This was filmed in 2010
Sean Oliver is the host
It runs at three hours and forty minutes
He is asked about his favorite wrestlers as a fan and working on his newsletter with Norm Dooley. Cornette said it was the 1970’s and newsletters were the only way to find out what was going on and it was then he first realized promotions were running the same shows and finishes each week. He also became a photographer in 1976 and would visit relatives and see the shows near them. Cornette said that the newsletters started as fan club bulletins and that he joined them all just so he could read the results and pictures from all the territories. He talks about losing touch with Dooley, who had cable and they watched Georgia and the WWWF MSG shows. They were so excited to finally see a MSG show and at the end of the night and realized every Tuesday night at the Louisville Gardens was more exciting than that. Dooley would write the results of the matches then started giving his opinions as part of the newsletters he sent out then Cornette suggested he rate them with stars like they do in TV Guide and that ended up catching on and Dave Meltzer adopted that system. Cornette says its all subjective then jokes everyone who uses star ratings are usurping from Dooley.
On any memories of Hercules Hernandez, Cornette said he was a great guy who saved his life once. They were in Houston when a fan snatched the mask he had so he kicked the guy and took it back. He was at ringside then and the fans were ready to kick the shit out of him so Hercules grabbed him underneath with one arm and started stiff-arming fans as they headed back to the locker room. Cornette also said Hercules and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams once beat up a bar in Louisiana while referee Pee Wee Anderson was standing on the bar and flexing. One time Hercules was doing a run-in during a match where some fan grabbed him around the waist to try and stop him so Hercules shook him off and went into the ring. After he was done, Hercules went backstage as the fan was escorted to the back by police. Hercules slapped the guy so hard he left his feet and his head hit the wall then he dropped. Cornette went out for the Midnight Express match and came back twenty minutes later where the guy was in the floor lying in the same spot where he was before. Cornette asked Hercules why did you just slap him if you were that mad as Hercules told Cornette if you hit someone with your fist you can really hurt him.
He is asked about fighting off fans in Louisiana. Cornette said he had mace but it wasnt enough for a mob of fans so he brought a chain with him. He said that some cops would give him a bulletproof vest, which would help against stabbings as that was a concern with the crowds.
Cornette tells us a story in Houma, LA. He says it was a terrible place and after a show a guy with about a dozen of his friends started a fight with the Midnight Express and himself. This guy tried to fight Dennis Condrey, who told the guy to fuck off. The guy chucked a beer at Condrey, who ducked, as Condrey then took the guy down. The others came after them but they saw the Rock n’ Roll Express turn their car around and speed towards the crowd and had Cornette and the Midnights jump in so they did not get hurt.
On Lex Luger, Cornette said he always got along with him. He also said that Luger was not a wrestling fan and while an educated guy sometimes rubbed people the wrong way as he came off as being above people. Cornette says he likes Luger and talks about his recent health problems but understands he’s happier in his personal life.
He is then asked who was the better partner for Bobby Eaton: Dennis Condrey or Stan Lane. Cornette said Condrey was better when they were starting out in that era as he puts over his work and how he never wasted any movement. Cornette said when TV became the bigger part of the business Lane looked great and was flashier so he fit in great with that era.
When asked about Starrcade ’87 flopping, Cornette said Crockett purchased the UWF and had to be in a major market to compete with the WWF. So, they selected Chicago because they sold well there but Vince McMahon countered with the Survivor Series and told the PPV companies if they showed Starrcade then they would not be able to show WrestleMania so only five companies ended up carrying Starrcade.
Cornette is asked if Road Warrior Animal babysat Hawk when they teamed. He said they did not and that Paul Ellering probably babysat the both of them.
On Crockett buying the UWF, Cornette said they were talented but never booked them as equals. He also talks about how the WWE should have run a successful invasion angle but Vince is too pompous and the rest of the company believes, like Vince, that unless it was done in the WWE then it does not count.
When asked if he thought Crockett would go out of business after Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson left, Cornette said that he thought they might have in late ’87 or early ’88 when the house show numbers were terrible. He talks about begging Dusty Rhodes to bring in the Fantastics to get some actual opponents and credits Dusty for putting together a good card for the ’88 Great American Bash tour then the house show numbers came up to the point where David Crockett was begging Jim not to sell to Turner but he still sold the company. He also credits Tully & Arn for getting them over in Philadelphia as babyfaces when they dropped the titles. Cornette then says having them leave really did take the heart out of the Four Horsemen.
He still liked Paul Heyman in WCW, even though people thought they really hated each other, but did grow to hate him later on in the ECW days. Cornette joked that Heyman could turn Gengis Khan babyface. Cornette said he hurt his knee the night before their Tuxedo Match jumping off of the apron to avoid a table being tossed by Terry Gordy. Cornette talks about the match they had and said after an hour of going over the match, Heyman still worked over the wrong knee so he had to pull Heyman off to get him to go after the correct knee.
