Tony had to pony up to f*cking Kansas, and or their record company, to indulge these f*cking tw*ts, their Goddamn wayward son entrance and their big return. And so here they come with Cutlet and knock it off and Phallus, the guys who built the company and the ones whose pettiness and self indulgent masturbatory fantasies of themselves are going to tear it down. And the corpse referee was in charge of the action, it had all the ingredients of an indie-rific spectacle. – Jim Cornette
Anyway, let’s begin this piece with a story:
I had a few friends over for AEW’s Full Gear on the 19th. These were very casual fans who haven’t watched professional wrestling in a very long time. Can you guess which match blew them away and will have them coming back for more?
The Elite vs. Death Triangle. They loved the fast-paced style; the acrobatics, and overly theatrical presentation. They were hooked.
And if Jim Cornette, or his loyal minions were there, they would probably try to tell these casual fans how “terrible” the match was and to shit all over their experience.
*and folks wonder why professional wrestling keeps losing fans*
My point is that Jim Cornette has become an extreme net-negative to the wrestling industry. When I reflect on the modern-day version of Jim Cornette I see this:
An old, bitter man who has long failed to keep up with the modern pro wrestling zeitgeist. However, to make things worse, he is bringing down a large sect of the wrestling fan base to his miserable level.
Now either you’re here to form arguments against this idea to conform to your pre-existing narrative, or you are approaching this piece with an open mind. Either way, buckle up, and let’s dig into the cancer on pro wrestling that is Jim Cornette.
Yes, Cornette Has a History of Awful Comments
This is just the introductory reason. In fact, many wrestling fans probably already know this. Yet, unless one sets out to be a miserable human being, condemning Cornette shouldn’t be too hard.
I don’t buy the “he’s just a product of his time” argument. He’s a grown-ass 61-year-old man, and for an allegedly intelligent wrestling analyst, he shouldn’t be embarrassing himself on a weekly podcast because he’s out of touch.
But this is a man who once compared race riots to heel heat. In fact, he resigned from the NWA in 2019 because of a comment during a Trevor Murdoch match:
“He’s the only man I know that can strap a bucket of fried chicken on his back and ride a motor scooter across Ethiopia.”
This Reddit user has a pretty detailed list of his past statements.
But this alone isn’t a reason, right? So what about the professional wrestling? Isn’t he a historian and booking genius?
Jim Cornette Doesn’t Really Understand Pro Wrestling
Clutch your pearls a little harder — but it’s true.
This sentiment stems from a twitter interactions with Impact Knockout (and the amazingly talented) Jordynne Grace in 2018-19. After Jordynne simply stated the following truth:
I am 100% for calling wrestling a “performance art” rather than a “sport”. The insistence upon calling it a sport is really holding wrestling back in my opinion. – Jordynne Grace
Which is true. Professional wrestling is a form of violent dancing. It’s theatrical stage-fighting, passed off as a sport. You’d have to be a complete mark to convince yourself any different. However, Cornette’s response was to call her a “butterface” and use misogyny to dismiss her comments.
With that, one can delve back into his prior commentary on anything he doesn’t really understand or like. This ranges from comedy gimmicks, Puroresu, Joshi, deathmatches, and even Lucha-Libre. If he doesn’t “get it”, or “like it”, he immediately invalidates it because in the mind of Jim Cornette, wrestling can only be done “one way”.
This “one way” of pro wrestling seems to only revolve around the cliché old school style of big beefy men slowly slapping meat.
If Jim Cornette truly understood pro wrestling, he would know that a plethora of styles of professional wrestling exist, with many ways to tell a story. No promotion is beholden to do so in a specific manner. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to perform the art that is professional wrestling. However, Cornette consistently frames what he doesn’t personally like as bad wrestling.
Case in point, The Elite vs. Death Triangle.
These matches will be a hybrid of Lucha-Libre, and Strong-Style wrestling to tell their story. It’s no different from an NFL offense that relies heavily on an air-attack over a ground game. You can get to the endzone in more ways than one.
Yet Cornette cannot seem to grasp that these are legitimate styles of professional wrestling that happen to exist outside of the U.S. and in small pockets of the Independent scene. (Yes, you can even tell a story through a “spot-fest”; call me if you get lost, Boomer)
As if Cornette, a “historian”, conveniently forgets that in the territory days, nearly all professional wrestling promotions were smaller, local, and “Indy-riffic” based on the region and fan base.
The Cult of Cornette
Yet he constantly insults what he doesn’t understand, and his listeners, unfortunately, do not know any better.
Sadly, the effect of his influence is bringing an entire wrestling fan base into his own misery. For years, we have seen Cornette’s loyal minions defend him, and shit on anything that isn’t to their leader’s liking.
In truth, Cornette is becoming a cancer to the wrestling community by seemingly normalizing hate speech, and convincing thousands that gatekeeping in professional wrestling is acceptable. You’ll often see his mindless lemmings attack AEW, Impact, or New Japan by repeating the same exact talking points from his podcast.
