A former ringside photographer who was offered a more active role in his profession in 1982 by Christine Jarrett and her son, Jerry, Jim Cornette is one of the all time great and colorful wrestling managers, promoters and personalities of The Eighties and Nineties. Supposedly funded by his mother's riches (who made her money selling wrestling merchandise), his instantly recognizable southern accent and angry motormouth have entertained fans for over three decades.With signature tennis racket in hand, JC has managed many great tag teams and wrestlers, most notably The Midnight Express, Jeff Jarrett, Yokozuna and Vader. He has worked with or for nearly every major wrestling promotion in the United States, from the NWA to WCW to WWE to TNA to Ring of Honor, as well as running his own promotion Smoky Mountain Wrestling and spending several years in charge of WWE's developmental promotion Ohio Valley Wrestling.Jim Cornette has become popular with many fans on the internet for his insightful and often acerbic profanity filled commentaries on the 'Who's Slamming Who' podcast. Known for having one of the largest wrestling memorabilia collections in the world, his long efforts to sell it off have incidentally helped younger fans learn some of the rich history of professional wrestling.He's also known his love ofWendy's triple cheeseburgers and seething hatred of Vince Russo.
Tropes associated with Mr. James E Cornette:
Age-Inappropriate Dress: While managing in Mid-South Wrestling he was more than once forced to wear a diaper, usually as the result of a lost wager.
Or just say something nice about Vince Russo. Actually, on second thought, don't do that. The building would probably collapse.
To explain how embarrassing he found it Jim said he'd rather live next to a child molester than someone who worked in the wrestling business if the only things he knew about the business came from The Wrestler.
Big Eater: JC is a big fan of Wendy's and hamburgers in general, even Dairy Queen's, which is know more for ice cream. So much so that he's had to go on a diet in recent years, probably to avoid becoming a Fat Bastard since his knee keep him from running his meals off like he could while younger. And so he can outlive Vince Russo, since his life goal now is to piss on the man's grave.
Bring My Brown Pants: During The Undertaker's casket match with Vader, Jim Ross said it was a good thing Cornette was wearing dark britches. During the Boogeyman's OVW debut, Jim Cornette shat himself.
"Fuck this company!", "I hope you fucking die!", "You couldn't believe him if his tongue was notarized." among many others.
Ironically, "Fuck this company" was what many of the FANS shouted at Ring of Honor Killer Instinct, October 6, 2012, in response to the botched Worked Shoot-style ending of the main event between ROH World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Steen and Jay Lethal. This was the last show Cornette booked for ROH, with Lethal attacking him used as a way to write him out of his role. (Booked on screen. He had just been consulting Delirious and kept on doing so with changes to address fan complaints, starting with getting himself off screen, which lead to critical acclaim at the next show)
He served as a commentator on Raw alongside Jim Ross when Smoky Mountain failed to get a TV deal.
He was the color commentator for the short lived LPWA. Then sat behind the commentary table of OVW television with Dean Hill. Sinclair wanted Jim Cornette to do commentary for Ring Of Honor too but he refused.
Cower Power: Jim would run from the angry wrestlers he wronged to Midnight Express stable mate Bobby Eaton and hug him for protection.
Deep South/Sweet Home Alabama: Louisville, Kentucky. Where he resides in 'Castle Cornette'. His real life personality is somewhat of a subversion to this trope. While James E is a staunch traditionalist when it comes to wrestling, he is a non-republican, pro choice, pro health care and reform, Barack Obama supporter and an atheist. That said, he told just as many jokes about the Democrats as he did the Republicans while in OVW (but then, Obama was not big news yet)
Defiled Forever: In his quest to embarrass Shawn Michaels, Cornette claimed Shawn had done this to Diana, for them simply being sort of flirty. Her husband, the British Bulldog was trying to have her distract Shawn.
