Jim Cornette and Vince Russo have long been among pro wrestling’s most controversial and outspoken figures. The former made his name as a manager in multiple promotions in the southern U.S. and in the WWE, while the latter had a prominent role on the creative teams of WWE, the now-defunct WCW, and Impact Wrestling, back when it was still called TNA. And while the two have been beefing on wrestling “shoot interviews” for nearly two decades, Cornette and Russo’s real-life rivalry got even fiercer in recent days, with the serve-and-volley taking place via the former’s podcast and the latter’s official YouTube channel.
This latest round of the long-running Jim Cornette vs. Vince Russo feud started late last month, when Cornette appeared on the WWE Network show Table for Three, where he was joined by fellow wrestling industry veterans Eric Bischoff and Michael Hayes. As TJR Wrestling recapped, one of the highlights of this episode was how Cornette and Bischoff “bonded” over their mutual dislike for Russo — a key feature of Cornette’s shoot interviews and podcast episodes have been his negative comments against the veteran booker/creative team writer, while Russo had some well-documented friction with Bischoff during their days working together in WCW.
A few days later, Cornette took Russo to task once again, reiterating his claims from Table for Three on his podcast The Jim Cornette Experience (quoted via Wrestling Inc.) that Russo regularly gets in touch with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, repeatedly asking if he could work for the company just like he did during the “Attitude Era” of the late ’90s.
“He emails, and I have this on pretty good authority, Vince Russo emails Vince McMahon every week after RAW, every week, and still to this day, and tries to explain to him how much better it could be and he begs constantly for a job, ‘oh, Vince, I could do this and I could do that. Blah, blah, blah.'”
— ProWrestlingSheet (@WrestlingSheet) June 8, 2017
Jim Cornette added that Vince Russo is the only one who “hasn’t figured out that everyone has seen through his f**king bulls**t” and that wrestling promotions don’t want him to work for them anymore. He would also issue an open challenge to Russo, calling him out for killing wrestlers’ careers with bad gimmicks and turning the wrestling business into a joke, and asking him to set a date and time for them to have a “shoot fight” with no guns, knives, or police, and prize money of $5,000.
Instead of accepting the challenge issued by Jim Cornette, Vince Russo on Friday took to YouTube to post an “apology” to Cornette, which started out by referencing the time their real-life animosity started in 1999, when Jim allegedly left a voicemail threatening to kill him and his family, a voicemail his then-young children had supposedly heard. Addressing the question of whether he would fight Cornette or not, Vince referenced Cornette’s physical appearance, suggesting that he’s currently out-of-shape, while adding that he doesn’t need a $5,000 prize pot, given how he feels it isn’t a lot of money by today’s standards.
— Cageside Seats (@cagesideseats) June 11, 2017
Russo then proceeded to make his “apology,” which instead accused Cornette of being behind several negative events in his career in the pro wrestling business. WrestleZone quoted the Russo video in full, and the following is an excerpt from the part where Jim Cornette’s wrestling past was brought up by Vince Russo.
“First and foremost, I wanted to apologize for you blowing out your knees for falling off that scaffold because you are a ‘Mark’ who didn’t know how to take a bump. I want to apologize for you putting Smoky Mountain Wrestling out of business. I want to apologize, Jim, for you being fired from Ring of Honor for a public and emotional outburst. I want to apologize, Jim, for being fired by the WWE for assaulting another employee.”
— Jeff (@nhlflamesfan) June 2, 2017
— WWE Creative Humor (@WWECreative_ish) June 9, 2017
Since Jim Cornette and Vince Russo said their pieces, wrestling fans have mostly been calling out both men for being petty, with some accusing Cornette of being jealous that rumors have been swirling about Russo’s WWE return, and others taking Jim’s side and suggesting that Vince’s “crash TV” booking ideas still wouldn’t be good for the business. Some commenters on the WrestleZone transcript of the Russo “apology video” also pointed out the differences between both men’s line of thinking — Cornette tends to book for old-school wrestling fans, while Russo books for casual viewers with his attention-grabbing storylines and angles.
Jim Cornette and Vince Russo’s respective temperaments have also been a source of discussion for fans on comments sections. Some commenters opined that Cornette, while often in the right, may have some “anger issues” and that it’s hard to argue with him about anything, while Russo, despite his often-unpopular style of booking and tendency to defend his perceived missteps in the business, is someone you can have a civil conversation with even if you don’t agree with him.
[Featured Image by WWE]