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Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1997 WWF as told by Jim Cornette

Just as a warning, this is a lengthy review, as the interview was nearly three-and-a-half hours long. I tried to make it as short as possible without leaving out any important details. Hope you guys enjoy.


Jim is asked about “Shotgun Saturday Night,” which debuted on January 4th. Sean asks if it was an attempt to mirror the small, homegrown feel that ECW had going on. Jim said that they wanted the grittiness from ECW to combine with the live shows Memphis had on Saturday nights from the 70’s. Jim then goes on to say how it was a hard show to organize, as you had to fly in everyone to New York. After several weeks of that and other priorities getting in the way, it quickly fizzled. He then tells a story of how Vince wanted to film a piece with him and Mini Vader. It would have Mini Vader get off the bus from Mexico at the Port Authority and attempt to use the bathroom but find out that the urinals were too tall for him so Cornette would be there with him, yelling at him to jump. However, once they saw the bathroom, they found that the urinals were short enough so the plan was ditched but they decided to have Cornette announce the mini’s match and get stripped at the end. Cornette said that he tried to block that, along with other stuff that happened to him in the WWF, out of his mind like someone who survived Auschwitz or a rape. He goes on to say how even though he was going to look like a buffoon, he was going to do it right so he bought a pair of oversized white, fluffy boxers and drew red hearts with a sharpie himself.

Still on the debut of “Shotgun Saturday Night,” Sean asks about Marlena flashing her tits during a match between Goldust and the Sultan. Jim said that she had band-aids over her nipples and it was just done for shock value. Jim also calls Todd Pettengil extremely talented, crediting him for writing and producing the song number himself, but that he didn’t show shit from apple butter when it came to wrestling.

Sean asks Cornette about the Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon team, who wrestled their last tag-match on January 6th. Jim thinks this happened as a result of Vince realizing that he still owned the names. He adds that no one but Vince thought this was a good idea. He also had to teach them how to work like the originals, and adds that he watched a ton of Kevin Nash matches and came up with just six moves, including a hair flip. He claims that he is not knocking or criticizing him, just stating a fact.

Jim is asked about the Royal Rumble. He pulls out his ledger to check Sean’s attendance figure of 60,525. Jim says that the figure was right but just over 47,000 were paid and the rest comped. He said that the original plan was for Vader to win the belt from HBK at the 1996 SummerSlam PPV then have another match at Survivor Series before HBK regained the belt in his hometown. Cornette then adds how he was supposed to wear a cowboy hat at the press conference but HBK bitched about Vader being stiff in the ring and the whole thing was scrapped. Cornette also questioned having the event in San Antonio, as it was not a tourist destination.

Going over the Royal Rumble card, they talk about Austin winning the Rumble match. Cornette said that they all knew he would be a star but had no idea it would get to be that big. Sean asks about Vince Russo saying he helped get Austin over. Jim compared Russo to an idiot savant, who would rattle off a bunch of shit and McMahon would take two ideas out of his hundred and make them work. Jim also says that Russo was not yet writing TV at this time (He started either March or April) and was working on the magazine. They also talk about HBK beating Psycho Sid for the title, with Jose Lothario at his side. Cornette says that HBK was great in the ring, but horrible for business, citing his mood swings, the “lost my smile” deal, then cracks some jokes about him. Cornette also says that Bruce Prichard came up with the Jose Lothario angle, which was supposed to be similar to what Mick was to Rocky in Rocky III. However, HBK would never put Lothario over, often looking away from him and even yelling at times so the angle did not work out that well.

On January 24th, Dr. Jerry Graham passed away at age 65 due to complications of a stroke. Sean asks Jim if Vince was affected by his death, as Graham was one of Vince’s idols as a kid, with his flashy wardrobe, cars, and how he would light cigars with one hundred dollar bills. Jim didn’t know if he was or not.


Sean asks Jim about the February 13th edition of RAW, where Shawn “lost his smile.” Cornette said that everyone was pissed off at him and when HBK got upset, he would play up his knee injury. Sean then asks Jim about the “lost my smile” line and if he was given that or made it up on his own? Jim said that Shawn mostly used his own stuff and would usually ramble on and on. Jim says that when RAW was taped, he would usually go about thirteen minutes and they would have to edit that down to about six. Jim goes further down the timeline and said that D-X was an excuse for Shawn to “jack-off”, by creating a group of “jack-offs,” then closes by stating how he was not a fan of the group.

Also on that same edition of RAW, Rocky Maivia defeated HHH for the Intercontinental Title. Jim looks at his ledger and said that it was a last-minute decision, as he had Rocky originally going up against Steve Austin and HHH facing Bob Holly. Sean asks Jim if it was too soon for Rocky to get the belt and Jim says that it was. He then adds how the debuted only a few months prior and the fans saw right through that. Jim says that he saw him in a dark match in Corpus Christi and saw that he had all the instincts and was far more advanced than anyone else for his level of training. Jim also goes more into Rocky, how he trained with his dad and not at a wrestling school. Before his debut, Jim was really high on him and suggested that he booked like someone who would be the champion in five years, adding he should also have cool music and a good look but instead ended up having cheesy music and looked like a goof, as Pat Patterson made the call for him to debut as a smiling babyface. When Sean asks Jim about the backlash, he said Rocky was smart enough to see that the character worked against him and turned it around so he could become a successful heel. He even gives Russo a compliment (although it was backhanded) by stating he had a hand in helping him get over more by letting him become anti-social, but that Russo wants everyone to be anti-social.

