2 OUT OF 3 FALLS
Everyone's Favorite Mama's Boy
Has there ever been a wrestling character more notorious who has never (to my knowledge) made an appearance in a wrestling ring or on a TV show than "Mama Cornette?" In recent memory, we have "Mrs.Foley," whose baby boy is Cactus Jack, and Tazz's friend Joey Numbers, but neither had the importance to the character to which they were connected than Mama Cornette.
As most people know, Thelma Cornette passed away recently. Reports say that she helped facilitate her son's wrestling passion by taking him to the matches. I never met Mama Cornette and only met Jim one (backstage at a spot show in northern Maryland for one of the local indy promotions), so I don't have any great personal insight.
As a tribute to Mrs. Cornette, I present for your consideration some of my favorite memories involving her son, who, as most people know, has been my favorite "charcter" in wrestling since I started watching as a little kid.
My favorite angle of all-time, to this day, remains the sneak attack on
Jim, Bobby and Stan by Paul Heyman, Randy Rose and the prodigal son Dennis
Condrey on a Saturday afternoon on TBS. Cornette bled like a stuck pig and
his wardrobe (how convenient he was wearing a white jacket) was covered in a
crimson mask. I can still hear Jim Ross screaming, "They don't even work
The Midnight Express and Cornette show up in Mid-South and begin a feud
with Mr. Wrestling II and a young Magnum TA. To kick off their feud, the
Express tar and feather Magnum.
Cornette, too big for his britches, picks a fight with Cowboy Bill Watts,
who then goes to the junkyard and recruits Stagger Lee to be his partner.
The match-up sets attendance and box office figures all across the region.
Still in Mid-South, Cornette brandishes what he perports to be one of
"Mama Cornette's" dresses. Of course, James E. ends up eventually wearing
In Mid-South, we see the classic "birthday cake" sketch. Not
surprisingly, I have seen Jim Cornette get his face put in that cake in
Oklahoma, Dallas, Atlanta and Knoxville.
I learn to appreciate Cornette's skill at getting over lesser performers
when he not only makes Rip Oliver seem credible in World Class, but managed
to get great face heat for Cowboy Scott Casey and Sunshine during the
infamous "green jacket" feud.
During his stay in Dallas, I see for the first time another Cornette
staple: the strait-jacket angle. This time, it's the Fantastics who fall
for the trap and Tommy Rogers gets waffled upside the head with a chair
while stuck in the jacket.
Onto the NWA, where I got to see the Cornette and the Midnights live for the
first time. SO, I have a boatload of memories from this time period.
An infamous bit of Jim Cornette commentary. "When we're done with Rocky
King, we're going to read him Roots backwards, so it has a happy ending."
The Express wrestle at Starrcade for the first time, against, of all
people, Jimmy Valiant and "Miss Atlanta Lively," (Ron Garvin in drag).
The Midnights win the NWA Tag Titles on the first prime time "Superstars
on the Superstation" from the R-n-R Express. My favorite moment: David
Crockett screaming "Whip him. Whip him like a dog" when Robert Gibson
brandishes Cornette's belt at the manager.
The horrible feud with Baby Doll. I had to see Baby Doll pin Cornette in
a 6-man match at the 1986 Great American Bash in Philadelphia.
Cornette takes a header off the scaffold while being chased by the Road
In something that would mean something only to people in Pennsylvania,
Cornette did a great localized promo when the NWA ran in King of Prussia.
"Who is the King of Prussia and why does he have an enclave here in the
In a move I still regret to this day, I opt not to go to an NWA show in
the Philadelphia Civic Center in1987. I miss getting to see the Midnight
Express win the NWA titles from the Four Horsemen in the last match for
Tully and Arn before they jump to the WWF.
Jumping ahead to Smokey Mountain, my favorite Jim Cornette moment comes
when the mystery partner of the R-n-R Express is hiding beneath a sheet.
James E. whips off the sheet to reveal Arn Anderson and nearly has a
A close second is when Cornette, healing from injuries at the hands of
probably Bob Armstrong, recooperates in bed, surrounded by stuffed animals
and copies of the Observer.
Also from this period, we started getting the great Jim Cornette shoot
tapes, from SMW fan week. They are great pieces of history and humor, the
wrestling version of Citizen Kane. Or at least My Dinner with Andre. Like
"The Dairy Queen" story or sending the funeral arrangement to the WCW
I struggled to think of good WWF memories and couldn't really think of
any? Managing Yokozuna? The New Midnight Express? Maybe the best thing he
did were those RAW commentaries where he buried Eric Bischoff and the N.W.O.
How many times has Hell frozen over in wrestling? Surely one time was
when Cornette showed up in ECW and waffled all of Heyman's boys with
And now, we have OVW, where ironically, Cornette works with Danny Davis.
Davis, you may or may not know, was one of the first people Cornette
managed, way back in Memphis, when he and Ken Wayne wrestled under hoods as
the Galaxians, Alpha and Beta.
There you have it, one man's memories (all off the top of his head) of his
favorite performer. Rest in Peace, Mama Cornette. Your legacy gave us the
greatest manager and best interviews in the history of his profession.
Odessa Steps Magazine
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