Legendary wrestling veteran Jim Cornette had harsh words for WWE top banana Triple H as well as Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels and their ‘Kliq’ cronies on the most recent episode of the Corny’s Drive-Thru podcast. The show, which is a “premium episode” for the MLW Radio series, features a question and answer format in which co-host Alice Radley reads questions submitted by listeners, and Cornette, drawing upon his extensive body of work in professional wrestling, provides his often controversial opinion.
In a particularly interesting segment, Cornette was asked how he would have handled the controversial “Curtain Call” incident. The situation occurred in May 1996 at a house show (a non-televised event) at Madison Square Garden and involved four out of five members of an informal backstage circle of friends known as “The Kliq.” At the end of a match between Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall and Triple H entered the ring and all of the men hugged one another and took a bow before the crowd as it would be the last time they would all work a show for WWE together before Hall and Nash departed for the ostensibly greener pastures of WCW. The curtain call was not planned with the approval of WWE top brass, who hoped to preserve the in-character (kayfabe) roles of all involved. Indeed, fans who were not wise to the backstage relationships between the men were confused to see good guys and bad guys commingling in the impromptu farewell, and behind the scenes, the movers and shakers at the top levels of the wrestling business were livid that the four men had broken kayfabe in the presence of such a huge crowd.
Hall and Nash could not be formally punished by WWE, and Shawn Michaels was in a prime spot as the company’s reigning champ at the time, so Triple H arguably drew the most serious consequences, as noted in a retrospective piece on Bleacher Report. Plans for Triple H to win the King of the Ring tournament were scrapped, and he was relegated to the mid card for around five months. Cornette did indicate that he would have levied substantial fines against Hall and Nash by withholding their WrestleMania bonuses from that year.
Although Jim Cornette was not running the show at the time, he still harbors some hard feelings towards everyone involved in the “Curtain Call” incident for going off script and damaging the integrity of the wrestling industry.
“Yeah, I would have fired [Triple H],” said Cornette. Because he was a(n) … underneath mid card guy at best, that wasn’t necessarily really getting over at that f*****g point like gangbusters. And why the f**k that he would think that he had the status in the community just because he hung around with these guys and rode in a car with them and liked him being around because that way they could preserve their pecking order … There’s a hundred – a thousand other wrestlers who would love to be in Madison Square Garden tonight. And you think that you’re a special motherf****er after being here only a year or 18 months that you can go out … and expose the business?”
Cornette added that most other wrestling promoters, including Jerry Jarrett and Bill Watts, would have fired Triple H on the spot as well. He went on to explain how he would have dealt with Shawn Michaels at the time.
“I would have said, ‘Okay, his two f**king friends are gone to WCW and they’re going to have some influence because they’ve got these big money contracts,'” Cornette began. They’re going to be pitching him so they can all be together. … My champion—his loyalty is going to be suspect because he’s never proven to be loyal anyway … So while I’ve got him under contract right now, I need to figure out who is going to carry the belt in his place, I need to systematically get that guy over and get him ready to take it off [Michaels] and then I need to start beating the f**k out of this guy to get some other people over on his way out and then get rid of that f**king mental case, too, and then I’ll have much more peace and quiet in my f*****g locker room.”
Jim Cornette also skewered Shawn Michaels as a “goof” and a “head case” while touching on the Montreal Screwjob. Earlier in the same podcast, Cornette said that he has not been on good terms with Shawn Michaels since they worked together many years ago, and he does not expect that to change.
“I didn’t like him before,” Cornette said. “I think the whole religious thing – he still likes to go out in the woods and shoot animals. I don’t know why I’d like him now. I don’t know why he would like me because I haven’t changed, either. So, fish heads to him and I’m not sure he’s losing any sleep over it.
Shawn Michaels was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011, and his fellow Kliq member Kevin Nash and Scott Hall earned the same honor in 2014. Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, who was not directly involved in the “Curtain Call,” is still active on the independent circuit, gaining international notoriety when he tore his sphincter during a botched spot in 2013. Triple H is the Executive Vice President of Talent for WWE.
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