Designated Girl Fight: Invoked on TNA when he prevented Eric Young and Jerry Lynn from destroying Traci Brooks with a folding chair (crowd boos) stating he was not going to allow a group of men to beat up a woman even if she deserved it, sicking Gail Kim on her instead (crowd cheers). Averted in OVW, where he had little problem with Alexis Laree (face) or Synn (heel) fighting men.
His "Rebooking the Invasion" interview on Justin.tv, the booking's actually pretty interesting but stretches credibility at times, for instance, it involves WCW acting as a shell company in opposition to WWE, something he admits Vince would never do. note Interestingly, he does make some semi-joking concessions to reality: Lex Luger would never get a job in WWE; Triple H always being booked to win; Dusty Rhodes losing a Wrestlemania match to Hulk Hogan by DQ due to manager interference (Cornette himself), because Dusty would never job clean in such a match.
The same interview also acts as a fix to the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, as he states/decrees that in the parallel universe he is describing, it never happened and would never happen.
He describes himself as never having been an athlete, yet also claims to have been too fast for anybody to catch, thus avoiding beat downs (and giving him a low tolerance for people who can't run the ropes). Unfortunately, they did not always have to catch him, such as when Cornette tried to assault Shawn Michaels head on after he had already beaten Owen Hart and Shinobi. Cornette, predictably, went down even faster.
Despite claims to have never been an athlete, Cornette had worked matches (in which he got worked over) before and though he's known to be rotund now, he was slim like a sprinter when he started out managing.
George Jetson Job Security: This was the gimmick Jerry Jarret gave him, that all his clients would fire him but he would always get another one soon. It is almost true in real life, too, as he's been fired by WWE, TNA and Ring Of Honor but still had people asking for services.
Good Is Not Nice: Though Cornette is most famous for his heel runs, he's pretty condescending even as a face.
For the Midnight Express. An example from WCW WrestleWar 90:
"Please welcome the Kings of the Ring, the Gangster of Lovenote Stan Lane and the Sultan of Swingnote Bobby Eaton, Beautiful Bobby and Sweet Stan, the Midnight Express!"
He also did some ring announcing in OVW. Sometimes prior to interviewing someone going up to WWE, sometimes to announce someone coming down.
Hot-Blooded: He has a tendency to become really worked up over what's done to his beloved sport: changing it from a competition to a spectacle, having wrestlers compete in full contact contests like the Brawl for All or making wrestling too violent and extreme will elicit at least a 10-20 Cluster F-Bomb. Bring up someone like Vince Russo or Kevin Dunn and he will lose it completely.
Hidden Depths: A southern traditionalist fervently against the glitz and glamour of Sports Entertainment...that just happens to be an atheist liberal firebrand that is also somewhat internet savvy.
I Know Madden Kombat: The tennis racket. Ironically, his promos video for his debuts in territories often showed him to be incompetent at the sport.
Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Bright red on pink, bright red on blue, and pastels in every color combination imaginable. Plus his tennis racket was for some time fitted with a boa.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pretty much every time you hear Cornette in an interview, he's a loud-mouthed, vitriol-spewing F-bomb machine that will eat up every second of time he can to bash everyone he hates in wrestling. However, this is because he loves the business and can't stand that the younger generation is being stifled by older stars that hog the spotlight.
The Last DJ: He is without a doubt one of the most talented managers and promoters of all time, a man whose love for Professional Wrestling rivals Ric Flair's, John Cena's and Ryback's combined and has the knowledge to match. However, several things, including a caustic personality, a willingness to knock who he works for and his vision of wrestling not fitting in with "Sports Entertainment" or the Attitude Era has kept him mostly behind the scenes, and he has walked out of or been fired from every promotion he worked for.
Early on in his managerial career he was implied to be one of these - he was sometimes mockingly referred to as "Mrs. Cornette's baby boy". This aspect of his character was quietly dropped after his first several years in the business. Jim Cornette had started taking pictures and ring announcing while he was a teenager, so his mother had to drive him to shows. By the time Jim Cornette became a manager though he was 20 and had his own driver's license, so only the oldest and most astute fans would have known the "momma Cornett"e people were talking about.
