July 8, 2005
Jim Cornette released from WWE
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
World Wrestling Entertainment has released another employee, but this one may not be due to speculated cost-cutting measures.
Through its website, wwe.com, the promotion announced that longtime personality and behind-the-scenes figure James E. Cornette is no longer with the company.
Cornette's release comes on the heels of an incident at an Ohio Valley Wrestling. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, "Cornette slapped Johnny Geo Basco backstage numerous times after Geo Basco laughed during what was supposed to be a serious scary angle."
The incident occurred shortly after Cornette had come off a five-week suspension by WWE/OVW for losing his temper on numerous occasions.
Cornette has been with WWE since 1993. Originally an on-air personality as the manager of several wrestlers such as The Heavenly Bodies, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog and Vader, Cornette moved behind the microphone for some WWE programming, including the pilot episode of Smackdown. In 1996, he moved behind the scenes as a part of the WWE creative team, formatting television and pay-per-view events.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Cornette served as a photographer, ring announcer, and wrestling magazine correspondent from the age of 15 until in 1982, at 21, when he got the chance to be a manager. The "mama's boy" was a standout manager in the National Wrestling Alliance and World Championship Wrestling. Most famous for being the manager of the Midnight Express, Cornette would always be seen carrying around his tennis racket, which he would use to assist his wrestlers scure victories. Cornette was also ran the Smokey Mountain Wrestling promotion, and has made indie appearances for groups such as Ring of Honor Wrestling.
In OVW, Cornette was responsible for developing WWE prospects along with head trainer Danny Davis. It is a decidedly old-school promotion. Some of the names to have been developed/groomed by OVW include Batista, John Cena, Kane, The Headbangers, Rico, Eugene, John Heidenreich, Randy Orton and Rob Conway. As well, in early 2000, Cornette was named to the NWA Board of Directors.
Cornette could not be reached for comment.
Stay tuned to SLAM! for more on this breaking story.