Jim is asked about Chyna, who debuted at the “Final Four” In Your House PPV. He said that he never paid much attention to her and that she was originally just going to be used as a body-building monster but once she got political allies, she then started to beat the men, which he blames on Russo and hints at his psyche.

Jim is asked about the return of the Legion of Doom. He said they came back because talent was in short supply but Hawk had his issues and it didn’t work out, as they had younger and bigger guys doing the same things that they did.

Up next is the ECW Invasion. Jim says that Bruce Prichard was a fan of ECW but that he was not, citing the stupidity of the constant hardcore matches. He says this was done in response to WCW finding a lot of new talent. He then talks about how Heyman kept RVD and Sabu away from the rest of the locker room and that the WWF guys were pissed at RVD for dressing in his car. He mentions that the relationship ended when one of the agents went to Vince and asked why they had an ECW guy (RVD) beat their own guy (Road Dogg) in a match. Heyman then got pissed because Road Dogg was an opening match guy and RVD was his top guy so they left. Jim said they should have just agreed to do a double DQ then go on their way. He then mentions how Vince decided one day at his pool to put Heyman on their payroll, who would go into his own locker room and trash the WWF, stating that they were against him as he was collecting a paycheck.


Jim is asked about how on the March 10th episode of RAW, it became known as “RAW is WAR” and started to go two hours. I t was also live, had a new format and pyro, along with Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People” as the theme song. Jim said that before, when RAW was one hour, they taped for the month on a Monday night and then taped a month of Superstars o Tuesday’s. This would allow them to plan everything between tapings but when it went live and they added an extra hour, it added a ton of extra work and hassle. He then said how back then, before spoilers were rampant on the internet, the taped shows did the same as the live shows, ratings wise.

Sean brings up how Steve Williams was arrested on felony charges after being found in possession of several boxes containing steroids and painkillers. He was about to be signed by the WWF before this happened. Jim said that he wasn’t officially signed then but probably wished he hadn’t when he came in later.

Up next is when New Jersey governor Christie Whitman signed a bill that recognized professional wrestling as entertainment and not a sport, thus eliminating the tax it had for being a televised event. Jim is asked if he was pissed and he said that he was, because it led to the wrestling industry announcing that the matches are staged and pre-determined, but that Vince was doing this several years prior when he was trying to get rid of the athletic commission. Jim also said that Vince believes wrestling does better when people know it is scripted. Sean then asks Jim if getting rid of the athletic commission was bad for the health of wrestlers and Jim starts to laugh, asking Sean if he was ribbing. He then tells a story of how the Louisiana Athletic Commission required a physical for $100 if you didn’t have a doctor that could do one for you so he called his cousin’s wife, who was a nurse, and got a bunch of answers for the form he had to fill out then found a doctor in the phone book and mailed that in, along with $10, and got his license. He finishes by stating the athletic commission was just designed to take money away from the wrestlers.

Up next is the edition of RAW were Bret Hart shoves Vince down and cuts a profanity-laced promo against WWF management after losing to Sid. Jim said it was not scripted and they told Bret to go out there and act pissed off, but make it seem real. Sean then asks if they had to clear that with the USA Network and Jim said that was Kevin Dunn’s job then does an impression of him at Sean’s request.

Next is Wrestlemania XIII at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago. Jim remembers that he was sick as a dog with bronchitis. He said that they made $837,000 with the rent being $75,000 but the week after, did poor at the house shows. He talks about the submission match between Bret Hart and Steve Austin, calling it his favorite WWF match, comparing it to a match you would see in Mid-South or the Mid-Atlantic region as it was dirty, bloody, and gritty. They wanted Ken Shamrock as the ref, instead of a regular referee and said that Ken was more experienced than you think as he worked with him on an Independent show in North Carolina several years later.

On the following episode of RAW, Bret Hart reforms the Hart Foundation with Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith. Sean asks if it was designed to have them be heels in the USA but faces in Canada. Jim said it was not but it happened to end up that way so they decided to go that way. Jim then talks about everything that happened to help the company build to their hot period happened in 1997, citing that he had just as much involvement in the product as anyone else did that year. He said that a lot of it was perfect timing, which is the key to getting a company over. He said when you are hot, you can’t fuck it up but when you are cold, it cannot be resurrected.


Jim is asked about what happened to Vader in Kuwait, when he attacked the host of “Good Morning Kuwait.” Jim says that Vader grabbed the host, like he did with most people, and the host got pissed and that was highly frowned upon in Kuwait so he wasn’t allowed to leave the country until ten days after the incident. He then says he saw the incident recently on “Botchamania.”

