cargill, you’ve got the Will Hobbs of the world. You’ve got Scorpio Sky. That’s very few in comparison to the roster, so you’ve got to give those guys a little bit of time to actually get what WWE has, and you’ve got to look at the time WWE took to actually get to where it is right now as well.”

Booker T is a former WCW World Champion and World Heavyweight Champion. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.


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