In the storyline, it was that money that got Cornette his Kayfabe bodyguard, Big Bubba Rogers. (The man who dropped him in the aforementioned reference to the scaffold match which screwed up both Cornette's knees.)
Mind Rape: The exact phrase he uses to describe what he believes WWE did to Doug Basham.
Ask him about a topic, say the Brawl for All, and he'll happily describe it in great detail for fifteen minutes on what it was about, who he could remember was involved and how good they were or could have been and everything he saw wrong with it. Especially everything he saw wrong with it.
He developed it while working for World Class Championship Wrestling in Dallas due to his interview time being compressed.
"I remember going to arenas in the 80s, where the audience was 60% female and they were all trying to kill us for beating up Ricky Morton. Those people spent the same amount of money as the guys did but now the audience is 80% men and whatever women those men can drag to the matches with em because it's their night out. So we have completely shut off... where else do you find a business featuring a bunch of good looking guys wearing very little clothes and no women want to see the show? Riddle me that, Lucy!"
Nerd Glasses: A wrestling nerd and, to a lesser extent, a computer nerd.
Only Sane Man: There's no getting around it: Jim is terrible at office politics. He expects his colleagues to act sensibly and will browbeat them until they do what he wants; as a result, he's been booted out of every known wrestling promotion, including the ones he personally managed. He's very outspoken in his political and religious beliefs, many of which clash with those of Middle America, which doesn't do him any favors backstage either.
After the aforementioned Mind Fuck of Doug Basham, where WWE Creative sloughed off the trademark biker look of then-developmental champion Basham by shaving him bald because they couldn't imagine him bald, Cornette went off on John Laurinitis saying that, with two weeks' notice, he could book Basham in a hair match, shave it, and sell tickets and make money. "Thank you, fuck you, bye!"
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Tends to give these out like treats on Halloween to pretty much anybody who's crossed his path. The most famous interview produced the above picture.
"See, he was running a video store before Vince (McMahon) let him write for the magazine...He can't spell. He can't write or speak English! He 'grew up in Brooklyn n' da Bronx or whateva' — I'm looking at the guy's pad: he can't spell, okay? It's not like he's a goddamn Rhodes scholar...So he's writing for the magazine. He insinuates himself. He's got good ideas. He has good ideas at a time when they need good ideas. And, you know, I'm not saying he's never had any good ideas. But you know what the problem is? The problem is that all the good ideas he's ever had is from watching those goddamn, cheap-ass B-movies that they used to rent at his goddamn loser video store. He doesn't know anything about wrestling. That's why when you hear 'ding ding ding!', it's immediately followed 60 seconds later by 'ding ding ding!' Keep the matches as short as possible. When that bell rings, Vince Russo is lost. Vince Russo is a babe in the woods. Vince Russo is a deer caught in the headlights, as long as there's a wrestling match going on. As long as he can make it a phony B-movie script or an outhouse in the ring, or woman having miscarriages, or something that appeals to his New York, bad taste, shitty attitude. So get the wrestling matches outta there, 'cause nobody wants to see that shit anyway. That's been proven over at WCW, where they don't even have wrestling matches anymore— I watched Thunder the other night, because I happened to be stuck in a hotel room, and I saw Lance Storm stumbling around like a drunk man. When you make that guy uncoordinated, you can do it to anybody...He's got a bunch of fucking dancing bears parading around in the ring, a bunch of women with silicone, and a bunch of club-footed, slap-happy fucking guys that couldn't work their way out of a wet paper bag. And he don't know the fucking difference. And he's out there beating up Ric Flair with a baseball bat! Because he finally got to be a star. Now he doesn't have to subsist on the internet marks fuckin' clapping for him. He can have the fucking roar of their (dwindling) crowds, going, "ooh, that's uhh—yeah, that Russo guy.' He's a star now! He beats the wrestlers! He made this statement: 'Well, we'll just teach actors to wrestle, because if I can learn to work in the ring, anyone can!' There's a goddamn news bulletin I didn't hear about when I heard about World War II and all the other great happenings of the past fifty years!: When did Vince Russo learn to fucking work? Jesus Fucking Christ. I wanna puke."