Sean then asks about Rockabilly, asking who came up with the idea. He said that it wasn’t him and that when he got to the WWF the year prior, he told Vince that he needed to be more realistic if he wanted to compete with WCW. Jim also said this was too gimmicky to work.

Jim is then asked about the IYH match where Undertaker threw a fireball at Paul Bearer after beating Mankind. Sean asked on tips for throwing a fireball. Jim says that you do not actually throw it but rather light it then reveal it and it would go up in the air.

Up next is when Henry Godwinn broke his neck taking the Doomsday Device on the April 21st edition of RAW. Sean asks if they were known to be careless in the ring. Jim says that they were stiff but not careless and let once let them hang him off of a scaffold. On that same RAW, Ken Shamrock made a challenge to Mike Tyson. Cornette said that it was just an attempt to get Shamrock over and not to lead to an actual feud with Tyson. Jim notes that when Tyson came in later in the year, he was initially against spending two million on a guy to not wrestle but that he was wrong about that as Tyson got them a lot of press.


Jim is asked about the shoot interview from Goldust on RAW. He said this was Russo trying to be real and tells a story of how they taped a RAW from Germany while on their international tour. He said the show sucked and the arena was poorly lit and the matches were cold. No one thought it was a good idea to air this show but Vince wanted it so they did. After it aired and did a shitty rating, Vince called a meeting early in the morning the next day and was pissed at everyone. Russo then speaks up saying that he knew it was a shitty idea, despite having no involvement with that show, and Vince took a liking to him and started to listen to his ideas.

Sean asks about the May 12th edition of RAW, where Rob Van Dam beat Jeff Hardy. Lawler referred to Van Dam as “Mr. Monday Night” on commentary for the first time. Cornette said that Heyman fed that line to someone else, so they could give it to Lawler. Sean then asks Jim about the Hardy’s and if they saw potential in them. He said that they did, seeing them as a Rock & Roll Express type of team, and that they started doing jobs for them because of the Italian Stallion, who would lie to agent Chief Jay Strongbow about their ages.

We are now on the May 26th edition of RAW, where the video of Mick Foley jumping off his roof as a kid was shown on TV for the first time, as well was his “Dude Love” character. Cornetee said that Foley was doing his Dude Love character in that clip, which was his tribute to Jimmy Valiant. Cornette said that he had fun helping Foley with Dude Love, stating he would find old interviews from Valiant and write down quotes. Also on this RAW, HBK & Austin teamed up to win the Tag-Team Titles from Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith. Sean asks Jim if HBK had a lot of heat with the office when he came back and Jim confirms. He then states how Vince would let his top guys get away with anything, unlike any other promoter. He then calls out HBK for being a prick towards him.


HHH ddefeats Mankind to win King of the Ring Tournament. Cornette said HHH scheduled to win in 1996 but the curtain call at MSG with the Kliq fucked him over. He said HHH went to apologize after that, recalling how Gerry Brisco wanted to stretch someone when that happened. Jim said that he was throwing stuff around backstage and said that the Kilq took a giant shit on Vince, in his building. He said that incident probably cost HHH around $200,000 but jokes that he probably made that back already. He said at that time he told HHH that the heat would pass and he was still young and talented. They then go into the clip of that shown on television, which was Russo’s idea, that gave HHH a push. Sean asks if Vicne okyed the curtain call, like Nash claims. Cornette said Vince looked piss when they walked by him backstage and doesn’t think that he would work all of his gents like that. He then says the Kliq were smart but acted like assholes around people who let them, because they were fools.

Next is the backstage fight before RAW in Hartford between HBK and Bret. Cornette starts by saying Shawn was 0-Life in fights, recalling how Ron Harris picked him u by his throat and talks about the Marine, or Marines, that kicked his ass. He says he came out of the office and saw Steve Lombardi running around like crazy. He doesn’t know how it started but they fought in the bathroom, where Lawler was in the stall taking a shit. He then finished up quickly and ran out to break things up. Cornette then went into Vince and told him about the fight when Shawn ran in, holding a clump of his own hair, and told Vince that it was an unsafe working environment then threw the hair on the ground and left. Vince then went out after him and Cornette took out a paper bag and put the hair inside. He took it home to his now ex-wife, where she put it in a plastic bag. She still has it somewhere.   

We now talk about Sable, who won a swimsuit contest at a house show against Sunny, Marlena, and Chyna. Jim tells a story of how Vince loved Johnny B. Badd and brought him in when his contract was about to expire. They also flew in his wife, Sable, and Vince became smitten with her. They signed Mero but the problem was that WCW owned that character and Mero was only trained to wrestle as Badd. Cornette thought the idea of pairing her withMero, a face, was a terrible idea because the focus would only be on her, not Mero. Cornette then trashes Able, saying her only talent was her plastic surgeries and calls her an “Undercover Cunt,” as she was two-faced, unlike Sunny who was an “Outfront Cunt,” as she was upfront with you. He also said that in the offices, his mailbox was right next to Jim Ross and the mailman must have accidentally placed Sable’s Playboy contract in his slot. He looked at that and said that his best year in the business was five times less thanwht Sable got that year.  He then aid later on, the nail in the coffin for Mero was when he got powerbombed by Sable and shortly after that was booked in a house show main event against Austin, who called Vicne and said since he just got powerbombed by a girl, there was no point of wrestling him for more than fifteen seconds.  

