Wrestling legend saved Booker T and Stevie Ray's WCW careers, Vince Russo says (Exclusive)

Harlem Heat duo Stevie Ray (left) and Booker T (right)
Harlem Heat duo Stevie Ray (left) and Booker T (right)

Former WWE writer Vince Russo recently shared details of a conversation he had with WCW legend Stevie Ray about Ole Anderson.

On February 26, Anderson passed away at the age of 81. The former wrestler was in charge of WCW's creative direction when Booker T and Stevie Ray joined the company in 1993. At the time, he was one of Harlem Heat's biggest supporters backstage.

Russo spoke to Dr. Chris Featherstone and EC3 about Anderson on the latest episode of Sportskeeda's The Wrestling Outlaws show. He said Booker T and Stevie Ray's careers might not have been the same without Anderson's help:

"I did a show with Stevie Ray today, and Stevie Ray said when him and Booker got brought up to WCW, something happened where they were out the door, and he was telling me today Ole was the only guy in the office that stood up for him, put his reputation on the line and everything," Russo stated. "Stevie said to me, 'Bro, if he would have never done that, I don't know what would have happened with our careers.'" [3:48 – 4:19]
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Harlem Heat won the WCW World Tag Team Championship a record 10 times before joining the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019.

Russo elaborated on how Anderson helped Booker T and Stevie Ray in the 1990s:

"It was when they first went up to WCW and something didn't work out, and they were ready to ship them back to Houston. And he [Stevie Ray] said, 'Bro, Ole was the only one that stood up for us, and if it wasn't for him, there may never have been a Harlem Heat and Booker T and Stevie Ray.'" [4:20 – 4:37]

Watch the video above to hear more from the panel about the deaths of Anderson and fellow wrestling legend Virgil.


EC3 explains how WCW's approach was different from wrestling today

Current wrestlers' success can be measured in more ways than ever before. In the 1990s, television ratings and ticket sales defined the popularity of a promotion or wrestler. Nowadays, social media exposure can also play a part in launching someone's career.

Asked whether modern-day promoters still look for wrestlers who can draw money, NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion EC3 gave the following response:

"It should be [a factor in hiring wrestlers]. It's the way I look at talents when I'm doing exhibits and things like that or if somebody is pitching me hard on themselves, 'I can make you money.' Back then, it was more tangible. I think it was easier because it was based on ticket sales and ratings." [5:36 – 5:55]

In the same episode, EC3 and Vince Russo shared their favorite memories of WWE legend Virgil.


Do you think Booker T and Stevie Ray are the best tag team in WCW history? Let us know in the comments section below.

Please credit Sportskeeda Wrestling's The Wrestling Outlaws and embed the video if you use quotes from this article.

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Edited by Danny Hart
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