by Patrick Lennon-(TNA Exclusive writer), to GREENSBOROSports.com from Dan Grondy:
If you’re taking on the big boys in wrestling, you need brains as well as brawn.
Jim Cornette is one of the most prolific creative minds in the wrestling industry, as well as being a right old wheeze on screen.
His pedigree in promotion, booking and experience on camera is matched by very few people in the industry at large.
Cornette is probably most famous with the public for his managerial roles on screen with the Midnight Express and Yokozuna and more recently for laying some flesh on a young Santino Marella when in charge of OVW, then WWE
For those who don’t know, Marella had broken character on TV and laughed at Boogeyman. Cornette tells me he’d do it again in an instant.
A reputation as an abrasive fellow may well be justified, but his passion for the business is never in question. Cornette refuses to fly yet Fighting Talk caught up with him in Chicago straight after Bound For Glory, which is not a short
drive from his Kentucky home.
An elated Cornette greeted me backstage and lived up to his reputation for making Mick Foley look like Giorgio Armani, dressed as he was in T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms.
Cornette was taken aback when FT asked him about the deposition of Samoa Joe as Champion (he had just lost out to Sting) and tells me they didn’t do anything wrong.
He said: “I don’t think so. I simply don’t think so. “I’m a fan of the young guys, the Samoa Joes, the AJ Styles, and the Beer Moneys.
“I think that they keep the veterans on their toes. When was the last time you saw Sting take an ass-whippin’ like that?
“He was whipped across Texas, or he was going to the electric chair, and that’s what Joe did. I love to watch people fight.”
TNA are rightly celebrating their fourth annual showpiece as their best PPV offering to date. Cornette on the whole agreed with that assessment and argued that there is still room for improvement.
He tells me: “I think there was a lot of action tonight. I’m old-fashioned, I don’t like to see so many weapons.
“I like people to beat each other up with their bare hands so I think the PPV that TNA did with the two guys in the MMA match was great but I think this was great too. Both were very different.”
Cornette has a good idea of what it takes in promotion. Although his own Smokey Mountain Wrestling was a shortlived experiment in the Nineties, it provided invaluable assistance to a few big names on top of the pile today.
Ask Chris Jericho what he learned from Cornette. Building a viable alternative to WWE has been the TNA quest and although fans may be struggling to find the money to indulge their grapple habits, Cornette believes his current employers are moving in the right direction.
He says: “Everyone has their own particular taste and mine would be different to everybody else. TNA has the young talent, TNA has the alternative product, they are breaking a monopoly, a trust that’s been together in wrestling a long time – that if it’s not WWE, then it’s not major league.
“Well TNA proved tonight, as they’ve proved every time they go on national television, every time they go on PPV, that there are two major leagues now.”
FT believes the young TNA stalwarts should feature heavily at the head of the card if it is to look like an alternative.
Cornette gave me his pick of the bunch, and Champion elect AJ Styles is among them.
He added: “Beer Money – Robert Roode and James Storm – are the next ones to watch, plus Matt Morgan. He’s incredible.
“Beer Money remind me of Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson. I’d love for the Midnight Express to be in their prime so we could have a match with them.”
TNA are blessed with the man’s talent, that much is certain.
Before he darted back to the hotel, he issued his battle cry: “Have you seen the stock market? Vince is not a billionaire any more! He may not even be a millionaire by the time this thing’s over! I will sacrifice every penny I’ve got and cut my neighbour’s lawn to see Vince McMahon a broken man laying in the gutter!”