Kayfabe, Lies and Alibis: Jim Cornette Shoot Interview Secrets of the Ring

Presented by Ring of Honor
This shoot is Jim Cornette giving his view on how pro wrestling should be learned and his pointers and philosophies on everything that pertains to the business.

Promos
* Each promo concept is different, based on whether its designed to sell you on going to a house show, ordering a PPV or whatever.

* The interview should be done in a way that the viewer feels they’ll be treated to the best dang fight imaginable. The words need to come from the heart and not be a memorized script that sounds unnatural.

* Wrestlers need to develop the ability to listen and react to what is being said by their opponents.

* With the real news becoming ever more graphic, its getting harder for heels to get heat by doing little things like pulling hair and pulling trunks.

* The Memphis fans could tell Bill Dundee and Jerry Lawler had some legit beefs, even when they were together as a team. It helped fuel the dynamic of their angles together.

* Promos should be colorful without being silly.

* The babyface is the guy the fans live vicariously through. The face is to say things to a heel that the fans themselves wish they could say.

* Heels need to lie, exaggerate, brag, crap on the fans, and promise the opposite of whatever the fans desire.

* The wrestlers should have a gimmick that is close to their real being as possible so they can feel the emotion and be more comfortable in their skin.

* Promos need to target the widest possible audience.

* Heels can degrade their opponents as long as they shy away from real shortcomings that the face suffers from.

* Guys need to pull from their real emotions and experiences to help get good promos from themselves.

Playing Heel and Face
* Being a heel can be done in a number of ways. Being annoying, being a cheater, being a liar, and so on.

* Guys need to figure out what is unseemly about themselves and crank that part of themselves up 200%.

* Babyfaces have a code of ethics to follow but can’t allow themselves to be a pushover.

* Ricky Steamboat and Ricky Morton mastered the art of getting fans to root for them while they were taking abuse.

* The fans determine the pacing of the match. The workers need to feel the room and do what the fans will respond to on any given night.

* Scripting matches takes away the workers ability to shift with the whims of the crowds.

* Cornette thinks Lucha matches have a tendency to fall apart because of scripting too many spots.

* Guys need to keep moving along when spots are blown, too many make a habit of reacting to the moment or repeating the spot.

* Vince McMahon took his strut from Jerry Graham and Buddy Rogers.

* Babyfaces have to make sure the crowd is supporting them before making overtures for more ovation or they can be left with a quiet response and an embarrassing moment.

* Body language and developing a confident swagger is necessary to be a star – heel or babyface.

* Scripting matches disallows guys from improvising when the fans react to something.

* Barry Windham had a great staggering walk while selling an attack put on him.

* Your facials need to match the developments in the match.

* Feeling out the crowd is the best way to determine how to move along with the match.

* Babyfaces need to sell, sell, sell until the comeback – then the heel needs to bounce all over the place for the comeback segment.

* Face vs. Face matches should be done rarely as the fans will either be split and the heat will be sparse or else one face will be inadvertently turned heel.

* Great booking can’t overcome shitty talent, but great talent can overcome bad booking.

* Listening to the fans is the key to figuring out what works for you in the ring.

* Contrived spots take the fans out of a match. Pay attention to what you’re doing.

* Managers need to stay inconspicuous on the floor unless the wrestlers are in rest holds. Then the manager needs to create action and keep the fans involved.

* Managers can be used to get heat for the babyfaces without hurting the manager’s heel charges.

* Cornette believes refs should call matches like a shoot, and if you get caught doing something illegal, it’s your fault for being a lousy heel.

* Singles matches need a lot of back and forth action, compared to a tag match. Tag matches allow for more diversity in cheating and distracting the ref.

* The Rock and Roll Express were the best guys to work against since they were great faces, the crowd heat was insane. The Fantastics and the Young Pistols are also put over for having great matches with the Midnight Express.

* Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson only worked a few matches with the Midnight Express before they ended up quitting JCP, and Corny laments that this pairing never made it on TV.

* Cornette and JJ Dillon were both life long fans and loved watching the action from their ringside spots as managers.

* Corny goes over how gimmick matches used to be way way way more subtle than they are in the modern wrestling. Weapons are now all over the ring, the guys absorb absurd amounts of punishment etc etc.

* HHH using a sledgehammer is buried by Jim thanks to the complete lack of believability in the limited amount of damage done when it’s used.

* Title matches occur way too often now and title changes are so frequent that the impact is largely gone in the modern business.

* The champ should be off TV in a wrestling capacity for months at a time to keep him special.

* The art of the “hot tag” is gone over. The thrill is in how hard the face has to fight to get to his own partner.

* Corny rips on Paul Heyman and Vince Russo’s love of swerves and “surprises” in their booking.

* Bookers need to listen to how the crowd is reacting to talent and book the guys with the flow of the fans reactions. If the fans are booing a good guy, start moving him towards being a heel. Etc.

* Book your champs strong, keep stories simple and your promotion has a great chance to draw.

* Corny puts over Jerry Lawler, Ric Flair, and Dusty Rhodes for staying on top for decades.

* Jim wants the workers to remember that the money is the same if you work smart and go home at the end of the night vs. taking dangerous bumps and spending the night in the hospital.

Final thoughts: A bit of a dry shoot, as Cornette covers Wrestling Psychology 101 but his points are mostly valid. The WWE writers would probably watch this with quizzical looks on their faces.

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin’ and true crimes.

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