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Archive for September, 2009

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry….

September 24th, 2009 2 comments

dvdcover

Highspots.com has released the DVD of the Memphis Wrestling Roundtable discussion featuring Lance Russell, Dave Brown and Jerry Jarrett, hosted by yours truly during the recent NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Charlotte. With Christmas just around the corner, I know you’ll want to buy multiple copies for your friends and family. OK, one copy maybe? Please? C’mon. I make a nickel off each one sold, so….click here to order.

Louisville slugged

September 23rd, 2009 2 comments

TNA’s reputation took another hit last week when the promotion’s powers that be (ugh…bad memories of WCW in late 1999-2000) let go Jim Cornette, one of the best minds in the business—and one of the most entertaining TV wrestling performers ever—in favor of “writer” Vince Russo, the man who perhaps best represents the final nail in the coffin for WCW.

It doesn’t take a genius or even Dixie Carter (or even Stacy Carter) to see that Russo and Cornette go together like Jim Herd and Ric Flair, so yes, one had to go. But keeping Russo?

Tennis pro: In addition to being a gifted Christian athlete on the court, Cornette also happens to be one of the sharpest minds in the business.

Tennis pro: In addition to being a gifted Christian athlete on the court, Cornette also happens to be one of the sharpest minds in the business.

While certainly creative, Russo has no basic understanding of the way pro wrestling should work. Most notable: his reign of terror in WCW produced illogical, chaotic, god-awful booking never before seen. (Yes, including George Gulas’s improbable march toward Harley Race’s NWA World title in the late ’70s.) Even worse, he made himself and what seemed like about 20 other unqualified guys (including one C-list Hollywood actor) World champion in a span of six months on his way to completely alienating WCW’s already-dying fan base.

With the exceptions of WWF’s Sable and WCW’s Master P and Dennis Rodman (and about a half-dozen other morons who Eric Bischoff signed with Ted Turner’s money), Russo might be the least talented person ever to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in the wrestling business. He’s a former WWF Magazine hack who somehow lucked into a creative position and proceeded to book, admittedly, some great angles in the much-revered Attitude era, but only when he had Vince McMahon & Co. to reel in some of his most outlandish ideas and keep his “edgy” ass in check. Having a crew of the last of the polished territory guys (Steve Austin, Mick Foley, the Undertaker, etc.) and the gifted Rock at his disposal certainly helped. Unfortunately, this brief run of success with the Former Federation still has some in the business convinced of his supposed booking genius.

Cornette has a superior grasp of wrestling psychology after years as a fan of Memphis wrestling, one of the most creative territories in the business during the ’70s and ’80s, and later working with bookers like Jerry Jarrett, Jerry Lawler, Bill Watts and Dusty Rhodes. He worked his ass off for years learning his craft before he was even considered for a job helping Ric Flair book WCW. (For more on Cornette’s slow ascension to booking assistant, click here.)

(photo courtesy of tnawrestling.com)

(photo courtesy of tnawrestling.com)

During his recent Q&A session at the NWA Wrestling Legends Fan Fest in Charlotte, Cornette was overwhelmed with chants from the audience encouraging him to take the book in TNA. He downplayed the suggestion at the time, but appeared to have a sly smile on his face, like perhaps he knew something that we didn’t. Maybe he still does. Cornette is being uncharacteristically calm about his departure from TNA, possibly leaving the door open for a return when Russo eventually falls flat on his face. He tells In Your Head Radio that he’d “absolutely” return under the right circumstances. Reportedly, Carter wants him back on board if he can be “100% with the creative direction.”

Jim also denies there was a backstage incident or shouting match with Russo that led to his dismissal, which almost disappoints me, quite frankly. Cornette obviously doesn’t want/need any more headaches after years of working with the likes of Herd, Vince and Kevin Dunn over the years, so he’s walking away quietly, which doesn’t quite suit the Louisville Slugger we all know and love. Something tells me he’s got something up his sleeve.

For TNA’s sake and the future of this business, I hope so.

(You can click here to learn more about Cornette’s booking philosophy and influences. Click here to read a review of the TNA product under Russo, written months ago by yours truly.)

CM Punk is gonna have a field day with this

September 11th, 2009 4 comments

 

Hardy, shortly after his arrest.

Hardy, shortly after his arrest.

A little over a week after he walked away from an unprecedented offer from World Wrestling Entertainment, multiple WWE champion Jeff Hardy, 32, was arrested on multiple charges of prescription-drug trafficking and possession of cocaine and anabolic steroids, reports the Southern Pines, N.C.-based  Pilot:

Hardy, of 265 Boys Camp Road, Cameron, was arrested after a search of his residence yielded 262 Vicodin prescription pills, 180 Soma prescription pills, 555 milliliters of anabolic steroids, a residual amount of powder cocaine and items of drug paraphernalia, according to a press release. A joint investigation conducted by officers with the Moore County Sheriffs Office narcotics and select enforcement units and the Fayetteville Police Department led to the arrest.

 Despite being one of the best performers in the industry the last five years, Hardy’s struggles with drugs and alcohol have been well-documented, so much in fact that WWE Creative weaved his personal life into a program with CM Punk, who preaches a “straight-edge” lifestyle. Hardy, fresh off a run as World champion, informed WWE months ago of his desire to take time off to heal some injuries, play with his band and pursue a reality TV show. WWE reportedly did everything they could to persuade him to stay, putting the belt back on him and offering a deal that would see him work only TV tapings and PPVs until he was ready to return full time on the road. Vince McMahon & Co. have to be relieved that Hardy declined to accept, under the circumstances. If these charges hold up, it’s going to be tough for the company to risk taking a chance on him again, as in the past Hardy has repeatedly refused to enter rehab, even at the expense of his job.

Ah, but not to worry: Hardy has already tweeted his defense on Twitter: “A lot of exaggerations are out there today, don’t believe everything you read 4 it is not true, I am at home and fine-thanks for your concern.” Don’t know about you, but that certainly eases my mind; I’m sure it’s all one big misunderstanding. What a waste of talent…and life.