Passion Still Burning for Jim Cornette
That kind of honesty has earned him a reputation over the nearly three decades he has spent in pro wrestling working as a manager, promoter and booker. You see, Jim tends to get worked up over things. Yes, he sometimes becomes hotheaded when sharing opinions that have gotten him in trouble. But others will say he is just passionate about pro wrestling, which he's loved his entire life.
Fans can see Cornette on full display at the NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest Weekend taking place on Aug. 5-8 in Charlotte, N.C. And no one will have a better time than him the entire weekend.
"It's actually my favorite fanfest," says Cornette. "I've said this so many times, you know, people do one-day events, two-day events all over the country, but this thing, it goes almost four full days with the greatest names, the biggest turnout. It's an annual summer vacation for most people now. I'm really looking forward to it."
Cornette will be among the many names that will appear over the weekend along with legends including Terry Funk and brother Dory Funk Jr., Ted DiBiase, Tully Blanchard, Harley Race and many others.
While throngs of fans come to the event each year, there are so many more that Cornette -- a well-noted wrestling historian -- believes don't truly know about wrestling and its past.
"I think it's a problem that the new fans don't know the history and appreciate it enough because the big, major promotions either rewrite history or ignore it all together," explains Cornette.
That's not the only problem he sees right now. Cornette, who has been outspoken of both WWE and TNA Wrestling for its current content, is also worried about the future of wrestling.
"MMA and the UFC have taken all of the pro wrestling fans because it's pro wrestling from 30 years ago, just in an Octagon and the fights happen to be real. But they're marketed exactly the same way. People want new stars, young athletes, a more serious approach. Athletic competition with interesting personalities with a hard sports edge and take the UFC fans back or at least entice a few of them to come back and then you'd have something."
It sounds almost too simple but Cornette believes he knows why the biggest wrestling companies don't try that formula.
"No one wants to try that because it would mean that everybody mostly over 40 in this business would be out of a job and those are the guys sucking up all the money."
That's not the only thing that gets Cornette wound up these days. If you really want to see him become, um, passionate, talk to him about his recent time working with TNA Wrestling.
He had high hopes when he decided to join the company in 2006 and help be a part of an alternative to WWE. But things changed quickly for him when Vince Russo was brought back to the company to head the creative direction. Let's just say that Cornette has never seen eye to eye with Russo's vision for wrestling.
After three years, Cornette was shown the door but never looked back, knowing he wouldn't have to work with his nemesis any more.
"Nobody can succeed with Vince Russo even working in the company, much less creative. And that is the one person Dixie Carter has protected at all turns. Nobody understands it. Nobody can explain it."
As for how he survived that long, Cornette says, "I ate a lot of Wendy's triple cheeseburgers so I wouldn't gouge his eyeballs out. Since I've left there I've lost 40 pounds."
Despite the experience, Cornette is still working in wrestling. But now, he is back to his roots of working with the youth of the business in Ring of Honor where he can put his experience to good use.
"The only other thing that interests me in wrestling these days is Ring of Honor wrestling. That's my primary occupation these days and it's got the youngest talent roster in the business but they're so respectful and appreciative of the legends when they get a chance to meet them.
"It's great to see the new generation of the business but at the same time, once a year, visit with the older generation. My generation."