Booker T has responded strongly to recent comments from former WWE Raw announcer Jimmy Smith, who was recently let go by the company.
The career of Booker T in pro wrestling has spanned three decades with the two-time WWE Hall of Famer winning six World Titles in his career while also forming the legendary tag team Harlem Heat with his brother Stevie Ray. Booker also has a wrestling school called Reality of Wrestling in the Houston area.
Following his in-ring career, Booker has done a variety of jobs with WWE including an announcer. This past Tuesday on the October 11th edition of NXT, Booker T started his job as the analyst/color commentator on the show with Vic Joseph handling play-by-play duties.
Former WWE Raw lead announcer Jimmy Smith was let go earlier in October because the company wanted to go in another direction. During his MMA show on Sirius XM Radio, Smith talked about how he “played a commentator” calling “fake fights” which are comments that didn’t sell with Booker T. Here’s what Smith said.
“First off, let me explain that I wasn’t a commentator in the WWE. I was not. I played a commentator on television. And that’s not an insult. I’m not saying it wasn’t difficult or not, it was very difficult. But it’s like, you’re a character pretending to commentate fake fights…”
On a recent edition of Booker T’s Hall of Fame podcast with Brad Gilmore, the master of the Spinarooni reacted to what Smith said.
“Jimmy Smith has been making a few comments. So I definitely want to lean into that right there. I like Jimmy Smith first of all. I thought he was a good dude. I thought he did a good job especially picking it up and being able to go out there and deliver, being a guy who wasn’t from the wrestling business. But when I see his comments after leaving WWE, it just kind of disturbs me as far as letting guys like a Jimmy Smith into our business ever again because he came in to get paid to do a job, but then to leave the job and to want to disparage it is beyond me.”
Booker especially didn’t like that Smith talked about “fake wrestling” after he was let go by WWE noting that it upset him.
“Jimmy Smith said he wasn’t paid to be a commentator, he was paid to play one on TV, which is true. But is that something you got to go out on your show and talk about? Is that something that people really need to know about? He wasn’t paid to commentate fights. He was paid to commentate fake wrestling matches. You know, when I hear people talk like that after they’ve gotten paid from this business, I think you should never let a guy like Jimmy Smith in the wrestling business or anyone like him ever again in our business because that’s exactly what they think of us. They think we’re just a bunch of fake guys and we’re out there just playing the game. I bet you any kind of money that check cashed and the dollars were real. I bet you that. I bet you that, and that’s the only thing that matters at the end of the day that you get paid well. Did they slight you on your money? Did anyone treat you differently or badly or in any way or anything like that?”
“It just makes me wonder what kind of person you’re really dealing with sometimes, because I always thought Jimmy Smith was a pretty cool guy. But to hear that kind of talk, like I say, it bothers me because I love this business. I love what it has done for me and my family, and I love to watch these young guys get a chance to go out there and fulfill that dream that they probably had since they were little bitty kids, and that dream wasn’t to go out and be fake wrestler or anything like that. That dream was to go out there and perform in front of the world, in front of the greatest fans that ever lived, the WWE Universe. So it pisses me off a little bit hearing and stuff like that.”
Lastly, Booker said that it showed the kind of character that Smith has by disparaging the pro wrestling business that way.
“It just shows me the character more than anything. Do I have a problem with Jimmy Smith? Am I gonna run up on him or anything? No, but like I said, it’s just a shame more than anything because I thought Jimmy Smith was bigger than that more so than anything.”
Smith was replaced on Raw commentary for the October 10th episode with Kevin Patrick on play-by-play joined by Corey Graves.
h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription