Jim Cornette: “I’m staying away from wrestling, because people in wrestling these days make me crazy…”
Nov 20, 2013 - by Steve Gerweck
filed to GERWECK.NET
Jim Cornette recently spoke with Steve and the Scum on WGD Weekly, talking about the launch of his new website, many of his current activities outside of the ring, his early days in the wrestling business and much more. The interview with WGD Weekly can be heard in its entirety here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G1Su7MwNj0
Highlights of the show include Cornette discussing:
His reasoning for “staying away” from wrestling: “…I’m staying away from wrestling, because people in wrestling these days make me crazy…”
His new website and what fans can expect from it: “…I want to tell all the folks, jimcornette.com, we are…revamping the site…I’ve actually been working on a lot of non-wrestling projects… there is gonna be a lot of wrestling, but there is gonna be a lot of pop culture and non-wrestling content. I have a podcast in the works…I’m gonna have no shortage of things to plug…the more I try to retire the busier I get, I’m not sure how that works…I spent so much time over the past few years obsessing over my Ring of Honor project and didn’t update it as I should…there is a bunch of new material ready to go up…”
His introduction to the performance side of wrestling as a manager: “…A lady named Christine Jarrett, who was Jerry Jarrett’s mother…Jeff Jarrett’s grandmother…she saw this little fourteen year old kid running around buying everything that was available on the souvenir stand and asking a lot of questions. She ended up giving me little chores and tasks and errands to do, then saw my pictures…that was my entre for about seven years from the time I was about fourteen until I was almost twenty-one. I was the part time ring announcer, full time photographer, and all around gopher, and then one day Jerry Jarrett asked the fateful question, ‘You’ve been around here so long, everybody knows you, do you want to be a manager?’ That was how it got started.”
The “Mama” Cornette persona: “…Jerry Jarrett was very adamant that everything they did in their booking should have a root in fact, it should be something that people could believe…as my photo empire grew my mom started being one of the people who would sell the pictures at the merchandise stand every week…I was so young I didn’t have a driver’s license and if I was going to get to the events, my mother had to drive me…so she was always around and the people recognized her…she was actually very popular…when I first started managing, she had to stay home because that was part of the deal…for all the town’s that she used to go to up at the northern end of the territory, I used to have more heat because people would say, ‘Your mother is so nice. She has got to be ashamed of you and what you’re doing. Jerry Jarrett wanted to update the old ‘Playboy’ Gary Hart gimmick…the people wouldn’t believe the playboy part for me,
but they would believe that I was this clueless, rich, putz whose mother bought my way into everything I wanted to do…it was a great way to introduce me…to this day, Mama Cornette remains the most famous, the most talked about wrestling personality that never actually worked a show, appeared on a television taping, or even had her picture printed in a program…but everybody remembers Mama Cornette.”
The origin of carrying the Tennis Racket: “…the one thing I had always heard was how dangerous the crowds were down there, the Cajuns in Louisiana, and the cowboys in Oklahoma and Texas, and the rednecks in Mississippi, and if anything the stories were understated. Everybody told me ‘Cornette, they are gonna kill you,’ …so right when we started with Mid-South wrestling…I had a rare day off and took my girlfriend to a movie, it was November of 1983, a time when all the teen movies…were going on…in this movie, the rich kid always carried a badminton racket in every scene. Wrestling managers had done umbrellas and canes and books and briefcases, but nobody had ever carried a tennis racket. I figured this could have a dual purpose, not only can we use this in the ring, but also I can get some reach on these fans that are going to be trying to physically attack me…I presented it to Bill Watts, I said, I’m a rich kid, shouldn’t I carry a
tennis racket around like I just came back from the country club, and he said, ‘sure.’ He gave it the blessing and that’s how it got started…”
In addition to these items, Jim also discusses the his recently released book, “Rags, Papers, and Pins,” the history of Memphis wrestling younger years as a wrestling fan, becoming a photographer prior to his days as a manager, working as a manager for Dick Murdoch, Crusher Bloomfield (One Man Gang), “Exotic” Adrian Street and others, the formation of the Midnight Express, a talent swap between Jerry Jarrett in Memphis and Bill Watts in Mid-South that brought him to Louisiana, how he was paired with the Midnight Express, his thoughts on his seven year run managing the Midnights, and so much more. This interview was the first of two that will be featured on WGD Weekly with Steve and the Scum, with the second part of the interview scheduled to take place in the upcoming weeks.
WGD Weekly with Steve and the Scum presents new material every Sunday, where they sit down with a different figure from the “glory days” of wrestling. All of the past shows, as well as their new ones when they debut are available at WGD Weekly’s Facebook page that can be viewed here https://www.facebook.com/WGDWeekly. All of their shows are also available on their YouTube channel and iTunes.