Booker T and his wife Sharmell Huffman are no strangers to the world of professionally wrestling, with runs in both WWE and WCW. These days both are still involved in the world of wrestling thanks to their wrestling school Reality of Wrestling in Texas City, Texas, and they are partnering with BE.WOKE.VOTE for a one of a kind drive-in wrestling event called Swing Vote. Swing Vote will be held on Saturday, October 10th at the Booker T. World Gym Arena at 8 PM, and the free event will have fans watching the action in the ring in their cars while listening to commentary over the radio and their smartphones from Booker T and Brad Gilmore, all in an effort to get people invested in utilizing their right to vote and making it count. ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Booker and Sharmell all about the event, why it's important to them, and even some WCW and WWE.
First we wanted to know why this event is so important to both Booker and Sharmell, and some of the myths they hope to dispel with events like this about voting in general.
"It's very important for me because Be Woke.Vote is very big on voter engagement and voter education," Huffman said. "And I find that oftentimes a lot of people don't understand the importance of voting. They might feel that their vote doesn't count, but it's really important to let people know that the only way their voice is going to be heard is if they vote people into office who share their same struggles, their same ideas, who have the same goals in mind. So if you don't vote, then you won't have anybody representing you who is fighting for what matters to you. And Be Woke.Vote has been in the community and trying to just get people engaged and get them to get out to the polls and vote all the way down the ticket. And also to vote for state and local elections as well."
"All of that is very important and we just want to partner with them because Reality of Wrestling is a family-friendly, fun event, so why not take that same energy that we get from our wrestling crowd, take that, educate them and have them keep that same energy all the way to election day," Huffman said.
Swing Vote and events like it are also hoping to inspire younger generations to get out to the polls. "As well as motivating young people," Booker said. "That's the one thing that we've been doing for the last 15 years with our wrestling school. And I have a platform that like that working with young people that, mostly young people need a cause and need something to rally behind, something to be motivated towards. And for myself, I'm a huge believer in young people. And we've been saying, respect your elders. I say, respect your young people because they are the future. No, seriously, that's something... How many times have you heard that said? Never. And young people right now, they are so smart. They are so knowledgeable, especially in the social media world that we living in. I think it's important for them to have their voice heard."
As for where the Swing Vote title came from, you can thank two perfectly named Reality of Wrestling stars for that inspiration.
"Well, we have a wrestler, Abel Andrew Jackson, and his finishing move is called the Swing Vote," Huffman said. "Abel Andrew Jackson is a politician, he's been on the campaign trail for 10 years now at Reality of Wrestling and his manager is Paula Tix. So like I said, wrestling is always fun. It's something that's fun, but we thought this was the perfect time to merge the two. I mean, since we already have the character, Abel Andrew Jackson and Paula Tix, then we can go ahead and promote the message. Come on, let's get involved in the political field. Let's go on and go out there and vote."
"And getting involved, that's very, very important for us," Booker said. "Because right now, in Texas, and not just in Texas, but around the world and United States, as far as how are you going to vote? Where are you going to vote? Can you vote? For us to be able to have a platform, a stage toward, hey, this is how you do it, this is the where you can go. Where there are not going to be any discrepancies. It is important for us just to motivate people to get out and vote, because this could be the most, I think it is the most important election in my 55 years, and I just want to see people live in harmony and in peace. If their voice isn't heard after November 3rd, they have nothing to complain about if they didn't go out there and vote and things aren't right for them."
For Booker and Sharmell, this is about people coming together and fighting for the world they want to live in, and one of the biggest ways you can make that happen is to vote.
"I mean, I work for a major company, but this is a personal view," Booker said. "This is something that I feel very, very passionate about, and my thing is just like what we're going through right now with Black Lives Matter, and White folks not understanding what Black folks go through. If they don't listen, they're not going to understand, and the same thing on the opposite side. If we don't listen to them, we're not going to understand. So coming together and being able to be under one roof and not having any issues with each other, it tells me one thing that we can live together, in peace and harmony. We're not going to always agree with each other, but we can respect each other, and I think that's a lot of what's missing more than anything is the respect, it's going out of the window. Everybody is for themselves, and no one is for the people, and I think that's what we got to get back to thinking about, the people and what they need."
"Yeah. I agree, wholeheartedly," Huffman said.
Swing Vote is just one facet of Reality of Wrestling, and while wrestling is in the name, the mission is much broader in scope than just making someone into a star in the squared circle.
"The wrestling the school of course, for me, it was something that I wanted to start just to give young people a half of a chance at getting into the business," Booker said. "But on the other hand, the wrestling school for me is not 100% about wrestling. Wrestling is the tool for me to actually be able to work with young people and guide them, aspire them to be the best they possibly can be in whatever that is. 9 times out of 10 it's probably not going to be professional wrestling, but if they can be positive, good citizens, pay their taxes, take care of their kids, I've done my job. You know, if they go on to be professional wrestlers and live that dream, like I did and go all around the world, I'm going to be the first one to support them as well as put a word in for them and say, you need to take a look at this kid right here."
"That's what Reality of Wrestling has been about since day one," Booker said. "It's been about making sure young people that want to be a part of something, man, this is it right here. It's all-inclusive. Nobody is excluded when they come into Reality of Wrestling."
"Absolutely. With Booker and I, and Reality of Wrestling, one of the most important things is us being able to mentor," Huffman said. "Mentor these young people and hopefully motivate them to do great things in life, but to just be good, positive, productive citizens, so that what they're giving to us. So it's not just a business for us, it's a family."
Booker T had an incredibly successful career in the squared circle, and while he didn't love every single aspect or moment equally throughout his career in WCW and WWE, he wouldn't change anything about the journey.
"Nah, man, honestly. Though, of course my debut in the WCW, that wasn't the greatest moment of my wrestling career, but I have another thing, you got to get your foot in the door before you can make any changes, and I knew once we got our foot in the door, my brother and I, I knew we were going to make a lot of changes, but I have not one regret about any parts of my career in WCW, or WWE," Booker said. "Just because it's all been a job for me. It's all been about going to work, making that check, coming home, and taking care of my family, moving on to the next day. That's the way I grew up. I didn't grow up wanting to be a police officer or a fireman or anything like that. I just want to hopefully we had a roof over our head, food on the table the next day."
"That's the way I still think to this day, and I was a kid from South Park, Texas right here in Houston that had no aspirations or dreams or anything and found myself in the professional wrestling business," Booker said. "A place that I'd never dreamt of. But it was like déjà vu, like I had been there my whole life. I just wanted to be the best at it. And when I left the business and got out I wanted to be among the top name, ring, with the greatest wrestlers of all time, that's it. And I think I did that."0comments
You can check out the Swing Vote event live at the Booker T. World Gym Arena at 8 PM on Saturday, October 10th, and you can find out more about Reality of Wrestling right here.
Will you be attending the Swing Vote? Let us know in the comments and as always you can also talk all things wrestling with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!