His biggest WCW paydays were $10,000, which happened at both Starrcade ’86 and ’87.
On if he was angry at Chris Jericho for breaking his arm right before a big show, Cornette starts laughing. He tells us how he found out about Jericho when Lance Storm sent in a video tape of his work as Cornette thought Storm was excellent and wanted Jericho to come in too as he was featured with Storm since they teamed together. Cornette thought he could make money off of them, as they were good looking guys, and gave them a $750 per week deal with Cornette getting their merchandise money. However, Cornette said Storm would bring his wife with him to sell the merchandise and Jericho was picky and did not engage with the female fans so they earned very little in Anyway, Cornette said he saw Jericho take a bump over the turnbuckle, hit the post, and fall to the floor at a spot show then told Jericho never to do that again until he is told because they can use that spot at a big show and have Jericho bleed and get destroyed by the heels before making his comeback. The day of the show, Jericho asked if he could work out in the ring as Cornette said not to hurt himself but referee Brian Hildebrand told Cornette that Jericho broke his arms practicing a shooting star press and went to the hospital. Jericho went to the hospital and delayed surgery in order to come back and wrestle where he juiced then had surgery the next day.
Cornette is asked why Smoky Mountain closed down. He said that 1995 was probably the worst year in the wrestling business as the WWF lost $6 million and WCW was not drawing at all. He said that in SMW, they were drawing a little bit and starting to improve but could not get international distribution or new talent to come in so he said if they make it to Thanksgiving without going in the red then he’d see about running past Christmas but they did about $12,000 less and he was getting burned out. Plus, Rick Rubin thought they should have been self-sufficient at that point but Cornette thought 1992 was going to be the worst year in wrestling but they were wrong. He did state the boys and production company got paid though then called up Vince if he needed new talent and was told if he wanted a job he has one.
On SMW not being able to get a good top babyface, Cornette said that his original plan was for Brad Armstrong to win the inaugural SMW Title Tournament as he was a good worker who could talk but he had other commitments so he went with Brian Lee, who was working in Memphis. Cornette said Lee had all the tools but could not put it all together then they went with the Dirty White Boy and Tracy Smothers after that.
He is asked about selling the SMW footage to WWE as Cornette said he did it because he got six-figures and got back the money he put into the company. He also did not consider the promotion a “treasure trove” filled with classic stuff so he had no problem selling it off. Cornette then talks about Ohio Valley Wrestling and how the WWE thought they owned it all and tried to get it without paying Danny Davis or himself but Davis had the TV show on air before they became affiliated with the WWE. Cornette then says if you are in the wrestling business do not work with WWE as they will fuck you over. He talks about the WWE trying to stop them from selling the shows overseas because they featured contracted talent then they reminded the WWE the show also had non-contracted wrestlers, production workers, and referees while paying for the show to air. He also says the WWE will never show the footage of SMW because it has little value.
This is a series of submitted questions in which they try to stump Cornette. The first question did actually stump Cornette as it was which ECW wrestler was the first to win all three titles, which was Johnny Hotbody. Some more modern questions he did not know as he was working in SMW or for the WWE and did not have time to follow the scene but in all the older stuff he knows.
On how the heat between Heyman and himself began, Cornette said he does not hate Heyman like the way he does to Vince Russo. It started with The Gangstas as he put the team together but they controversial to the point towns did not want them wrestling in their buildings. Cornette said he asked Randy Hales in Memphis but he declined to take them on since he was a conservative guy who did not want to upset people and the WWE did not want them so he called ECW. They worked out a deal but then got conflicting messages regarding their start date as Cornette wanted to have them put over Smothers & Dirty White Boy on the way out. Heyman told Cornette he would not book them until their dates were finished them, right before hanging up, wanted Cornette to call him if they got fired. Cornette got confused by that at first then realized Heyman lied and fucked him over as The Gangstas wrapped up in SMW two weeks early then Heyman did not answer any of Cornette’s calls. Cornette talks about Heyman being a pathological liar who messed up a lot of people’s lives with his constant lying and gives us a few more stories on that.
Cornette gives us some Heyman stories were he lied such as lying to referee Brian Hildebrand about having a plane ticket waiting for him at the airport, where he drove 50 miles to get to then called Heyman up and was told to call back and only got the answering machine and giving Bubba Ray Dudley a false Fed Ex tracking number then when being called out for giving a false number that was one too many, he told Bubba to just take off the last number and use that as the number.
