RECAP AND REVIEW: Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru on if heels should have merchandise, The Canadian Destroyer, why Waylon Mercy didn’t work, does C.M. Punk still have value in pro wrestling? (Ep. 57)

Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru Episode 57

Release date: June 11, 2018

Recap by: Paul Briody

Top stories/moments of interest:

• Usual format in which Brian Last asks Jim Cornette listener questions about current wrestling and wrestling history with great chemistry between the two.

0:00 – Jim is pleased with Brian’s intro this week, once again. The beginnings of a streak! Brian talks about his daughters’ school gymnastics finals.

9:26 – Does CM Punk still have value in pro wrestling or has he been damaged by his UFC losses and would Bill Watts have fired him? At one time the UFC losses would’ve hurt a lot more than they do now but Punk wrestled in an era when fans see the business as “entertainment anyway.” Punk still has value in wrestling because he would “draw a house anywhere he went, tomorrow.”

Jim: “He would’ve, in the days when guys needed to legitimately be viewed as tough, yes (been hurt in terms of legitimacy)… which is why that you never saw the big boxer versus wrestler matches until the boxer was either past his prime or it was never the top wrestler and (the match) was more of a gimmick type thing.” Inoki vs Ali was obviously a well-documented exception.

Jim respects Punk having “all that dedication, all that heart, and all those guts” but “he’s not nearly world class (at fighting).” They then discuss WWE’s pettiness throughout the whole affair. Brian: “They fired him the day he got married and the trial happened the week of his UFC fight so they’ve just taken great joy in f****** with him, for everyone who thinks he going back, I don’t think he’s going back.” They also touch on the Punk/Corey Graves relationship and how Punk has severed ties with many of his friends in WWE. Jim, on the court trial: “It was obviously bulls***. He should’ve won. They were f*****’ with him… It’s childish it got that f*****’ far to begin with.”

26:55 – What are Jim’s opinions of the Canadian Destroyer move? Jim didn’t try to dissuade Petey Williams from doing the move in TNA because it was one of the only things he did that engaged the crowd since they’d buried him so much. He was also the only wrestler regularly doing it at the time, but when people started to emulate the move, with increasing stakes (like from the second turnbuckle) it “crossed a line all the way over into preposterous… as we know in wrestling the more often something gets repeated the more people have a chance to see through it and see how it’s done.” They then move into a discussion on finishers, with Brian criticizing John Cena’s STF: “Erik Watts did it better.”

36:38 – Why is Jim such a big Jim Duggan fan when he exposed the business by getting arrested with The Iron Sheik (with whom he was feuding at the time) and had a reputation for no-selling during his WCW run? Jim: “Duggan was great in Mid South, his promos were great, he had tons of personality, he was a great athlete but at the same time he was a big rawbone f*** that looked like one of the people… if territory wrestling had stayed in business he coulda been huge in Mid South, Florida, Georgia, (and) the Carolinas.” Jim would’ve fired him and The Sheik following their arrest and doesn’t know why Vince didn’t. WWF made him into more of a cartoon character but he’d worked hard, beat his body up and “bled everywhere” so he deserved a change of pace. Jim and Brian then discuss Butch Reed with both agreeing that he should’ve been a big star and not knowing what went wrong. They allude to Reed’s lifestyle, particularly after hanging around with Buddy Landel.

44:49 – What does Jim think of EC3? Jim: “I’ve seen him have a couple of good, solid matches and he looks great physically and I enjoyed my interactions speaking with him.”

46:14 – Why didn’t Waylon Mercy work out? Jim’s not a big fan of Dan Spivey and briefly compares him to Sid. The biggest obstacle for the Waylon Mercy character was probably Spivey’s body breaking down to the point where he couldn’t really ‘go’ anymore. The gimmick could’ve been a winner on somebody else but Spivey’s promo abilities were lacking.

50:58 – Was there ever any kayfabe explanation given for Fritz Von Erich going from evil Nazi heel to good-old-boy Texan wrestling promoter? Fritz was a babyface by the late 1960s but off the top of his head Jim can’t remember a specific angle.

