Surprise appearance in the 2023 men’s WWE Royal Rumble match was set up at the last minute

As seen during the 2023 WWE Royal Rumble PLE, NXT commentator Booker T was a surprise entrant in the men’s Rumble match. During his podcast, Booker T revealed that his appearance was set up at the last minute…

“I was sitting at the table at the Kickoff show and I got a text message and it was the invite telling me, ‘Book, you’re in the Rumble’ and me, I’m old school dog, I’m old school. I went down in a Winnebago, right? So something told me, bring your gear, alright? Make sure you’re ready just so you don’t have to get ready or stay ready and boom, there it was. The text message came through and I said, okay, here we go. Just like when I won the World Title, my first World Title, I had about ten minutes to warm up. So that’s what happened. I wasn’t warmed up, I went out to the ring cold. I didn’t have that gloss, I didn’t have the shine on me. I wasn’t lathered up, you know what I mean? And ready to go. I didn’t get to jump rope for 45 minutes to get the heart rate up, get the blood flowing, get the blood pumping… I would’ve won that damn Rumble if I would’ve just been able to prepare properly. That last-minute text message definitely slowed me down a lil bit.”

“I think Rey (Mysterio) went down and I think they had to fill that spot. Who better to call? They said, hey, let’s give Book a shot at this. Like I said, I had my gear with me, I’m old school, old school. All you young wrestlers out there, don’t show up without your gear. I won my first championship, my first singles championship because Rick Martel did not bring his gear. That’s a true story so you gotta be ready man and I was ready, kind of. I was almost ready, and I think I went out there and just got caught up in the moment. That 50-plus-thousand, they was cheering my name and everybody was wanting it, everybody was feeling that. They had to have that Spinaroonie. So I said, let me give it to them early because I didn’t know what I was gonna have in the tank left late in the match. So I said, if I’m gonna give them the Spinaroonie, let me do it now because I don’t know how this thing gonna play out.”

“I gotta stay out of that ring if I’m gonna stay in great shape because it was just the adrenaline man. I woke up sore as hell. My shoulder was hurting, my back. I had to get Sharmell (Sullivan-Huffman) to stand on my back just to get me back in line. I’m like, what the hell is going on? And when I wrestle at Reality of Wrestling, I’m taking spinebusters, I didn’t feel that bad. I felt much worse after just walking to that ring and that adrenaline flowing through me which was almost explosive, like it wanted to burst through my body, you know what I mean? That feeling, it’s so unbelievable, you never get used to that. I see why these old guys don’t wanna get out of the ring. I see why they’re pushing the envelope. It’s hard to walk away from that but, I’ll tell you what, that may have been my last Rumble (Booker laughed)… If I’m in shape, if I can just kept the old bod going for a couple more years — that’s the way I measure stuff. I say I got three years left. After that, I ain’t ever working out ever again. I’m done, I’m done. That’s when everything pays off. My retirement kick in and everything, you know, so, I’m done.” (quotes courtesy of