"I'm Jim Cornette, I just wonder if any of you are sick and tired as I am of people who claim to be the "icon" of wrestling? Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper claim to be the icon, Shawn Michaels is the "icon that can still go," Bret Hart would claim to be the icon if he wasn't too busy crying about being screwed, and I guess Randy Savage is still "thinkin', thinkin'!" Well, Shawn Michaels is still the single most talented wrestler today inside the ring, but outside he's an adolescent, obnoxious jerk who takes his tights and goes home if he doesn't get his way. Bret Hart is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, but if he'd been screwed as many times as he claims he would've struck oil by now. And Randy Savage is a legend, but let's face it, how many records did Frank Sinatra sell last year? But the pinnacle of this "icon" garbage came at last night's cage match between Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper, to determine–in their minds only–who the real icon is. WCW had the gall to say "this is the greatest cage match in history", when it was only the greatest in three weeks since Hell in a Cell. But here you've got a 46-year-old bald movie star wannabe who looks like Uncle Creepy with a good build taking on a guy with an artificial hip that hadn't wrestled a full schedule in ten years. It's a tribute to the massive egotism, in my mind, of both men and indictment of WCW's promotional policies that this match even took place, much less being the main event, when the card was probably the best that WCW's capable of having! By the ten minute mark, they were sucking wind so bad the first three rows passed out of oxygen deprivation–would've been funny if it wasn't so sad. Well, I'm sick and damn tired of guys claim to be the "icon," especially when it usually comes from guys who just didn't know when to quit. Roddy Piper was my idol when I was a teenager, but that was twenty years ago. Hulk Hogan during his best years was 50% media creation, and those are long gone. This match was a slap in the face to every wrestler that takes pride in his profession! And in my mind, no one man is bigger than this sport, but if there is an icon, it would be a man who has great ability inside the ring and professionalism and maturity outside of it! Let's leave all the petty backstabbing, I-make-more-money-than-you BS with the hat-check girl, and concentrate on talent and attitude! The Undertaker, Ric Flair, and Steve Austin have never claimed to be icons, which means they're big candidates to be just that! And on a personal note to Hulk Hogan: you are a household word, but so is garbage; and it stinks when it gets old, too. I'm Jim Cornette, and that's my opinion."
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cornette's co-host Alice Radley on The Jim Cornette Experience radio show is a hard blue to his red.
"(Heyman) would rather climb a tree and tell a lie than stand on the ground and tell the truth."
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: His reaction upon seeing the Montreal Screwjob. Being in the dark regarding what the plan was to end the match, Cornette hung around the back to see how it'd go down before quickly leaving the arena to avoid the mess that he'd knew would happen. That said, he said in a shoot interview that he would have done the same thing and that Bret should have just bitten the bullet.
Self-Deprecating Humor/Unusual Euphemism: Jim originally spoke the above line about household names in reference to himself when he was called such on the news, saying that the name people used in their houses about him couldn't be spoken on television.
Seven Year Rule: Besides naming the trope, he had the following to say when asked by Slam Sports about Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle putting on an "MMA style match"(which is also what people said about Joe vs Low Ki in Ring of Honor)
"UFC and MMA is really professional wrestling from 100 years ago. Unfortunately they have been able to present our business better than anyone in our business can present our business! Everything that they are doing came from wrestling. But it's the circle; wrestling will pick back up from UFC and MMA, the things that it used to do 100 years ago, and will present them as new to our wrestling fans. NBC used to have a slogan: 'If you haven't seen it, it's new to you,' and that was their way to sell re-runs. Well we can do the same thing that wrestling did 50 or 100 years ago, and then we can act like we just thought of it."
