Jim Ross and Conrad Thompson had one doozy of an episode this past week on Grilling JR as it involved one of the polarizing figures in wrestling, Jim Cornette.
JR covers his career spanning relationship with Jim Cornette as well as his entry into the wrestling business via the very low paying Jerry Jarrett, but starts the show off with a quick overall thought on his longtime friend.
“Cornette’s legacy cannot be strictly judged by the perception that he has created for himself as this polarizing lightning rod. Almost a Howard Stern-like individual saying crazy things, outrageous things, and maybe they’re not crazy. Maybe they’re just all things we think to some degree. We’re just aren’t going to have the balls to say.”
A topic that was sure to get touched upon was Cornette’s recent unabashed criticism of JR’s current employer, All Elite Wrestling. Conrad asks if the two have any heat between one another due to Cornette’s constant downgrading of the promotion.
“No. Hell no. Not at all. Look, we don’t agree philosophically on a lot of things, especially as it relates to the company I work for. And that’s a fact. And I’ve never gone on social media and won’t to complain about him. I know we have talents on the AEW roster like FTR that think he hung the moon and I can’t deny what their thoughts are.”
“What I look at it is this, and I may be looking at it wrong, when he knocks AEW he’s kind of knocking me. I’m the voice of the brand right now.”
“Well some of it is being an entertainer on his podcast,” Conrad says, who then mentions about how he remains extremely relevant via his abrasive opinions despite not being with a mainstream wrestling company for years.
“It shows you how bright he is,” JR says. “He’s created a brand new persona to a brand new audience. Now the persona may not be brand new, but to the audience it’s new cause he’s been off national television for quite some time. He’s reinvented himself to today’s audience. That’s the mark of a great entrepreneur and he’s chosen the character of being a villain journalist. A person with a strong opinions and so if you look at it in that regard – take a side that you don’t agree with if you’re a fan. ‘Oh I don’t agree with what he says. Okay, fine. That’s irrelevant. It really doesn’t matter if you agree or not. You’re talking about it, you’re listening to his shows. You’re reading what his sound bytes are on Twitter or wherever and so he’s reinvented himself in a very strategic way using the platform that he has at his disposal. Look, if you told me ten years ago, you know Jim Cornette is going to be big on Twitter, I’d say ‘You’re full of shit. That ain’t gonna happen, man. Are you kidding me?’ And look at it now. When I see a post from him, I gotta read it.”
Conrad asks Jim where he thinks Cornette’s legacy will be once the dye is set on his career.
“Once you get past today’s Jim Cornette and his philosophies and so forth, I think he’ll be known as one of the top two or three managers of all time. Heenan will always get my number one, but to say who’s number two I could make a very definitive argument that Jim Cornette’s a number two manager of all time behind Heenan.”
JR comes at Corny’s legacy from another standpoint too.
“I think if you look at it objectively, he’ll be known as one of the most bright and brilliant minds in wrestling. I just hope that the character he’s created now doesn’t adversely affect that perception. He’s a hall of fame guy, without a doubt.
“It’s like judging the Olympics. You take out the high score and the low score and get the average. You take out the high and the low, he’s still a hall of fame guy that will always be remembered, at least in my eyes, as one of the most brilliant minds of anybody I’ve ever worked with in pro wrestling. End of story.”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
Give the full conversation a listen below, and be on the look out next week for our exclusive interview with Conrad Thompson!