56:02 – What does Jim think about heels having merchandise for sale? Jim: “Once again this is a generational answer because in the old days no, of course they shouldn’t.” In the old days the heels were set up to be despised and so you wouldn’t want people to be fans of them and buy their merchandise “but now there’s no reason not to because people are gonna like the heels, a lot of times, better than they like the babyfaces because the heels are dirtier and everybody knows it’s bulls***… In those days, I promise you, if a heel did sell merchandise it was the s*** that the people could tear up and try to make him mad. The point is that not only would a heel not have sold merchandise in the old days but nobody would’ve wanted to f*****’ buy it anyway.” Brian: “(Wrestling) is the only form of entertainment where the star wears their own t-shirt everywhere they go.” Jim: “I don’t think Hulk Hogan shares your opinion because I’ve seen him in a bunch of Hulk shirts, and I don’t think he minds being a douchebag.” Jim then talks about his dislike of 1989/1990 WCW merch.

1:00:44 – Any interactions with Mauro Ranallo and opinions of him? Jim: “I’ve been a fan of not only his wrestling work but also, you know, the MMA stuff and he’s got a great voice, he’s so excited. I’ve heard a couple people say “Ah, but he gets too excited and stays there too long” and I used to do the same thing when I was announcing, I was real excited and I think he is too, so I give him that.” They touch on the JBL situation and Jim muses that Mauro doesn’t realize how talented he is and therefore undervalues himself. In the Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller documentary Dave Meltzer said that someone told him that during Mauro’s wrestling manager career, in the late 1980s, WCW was planning to bring him in as Cornette’s cousin but no one ever mentioned it to Jim and he doubts how seriously they were considering the idea. They then move into a discussion on originality in wrestling and ‘making things your own’ and then depression in wrestling.

1:11:52 – How were the wrestling magazines “put together” back in the day? Depends on the magazine! Norm Kizer and Jim Melby’s publications were more legitimate because “their correspondents were fans.” Most of the newsstand magazines were kayfabe and the Stanley Weston magazines (which became known as the Apter mags) “they just made s*** up out of their a**. The interviews were made up, the quotes were made up, the headlines were made up, the angles were made up.” Many wrestlers ended up trusting Bill Apter, though, because he’d help to get their gimmicks over by printing various kayfabe articles etc.

1:15:55 – What are Jim’s thoughts on Jushin Thunder Liger and did he ever think about bringing him into SMW? It wouldn’t have been cost effective to bring him into SMW so it was never a serious consideration but Liger’s a “wrestling legend.”

1:19:30 – Any stories about Madisonville, Kentucky? In the late 70s/early 80s Christine Jarrett would do a show at the Madisonville Junior High School one Saturday a month with eight guys and Buddy Wayne’s travelling ring. They’d draw about two hundred people and tickets were about $4 or $5 each. Jim recalls that for one of the shows there the truck carrying the ring was involved in a wreck and they had to use amateur wrestling mats from the school gym. For the tag team main event they had to use school science chairs and (since they had no ropes) the wrestlers had to sit on the chairs while waiting to be tagged in.

1:26:14 – Outro

Plugs: Twitter: @TheJimCornette,  @GreatBrianLast #CornyDriveThru;;;; the law offices of Stephen P. New.

Rating: 7.50

Funny rants with both classic and current wrestling issues covered.

Time stamps:

0:00 – Intro
9:26 – CM Punk
26:55 – Canadian Destroyer
36:38 – Jim Duggan
44:49 – EC3
46:14 – Waylon Mercy
50:58 – Fritz Von Erich
56:02 – Heel merchandise
1:00:44 – Mauro Ranallo
1:11:52 – Wrestling magazines
1:15:55 – Jushin Thunder Liger
1:19:30 – Madisonville, Kentucky

About Paul: 

I’m just a guy, from England, who watches wrestling and listens to podcasts!

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