Jim Cornette has officially retired from managing after 35 years at WrestleCade past weekend leaving behind a legacy that is beyond logistics and no one can ever match his artistic yet natural ability to litigate heat which fumed fire in the crowd. He managed Dan Severn for the last time and gave a heartfelt speech in the Carolinas where he pretty much made his name.
Let us go back in time and visit the famous tag teams and singles wrestlers that were managed by Jim Cornette
Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey and Bobby Eaton, Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane)
There are two versions of the original Midnight Express and Jim was the only constant. This infamous heel team that was based on hostility generating heat which was met by hell from the dressing room and the crowd itself. Business wasn’t exposed at that time and every villainous act created hatred which was legit.
The unstoppable, unforgettable and unending feud between Rock and Roll Express and Midnight Express started from Mid South and spread in all territories emerging as the best rivalry for Bill Watts Promotion. Jim who was the perfect antagonist with his Tennis racket accompanied by terrorizing expression. He displayed uncontrolled temper and irritating voice that could light up an intolerant crowd almost immediately.
Jim Cornette’s notable managerial stint with WWE, which was WWF at that time, came when he managed Yokozuna. The effervescent manager acted as an American Spokesperson for the ferocious foreign heel. Yokozuna was one the few foreign acts which WWE was able to pull off in a potent manner. Unlike Jinder Mahal, Yokozuna had a championship vibe to him which was believable.
Cornette formed a heel stable named as “Camp Cornette” which constituted legendary wrestlers like the late British Bulldog (Davey Boy Smith) and Owen Hart plus the future Hall of Famer Vader. His ideas were blocked by the office which hindered the consistent booking that could have helped cemented a vibrant squad of slobber knockers.
Rock and Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson)
Rock and Roll Express is probably the greatest face tag team of all time. Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson are still prevalent. The duo maintains that relevance quotient even after all these years in the wrestling business. They went into the Hall of Fame last year and were inducted by Jim Cornette. Their former manager described the delight that was undeniable watching them work together.
Cornette managed them for a short while in WWE when attitude era was looming large. A time when crowd popped for reality rather than reliability plus the tag team was past its prime in the late 90’s. The real correlation worked when Cornette was working against the Rock and Roll Express in the Carolinas using every trick in the book to connive, cheat and steal from the apron that made the come-back ever so sweet.
The expression on Ricky Morton and crowd’s face when he got tied into a corner asking for help was pure genius. He is the master of Selling as stated by Shawn Michaels. The hot tag that happens afterwards and the crowd goes nuts prescribed a perfect example of instilling emotions with utmost ease in a pro wrestling environment. Jim was the architect who knew how to elevate a spot. The man deserves to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Apart from managing wrestlers, Jim also managed promotions like Smokey Mountain Wrestling, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) and Ring of Honor. He instilled old school wrestling knowledge to the likes of Chris Jericho, Chris Candido, Lance Storm, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Dave Batista, Jay Lethal and Kevin Steen a.k.a Kevin Owens that is visible in their wrestling styles.
First and foremost the wrestling fans should listen to Jim Cornette Experience on mlwradio.com, probably the best shoot podcast on wrestling where Cornette shoots on old school wrestling and the current state of politics converting the B.S into a hilarious experience. I want to dedicate some lines to my favourite manager of all time
” Jimmy oh Jimmy, not a Valiant but indeed a Valley
He stayed away from the Herd, to preserve the intelligence of a wrestling Nerd
The showers of Sports Entertainment couldn’t deflate the power he brought to Pro Wrestling
We bid farewell to the maestro who managed to instil Buoyancy in Belief
To leave a product that will forever be perceived as Parish. “