Jim Cornette doesn’t like AEW: Do we now know why?

Eighty percent of what Jim Cornette says about pro wrestling is spot on. The other 20 percent makes the 80 percent almost not worth listening to.

Cornette, to his credit, has forged a nice second career in podcasting, though coincidentally the success of the podcasts is based on him breaking the rule that he treats as cardinal, about not exposing the business.

Cornette exposed something about his own business on his “Jim Cornette Experience” podcast this week, which featured another lengthy rant about All Elite Wrestling, which the former manager, commentator, writer and promoter derides as “outlaw mudshow ‘rasslin” populated by “cosplay ‘rasslers” who are, the way Cornette sees it, stealing AEW founder Tony Khan’s money.

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Photo Credit: Destina

What Corny exposed about himself in relation to AEW this week on the “Experience” was that he’d had a conversation a year ago with Khan, which he brought up in the context of Cornette trying to make the point that he might be the only guy that Khan talked to leading up to the launch of AEW who didn’t want his money.

Except that, Cornette intimated as he brought up the conversation with Khan that he’d been asked to sign an NDA, which, interesting.

Because an NDA would only be enforceable if money had changed hands.

That’s basic contract law. If you and I have a conversation, I can blab it to whoever I want to, no matter what piece of paper we may have signed ahead of time, but if we sign that piece of paper, and you give me money, on the condition that I not say anything about what we talked about, you can sue me to get that money back, and if the NDA included a provision for damages on top of that, you can sue for that, too.

Makes sense, right?

At the least, Khan wanted to run some of his ideas by Cornette, and since they were proprietary, wanted to keep them confidential.

You do have to wonder, though, if the conversation might have also had at least something to do with exploring mutual interest between the two in regard to possibly working together in the future.

I mean, if I’m Tony Khan, and I already know that I’m going into business with Cody Rhodes, Nick and Matt Jackson, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega, I don’t need to meet with Jim Cornette, who I know goes out of his way to relentlessly mock, for podcast fodder, and for the sake of keeping over, the guys I’m about to go into business with, to give him an hour to do that to my face.

The only reason I’m meeting with Cornette is to see if there’s a way I can add a creative booking mind with experience running promotions and training schools to my team without disrupting the flow of the guys I already have on my team.

Which, I can see where Khan could use some help from somebody like a Cornette, if not Cornette specifically. The booking for AEW is right now in the hands of relatively young guys like Rhodes, The Bucks and Omega, and while they may very well have great ideas for how to get things at AEW moving, how much better would it be if you had a, say, Jim Cornette, somebody with experience in the ring, in the writing room, in training facilities, on the road as an agent?

The problem with Cornette, specifically, is that he seems to be preternaturally into his own gimmick, that he’s here on earth to be the curmudgeon, the asshole, who hates everything, and everybody, that that’s why people love him.

It’s hard to have guys like that around just in general, and then specifically, Cornette has long made it a point of making sure he keeps himself over to lash out at the likes of The Bucks and Omega, whose great sin, to Cornette, again, has to do with, in the past, having exposed the business, acting as, in his parlance, “cosplay ‘rasslers.”

The Bucks and Omega are the ones stealing money from Khan, in Cornette’s view, though it’s hard to imagine Khan launching his venture without having the likes of the Bucks, Omega and Rhodes, who generally escapes scorn from Cornette because of his famous father, the legendary late “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, being available at the end of their contracts with New Japan and Ring of Honor.

The Bucks, Omega, Rhodes, Jon Moxley and “Hangman” Adam Page are building blocks for AEW, and Khan smartly latched onto WWE veteran Chris Jericho as his mainstream top talent to help get the company over with fans at the launch.

Khan, in essence, seems to have chosen the route of trusting the young guys, The Bucks and Omega, over the veteran, Cornette, who, if you read what transpired the way I do here, has chosen to respond in kind.

Regular listeners of “The Experience” and “Jim Cornette’s Drive-Through” can attest that the podcasts rarely, and even then, barely touched on current-events topics in pro wrestling until recent months, and that, by and large, the current-events stuff on the podcasts today is almost entirely AEW-related.

For a guy who relentlessly defends old-school, tough-guy wrestling, Cornette professes to know nothing about New Japan, which is literally the home of strong style pro wrestling that is a throwback to the style that was predominant here in the States in the 1970s and 1980s, when Cornette was cutting his teeth in the wrestling business.

It’s curious that Cornette almost never has anything to say about WWE, which literally exposed the business, in the 1990s, to try to escape regulatory oversight, and has reduced its performers to automatons, reading scripts and working scripted matches, again, not to overuse the word literally, but WWE performers are literally “cosplay ‘rasslers,” because it’s hard to see modern-day WWE wrestlers as anything other than actors playing wrestlers on TV.

The continued rants on AEW come across as payback, if not also attempts to stay relevant, or add to his relevance.

Another way of saying it: Cornette is doing is he’s trying to keep over, and ranting about AEW is apparently helping him keep over.

Hey, as long as the checks cash.

Column by Chris Graham

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