Thursday, December 8, 2016

Podcast Deep Dive: The Jim Cornette Experience, Episode 157

Elliot takes another stab at the Cornette show
Photo Credit: Kevin Steen
Show: Jim Cornette Experience
Episode: 157
Run Time: 1:22:24

A year ago, I reviewed an episode of The Jim Cornette Experience that left me reeling. Cornette read an email from a Muslim listener who begged him to stop denigrating Muslims on his show, to which Cornette replied with a bizarre stream of hatred for Islam. He called it a religion of violence whose world leaders were all maniacs who only want to blow up other countries. It was such a jarringly vile rant that I trashed the episode and recommended no one listen to his show if they wanted to support a decent person.

Yet here I am again, spending some time with ol' Corny! Curiosity brought me back to the Experience, hoping that perhaps I could find an episode where a persecuted group of people doesn't get even more persecuted. And luckily, that's what I found.

Episode 157 is a preview of sorts for Jim Cornette's Drive Thru, an all-listener-email podcast that's part of MLW Radio's $2/month subscription service. Cornette and his co-host Brian Last answer listener questions about anything and everything (but mostly wrestling, because it's Jim Cornette).

Further highlighting Jim Cornette's strange worldview, he does a quick segment to tell the listeners what they're going to call President-elect Trump on their show from now on: "The Bloviating Fleshbag." It's not very funny, but for god's sakes, at least it's firing a spitball at a better target.

The main reason why someone should check out this episode is to hear Jim Cornette be shockingly positive about a modern wrestling match, and to hear him reveal his true self.

Cornette and Last talk about NXT Takeover: Toronto's probable five-star match between The Revival and DIY. It's no surprise that Cornette favors the old-school tag team mentality of The Revival, but he really likes those guys. He says they should be on WWE's main roster tomorrow, as they can put on tag matches the way they're meant to be wrestled. They know where they're supposed to be in the ring and they have the perfect type of ring psychology.

The refreshing honesty comes in when Last brings up the NXT crowd's reaction to certain parts of the match. Cornette points out that in spots where The Revival got the best of Gargano and Ciampa and proceeded to beat the crap out of them, the crowd chanted "This is Awesome!" He says that 30 years ago, this would not have happened. If the heels were getting over on the babyfaces, the crowd would have been jumping the rails trying to kill them. But now they love every second of it. "That just goes to show why I don't watch a lot of current wrestling. When people are actively saying, 'This is great' when the babyfaces are getting the shit kicked out of 'em, it's just...they know! They're having a great match. I guess some people don't find anything wrong with that, but it just kills me."

That quote is encouraging for anyone who has been begging for Cornette to get with the times, or to at least acknowledge that he is not of these times. Guys like Cornette and Jim Ross want to like current wrestling because it is what they have always enjoyed (and it's how they've made their money). But their only real criticism is "It's not similar enough to the way I learned it." If it doesn't walk and talk just the way Arn Anderson did in the 80's, then it must have some inherent weakness.

I don't identify with this at all, but I wonder if that's because of the time period when I became a fan. It was the very beginning of 1991, and I watched a lot of WWF and a little bit of WCW. Though there were some shining moments here and there, most agree that this was a fallow time for pro wrestling. Many of the characters were stale, and they hadn't adapted the product to fit the (at the time) modern era. And when I look back at some of those matches where NOTHING happens, I don't know how anyone could want a wrestling match to recall the old school.

So maybe it's a matter of perspective. Jim Cornette and I disagree about wrestling being the way it was when we were kids, probably because Bruiser Brody was totally awesome, and Hulk Hogan mostly sucked.