The legendary Jim Cornette considers himself among the biggest pro wrestling fans in the world.
That is why the outspoken figure will fit well with fellow longtime pillars of the industry and others who come from all over to attend the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest Weekend in August in Charlotte.
The Midnight Express manager is bringing his new book “Rags, Paper and Pins the Merchandising of Memphis Wrestling.” The project was done in collaboration with Mark James of the MemphisWresltingHistory.com website.
“I love wrestling,” Cornette said. “Its sports entertainment that makes me want to tear my freakin’ hair out, and I don’t have enough of it to tear out. The wrestling business is gone, and I’ve finally come to terms with that. Whatever it is they try to call, they don’t even try to call it wrestling any more. TNA tries to call it wrestling. Vince [McMahon] calls it sports entertainment. After you’ve parodied something so long, nobody can ever take it seriously again.
“I mean look what Dave Chappelle did for Rick James with the whole, ‘I’m Rick James, *****!’ Now every time somebody thinks of Rick James they don’t think about that cool king of that punk funk that had all the great outfits in the 1970s. They think of Dave Chappelle going, ‘I’m Rick James, *****!’”
For Cornette, the damage to the business has been done, and there is no turning back.
“It can never be taken seriously after you’ve parodied something for so long,” Cornette said. “Now when the guys break into the business, they think they’re experts because they’ve read about everything on the Internet before they ever had gone to wrestling school. The fans think they’re all experts because they’ve watched all the shoot interviews and read everything on the Internet, so they can pick apart how people that have been in the business 20 or 30 years are doing wrong.
“It’s almost impossible to have anybody take anything seriously anymore. So I’m the biggest wrestling fan in the world, but for my own mental sanity had to come to terms that wrestling is gone and not able to come back. I’m not going to be able to single-handedly save it because what I would do is kill myself in the process. So I choose now to be a wrestling fan and do cool books and publications for wrestling fans like the ones at the Fanfest in Charlotte.”
Cornette enjoys going to conventions as a guest and a fan, whether it be for wrestling, comics or horror.
“I had a huge thrill where I really went back to my mark days,” Cornette said. “Do you know who Felix Silla? Felix Silla is the midget who played Cousin It on ‘The Addams Family.’ It turns out he is a wrestling fan because he started in showbiz as a circus acrobat midget. He is like 75 now, and he came up to me and got a copy of my book. We exchanged autographs. So I can die happy now that Cousin It is a fan of mine.”
Cornette is excited about heading to Charlotte again for the Fanfest, which is celebrating 30 years of the Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton, Dennis Condrey, Stan Lane and Cornette) and Rock-n-Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson). They are all being inducted into the 2013 Hall of Heroes. The Midnight Express corner man felt the two teams clicked right away in their first match.