RECAP AND REVIEW: The Jim Cornette Experience on if there’s such a thing as too much heat, the wrestler who rubbed Jerry Lawler the wrong way, why Jim Crockett Promotions had so many heel turns in ’88, was Jim always angry or did the wrestling business make him angry? (Ep. 80)

Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru Episode 80

Release date: January 14, 2019

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. Corny will be interviewing The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express at the AWE event in Waynesboro, Virginia on February 23rd ahead of their match against The Faces Of Fear (Barbarian and Meng) for the SMW tag team championship. Jim will also be at the C2E2 convention in Chicago March 22- 24, you can get tickets for the ‘Have a Beef with Jim Cornette at An update on Jim’s hot tub situation: seepage but no new leakage, Jim: “we sound like we’re talking about Bolin’s health.”

11:02 – Any truth to Ole Anderson once using ‘America’ by Neil Diamond as entrance music or Abdullah The Butcher using ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ and ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’? Do any other strange choices for entrance music spring to Jim’s mind? It’s “very possible” that Ole came to the ring to that song because it was “the pioneer days” of entrance music. Jim can also believe that Ole didn’t care about entrance music and it was left up to the promoter or the “sound guy.”

14:04 – Can Jim confirm the rumor about a woman defecating on a glass table while Jimmy Valiant was lying underneath it causing Ricky Morton to vomit? Jim’s heard the story in the last five years but he never heard it at the time so he can’t really elaborate. Jim talks about Dutch Mantell, JBL, and Hardcore Holly frequenting an adult video store in Germany and sitting in different booths to watch adult films. One of them (Jim won’t tell which) was shown a “s*** eating video” and the others could hear him vomiting. Funny, yet grim. Those ‘100 Most Scandalous Stories in Wrestling’ type lists are pretty hit-and-miss.

20:26 – An emailer’s grandparents were at the Evansville Coliseum to see Bill Dundee and Joe LeDuc team together. The emailer’s grandmother was thrown out for throwing her drink at LeDuc “because he wouldn’t tag Bill Dundee.” Does Jim know when this was and was he there? Jim estimates it was around 1978 during LeDuc’s first run in the area. He suspects that either it was just something they did that night or maybe grandmother’s “slightly off.” Corny can’t remember LeDuc ever being turned babyface in order to team with Dundee so “there’s some missing details” i.e. he may have been Dundee’s “special partner” for that night. LeDuc never had a “sustained babyface run” in Memphis like he had in Knoxville, Montreal and Florida.

24:42 – Jim talks about Jacques Rougeau rubbing Jerry Lawler the wrong way while working in Memphis after Lawler suggested he turn heel. Apparently Rougeau said to Lawler ‘What’s the matter, big boy, are you afraid that I’ll get over you?” The next week he was an underneath heel.

27:34 – Did Jim have any interactions with Gene Okerlund? Professionally, they never had any crossover at all, in fact they seemed to always be in opposite companies. Jim did meet him at a few of the legends events and he was always “a nice guy.” Corny heard more Gene stories from Bobby Heenan than first hand experience. Heenan would always promote how good Okerlund was.

30:45 – How well did Jim do with the ladies as a heel manager? Jim: “The amount of women who liked the heels better than the babyfaces was a fraction of the amount of women that liked the babyfaces but the women who liked the heels were infinitely more fun that the women that liked the babyfaces.”

32:02 – In WWE televised tag team matches the face team is to the left of the hard camera and the heel team to the right. Is this just a WWE thing? It’s WWE television policy but Jim’s not sure if they enforce it for house shows. It’s not “an industry-wide thing.” It’s a surviving tradition from when heels and babyfaces had separate entrance aisles from opposite sides of the arena. Jim rants about WCW introducing the entrance ramp leading to Bobby Eaton busting his chin open. Surprise surprise, the ramp was a Jim Herd brainchild!

36:54 – How would Jim rate Greenville, South Carolina as a wrestling town? Jim: “Greenville was f*****’ great. It was one of the jewels the old Crockett territory… it was a great market for wrestling.” At one point they ran Greenville every week before the company expanded. Jim tried to run down there with SMW but could never get a good spot on TV. At that time, to get a good television spot would cost around $2,000 per week.

42:08 – In JCP, in 1988, why were there so many heel turns? Jim: “I think it basically came from the fact that business sucked the last part of ‘87 and the first part of ‘88.” Dusty knew that the sale to Turner was coming so he was trying to get the gates up.

