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RECAP AND REVIEW: Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru on where the name for Smoky Mountain Wrestling came from, if Elvis was going to get into the ring, Rick Rude and Manny Fernandez, how do you get a manager’s license? (Ep. 76)

Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru Episode 76

Release date: December 10, 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 and Brian are recording this week’s Drive Thru back-to-back with the Experience.

10:05 – In the territory system were there enough gay wrestlers around to support a ‘gay rat’ scene?

Jim: “There were gay wrestlers but they didn’t perpetrate with the gay fans as much as the heterosexual wrestlers perpetrated with the heterosexual fans” with Brian adding, “Usually you hear about Terry Garvin trying to harass the wrestlers and not the fans.” Jim tells a funny story about Stan Lane reading some graphic erotic fan fiction from a gay fan back when he wrestled as part of The Fabulous Ones.

16:12 – Did Jim have any run-ins with politicians in his wrestling career?

Corny’s always stayed away from politics (in his wrestling career) but he gives a brief overview of politicians in wrestling “down through the years” including Nick Gulas being close to Senator Kefauver (Tennessee) in the NWA “anti-trust situation” in the 1950s and “John McCain called UFC ‘human cockfighting’, I can’t imagine he’d have liked wrestling very much either.” Jim also talks about Governor George Wallace (a prominent anti-civil rights politician from Alabama) being photographed with Plowboy Frazier and Armand Hussein.

22:03 – Why did Crockett feel the need to put the tag team titles on Rick Rude and Manny Fernandez, especially with all the tag team talent they had at the time?

Jim: “It was probably an idea that he (Dusty) had that he wanted to do and it came back to bite him in the a** because they both of them left right about the same time and took the belts with them. My favourite belts!”

23:48 – Where did the Smoky Mountain Wrestling name come from?

Jim: “Knoxville is known for, past the University of Tennessee, being right on top of the Smoky Mountain National Park which is the most visited national park in this country east of the Mississippi.” And there you go! No other names were ever in the running.

25:52 – How do you get a manager’s licence? 

States governed by an athletic commission required everybody working a show from wrestlers to timekeepers to the commentators to have a licence. Jim got his by completing a form provided by Christine Jarrett and paying $5 in his first week in the territory. In Kentucky obtaining a manager’s license is more complicated now since an “outlaw mud show” decided to use a manager legitimately in a wheelchair and tip him over to get heat.

30:24 – A PWI article in the mid-80s describes mama Cornette wearing a lot of jewellery and berating the help. Did Jim have any input and how much truth was in the article?

“I hate to do this (expose Bill Apter’s business) but actually not only did I not have any input in that story but I didn’t even get a free copy.” Jim remembers the article, he sent a copy to his mom who got a kick out of it.

32:00 – An emailer got talking to a guy in a local “moderately ok dining establishment” (I know them well) who said that he was a retired professional wrestler called New Age Dog. Google provided nothing, can Jim elaborate?

No! Mud show wrestler?!

33:43 – Any Henry Marcus stories?

He was a famous promoter in South Carolina but by the time Corny got there he was in his 80s. He looked like “an elderly, human version of Droopy” and would wear old fashioned suits with high trousers. Jim: “He was just one of those classic old wrestling characters.”

37:04 – Any stories of Louisville wrestler Bill Helm?

He was a police officer and was in a tag team with another police officer, Joe Ball. They would work local spot shows for Jarrett but couldn’t really travel far.

40:50 – Would the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express have been so over without the Midnight Express?

The matches took each team to “a higher level” so they certainly helped because “those great matches brought attention to them” but the Rock ‘n’ Roll “would’ve been over anyway.”

42:16 – Was Elvis Presley ever slated to wrestle Jerry Lawler before Andy Kaufman?

Elvis died five years before the Kaufman match and Lawler definitely put “feelers out” in around ‘76 because he “was doing the King of Memphis gimmick” and Elvis was a wrestling fan… so “stranger things have happened.” Lawler would eventually be huge in Memphis so had Elvis lived it could’ve happened. The greatest wrestling-celebrity crossover ever? It’d definitely be right up there!

