October 16, 2007
Booker and Sharmell released by WWE
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
He may be the King, but he is a King without a job. Booker Huffman, better known as Booker T or King Booker, and his wife Sharmell, have been released from their WWE contract, according to WWE.com.
The couple would issue their following statement on their web site following the announcement:
We want to begin by thanking the many wonderful WWE fans that we have had the privilege of entertaining over the last eight years. Sharmell and I have enjoyed the opportunity to put smiles on your faces night after night. We also want to thank everyone in the wrestling community for their support of our very own P.W.A. (Pro Wrestling Alliance). The dream of bringing professional wrestling back to my home town of Houston, Texas is coming to fruition, and we have you to thank for it.
I want to address something that has been on my mind for quite some time now in regards to my recent suspension from WWE. I want to state for the record that I was not taking any illegal substance, or anything outside of my physician's care, and that the suspension was unwarranted. However, rather than fight the suspension or publicly voice my discontent, I used this recent hiatus to rest, work with the P.W.A., and reflect on the direction of my career as a professional wrestler. I also, for the record, have never at any time ordered anything from "Signature Pharmacy." This allegation is upsetting, and the careless and slanderous reporting of this matter is currently being addressed by my legal counsel.
I would like to also address any possible rumors or misinformation regarding our release from WWE. I had been unhappy for quite some time with the direction that the Company was going in. In fact, I asked for my release back in July for that very reason. However, after further contemplation, I decided to continue on with WWE because of my passion for this industry and my desire to entertain the fans. Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that my unhappiness with my work environment was beginning to take a great toll on other aspects of my life. I knew that it was time to make some extremely tough decisions. Therefore, in the interest of my mental, physical, and spiritual well being, I along with my wife, asked for our release from World Wrestling Entertainment for the second time within months. We were graciously granted our release and we have since amicably parted ways. While the business relationship between ourselves and the WWE has ended, we will continue to be involved in Professional Wrestling. We hope that our loyal fans will follow us as we make this transition.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts, and we will see you soon! Booker T. and Sharmell
Huffman, one of the most decorated wrestlers in the last decade, has held six world heavyweight titles, including the WCW Championship five times and the WWE World Heavyweight Title once, along with virtually every other belt in the two promotions he was eligible for, including multiple runs as WCW World Tag Team Champion with his real-life brother, Lane Huffman, better known as Stevie Ray.
“I have achieved everything I needed to achieve,” Huffman told SLAM! Wrestling in 2006. “I have been at the top.”
He makes his home in Houston, where he opened his first wrestling school in a few years ago with Lane. His brother had been running the school for the most part while Booker was on the road with the WWE.
"It's going really well," said Booker during the first few months of the school opening.
Booker Huffman grew up in a poor neighborhood in Houston. In 1987, at the age of 22, he aided in the robbery of a local Wendy’s restaurant and would spend 19 months in prison.
He started wrestling in 1989. He started locally in Texas for the Global Wrestling Federation, often teaming with his brother as the Ebony Experience.
As the GWF died, the two were signed by WCW. Initially known as Kole, he would later be renamed Booker T. and the team would become known as Harlem Heat. The team would win the WCW Tag Team titles eight times (Booker would win the title two more times with other partners).
Huffman would gain single success in WCW as well, winning the WCW Television, U.S. and World Heavyweight titles. He would win the last WCW World Heavyweight champion when WCW was bought by the WWE in 2001. He would also be the first WCW superstar to appear on WWE television, after the purchase, when he attacked Steve Austin in the spring of 2001.
He would be near the top of the WWE cards over the next six years, winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, WWE U.S. Championship and WWE Tag Team titles on numerous occasions.
He would take the name King Booker after winning a King of the Ring tournament in May 2005 by defeating Bobby Lashley in the finals.
Sharmell Sullivan was born in 1974 and won the Miss Black America crown in 1991. She was a dancer for most of her life, and became one of WCW’s Nitro Girls, a dancing squad that performed during WCW Nitro events. She was named Storm when part of the group.
When Vince Russo become booker for WCW, the Nitro girls were given different roles within the company and Sullivan became Paisley, the manager of The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea.
She began to date Huffman while both were with WCW.
When WCW closed, Huffman got Sullivan a deal with the WWE to be a backstage interviewer and wrestler. She injured herself during training and would retire from the ring.
Shortly after the two married in March 2005, Sullivan was introduced on television as the manager of her new husband. When Huffman won the King of the Ring tournament, she would take the moniker Queen Sharmell.