Look at this grotesque Momma’s boy with his loaded tennis racket. Isn’t that just one of the most punchable looks for anyone to sport, anywhere in the world and at any time? Such is the genius of the heat-getting motherfucker that is Jim Cornette, King of the shoot interview and advocate for that old-timey wrestling your grandmother used to watch. In my opinion, to not be aware of Cornette and what he’s brought to the squared circle is to disregard the entire medium – which i’m sure many of you do anyway (since this isn’t a dedicated wrestling/sports entertainment blog).
What I hope to do with the Wednesday Wrestling hashtag is to bring this medium, which means so much to me, back into the fore for people who may have long waved it off as a childish cartoon with human players. I want to discuss and showcase the finer points of wrestling, and show that sports entertainment can actually have a place in the heart of an intelligent person – you needn’t be a redneck or eleven years old. Cornette himself would be beside himself at me even using the term “sports entertainment” anywhere near his name, but that’s a conversation for another day. The reason I choose him as the opener to my ongoing online lexicon of wrestling is that he proves, without a shadow of a doubt, just how much a keenly sharpened mind and tongue can play a part in this strange world. His role as a heel manager was to enhance the hatred and revulsion the crowd feel for the wrestlers he managed, while simultaneously putting asses in seats and selling tickets by making an upcoming bout unmissable with a few licks of his well practised lips. This isn’t even mentioning his infamous work as a booker or creative consultant, both jobs he mastered before throwing in the towel from repeated horn-locking with Vince Russo (a blog for another day, to say the least).
Cornette commands the English language as well as the best speech-makers in history. Colourful, hilarious and original turns of phrase gush eloquently from his breakneck rants, utterly unscripted yet well beyond the abilities of anyone in the industry today. With Cornette it’s simply a case of winding him up and letting him go, and you know that when he’s done the crowd will be more invested in the story, more emotional about its players and far more willing to fork out another wad of dollars for the next show. That takes an enormous skill and passion, and his work in and out of wrestling arenas around America (the poor guy is phobic about flying) is both second-to-none and a great example of the intelligence and creativity behind one of the world’s most misunderstood bubbles. While not directly involved in any particular company anymore, his verbal specialities are still widely available from a constant string of podcasts and shoot interviews which still get released on a daily basis. Perhaps in younger years you caught him brandishing his loaded tennis racket at Bret Hart or Lex Luger during that time he managed Yokozuna. Perhaps even Cornette’s persuasive language can never have you believing that wrestling conceals much philosophy and thought behind its slams and folding chairs. Even in that case, I can pretty much promise that you’d be buying a ticket to something after hearing him talk for ten minutes.