Jim Cornette explains his departure from WCW
Dec 30, 2013 - by Steve Gerweck
Filed to GERWECK.NET:
On December 21st KayfabeKickout.com had the pleasure to speak with professional wrestling legend Jim Cornette in this audio interview. For over 60 minutes Jim spoke on various aspects of professional wrestling and here are some highlights.
Jim explains why he left WCW in 1990.
“In short…they hired a guy in 1989 to run the company named Jim Hurd. Jim Hurd’s complete wrestling background had been that he was once a station director at KPLR TV in St. Louis when Sam Muchnick did his wrestling program in the 60’s. That was back in the days when they didn’t smarten up the TV crews, so he didn’t even know whether wrestling was a work or not.
He had been a Pizza Hut executive, but his wife was friends with the wife of the guy that worked for Turner Broadcasting that was in charge of the wrestling company, so they hired him to run it because of his wrestling background. He was the guy who ran Rick Flair off, he’s the guy who ran the Road Warriors off, he’s the guy who…ran a lot of top talent off because of his bombastic management approach, his complete lack of understanding of anything about wrestling, and his just basic rudeness and disrespect in the way he treated people involved.
We had quit one time before, then we had been brought back when a new booking regime came in and overruled Hurd and outvoted him, he said all right, go ahead. Then, when he handed us our contracts, the first words he said out of his mouth were, “you know I was against this,” I said, “yeah, we were too,” and we stayed another year and we were being disrespected and we were just sick and fed up and the company was losing money and nobody was coming to the matches, and we were being beaten into powder.
We just decided we’d rather be home than work for this f#@*$ p%#@*. It just came to a head one day when we had come off of a several day tour on the road, landed in Charlotte where we lived, and instead of being able to go home, immediately drove to Andersen, South Carolina to do a TV taping where they hadn’t bothered to tell us that not only was Stan Lane only wrestling one single match, and I was only managing him in that, but that Bobby Eaton wasn’t even wrestling at all.
Instead of being able to spend a day with his family, he had to go to Andersen and sit with us because he was in the car with us. Then, we went to Atlanta to the TV taping and found out we were wrestling four matches in one night and we were going to get beaten in all four. [laughs]
We said why couldn’t we have done two of these matches the day beforehand, where at least we could have split it up a bit, since it’s all on tape anyway.
Ole Anderson, who I’ve made up with since then, I respect to the great talent of the business, “You know what, Gordon? If you don’t like it, go home.”
I said, “You know what Ole, that’s the best idea that you’ve ever had, that’s exactly where I am going.” I walked down the hallway to ask Stanley for the keys to his car so I could get my bags out, go rent a car, and go home. He said, “Where are you going?” I said, “I am going f*&$#@ home.”
He said, “You know what, I’ll go with you.”
We had a quick meeting with Bobby, because Bobby had three kids which we did not, he was making a six figure income as we were too but he needed it more. We said, “There’s no hard feelings if you stay,” Stan and I got in the car, and went home to Charlotte, that was the end of that.
He sent me a letter which is actually reproduced in the Midnight Express book saying that we understand that there was a misunderstanding between you and the booker, if you return and make your scheduled commitments, there will be no punitive action.
I called him back and said, “I ain’t coming back to work for you, ever again.” Because I don’t like you and you’ve turned the business into a clown show, you can either send me a release or I can do what I am going to do anyway; and you can sue me.
They sent me a release, and that was the end of that.”
Jim talks on the death of Owen Hart and where he was that tragic day in May, 1999.
“Believe it or not, I was not there. That was actually the first WWF pay per view that I had missed in about five years because I was preparing to move from Connecticut back here to Louisville to start the developmental program with Ohio Valley Wrestling and was not needed that night at the pay per view. I was like everybody else, I was sitting at home watching it live as it happened.
Obviously the incident was not aired on television because, it was, fortunately, in a videotaped replay segment that it happened. But when the camera came back in the arena and Jim Ross was trying to cover basically for why there was no action going on and that there was somewhat of a pall over the proceedings, and he didn’t know exactly what had happened so he was trying to choose his words carefully, I knew instantly that something was wrong, but we didn’t know exactly until sometime afterwards what exactly had happened.
That was, you know Owen, I just said guys can get hurt. They’re risking their lives, but that was completely unnecessary. It was something that Owen was doing, that he was not comfortable with, that he was asked to do.
Still to this day I blame Vince Russo, like a lot of people do, because for those who don’t know, Owen, instead of being able to do a normal entrance into the ring and have a wrestling match, which is dangerous enough, they decided that he would make a superhero entrance and be lowered into the ring in this outlandish costume that Russo had booked him to be in and was being lowered by a rigging company that didn’t check the rigging or whatever and there were lawsuits, etc. etc. But he fell a hundred feet from the roof of the Kemper Arena in Kansas City into the ring and was killed.
Owen was a great wrestler and Owen didn’t need all that hoo ha around him, but Vince Russo didn’t feel that he was exciting enough as himself and wanted to make him a superhero, and came up with the idea of doing that. Owen wasn’t comfortable with it, but he had already turned down a few things that he wasn’t comfortable with, and he didn’t want to be Negative Nancy and be known as the guy who kept saying ‘no’, so he went along with it, and it didn’t turn out well.
That’s one of the many things that I blame Vince Russo for, for spoiling the wrestling business, not only for the people in it, but for the people who like to watch it.”
The December 21st Edition of Kayfabe Kickout Audio with Jim Cornette can be heard in its entirety at this link….