WWE has confirmed Harlem Heat’s Booker T and Stevie Ray for the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame Class. This makes Booker a two-time Hall of Famer.
Harlem Heat join headliners DX (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna, Billy Gunn, “Road Dogg” BG James, Sean “X-Pac” Waltman), Torrie Wilson and The Honky Tonk Man as confirmed inductees for the 2019 class. Taz, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Jimmy Hart) are still rumored.
The 2019 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 6 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn during WrestleMania 35 weekend.
Below is WWE’s announcement on Harlem Heat:
Harlem Heat to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Booker T & Stevie Ray were one of the most dominant tag teams of the 1990s, steamrolling over the competition in WCW to become tag team champions on 10 occasions. Now, the brothers will be immortalized in sports-entertainment history.
Harlem Heat are the latest inductees in the WWE Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019. They’ll enter the fabled hall on the eve of WrestleMania 35, Saturday, April 6, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. With this induction, Booker T will become a two-time WWE Hall of Fame inductee, joining Ric Flair and fellow 2019 inductee Shawn Michaels of D-Generation X. The news was first reported by USA Today.
Bursting on the scene straight off 110th Street in Harlem, N.Y., Booker T & Stevie Ray arrived in WCW in summer 1993, bringing a streetwise, in-your-face attitude to the squared circle. They stared directly into the camera on their way to the ring, warning fans at home that they were about to bust some heads when they stepped between the ropes. And bust heads they did. Harlem Heat wasted no time in mixing it up with the top stars of WCW at the time, like Sting, Ric Flair and British Bulldog. They even joined forces with Sid and Vader to enter the unforgiving battleground known as WarGames.
It was when the brothers took on the managerial services of 2006 WWE Hall of Fame Inductee Sensational Sherri that their stars began to shine. With “Sister” Sherri in their corner, it wasn’t long before Harlem Heat captured their first WCW Tag Team Championship, defeating Stars & Stripes on WCW Saturday Night. Booker T & Stevie Ray brawled with the likes of The Steiner Brothers, Sting & Lex Luger and The Nasty Boys on their way to seven reigns as WCW Tag Team Champions.
By 1997, the two brothers went their separate ways, Stevie going on to become a trusted member of the infamous nWo, while Booker became a breakout singles star, capturing the WCW Television Title on several occasions.
After nearly two years apart, Booker T & Stevie Ray reunited and returned to a vastly different tag team landscape in WCW. However, Harlem Heat hadn’t lost a step, as they defeated The Jersey Triad to win their eighth WCW Tag Team Titles at Road Wild 1999. Before the turn of the millennium, they added two more reigns as champions to their incredible résumé, setting a WCW record that would not be broken before the company was purchased by WWE in 2001.
Though the brothers never competed as a team inside a WWE ring, there’s no denying their pure dominance of tag-team wrestling during The Monday Night War. That’s why Harlem Heat is being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Don’t miss Booker T & Stevie Ray take their place in sports-entertainment history during the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on the eve of WrestleMania 35, Saturday, April 6 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Tickets are available now, be sure to take part in this historic night!
USA Today spoke with Booker T & Stevie Ray about the induction. They both said they were surprised to get the call from WWE.
Stevie Ray said he was surprised to get the call from WWE.
“I was speechless for a couple of seconds. The last thing I was thinking about was the Hall of Fame,” Stevie said. “I’m going to be honest with you, I hadn’t really thought about it. You know, I get the fans hitting me all the time with different things about Harlem Heat needs to be in the Hall of Fame, so on and so forth. But you never know, so I never gave it very much thought.”
Booker added, “It was surprising, actually, I guess because one reason, my brother and I, we never actually wrestled in the WWE. My brother took a step aside at that point in time because he had a daughter, and he wanted to see her grow up and see her go to college. He got a chance to do that. But our career in WCW was awesome. My brother and I were together for eight and a half years in WCW and together another two years prior in the Global Wrestling Federation. So we had a career as a tag team, and to be recognized as one of the great tag teams of all time…. [there were] a lot of great tag teams that we competed against back in the day, like the Steiners, the Nasty Boys and the Road Warriors, Sting and Lex Luger, Public Enemy – so many guys we got a chance to grapple with back then, and to be recognized, it’s pretty awesome.”
Booker was asked what he wants WWE fans to remember Harlem Heat for in 20 years. He responded, “It would just be keep passing it on more than anything. Young guys right now, the Usos, those two guys came out of my school. Authors of Pain, right now, two guys wrecking shop. You’ve got Street Profits out there representing Harlem Heat. That’s what it’s about. If they look back and say ‘Harlem Heat was badass,’ that’s the only thing that really matters, as well as we were good people.”
Content with their careers, Booker and Stevie both said they would have nothing to say if they could go back and give themselves some advice as the beginning of their careers. Booker did have some advice for the up & coming wrestlers.
“What would I tell myself? Nothing. Learn things as you go,” Stevie said.
“I wouldn’t tell us anything, man. We had a dream. We had a blueprint, though, a gameplan. We didn’t slip on a banana peel and find ourselves in this position. Trust me, it didn’t happen that way,” Booker said. “But I would tell the young guys these days, look at the state of the business. The party, it’s real, it only lasts for so long. Make sure you prepare for what’s next, because it’s going to come very, very quick. Relish that, then move on to what comes next, because life moves in seasons.”
Sources: WWE.com and USA Today