Jim Cornette Talks WWE Title Unification, AJ Styles, Russo, Bret, TNA Stars Losing Drawing Power
The AJ Styles contract situation: "AJ is a great kid personally as well as professionally. Very talented. He's been with the company for 11 or 12 years since the company started. I can understand exactly where he's coming from. From what I've read, they wanna resign him for either the same or less money. Money being the root of most problems in the wrestling business. If I know AJ swell as I think I do, he doesn't have any bad habits, he doesn't spend his money frivolously, he's saved his money wisely for the last decade. I think it's a situation where he feels that if he's not worth the money that he's asked from TNA that he'd rather take a break or do something else or it might be a matter of principle. I can't argue with that. He's been a main event guy, he's been presented as a main event guy, one of the talents that you really identify with the TNA roster.
"I'll go ahead an mention his name, Vince Russo, Russo was the booker for a lot of the 10-11 years of TNA. In that time, a lot of guys have been rendered meaningless in terms of draws. I was talking to Delirious one time during a Ring of Honor meeting and we were throwing out what if's, you know what if we try to sign this guy or that guy, and we looked at Samoa Joe, one of the most recognized Ring of Honor champions of all time, a tremendous athlete and we both looked at each other and said with what TNA had done to him no. If we could get him, we're not sure we'd even want him and that's sad to say for a talent like Samoa Joe or an AJ Styles. It's not like I'm picking on those guys, Jeff Hardy was one of the biggest start in wrestling and after 3 years with TNA he's just another guy on the card.
"I can also, believe it or not, see TNA's side of it, in that they don't wanna pay him that much money since they don't get the results at the box office, but that's their fault that they don't get those results. That's probably why AJ feels the way he does. There's a lot of great talent in TNA. I almost think for most of them would have to go away not just from TNA, but from the public eye for a while and get what down here in the south, we'd call, the TNA stank off of them."
Thoughts on WWE's Title Unification this past Sunday: "I think it would be best to have one champion and make it feel more special but I also think the horse has left the barn, cowboy. I hate to be Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer, but you can see why when I watch the current product it gives me gas because for years in wrestling everyone knew who the World Champion was. Of course it depended what part of the country you were. For most of the country, the NWA champion was the champion people knew. Harley Race would hold the title for 3 years, Dory Funk Jr. would have it for 3 years, Ric Flair would hold it for an amount of time, Lou Thesz, you know, practically lived with the thing. Everybody knew he's the champ. In the AWA it was generally Verne Gagne, home are hero. In the northeast it was Bruno Sammartino, no matter who came and went, everyone knew, Bruno's the champ.
"Well now the problem is, the title instead of being viewed as the prize in sports, the titles have been used as props. Oh lets switch the belt onto this guy or that guy, oh let the guy cash in a briefcase and cover the dead guy that's just been beaten up. It's just been turned into a prop, it's been devalued, it's been prostituted. Besides that, now that everyone pretty much knows pro wrestling is choreographed, pre-determined, whatever you wanna call it, everyone knows you're not really the champion and someone just awards you it.
"The only thing that ever annoyed me about the Bret Hart screwjob in Montreal is Bret called the newspapers in Montreal to tell them he's been screwed and hadn't really lost the title. Well he didn't call them when he won the thing and say, 'oh I didn't really win it, someone just gave it to me.' Now, It's a shiny belt that people can buy a replica of and it's another tool in our toolkit that we've devalued to the point where it doesn't make us any money anymore and it's sad."
To hear Jim talk more about his UK tour, getting on a plane, Vader, watching a 3 hour RAW and much more, head over to facebook.com/theinsidenetwork.
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