He is asked another Heyman question as Cornette calls him a great cult leader for getting guys to do things to their bodies and financial well being. Cornette said ECW became too much like a stunt show and it was bad for the business because nothing could follow what they were doing, which the company found out the hard way. Cornette talks about some more about ECW being bad for wrestling then said twenty years ago, fans believed they were hurting each other when they were not and now wrestlers are hurting each other and fans do not believe its true.
Cornette then credits Heyman for getting guys over who could not get over anywhere else and for bringing in Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, and others to the American audience.
He is asked about the WWE’s version of ECW as Cornette said its terrible and at least the old ECW had some passion. Cornette then talks about Vince never watching other wrestling promotions and when the Rock ‘n Roll Express came in to work the 1993 Survivor Series he did not know their names. He does talk about sitting with Vince the first time he saw ECW, during the time they were working together, and it was Beulah vs. Bill Alfonzo with Alfonzo bleeding buckets as Vince was shocked at what he saw.
Cornette is asked about his first meeting with Vince back in 1986. Basically, Ernie Ladd set up the meeting between Cornette & The Midnights and Vince, who was more interested in selling and marketing their action figures than telling them about their plans and future opponents. Cornette & The Midnights were then worried about where they would stand in the pecking order then stayed with Crockett
He loves Howard Finkel and says that the Undertaker is a great guy and the best gimmick in wrestling history. Cornette loved managing Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith as they always pranked each other as Cornette said Owen would squirt the bottle used for sweat during the interviews on his crotch without him knowing right before they made it to air.
On if the rumor of Lex Luger not winning the title at WrestleMania X was due to him leaking the news to a reporter was true, Cornette said that Luger was scheduled to win the title but Vince changed his mind long before the show.
Cornette is asked about Vader being a flop in the WWE. He does not believe that Vader was necessarily a flop but should have been more successful and blames Shawn Michaels for some of that. He talks about Vader being mean and tough but also a big teddy bear. He recalls one match in Tulsa, OK where Vader was working snug with Michaels, who told Vader he’d have his job if he pulled his hair that hard again. Cornette then says “fuck you” to Michaels for the way he talked to Jose Lothario, himself, and for all of crying and whining and generally being a jerk while all fucked up pills. Cornette then says that he has found out most of the people in wrestling who “find god” do so because no one else in the business will speak to them. Cornette also says Vince wanted to change Vader’s name to “The Mastadon” and trademark that and says a combination of bad opponents and the fact Vader himself was high maintenance also doomed him.
On Ahmed Johnson, Cornette said he looked great but was stiff in the ring and you could not understand a word that came out of his mouth.
Regarding the NWA Invasion storyline, Cornette said he was off the creative team and believes it was Vince Russo giving him this to be an asshole. However, when he was doing the promos in the arenas and the old wrestling footage was shown on the screens the fans were cheering, something Russo did not understand.
After a long rant on Republicans when asked about his response to a Joey Styles post, he is asked about the New Midnight Express. Cornette said whenever he was seen in public they recognized him as the manager of the Midnight Express, even when he was with Vince in public. Vince called him up at home one day and said they wanted to create a new Midnight Express and had nothing to do for Bart Gunn & Bob Holly and he wanted them as part of the team. He jokes that there was nothing “Bombastic” or “Bodacious” about the guys and that Russo was likely behind this idea. Cornette then goes off on Russo briefly, calling him a “piece of shit” who blames the wrestlers for his shortcomings. However, Cornette said the team jobbed in the opening match then were booked against each other in the first round of the “Brawl for All” as Cornette told Jim Ross he was retiring as a manager as he new the team was doomed.
He was on the creative team from February ’96 to December ’97. He talks about how you always had to run everything by Vince and that while he loves Bruce Prichard & Pat Patterson they always had to have everything be funny and really tried to entertain themselves then says Russo kept sucking up to Vince and goes into that for a bit. Cornette talks about being responsible for Kane’s character when he first started and thought he should be similar to Michael Myers. Cornette said the Hell in a Cell cage was a combination of the cages used in Memphis, which encompassed ringside, and War Games as it had a top.
Cornette is asked about whether or not he would have stopped the PPV when Owen Hart died. He talks about how Owen never would have been up there in the first place then says maybe the reason Russo found god is because his idea killed Owen. Cornette said that Owen never wanted to be up there but was a company man as Cornette said he would have stopped the show. Cornette then says anyone who warms up to Russo gets what they deserve and tells Dixie Carter the $40 million her father gave her was wasted due to Russo’s stupidity.
On Triple H, Cornette said he was punished for the “Curtain Call” incident because Kevin Nash & Scott Hall were leaving and Shawn Michaels was the champion as he talks about how Triple H was scheduled to win the King of the Ring that year (1996). Triple H apologized for the incident but a few years later the video came out and he took credit for helping revolutionize the business. Cornette then talks about how he married Stephanie McMahon, who Cornette likes and says is very intelligent, but was named the Head of Creative straight out of college as he jokes about she needs that job like he needs to be in charge of NASA.