Jim is then asked about his appearance with Jerry  Lawler at an ECW house show in Philadelphia. He said that Chris Candido asked him to appear, as they had a surprise every month at their Philly show. Lawler was already appearing so Cornette said that he would do it for free, as long as Heyman and Dennis Coraluzzo buried their hatchet in regards to the argument over the NWA Title Tournament in 1994, which ended up being the Birth of Extreme Championship Wrestling. Heyman sent him a limo and he and Coraluzzo met Heyman at Morton’s Steakhouse. The limo then took them to the arena, where Heyman instructed them to wait, as they were going to run out when the lights went out. Heyman came in the limo and apologized to Coraluzzo and told him he would take care of everything and tell his boys that they could work his events after the show. He and Lawler run in and the fans are throwing trash and they hit the guys in the ring, with Lawler accidentally whacking Tommy Dreamer in the nuts so hard that they swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. They run though the crowd and are rushed back into the limo, with Heyman handing an envelope to Cornette, containing $750. A few days later, Heyman denied the agreement he promised Coraluzzo.

Michael Cole makes his WWF debut on the June 30th edition of RAW, interviewing the Legion of Doom. Cornette liked Cole but he knew nothing about wrestling. He also says that he was a Kevin Dunn project and his choice to eventually replace Jim Ross on commentary, who Dunn disliked due to his Southern accent.


Jim talks about the Canadian Stampede. Said that $212,000 they earned for this in Calgary, set  a record there. He said one of the best “In Your House” PPV’s of all-time. He recalls that it was a very emotional show with all of the family there for the Hart Foundation.

On July 14th, the Patriot makes his debut. Sean asks him about the character. Jim doesn’t remember how he came in but calls him a good promo with great body and they needed new top babyfaces. He says he pushed for him but that he did not bring him in but did want to use him in a good spot. He tells a story of how he was at a production meeting. The Patriot was getting over but the Hart Foundation did not like working with him and he had no political allies. Jim asks why should the Patriot come out and get booed in Halifax, where the Hart’s were loved. The others in the meeting more focused on Sable T-Shirt spot, but he wanted to know about what to do with the Patriot. He kept asking then Dunn told him that he found him tiresome, causing Cornette to snap and threaten Dunn. He went up to his room and got out of production meetings for three weeks because of Dunn. Vince told him to apologize, in his house, and he left them alone. Said that he did begrudgingly apologize and Dunn started to cry, saying that he was made fun of because he had buck teeth. Cornette also said how Dunn would make fun of him for his Southern wrestling too. Anyway, Cornette said that he couldn’t stay mad when he saw him crying then yells at him to get his teeth fixed, as he makes a few million dollars a year now.


Jim is asked about Pillman losing to Goldust at SummerSlam, thus having to wear a dress on the next RAW as a result. Cornette said Pillman had no problem wearing a dress. He said that all of the stipulations on SummerSlam were a takeoff of the Memphis Dream Match night shows. He also said that Vince started to listen to him then for a few months and this was his idea. Sean asks why they didn’t do half of the stipulations as promised. Jim said that the most frustrating thing about being on the WWF creative team was that you had someone else’s roster and everyone had a shot, thus watering down the angles.

Also on SummerSlam, Owen Hart broke Steve Austin’s neck during a piledriver attempt. Jim said that he always liked to ban the piledriver and bring it back sparingly, as it was a dangerous move.

On the August 18th RAW, HBK & HHH team up in their unofficial D-X debut, losing to Undertaker and Mankind by DQ. Cornette said that HHH was great at learning backstage manipulation then talks about how much he hated the D-X faction, as they buried a lot of the other talent and only wanted to get themselves over.


Uncle Cletus (Tony Anthony) debuts as the manager of the Godwinns. Sean asks if Anthony can ever get a break and Jim says no and goes on about how always has to make hillbilly cartoon characters that are based off stereotypes from the 1950’s.

Sean asks Cornette if the angle with Pillman calling in stating he will not return until the WWF can provide a safe working environment was a rib on Shawn. He said that the verbage was but that this was part of a storyline.

Jim is then asked about Terry Funk’s retirement match against Bret Hart. Said Terry called him and Bret wanted to but neither guy wanted to win. Also, he wanted Mick Foley to appear on the call. He said that Vince had no problem letting them appear.

Up next is when HBK beat Davey Boy Smith for the European Title in England, with Davey’s mom and sister, who was sick with cancer, sitting in the front row. Jim confirms that this was because of Michaels, who either refused or came up with another story to turn it to win winning the match. Cornette said that if he was Davey, he would have beat the shit out of Shawn.