44:34 – An emailer read a news story online about a woman pulling a gun on ‘Nature Boy’ Paul Lee! Is there such a thing as ‘too much heat’? Jim: “Well, Ox Baker will tell you there is, too, after Cleveland that time. Yeah, there’s always such a thing as too much heat especially when people start getting shot and stabbed and things like that.” Apparently the woman in the Paul Lee incident knew both Lee and the babyface personally, the gun was loaded and now she’s banned from all Lee’s matches!

46:20 – Was Jim always angry or did his experiences in the wrestling business make him angry? Jim: “I’m not always angry, I’m just angry about bulls***.” In recent years the “bulls*** quotient” in the business has become much larger.

48:30 – When Bill Dundee left Memphis for Mid South at the same time as Jim why didn’t he wrestle (and just book)? Did not wrestling frustrate Dundee? Watts didn’t want his booker wrestling (Ernie Ladd stopped wrestling there while he was booking) and at first “to be honest” Watts considered Dundee too small for the territory. Most of the time back then, unless the top star was an owner, the booker made more than the talent and 1984 was a “record business year” for Mid South and Bill Dundee was booking it so Jim doesn’t think he’d be too frustrated at that. Having said that, Dundee loved to wrestle and would and would always try to keep his oar in.

51:05 – Who is the “young, slow Abe Lincoln” doing interviews on Memphis TV in 1986? Randy Hales, in his rookie year! Brian recalls that Austin Idol also said he thought that Randy resembled Honest Abe!

52:27 – In a Ricky Morton interview he said that in his most lucrative year in wrestling he only earned $127,000. Considering that The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express were such big draws, why did he get such low pay-offs? Jim muses: “Was that after expenses?” 1986 was the biggest box office year for The Midnights and The Rock ‘n’ Roll and The Midnights made more than that but Jim “didn’t see Ricky’s pay checks.” These kinds of stories often depend on the mindset of the person telling them, as Brian says: “The glass is half empty, the glass is half full or it’s a glass table.” Jim will admit that merchandise money for talent in JCP was pretty much nonexistent at the time. Lot’s of bootleggers too!

57:47 – Did Jim ever work with Mark Laurinaitis (brother of Animal and John)? Yes, and he was “a good kid.” Jim’s not sure when he left the business but is confident he’s done well because he’s a “smart kid.” He had a lot of potential, he just came along at a time when all the territories had gone and may have been “squeezed out of the business just by there not being many places to go.”

59:07 – Jim has often used to term ‘buttermilk run’ to describe towns on the outskirts of a territory that didn’t draw or make talent much money. What are Jim’s top five buttermilk runs in his career? Loranger and Homer, Louisiana in Mid South, Tupelo, Mississippi in Memphis and Winston-Salem, North Carolina for Crockett were all firm buttermilk towns. Good territory talk.

1:04:47 – Any stories of Eddie Sullivan? No. He was a “southern old timer” who was over in Alabama but Jim never ran into him.

1:05:33 – Is there my truth to Jim Barnett being gay? Yes. In his later years Barnett apparently refused to write an autobiography because he wasn’t ready to reveal his sexuality and he’d want to be completely honest in such a publication. Meanwhile, most people in the business knew he was gay so it wouldn’t have been much of a revelation, a bit like Pat Patterson ‘coming out’ on Legends House a few years ago. The difference is that Pat “knew that people knew” even though he didn’t openly talk about it whereas Barnett legitimately didn’t know people knew he was gay.

1:09:05 – Can Jim give a deeper explanation of hotshot booking, how does it differ from conventional business methods, are there any success stories and when did Jim realize Dusty had started doing it in JCP? Every company that’s experienced a turnaround has hotshotted “something.” If business is down and you want to “get the people back” you can book a bloody angle, for example, to coax them back into buying a ticket but the trick is too not do it too much as it’s a law of diminishing returns. As far as Dusty is concerned, Jim considers the 1988 Great American Bash as hotshotting but it worked. In 1986 everything was hot and over. Brian suggests Jim Barnett in Australia in 1973 when he knew he was selling the territory. Jim: “They bled it out.”

1:16:48 – Outro

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

Rating: 7.7


11:02 – Entrance music
14:04 – Jimmy Valiant glass table
20:26 – Bill Dundee/Joe LeDuc, Evansville
24:42 – Jacques Rougeau in Memphis
32:02 – WWE tag team corners
36:54 – Greenville, South Carolina
48:30 – Bill Dundee in Mid South
52:27 – Rick Morton pay-offs
59:07 – Buttermilk Run
1:05:33 – Jim Barnett
1:09:05 – Hotshotting

About Paul:

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

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