His biggest WWE payday as a performer was $15,000 for WrestleMania X. Cornette said he made six figures while on creative and for selling them the SMW library.
Cornette said that the WWE did not even watch OVW TV. At one point they had Bruce Prichard watch the show to keep an eye on the talent.
On the comments Batista made about not learning anything in OVW, Cornette said it was because he did not learn anything. Cornette talks about how he came in and tore his bicep in training due to the fact he was “steroided” and “pussy-whipped” by his woman. Cornette said they made him their version of the Undertaker and wanted him to be against the actual Undertaker while on the main roster. Cornette said he was never driven to be a success while down in OVW then got called up and aligned with D-Von Dudley, where he was nearly fired, but started working out with Triple H then got a push. Cornette said he heard the comments and left Batista a voicemail on why he said that as the trained him and took care of him but never got a reply.
He is asked about Nick Dinsmore as Cornette said he was a great worker and even able to draw money in a feud for them against Doug Basham. Cornette would ask the WWE to call him up but told he was too plain. Cornette then talks about a time he was asked to rate the Developmental talent 1-20 in terms of readiness for the main roster and he had Dinsmore at #1 but the company only called up talents 17-19, which were Orlando Jordan, Mark Jindrak, and someone else he cannot remember. Cornette said the Dinsmore’s “Eugene” character had a short-term shelf life and will pigeonhold him for the rest of his career, which is probably ruined now. Cornette then talks about other gimmicks that killed careers such as the Spirit Squad as he blames the WWE for running more people out of the business than attracting them.
Cornette talks about how John Laurinaitis would constantly lie about sending main roster stars to work shows and is generally hated while having his job because he will say “yes” to anything Stephanie McMahon says.
Cornette is giving a list of names to put on then has to give a top 5. He puts Russo at #1 due to the fact he has insulted and cost people money in the wrestling business due to his bullshit. #2 is Jim Herd, #3 is Kevin Dunn, #4 is Ed Ferrara, and #5 is Mark Madden as they have no redeeming qualities or talent in professional wrestling. He then asks if you can come up with anything “great” in wrestling anyone on the list has done. Cornette then asks why couldn’t there be a positive list like his “Top 5” in wrestling.
On his TNA debut, Cornette said he was still recuperating from knee surgery and it was 115 degrees in the Impact Zone. He milked the crowd reaction then after playing with his cane he lost it and was able to make it to the ring and cut a promo.
He talks about Jeff Jarrett and Dutch Mantell telling him they fired the rest of the creative team and brought in Russo, as Cornette wanted to quit and suggested Abyss lay him out to write him off of TV.
Cornette talks about TNA having a chance to expand to a larger audience due to a lot of young talent with the chance to do something different than Vince McMahon and the WWE. However, Russo cannot do that as Cornette says he hates harping on this and said WWE-lite with less talent and money is not going to work. He talks about TNA TV making the young guys meaningless in favor of older, washed up stars. Cornette said they “fumbled the ball” there and will never get it back.
He then talks about not wanting TNA to fail because Vince McMahon should not have a monopoly on wrestling as there needs to be an alternative and thought TNA had the best chance at that with monthly PPV’s and weekly TV but did not have a direction or a way to be different from WWE.
On the RoH vs. CZW feud, Cornette said he was not part of the booking meetings but said there was a lot of “shooting” going on but there was nothing unprofessional during the feud. He talks about thinking the light bulb matches and staple gun stuff CZW uses is fucking dumb and whoever enjoys that needs their head examined. He says you immune the people to simple angles not by smashing stuff over your head for $20 in a “bowling alley parking lot.” Cornette says its embarrassing to watch and takes no talent to perform. Cornette then goes into how he took one bump at WrestleMania for $15,000 and questions why anyone would get shot with a staple gun for $20 in front of a few “deluded and delinquent” people as it makes everyone in wrestling look like a fucking moron and this passion helped make his promos in the feud seem real.
Cornette said that Adam Pearce is the booker now while he is the Executive Producer. He wants the company to succeed and for there to be an alternative to the WWE. His goal is to take the young talent with hunger and help create a framework with wrestling from the 80’s done with guys born in the 80’s as he does not want to insult the intelligence of the fans.
Final Thoughts: Overall, this was a good interview. However, I will say that a lot of what you heard here can be found on his podcasts. Cornette has a great memory and mind for the wrestling business. He is extremely passionate, which in turns leads to angry rants. He also seems easy to bait with people asking him questions knowing it will set him off. Once you realize that and can get past the hatred for Russo, Dunn, etc. you can appreciate his insight.
I still recommend this interview but you can probably listen to a lot of these stories on his podcast so it does not hold up as well as it did when it was released.
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