Legendary pro wrestling manager Jim Cornette makes no bones about it. The outspoken personality is not a fan of sports entertainment and what the business has become since his teenage years.
He misses the good old days, which is why he enjoys attending the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest Weekend in Charlotte. Cornette looks forward to making the trip to this year’s event, Aug. 1-4, along with other legends such as Jerry Brisco, James J. Dillon, Ivan Koloff and Tully Blanchard.
“It’s especially going to be fun for me because I haven’t been able to go for the last couple of years,” Cornette said. “I was there pretty much there every year until 2010 from the first…It’s great because not only do I get the chance to see people I don’t normally see, but actually talk to real actual wrestling fans. Not sports entertainment fans, where nobody brings up, ‘Well, what is so and so doing on Combat Zone Wrestling?’
“These people are wrestling fans. They enjoy wrestling, and there is no talk of sports entertainment or very little. It’s kept to a minimum. It’s the kind of environment I like to be in where we can remember the days when things were done right when the crowds were big, buildings were big and the guys were over. Everybody knew who you were. Everybody knew your name like on ‘Cheers’.”
In 2009, the avid collector of wrestling memorabilia, comics and everything in between came to the convention with “The Midnight Express and Jim Cornette 25th Anniversary Scrapbook”. This time around he follows up that work with another project.
“Mark James of the MemphisWresltingHistory.com website and I have collaborated on our first book together,” Cornette said.
“We are going to have that for sale. It’s a cool book on the history of the merchandising of Memphis Wrestling. Whether it be programs, pictures or wrestler’s records that got started in Memphis back in the 1950s with Sputnik Monroe. We actually dug through our collections and made some contacts, and there are reprints of programs over a 30 to 40-year period from the early 1950s to the 1980s. A lot of it is told through my first-person account because the way I got in the business as everybody knows is doing the photography for the Memphis territories in the mid 1970s.
“So for about eight years I was in charge of the pictures that were taken and sold at the merchandise stand and stuff we used in the programs. So it’s not only a look back at old stuff, but classic stuff as told through a first-person account.
“We even reprinted the words of the top five in Memphis wrestler’s records. I won’t tell you who made number one. Jimmy Hart might be a little upset, but he is in the top five. We are going to have that this year and Greg [Price] and those folks have been kind enough to be inducting the Midnight Express and myself in the Hall of Heroes. I don’t want to miss that.”
The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton, Dennis Condrey and Stan Lane) and Cornette, their longtime manager, will enter the 2013 Hall of Heroes with longtime rivals the Rock-n-Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson). The grapplers who share 30 years of history together are also taking part in the “Mid-Atlantic Memories” documentary being produced and scheduled to premiere at next year’s Fanfest. Eaton, who has been struggling with some serious health issues, is still scheduled to make the convention.