No critical thought, or original ideas. Just continuous dopamine hits from shitposting negativity while living vicariously though Cornette’s weekly mudshow/mudslinging session. These “fans” (if you can call them that) need personal validation as much as Cornette needs to convince himself that he is still a relevant voice in modern pro wrestling.
Social media has become quite a toxic place for wrestling fans. But between even the most tribal WWE or AEW fans, I feel as if the Cult of Cornette really takes the cake when it comes to spreading divide and toxicity within the industry.
And to his defenders, let’s ask an honest question:
No Wrestling Promotion Wants to Touch Cornette
Why isn’t Papa H or TK clamoring to hire Cornette?
Because working in the industry for a few decades in the past, and appearing on a few Vice documentaries doesn’t qualify you to book modern-day wresting.
Yes, Cornette claims he was offered a job by Tony Khan in the very early days of AEW. However, when we examine the promotions he’s worked for, it often ended badly for Jim.
He was fired from OVW in 2007 after slapping Santino Marella, and his short run in TNA came to end in in 2009 due to booking clashes with Vince Russo. He rubbed too many talents the wrong way in Ring of Honor leading to his departure in 2012, and his resignation from the NWA in 2019 has been mentioned already in this article.
Smoky Mountain Wrestling was good for its time, but inevitably fell to WCW and WWE, whom Cornette has both worked for well over a decade ago.
To be blunt: If Cornette, even as a wrestling historian, with a legitimately good wrestling brain, draws zero interest from the industry’s top companies, what does that tell you?
Nobody really seems to want to work with Jim Cornette in 2022. Could it be his ego?
His Jealousy and Ego Gets In the Way
Here’s the thing about Cornette…
While he easily rips on AEW more than their “competition”, he still sends shots to Stamford as well. So I have to ponder if the following statement is true:
Jim Cornette is envious that a wealthy wrestling fan has created a legitimate and successful mainstream alternative – WITHOUT HIM.
At the top of AEW is Tony Khan, who is an easy target by most internet bullies who have nothing else better to do with their time. AEW also has Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks in prominent positions, and features a lot of wrestling you may see on the Indies.
In fact, AEW offers a generous mix of the larger global wrestling picture: Everything from the fast-paced Lucha/DG style to straight King’s Road, Strong Style, Joshi, Deathmatch, Meta-Indies, Modern-Day, and even straight up old school wrestling (which Cornette still fawns over).
But Cornette doesn’t seem to like, or understand all the former. So like a troll, he chooses to make light of these styles in efforts to delegitimize them.
I’m speculating, but could it be that all these styles of wrestling he despises brings enough of a mainstream audience to challenge and invalidate his own personal views on the art?
He likely won’t work for WWE ever again, and he can’t get over his “old man yells at cloud” views of professional wresting to ever want to work for AEW. So his ego won’t let him see beyond 1995 and quite frankly, he’s internally jealous that the wrestling world has left that all behind, including himself.
Again, speculation. But when you listen to his podcast, how can a rational wrestling fan see anything else?
The Real Problem
One bitter old man behind the times can’t bring down the industry, right?
When fans begin to stop thinking for themselves, and mindlessly repeat antiquated and off-base talking points, it creates a void. The void it creates is the ability to simply enjoy wrestling and approach it with any critiques that comes from a good faith mindset. Cornette’s overarching criticisms do not come from a good faith sentiment.
Professional wrestling wasn’t meant to be viewed through the lens of constant critical thought. It was meant to be entertaining — even if just a weekly escape. However, if you go on any social media post, be it WWE, AEW, or wrestling news sites, you see such a void of legitimate critique or insight.
It’s mostly banal and empty-headed comments that do nothing more than contribute to the stink pile of shitposting in pro wrestling.
Jim Cornette is just a shitposter with a podcast.
He contributes nothing to the modern-day wrestling world aside from convincing his large fan base that this art we all collectively love is somehow worse off than is was in years past. And he does this with a pair of rose-colored glasses that he would somehow do better.
His podcast enforces a bleak narrative that as fans we have to simultaneously tear down pro wrestling and view it in a uber-critical headspace for us to enjoy it. And if you cite his past accolades and upbringing as a defense for his past controversial statements and current grim outlook, then you are part of the problem.
Man, what a sad way to live.
We Can Do Better
If only we approach professional wrestling like Willow Nightingale approaches her matches. You can tell that she’s simply having a blast out there, win or lose.
Can the collective fan base not do the same?
“Nothing matters. Smile anyway”, as her t-shirt puts it. Solid critiques and personal preferences done in good faith are one thing. However, the mindless bullying of an entire promotion and its fans on the basis that pro wrestling has to look and perform a certain way is utterly asinine.
In the grand-scheme of things, Jim Cornette will have contributed more negativity to the modern zeitgeist of this business than any other wrestling personality that I can think of. In fact, I would challenge him to go one week, or even one podcast, without any negativity.
I highly doubt Cornette can go 10-minutes without an off-hand, negative comment on his podcast, much less two hours. Because without as such, you’d have nothing but dead air.
And dead air is the equivalent of what Cornette contributes to the wrestling business. As a 61-year-old man, he should do better — and if he can’t, than shouldn’t we?