Jim talks about how Vince told Bret Hart before RAW that he could not afford his 20-year contract. He goes over the grosses for the house shows, which were not good at all. Vince then allowed Bret to be released and negotiate with WCW to get his old deal. Bret did and Jim says how he doesn’t know all of the details unlike the Wrestling Observer, and said how he had millionaires fighting with each other, meaning Shawn and Bret, and sarcastically states how he felt bad for them.


Brian Pillman passes away at age 35. Cornette said that everyone was there at the Badd Blood PPV besides Pillman. He calls the hotel and asks to see when Pillman checked out and immediately get put on hold. A few minutes go by and the guy at the desk tells Cornette that he passed away. Cornette wasn’t sure if this was Pillman pulling a prank or legit. After a few minutes, he realized that it was legit. He says the told Harvey Whippleman to get Bruce Prichard, were Cornette told him that Pillman was dead.

At the PPV, the legends of St. Louis wrestling are introduced by Jim Ross. Before that happened, Cornette had a fight with Dunn, who wanted to show the highlight package before the show, thinking that no one would know who they were. Cornette said that they will tell them who they were and he organized video packages, using his own memorabilia.

They talk about the first ever Hell in a Cell match between HBK and Undetaker. Cornette said the idea came about when they needed HBK to remain champ as he was the heel and it was a blowoff match to their feud. Cornette initially wanted it to be called “Rage in a Cage.” He then said that Undertaker’s brother was being talked about and this was a good time to have him debut, with him ripping off the cage door, like Doug Furnas did years prior when he made his debut in whatever territory that was. Cornette said they kept the idea intact and that he was very happy, especially for Kane, who was booked as an evil dentist then the fake Diesel. He also says that Kane was very close to getting cut, as Vince didn’t think he showed enough aggression in his previous matches.  

Cornette is then asked about his shoot-like rants that were going on at the time. Kevin Kelly asked him if he wanted to do “Byte This,” stating no one pays attention to the show. He was asked about the nWo parodying the Four Horseman. After that, the show got more feedback for that than all the other shows combined. Vince thought it was cutting edge and wanted him to do this on RAW. He went back and wrote down what he said and cleared it with a lawyer. He said he had to put in on a teleprompter as he was afraid he would get going and say things he wasn’t allowed to say. Cornette said that even thoughRusso thought he was stuck in the 80’s, they would play this in front of the crowds, thinking he would come across as old and out-of-touch but the fans loved what he was saying, cheering when he said Flair should be respected and that he wanted to see wrestling. As they went further, Russo turned that into the reforming the NWA stable, that says he will save for the 1998 Timeline.

He was asked if Vince interviewing Melanie Pillman, Brian’s widow, was a mistake. He said it was and only about ratings.

Up next is when the NoD locker room ransacked with “Malcolm X” and “Uncle Tom” spray painted on the lockers with a Canadian flag left behind. Jim said this was another attempt to boost ratings, as Vince hated losing to WCW. He said at this time, he was trying to book Survivor Series with Bret and Shawn and he was having an awful time. He started to overeat because he was miserable and was up to 280 lbs at one point. He blames this for having to work with Russo. He said they got along at first then references how Russo, after a few months of writing TV, told Cornette that it was cool how he got to be inside of the barricade during a match, with drove Cornette crazy. Jim says Russo was never a fan of wrestling, just angles and highlights and that he had no idea how they were done. He claims he tried to teach Russo but he wanted no part of that and wanted to revolutionize wrestling into a giant clusterfuck. Said that since Russo left the WWE, he has killed everything else he touched. He then talks about the Undertaker/Kane feud and how Russo wanted to blow through the angle before the match, with Cornette telling him that he could not do that.

Sean asks Jim about Jarrett returning from WCW, in which he buried Bischoff. Jim said that he could not figure out how Russo and Jarrett became friends, as Russo had a thing against Southerners.


Sean asks Jim about the discussions in creative leading up to days before the Survivor Series match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. He said that they would have to wait or Vince to finish his phone calls with Bret and Shawn before they could work on planning things. He talks about Shawn told Bret in the past he would never put him over and Bret did not want to put Shawn over and he was still pissed at him for refusing to job to Davey. He then says how Bret was leaving to go to a job that paid him one million dollars a year more than he was making with the WWF and Shawn was pissed that he was making less than Bret. He said Bret was being childish too and refused to let Shawn beat him in Canada then did not want to lose before the PPV, stating that he was a Canadian hero. Jim then wants to know why Vince didn’t take the belt off of Bret before he let him out of his contract so he could negotiate with WCW. Everyone else was working on ideas and Cornette said he should drop to Shamrock, as he would rough him up then suggested a double cross. Cornette said that it was not Russo’s idea, like he claims. He said that the night before the show, they didn’t go through that match and he asked Vince if they had a finish and he said yes. Jim said he watched the match and knew what would happen once he saw the finish so he went into the car and left the building. He calls it the first ever worked-shoot double cross. He said Vince thought he would be the babyface when he came out then calls out Bret for giving Vince free publicity for the loss, stating he never lost it. He says how WCW was so bad that they fucked up the hottest wrestler in the world and Vince went with everyone calling him an asshole for what happened and became a huge heel and the rest was history. Cornette said Russo did not start the Attitude Era and this was how it happened.