Sissy Villain: Invoked this trope during his early career, wherein he talked about his (unseen) "mama Cornette" and how she apparently paid for his tennis lessons (which explained why he carried around a tennis racket)
Smug Snake: As an interviewed fan said upon watching Jim try to wrestle when he came to Charlotte North Carolina, "Jim Cornette is the lowest life form there is." Jim was insistent the people loved him while this was going on. When the crowd started chanting "Faggot!" he then admitted "some" people didn't like him and he couldn't please everybody.
Stay in the Kitchen: Zig zagging in regards to women in the sport. He has said women do not make as good as managers as men, yet he ended up dating and heavily promoting a woman manager. He has said there is nothing worse than watching pretty women try to wrestle and that the era of salty women trained by the likes of the Fabulous Moolah is over but he sings the praises of Sara Del Rey, Trish Stratus, Gail Kim and Luna Vachon if their names come up, women fans tend to regard as pretty. Luna and Sara only being exceptions when they made themselves up to look scary (which was almost all the time for Luna, to be fair) and Trish when she wrestled in an acrylic mask to protect an injury.
Toothy Issue: Blamed a mouth injury he received in Ring of Honor on guest talents from CZW but this was later changed to Low Ki because Ring of Honor needed a way to write him off their shows.
Underwear of Power: When Jim Cornette actually wrestled alongside the Midnight Express (or rather, tried to), he wore them. Unlike most wrestlers, Cornette wore these over top of his pants!
Ungrateful Bastard: He considers Dave Bautista this. Batista was pushed as the top guy during his run in Ohio Valley Wrestling, winning the OVW Heavyweight Title and going over such wrestlers as Kane and The Undertaker, and only doing the job a few times, once to Kane and on his way out to John Cena. Later in his career, Batista would run down his time in OVW, saying it was his Old Shame and disrespecting Cornette and Danny Davis. Cornette was furious.
Villainous Crossdresser: After being banned from midsouth wrestling, Jim Cornette snuck into a show by shaving his legs, wearing a dress, putting on a wig and high heels. He then hit Ricky Morton with a purse that had brick in it while the Rock N' Roll Express was fighting the Midnight Express.
Vitriolic Best Buds: With a fellow/rival manager Synn, the wicked witch of Kentuckyana, who caused trouble in OVW with her disciples, whom he eventually married in real life. To a less extent, Sherri Martel, the first wrestler he ever managed but later wound up as the valet of his enemy, Shawn Michaels. To an even lesser extent but still worth mentioning, Vince McMahon. Jim does not like Vince's business practices, politics or philosophy on wrestling but will admit Vince kept the WWF smoothly running, got the industry better than the Turner/Sinclair/Pandasuits and that his main gripes were with Vince's stooges than with Vince directly.
Weapon of Choice: A tennis racket, usually kept inside a gaudy, fur-trimmed case. Once the Midnight Express loaded a horseshoe into the case to make Jim's racquet swings more powerful.
Worked Shoot: He had several during the Monday Night Wars when he was still employed by the (then) WWF as on-screen talent. Of course, how much was "worked" and how much was "shoot" was up for debate, since apparently his instructions were limited to "Don't curse, don't get us sued;" a few even lambasted current WWF stars! These segments are basically the Spiritual Predecessor to his now-famous rants from so many online sources. Ironically they started when Jim decided to go off on web show Byte This, figuring no one watched them. Someone did, and there was demand to see more on Raw.
Writer on Board: Jim has a low tolerance for head drops, never mind garbage wrestling. Also little for "Cartoon wrestling", rapping, breast implants...which made him an ill fit for promotions that run off of one or more of those. Most famously, he always ranted about the WWF production crew while he was on commentary rather than admit Undertaker's special effects came from a super natural source. It was also Jim who decided Boogeyman just thought he was the Boogeyman.