Slam-uary is here
Last month's debut show for King Booker's Pro Wrestling Alliance was a smashing success, and SmackDown's King and his subjects will be invading the Pasadena, Texas Convention Center once again this week.
This Thursday night, Booker's PWA presents "Slam-uary 2007" at the Convention Center. The shows are an off-shoot of Booker's pro wrestling school in Houston, and the King hopes that this success is just a harbinger of things to come.
"This will be the second of eight shows we have scheduled at the Convention Center; we're trying to get on local television and bring wrestling back to Houston like it was when Paul Boesch was the promoter when I was a kid," Booker revealed.
The first show, December's Christmas Chaos, had over 1200 attendees, including the most important member of the community.
"The Mayor of Pasadena came out and gave us his blessing to bring wrestling back to the city, which was awesome," Booker said. "And for the record, we sold 1600 tickets but there was a really bad rainstorm. Before long, we'll sell out on a monthly basis and give the fans a great show," he added.
The PWA shows give Booker's 30 or so students a chance to perform in front of a live crowd, which he cites as a key factor in the development of young talent.
"It's great for these guys to be a part of; the Convention Center holds 2800 people, so it's a huge opportunity to be totally critiqued in every way," he admitted. "If they're good, they'll connect and the fans will let them know; of course, if what they're doing is crap, the fans will let them know about it as well. Either way, they'll get an idea of what they need to work on to achieve the goal of becoming a WWE Superstar. All I can do is train them, give them the knowledge and half a chance to make it."
Several WWE Superstars are also lined up for the show, including Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms, The Boogeyman, The World's Greatest Tag Team, Rene Dupree, Sylvan and more. The real winners, however, are the fans who come out to the shows.
"I can honestly say that everyone who came to the last show said they loved it and couldn't wait until the next one. People were calling even before tickets went on sale," Booker beamed. "I always say your first impression could be your last, and I think we made a great first impression."
The PWA gives students a great opportunity and the fans a great show, but it may be the children in the Houston area who will get the biggest reward.
"I try to give kids a different avenue to do things. We make it affordable to come to shows; a lot of kids love wrestling but can't afford it, so our tickets are inexpensive," Booker revealed, adding that "really, it's all about the Booker T Fights for Kids Foundation."
"Fights for Kids" is a charitable foundation formed by King Booker, with the ultimate goal of providing opportunity and recreational outlets to underprivileged children.
"Hopefully, at our eighth show, the goal is to break ground on our youth camp," he said. "I want it to be like a facility called ‘Run and Shoot' in Atlanta: 24-hour basketball courts, access to computers and a whole bunch of activities for underprivileged kids who might not have the chance to access some of these things. I want to give back."
So what will you see at a PWA show? Booker wouldn't reveal too much, but did say that you'll see the King become a Jack…jack of all trades, that is.
"I'm like Vince McMahon when he first took over WWE; I promote the shows, I emcee and host the shows, and if I have to go out there and beat someone up, I do that too," Booker laughed. "I wear many hats, and I feel that in order to make this work I have to be totally involved."
It is actually Mr. McMahon whom Booker credits as a big help in getting PWA off the ground.
"He's totally behind this, and with the help I've gotten from WWE, including the promotion WWE.com has given me and the talent coming down to help out, I really think we have the wings to take off huge," Booker smiled.
You can see the PWA fly high this Thursday night at 7 p.m. CT at the Pasadena Convention Center. Tickets are $10 or $15 and are available at King Booker's Pro Wrestling Academy.