Now Cornette is asked about when Rick Rude was shown on RAW, which was taped, then on Nitro the same night, which was live. Cornette said that Rude was not under contract at the time and that it was an error on the part of the WWF.


After Survivor Series, Davey and Owen were taken off the road. Davey Boy Smith paid the WWF $150,000 to let him out of his contract. He was taken off the road after the Survivor Series and he got knee surgery. He said that the WWF was a more controlled environment than WCW and that led to Davey’s downfall.  However, WWF saw Owen as a star and wanted him to come back (he was also taken off the road) but Shawn refused to put him over. Jim talks some more about Owen, saying that he was funny and loved his family and wrestling but also did not want to walk away from guaranteed money.

At a house show in Memphis on December 14th, a riot breaks out when D-X refuses to wrestle Jerry Lawler and Jeff Jarrett. He said that D-X did not want to put up with the raucous crowd, unlike just about any other wrestler.

 Cornette says at the end of the month, he was told he didn’t have to make that creative meeting this week, then the next week, told by Vince’s assistant that he was not needed to come to Vince’s house for the meetings anymore and that was how he found out he no longer was on the creative team. He said that he hated Russo and if unfiltered, would book wrestling just like he predicted. He said that he became a producer and was happier, as he would have killed Russo. He brings up Ed Ferrara and about the time he asked him why they did the angle with Marlena getting shoved off the apron while pregnant and how he thought it was a bad idea. Ferrara replied that no one thogut that she really was, referencing Monica from “Friends” and how no one thought she was pregnant in real life either. Cornette said Ferrara was a fucking moron and that no one watched wrestling and thought they were playing characters, even though they knew the matches were pre-determined. He also said that the angle sold no tickets, as no one was going to tune in with excitement to see what would happen with Marlena the next week. He calls Ferrara a piece of shit who would carry around Russo’s paper. He then tells a story of how Ferrara and Russo flew to Atlanta while Vince was in England and was able to convince WCW that they were the guys who got the WWF to become popular again.

Cornette close by saying how 1997 was the year that set up the WWF for their successful run.

Final Thoughts: A very good interview. It was long, clocking in at just under 3.5 hours but definitely worth a listen. Cornette was good but his rants against Russo can get a little old. The guy needs anger management therapy like you wouldn’t believe. However there were some questions that I felt were a waste of time. There were a bunch of questions about guys like Rod Price and Tommy Rogers and how they got tryout matches, which Cornette had no idea about.  He also hints that he might do the 1998 timeline, which would be something I would love to see.


  1. Charismatic e-Negro Jef VinsonAugust 1, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    "He took it home to his now ex-wife, where she put it in a plastic bag. She still has it somewhere. "
    I bet Shawn would want that back right about now.
    Good read. Thanks for taking the time to type all that.

  2. You did a great job at condensing that because there were a lot of empty questions and a ton of long rants. Cornette, however, is entertaining through much of it.

  3. My favorite Timeline Review.

  4. I'm still hoping I get to see this one at some point. I've seen both of his YouShoots as well as the Guest Booker bit that he did for the Invasion, and despite himself, Cornette is just immensely entertaining, and he and Sean have great host/guest chemistry. Can't wait to see who headlines the '98 Timeline.

  5. Great read, but not really much of a "review." More like a recap with some final thoughts. That's just knit picking on my part. Great job.

  6. I'll just leave my broken record comment that I love these because there's no way that I would ever sit trhough 3.5 hours of this.
    Written very well too, you do a great job of condensing.

  7. At the end of the interview, Cornette hints that he might be doing the 1998 Timeline. I also heard that Cornette got pissed at the host, Sean Oliver, about something he saw in Vince Russo's YouShoot trailer. So, who knows if that wil still happen or not. Sean did post on the KC Message Board that he talked with Cornette over the spring and told us to stay tuned.

  8. Thanks. Yeah, this was a long review. Luckily, it came in two discs so I could break it up into two parts. It ended up being a sixteen page word document when it was finished.

  9. I love Corny. He's hilarious and has a good mind for the kind of stuff I like to see in wrestling. I agree wholeheartedly that Russo's contributions to wrestling are overrated.

  10. Now I get to be immensely curious as to what that is, because I still haven't seen the Russo shoot, though I have been wanting to. Ugh... politics. Always being involved in wrestling even when they're not involved in wrestling.

  11. Possibly overrated, though definitely not overvalued. The Attitude Era diiiiiiiid generate quite a bit of money, let's not forget that.

