Hey Gang! It’s @TheMagnumDA in a setting you normally don’t see me in. Typically, I’m writing the Raw Reports for this fine establishment called Wrestling-Online, but I asked Colin if I could take on this project as an aside. This, without question, could be the most interesting “Table For 3” yet.
For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it’s a program on WWE Network that puts people who may (or may not) be too familiar with each other, but their careers are intertwined somehow with a common theme. This week’s theme is “Creative Committee”, and it features three guys who headed up some pretty huge Creative Departments throughout their careers. These are also three volatile personalities, with two of them never publicly meeting until this day (Bischoff and Cornette). Because of this, I expect the jabs to start flying from the bell.
Quick Background: Jim Cornette was part of WWE’s creative team in the late 1990’s, and was a big part of the Attitude Era coming to the forefront. Eric Bischoff was head of WCW Creative during most of the WCW Monday Nitro heyday, most notably during its peak period: the formation of the New World Order. Michael Hayes, founding member of the Freebirds, has been part of many Creative teams since his days at World Class, where he helped Fritz Von Erich build one of the great rivalries of all time: The Freebirds (Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Jack Roberts) vs. The Von Erich Family. From there, he was part of Creative with Mid-South, NWA/WCW, and subsequently WWE, where he is still writing Creative with the Smackdown Live Brand.
The dinner starts with Cornette pointing out what I shared from the onset: He and Eric have never publicly met face-to-face to have a conversation in this setting until today. They both appeared in a WCW PPV (SuperBrawl III) but Cornette and the boys of Smoky Mountain Wrestling were brought in by Bill Watts, the previous Executive VP of WCW. Watts was fired in early 1993 in light of some racially charged remarks that he made before he was even hired. Somehow, they came to the surface, and Hank Aaron found out about it. You don’t piss the Home Run King off. Although Bischoff was given the Executive Role in WCW around this time, he did not bring Cornette’s people in.
They were considered “Persona Non Grata” to Bischoff and company when they arrived. Why? Simple Misunderstanding. The real story is that Cornette cut a scathing promo on the management that ONCE ran WCW (Watts), but Bischoff’s people misperceived that as a promo against the CURRENT management. They chopped the promo to bits, and Cornette never understood why it was edited until this conversation. Eric felt like he did not have to give a justification, but Corny thinks it’s the root of why they never continued to work together. Jim does point out, however, that they have a mutual hatred for Vince Russo, so it’s all forgiven! THE THREE GUYS EVEN TOAST! Wow…I guess it’s Russo who is Persona Non Grata. What a hilarious introduction into this dinner.
Hayes talks about Bischoff creating talent through the Power Plant: his WCW Training Facility. These days, you’re seeing quite the same thing with Triple H & the Performance Center in Florida. Bischoff actually had a lot of good ideas that are used these days in wrestling. Hayes asks Bischoff if he would’ve given Cornette a chance with his concept of a developmental system (if the Power Plant wasn’t established). Eric says, “Probably.” Both Eric and Jim wanted to create homegrown talent, but I couldn’t see it working out. I don’t think Hulk was too keen on Cornette. They go into a discussion about promos, and Cornette says that sometimes talents have great input, and sometimes they overthink it. Cornette came from an era where they were told, “You got 3 minutes, talk about the Rock & Roll Express.”
The conversation rips the curtain to reveal Oz, and there he is…in a glowy green jacket that glows. With big levers and such. No, I’m just kidding. Here’s the discussion: Hayes opens it up by saying that today’s talent is the most athletic talent we’ve ever seen. In essence, Hayes is opening himself up the same way Frank Pentangeli opened up his own arm in Godfather II. Cornette says that the concept has changed, and that pro wrestling changed from “presenting a believable, simulated conflict that the people can buy as a fight” into “a performance of awe-inspiring moves.” Nailed it! Cornette says the wrestlers want to have their moves get over, and it’s putting the cart before the horse. Jim continues by saying, “Now, it’s hard for anybody to work up a good dislike for the heel.” Truer words have not been spoken.
Hayes opens up the next dialogue by asking both men, “What do you think is your greatest creation/most enjoyable experience?” Bischoff opened with talking about the Nitro format. He was extremely proud of being able to create a live, unpredictable, reality-based environment showcasing the best talent in the world. Cornette said that in the 1980s, he loved being a part of the Midnight Express. In the 1990s, it was being an announcer for the WWF. Overall, it was his developmental work with young talents. I’m sure Jim’s referring to his time in OVW. Michael says that his favorite experience is booking, especially booking main event matches. He says that he “gets a high off of it.” Amongst other things, I’m sure. Hayes’ finest work was booking Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania XXV. I was there, and I personally believe that it’s the greatest match I’ve ever seen live…and I’ve seen some doozies. They show footage of Michaels and Undertaker hugging!! Awesome! I have never seen that until now.
Hayes throws out one more question. He asks if either of them could book next year’s WrestleMania Main Event, what would it be? Cornette starts with a Submission Match between Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe. You know, I understand what he’s trying to do, and that would make for good business. Eric would book a heel Roman Reigns versus a babyface AJ Styles. Okay, I really like that one, as long as you put AJ over. Michael would book John Cena vs. Roman Reigns. Personally? I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to do Lesnar vs. Reigns again.
Closing Thoughts: These men need to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 2 weeks straight. Give them the best meals on Earth. Then let the camera roll. I bet the stories would be incredible. In this twenty-minute morsel, we got plenty enough to whet my appetite for more. Until next time! @TheMagnumDA