45:38 – Should Shane Douglas have had a better career and did Paul Heyman take advantage of him by having him throw the NWA belt down and cut all those promos on Ric Flair?

Jim: “I don’t think that Paul had to force him too much to cut the promos. I’ve said that throwing the belt down was a s***** thing to do and I blame Heyman but Shane has to take some responsibility because he did it but he was mad at WCW so he took it out on the NWA, probably.” Corny worked with Douglas when he was in the Dynamic Dudes with Johnny Ace and Shane was “always the talent of the team… he was a great babyface and was really mobile… and then there was Johnny.” ECW gave him the opportunity to be a top guy but that style took its toll on his body. In the WWF Shane was an early clique casualty.

47:29 – Danny Davis had a short run with Stampede Wrestling in a tag team with Ken Wayne in the early 1980s. Davis later returned to the territory without Wayne, does Jim know why?

Jim: “Yes. ‘Cause Ken didn’t wanna get his a** kicked and hated those trips.” Ken was in the business to “have fun” and not work too hard, not that he was lazy, he just didn’t want to kill himself. It was just “a difference in personalities.” Davis also got into body building so he fit in well up in Calgary.

52:08 – Jerry Jarrett recently stated that he’d bet on Jerry Lawler over Harley Race in a street fight, is this “bat-s*** crazy”?

Yes! As a wrestler, Lawler can compete with anyone but Harley Race is as hard as nails, unless you’re talking about today, when Race is older and broken down.

53:20 – When The Midnights and The Fantastics had their contract signing in Mid South in 1984 whose idea was it for Bobby Eaton to swing a chair like “he was trying to hit a baseball out of the Grand Canyon”?

It was mutual! Both teams had legitimately signed big money contracts and were eager to impress, The Fantastics were wearing white suits and the plan was for them to get colour and heat up the angle. They told Bobby to “lay it in” and the end result was “believable as shit.” Fulton didn’t get his hands up. Ouch! Bill Watts loved it.

57:46 – Where do referees stand in the “backstage hierarchy”, are they considered “the boys” or the management and can Jim think of any examples of wrestlers taking liberties with referees or referees shooting on wrestlers?

Regular referees are “considered part of the talent roster and one of the boys” but junior refs might not have that status yet. Corny can’t think of any examples of wrestlers shooting on referees or vice versa. He always hated the fact that in the WWF, besides senior referees, the refs were always part of the ring crew. Since they were working in prominent positions on the show it does seem somewhat strange and as Jim says: “Employ more people! Spread the money around!”

1:03:02 – Recently a promoter ran a tour of Canada with Brutus Beefcake as the headline attraction. Brutus left the tour early without telling anyone and has gone on to badmouth the company. Has Jim ever had to deal with a headlining talent refusing to work and then badmouthing his company?

Never at the same time. Plenty of wrestlers have no-showed including Bad Boy Billy Black and Jake Roberts. Jim read that the promoter in question had said something like “I wasn’t aware that I’d booked Missy Beefcake” and he can sympathise! It’s a credibility-loser in terms of badmouthing the company because if it’s bad enough to leave it’s bad enough to tell them. Jim and Brian discuss Bonnie Stesmboat being “wholeheartedly in favor” of the family man gimmick.

1:06:06 – Outro.

Plugs: Twitter: @TheJimCornette,                                                    @GreatBrianLast #CornyDriveThru; CornyDriveThru@gmail.com; JimCornette.com; tinyurl.com/officialcornyyoutube605pod.comkfrpod.com; the law offices of Stephen P. New: newlawoffice.com, Arcadian Vanguard Podcasting Network.

Rating: 7.4

Timestamps:

10:05 – Gay ‘rat’ scene?
16:12 – Politicians in wrestling
22:52 – Managing license
33:43 – Henry Marcus
42:16 – Elvis vs Lawler
45:38 – Shane Douglas
53:20 – Midnights/Fantastics contract signing
57:46 – Referees’ political status

About Paul:

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

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