  12. You're the Fing man.

  13. I disagree about Russo, he made a huge impact and came up with a lot of everyone's favorite stuff. I'll take his swerves and chaos over the overly scripted and controlled Raw environment we have now.

  14. Opinion vary for sure, but WWF 2000 was my favorite year of wrestling, hands down. Russo left in October 1999 and found a way to actually make WCW worse than it was when he arrived.

  15. Best Timeline reviews IMO
    1. Cornette 1997
    2. Nash 1995
    3. Waltman 1994

    That Lex 1993 should be coming out soon also

  16. I own this shoot and it's awesome. Love his book that he flips trough for booking decisions and attendance figures.

  17. On the KC Message Board, Sean said the 1993 WWF with Luger will come out in October.

    Russo's 2000 WCW Timeline comes out August 27th.

  18. Other good timelines are 1987 WWF with Honky and 1985 with Valentine.

  19. Very nicely done. Cornette is entertaining. The only thing that I saw that wasn't correct was in May saying that HBK and Bret won the tag titles from Owen and Bulldog. Should be HBK and Austin. Although I would have loved to have seen HBK and Bret as tag champs!

  20. Whoops. I went back and changed that.

  21. Vince (Russo) says he came up with a lot of stuff and the scuttlebutt says that Vince McMahon took the stuff that was generally well executed.

    I tend to believe that and it doesn't make him noteworthy that he threw a 100 ideas at a wall and two of them stuck, it would make him noteworthy if he could have identified the two that would stick.

    But I am on the fence. Russo certainly has his place and has value...But his value was mostly based on someone else overruling the stupid shit.

  22. I think if Bret had gone strictly with Cornette's rationale ("I hate Shawn Michaels, he's a prick and I'll never put him over") and not muddied the waters with the not losing in Canada bit then he would've had more support from fans/wrestlers. There's a reason why guys like HHH only bring up the "Canada" part- it sounds ridiculous (especially to Americans), and a lot of people can empathize with hating a guy so much you want to stick it to him on your way out. Plus it's hard to defend Shawn's behaviour back then.

  23. Why is this down voted? He's right, it's mostly a summary of the shoot's contents.

  24. Lol I haven't looked back at this since I wrote the comment. Very strange, but what can ya do. I stand by what I said. It was a great recap but just wasn't a review.

  25. You are right by the way. I really did more of a recap here, and I usually throw some stuff in between, but this was too long and it was better to write what Cornette said than adding my two cents.

  26. Russo did great work with midcard acts, but I wouldn't give him credit with Austin, Rock, and DX.

  27. Scream09_HartKillerAugust 1, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    I loved the Attitude Era, but I think there's a lot of truth to the "Russo needed his ideas filtered" theory. I was re-watching some of his WCW stuff recently and it's horrible. It's beyond fucking stupid. Like, there's really no way to defend it or describe it other than it was illogical and ridiculously stupid. Stupid stipulation matches, repeated heel/face turns, title changes every other week, angles that make no fucking sense, and a whole lot of "this is a scripted television show but this particular part is real" - Goldberg's feuding with Nash - but they're not just feuding on television, they're feuding in real life, so the big question isn't who's going to win, it's will Goldberg cooperate and go along with how the story is written? What if Goldberg stops pretending fighting and starts really fighting? They openly talk about Russo (and later Bishoff) being's just all so fucking mind numbing. I don't know who hates who or why and by the time you start to figure out what the story he's trying to tell is he changes it so it doesn't make a lick of Goddamn sense and nobody's really popular because the good guy becomes the bad guy sooner or later and it'll likely involve a women in a bikini, something on a pole and Jeff Jarrett and will be the result of a "real life situation" they're taking about on the internet.

    That's Vince Russo when left to his own devices.

  28. Agreed. How Shawn constantly escapes criticism even though he was a horse's ass has always been baffling.

  29. Watching the early years of TNA is also filled with stupid shit from Russo

  30. Scream09_HartKillerAugust 1, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Even the Attitude Era had some stupid Russo stuff that slipped through - Beaver Cleavage, Val Venis nearly getting his penis cut off, the aforementioned miscarriage angle, Meat.

  31. Scream09_HartKillerAugust 1, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    I give him credit for giving everyone something to do - everyone was something and now and then you could have Al Snow face The Rock and it wasn't a complete throwaway because people like Al Snow.

    But ECW was doing edgy years earlier and the Clique were pushing for it in 1995 so it's not like he invented the concept like he seems to think he did. It sounds like he just threw out edgy adult themed ideas until something made sense.

  32. Have you watched the Kevin Nash timeline yet? I really want to know if I'm alone in thinking that Nash basically had a existential crisis on camera. Both his digressions and the manner in which he belligerently (albeit entertainingly) recalls stuff not pertinent to 1995 or WWE are something else and a must see, especially since Nash never seems to lose his cool ev-er.

