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RECAP AND REVIEW: Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru on Rodney Mack’s gimmick, Tex McKenzie, playing to the crowd, what camera angles does Jim prefer for wrestling? (Ep. 64)

Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru Episode 64

Release date: July 30, 2018

Recap by: Paul Briody

Top stories/moments of interest:

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

0:00 – Intro, Jim’s tired, sunburnt and cranky! Corny talks about only being tanned twice during his career: while working for WCCW around 1985 and in JCP in 1988.

11:21 – Any stories about former WWE director Kerwin Silfies? He was a good guy, laidback and hardworking. Jim: “I enjoyed pretty much everybody except for the guy with the big f*****’ teeth.”

12:52 – Why was Rodney Mack’s character anti-white people when he looked like a white guy himself? Jim: “They picked the lightest colored black guy to be racist.” After Mack left OVW, Jim has no idea where the creative ideas for him came from. He was a wrestling fan growing up, gaining experience in-ring and looked good on camera. His OVW tag team with Shelton Benjamin worked well. Corny was also a fan of Shelton’s tag team with Charlie Haas which was why he brought them into ROH. They could “still go” and could “slow the young guys down.” Jim: “Haas and Benjamin, always enjoyed they’re work, they did a great f*****’ job and excelled in multiple areas.”

20:42 – Briscoes (ROH) discussion. Corny first met them when he managed them for Gabe Sapolsky in ROH in 2004. Jim: “They were puppies with big paws.” When Jim returned to the company a few years later on a regular basis they’d “grown up physically.” Jim: “I made no secret of it, they were two of my favorites.” Sometimes reckless/dangerous workers (for their own health) but would always listen to constructive criticism. Legitimate, believable. Jim: “I thought The Briscoes were fantastic.”

25:17 – Jim’s asked about the ‘Super Date at the Superdome” involving The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and “women (fans) over the age of 18” in the summer of 1984. The Rock ‘n’ Roll had a large number of female fans and that led to more girls at the shows. Somebody came up with an idea to exploit that for publicity for a big show at the ‘Dome. Jim tells a funny story about going to a fair with his ex-wife on the same night (by chance) as a Rock ‘n’ Roll publicity ‘date.’

37:14 – What are wrestler weddings like? Jim (on D-lo Brown’s wedding): “To be honest, it was just a beautiful wedding.”

40:00 – Any Tex McKenzie stories and how successful was his career, since he was very popular in Australia? Jim: “Tex McKenzie was a top guy here in this country for quite a long period of time, in much of the sixties and through the early seventies in a variety of territories.” He worked for The Sheik in Detroit, a few of the Texas promotions and for Jim Barnett in Australia (amongst others). As a worker he was “f*****’ rotten, just horrible” – clumsy and cumbersome. Jim tells a story about Tex McKenzie facing one of Gary Hart’s wrestlers with Hart suspended above the ring in a cage. Tex got in the ring, shoved the cage, turned around to wave at the fans and was knocked out cold by the cage when it swung back. Brian: “I’ve interviewed many of wrestling’s greats on the Superpodcast, I’ve yet to meet one that didn’t go out of their way to say Tex McKenzie was a terrible wrestler if his name came up… great guy, horrible in the ring.”

48:52 – Were there ever any political arguments in wrestling locker rooms back in the day? Not really, they’d usually talk about sports, women, pets, road stories, work etc. Wrestlers didn’t really watch the news.

53:22 – Why is Ken Mantell (WCCW) such a polarizing figure? Jim: “I didn’t hate him, I didn’t even dislike him, I just thought he wasn’t a very good booker.” Compared to the efficiency and knowledge of Bill Watts and Bill Dundee, Mantell was severely lacking as a booker. Much less logical, The Midnights would do a job the week before challenging for the tag team titles, for example. He wasn’t very decisive or a particular good leader, often going to talent to help with finishes. Jim: “The better promotions were run with structure. Dusty Rhodes came off like Marshall Dylan in the locker room, we would’ve walked into the gates of Hell for our fearless leader, The American Dream.”

1:01:22 – What camera angles does Jim prefer for wrestling shows and how shocked was Corny when he went to the WWF and saw their scale of production? He wasn’t shocked because he’d been at WCW in the early 1990s and by the time he got to the WWF, in 1993, the leap was not that great. Jim was really stunned at the WWE HOF last year when he saw what the company is doing nowadays, production has really grown. In the 1980s, the standard set-up for arena shows in JCP and WWF was: hard/stationary camera in the bleachers for the general action (also called the play-by-play camera), a camera next to the hard cam for entrance close-ups etc, and two floor cameras on either side of the ring. The floor cameras would always face the same way as the hard cams in order to avoid a disorientating effect called “breaking the field.” It’s more about the lighting and the people actually operating the cameras that determines the quality of a show’s production. Jim and Brian both lament the over-use of stages and giant screens in wrestling today, as well as lighting. During a match, everything should be dark apart from the ring to keep the audience’s attention on the action and things like body language and facial expressions are more effective.

1:12:06 – Interesting discussion about WWE telling their performers to avoid playing to the crowd. When people see crowds reacting to wrestling in the arenas on their TVs, it adds to their enjoyment/investment in the shows, Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn would do well to take this on board. The unscripted, ad-libbed aspect of wrestling shows has been lost over the years. Jim: “Get the people involved in you and not just a bunch of bumps that you’re taking like you’re a bunch of G**d*** synchronised swimmers or trained acrobats.” Too much cooperation today. Good stuff.

1:22:56 – Outro

Plugs: Twitter: @TheJimCornette, @GreatBrianLast #CornyDriveThru; CornyDriveThru@gmail.com; JimCornette.com; 605pod.com; kfrpod.com; tinyurl.com/cornyyoutube; the law offices of Stephen P. New: newlawoffice.com; tinyurl.clm/cornyinphilly for tickets to see Jim at the Keystone Comic-Con.

Rating: 7.4

Time stamps:

0:00 – Intro
11:21 – Kerwin Silfies
12:52 – Rodney Mack
20:42 – Briscoe Brothers
25:17 – ‘Super date at the Superdome’
40:00 – Tex McKenzies
53:22 – Ken Mantell
1:01:22 – Camera angles
1:12:06 – Playing to the crowd

About Paul: 

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

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