By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Make no mistake, stories like ROW are rare in independent professional wrestling. For Booker and his crew, it's been an improbable ride.
But Booker T has made a career out of doing the improbable. Growing up in the South Park area of Houston, he lost both of his parents when he was 14. As a young man, he went to jail for 19 months for robbing several Wendy's restaurants. Sitting in a jail cell as a convicted felon is about as far away from being a wealthy Hall of Fame wrestler and respected family man as one can get.
But Booker T made it, and the adversity in an odd way equipped him to lead ROW through the turbulence.
The workout at the gym last Wednesday night is finally over, and Booker T is holding court, sitting around telling stories to the half dozen or so people still there. If there were a Hall of Fame for storytelling, Booker would be in that one, too. People are hanging on his every word.
He talks about the first world title he won in WCW, his move over to WWE, and how much fun it is to "be Booker T" on television.
Booker talks about his trip to Australia a couple weeks ago to promote Wrestlemania 30, which is coming up on April 6. As part of any trip like that one, Booker visits with sick children in hospitals, and he recounts meeting a cancer stricken 12-year-old girl, a fan of Booker's.
"She asked me, 'How do you go from day to day?'" recalled Booker, a seemingly simple question that's harder to answer than it seems, especially when a sick child is asking.
Booker thought about it, and told her, "Hey, life is the hardest thing, but don't quit. I was a quitter at one time, when I was a kid, and I think about that every time I look in the mirror.
"Now, I just can't quit."