  33. Today, what bothers me is when they announce Stephanie as the Vice President of Creative.

  34. Because you know... like... he lost his smile and shit. And his knee... that was real... you know. Like seriously.

  35. I always saw Bret enjoying considerable support at the time.
    The anti-Bret sentiment came along much later.

  36. 100% agreed. Even on this blog there are tons of HBK defenders. Every time I bring up the travesty of SummerSlam 96 and his ridiculous behavior supporters pop out of the woodwork.

  37. Cornette is so entertaining. It's amazing. I was honestly interested for the entire 3 hour show. Which, considered it's an old fat dude telling 16 year old stories, is very remarkable.

  38. I'm so glad he held on to the book and brought it along. It really helps give a feel to what they were doing at the time.

  39. I'm usually 100% on bored with you but this one is actually highly entertaining. I figured I'd listen to it in 20 minutes spurts before getting bored and walking away but powering through an hour was actually really easy. Cornette is great.

  40. My only complaint about Cornette is that he's so damn negative. I get that a lot of the Russo and HBK hate has some very valid roots, but his overwhelming negativity makes him seem like a grumpy old man. Now, as others have noted, he's VERY entertaining, so that generally isn't a problem, but it does make me second guess how accurate some of his critiques and memories are.

  41. I agree. Russo's ideas really worked when he was filtered, and that's not a knock at all. He thought outside the box and gave everyone on his roster storylines week in and week out. Everyone had a back story and personality. How long has Kofi been in the company without a character?? Barrett? Usos? I can go on forever.

  42. Lol the venis character and that storyline is still mentioned by non fans I know. It at least deserves credit for being humorous. It also helps russo's claim that he was writing to get the non wrestling fans to tune in, because we're already hooked.

  43. Amsterdam_Adam_CurryAugust 1, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    I forget, is that where he started flipping out on some chick in the front row, or where he threw a hissyfit because Vader missed a cue or something? I always get the 2 mixed up.

  44. Flipping out on the annoying fan was the Bulldog match. He was justified in that one...she was really fucking annoying. The Vader one is when he threw a hissyfit refusing to drop the belt, threatened to try and have Vader fired, and also flipped out in the ring.

  45. "Also on this RAW, HBK & Bret Hart teamed up to win the Tag-Team Titles from Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith."

    Stone Cold Bret Hart.

  46. I found the Waltman 94 one really pointless since little of note happened in his career that year.

  47. my favourite moment was when someone called him out on his "goldberg screwed up the fingerpoke of doom" bs and he just sat there for a minute with this dumbfounded look on his face and then just rambled on about something completely different.
    he should definitely move into politics.

  48. Good lord, yet another Russo shoot? Because it's not like there isn't HOURS of footage of Russo justifying himself, making excuses and blaming locker room politics and S&P for him being a fucking failure.

  49. really great write-up. love these.

  50. Corny's archiving skills are legendary. The guy legit has hournals of every show he's ever booked, including attendance figures and the like.

  51. I just remember Russo getting out of hand in 1999 even before he went to WCW, or were more IWC members seeing through him by then? I remember that most of RSPW HATED the This Is Your Life segment.

  52. I guess it's a matter of why we're watching. 2000 was possibly the best in-ring year the WWF ever had. The characters and angles of 1998 are soooo memorable, though. Like others have said, there were very few throwaway segments on Raw in those days, since every guy had an actual character and motivations, albeit sometimes ridiculous motivations at that.

  53. This. I'd love to see a sequel to the MX book, which showcases his skills here. But I wonder what else he'd do it for.

  54. Cornette getting pissed? You don't say! :-)

  55. This. Every word of this.

  56. Shawn had a reputation for being a complete dick for many things, but going over Bulldog in England in front of his dying sister for a vanity belt that Michaels clearly mocked is one of the lowest things he ever did.

  57. Great review!

    Just want to say that I have really been enjoying these. I have a severe hearing impairment, and even with a hearing aid, I can't understand TV without closed captioning - which these don't have. These reviews make it so much easier for me to follow what is happening on screen - thank you!

  58. Yeah, I can't agree about Val Venis. That storyline and character was hysterical. Absolutely loved it.

  59. That Vader angle shows how his selfishness actually did the opposite of what he wanted.

    In Shaw 's mind staying Champion made him look better and get him more money.

    In reality overcoming the odds to beat a monster, that had defeated him for his title, in his home town would have made him a hero in the angle, more people would have cared meaning more buys/bigger gate percentage.

    Shawn was lucky that Vader, who I've heard referred to as a bit of a softy outside wrestling, wasn't stiff intentionally. I would have loved to see how Shawn would have dealt with a guy that had Brody`s temperament.

  60. Amsterdam_Adam_CurryAugust 2, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    I'm 99% sure that I could kick the shit out of HBK, and I'm built like a female model.

  61. I take it there's a shoot interview re: his time as the MX manager? I must seek this out...

  62. Kevin Kelly said Cornette would repeatedly call Dunn "Bucky Beaver Morherfucker." This might be the greatest insult ever.

  63. I'd downvote it because one doesn't pick knits. However, wasn't me.

  64. Macho Warrior Ric Hogan?


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