AS I SEE IT - 8/19/2003:
Jim Cornette vs. Wade Keller, and some reasons why...

by: Bob Magee

Jim Cornette is at it again... and very few people are arguing with him for doing so. The Pro Wrestling Torch reported three weeks ago that there were problems with the developmental relationship between WWE and Ohio Valley Wrestling. Other versions of the story "reported" on various cut and paste sites suggested that the relationship was done and that WWE was looking for a promotion located closer to WWE's Stamford, CT headquarters.

Cornette responded to the rumors (later proven to be incorrect), with a all-out thermonuclear vintage Jim Cornette tirade. You can read the item in full at the Ohio Valley Wrestling website.
(Ed. note: By direction of OVW management, this was only on the site from 08/13/2003 - 08/18/2003)

Here are some of the highlights of the "Open Letter from Jim Cornette", appearing on

As OVW Matchmaker, I want to take this opportunity to dispel a malicious rumor recently circulated on the internet concerning OVW's relationship with the WWE. The rumor stated that the WWE was terminating its business relations with OVW and establishing a developmental program elsewhere. This is totally, absolutely FALSE...

...I have already contacted the WWE legal department and am in the process of discussing further legal remedies to this situation with our private legal counsel...

Unlike so many unfounded, baseless rumors that circulate on the internet, we know exactly where this one came from. There is an individual named Wade Keller who lives in Minnesota and operates a cheaply-produced, poorly written wrestling newsletter and website, and who has taken every opportunity over the last ten years to spread malicious rumors about me and any business I am involved with...

The heat between us stems from this very same type of thing: printing fictitious stories and outright lies presented as fact, and my subsequently telling him to go to Hell because of it. "

Um, OK.

Cornette then proceeded to suggest the reason for said "story" by Wade Keller, and shares his feelings on Keller:

"...[Because] one of his "reporters" asked me for comments on a story, and I told the guy that I would never comment for any publication of Wade Keller's because, and I quote, he is a "lying sack of shit." Mr. Keller evidently took offense at this accurate description of his character and decided to try to harm OVW's business and reputation the only way he can, the only way he ever does anything, by lying...

... Wade Keller['s] desire to leech a living off of the wrestling industry and his lack of concern over who may be harmed or slandered by his drivel, as well as a complete lack of any moral character and honesty on his part.

... I would enjoy the opportunity to see which one of us would walk out of a closed room (don't bet the farm on him because if you rolled his balls toward a drinking straw it would look like two kernels of corn in a storm drain), but that's not possible either, so we are investigating the legal route...

...Keller is not just a poor journalist, or incompetent, he's a liar. A malicious, pathological liar who tries to malign other people for the purpose of making a few extra dollars on subscriptions. A pathetic jock-sniffer who is frustrated because he can't BE somebody, only print lies about people who are. A gutless, sniveling coward who hides behind his keyboard and is a laughing stock among reporters in this industry who really DO try to report the truth and know when they read his writings and ramblings that he's doing "another Wade"...

If it sounds like I'm trying to pick a fight, well, you're right. I would consider it Christmas morning if the bastard was standing in front of me, but alas, that burden is on him since I'm ready to go and he's hiding behind a computer screen....In closing [I] raise a hearty middle finger to Mr. Keller and say as I have so many times before, 'Guess what, pal, you're wrong again.'"

Some fairly substantial proof of Cornette's claim that the WWE-OVW relationship is alive and well can be seen in a 5 page Phil Speer article at this URL, which celebrates the tenth anniversary of OVW and the fourth anniversary of their relationship with WWF/E.

One quote from Jim Ross is notable in the article: "We feel that OVW will remain a vital part of this facet of WWE for years to come. OVW’s track record is impressive when you review our RAW or SmackDown! rosters and see the OVW representation. Whoever might be added to our developmental program in the future should aspire to be as successful in developing talent as our friends in Louisville currently are.”

So you might say... OK... Cornette's point is proven and that's that.

But before some readers think the above is just another example of Jim Cornette going off, ala the situation with Ian Rotten's IWA Mid-South Wrestling, let's take a look at some other really good reasons Cornette feels so strongly about Wade Keller and the folks over at the Pro Wrestling Torch.

Most independent observers feel the feud between Jim Cornette and the Pro Wrestling Torch started 9 years ago, when Torch writer Bruce Mitchell wrote a scathing column ripping Cornette and Smoky Mountain Wrestling for what Mitchell viewed as racially oriented booking and for Cornette being a racist himself in the August 6, 1994 Pro Wrestling Torch with such tasteful comments as the following:

"...Cornette is so behind the times he is liable to have the Gangstas threaten to spit watermelon seeds on fans or steal their fried chicken, ala one of his mentors, Bill Watts.

The last time the guy had an exchange with an African-American more meaningful than 'Gimme me a Triple with extra cheese and a Biggie fry, Cornette and his he-man wrestlers were run out of town faster than Rush Limbaugh leaving an Al Sharpton rally"

Now knowing Jim Cornette... I can tell you that he's a born and bred Southerner with some of the opinions of a lifelong Southerner, and that he certainly isn't a charter member of the NAACP. But this is also the same Jim Cornette that I've heard ridiculing avowed Ku Klux Klan members that attended his SMW shows.

But moving on, the same 1994 Mitchell column also had an attack on Terry Gordy, who Cornette had brought in to try and give him some work after Gordy's near-death from a drug overdose. This attack on Gordy (or on Cornette, or on both) was done under the guise of "a suggested new angle for Cornette to use" by Mitchell, in which Memphis announcer Corey Maclin was brought in "because the Gangstas refused to be interviewed by any white announcers":

"New Jack: 'You remember Terry "Dum Dum" Gordy, don't you, Corey?"

Gordy: 'Are you sure you guys are the Freebirds? Michael never said...'

Mustafa: 'Yo, Dum Dum, you remember. The Freebirds are brothers, right? We're we're Freebirds!"

New Jack: 'AND I'm related to Buddy Jack, remember?'

Gordy: 'Uh, mama always said life was like a box of chocolates and...'

New Jack: 'Shut up, Dum Dum, and bring me my Colt 45 in a bag'

Mustafa: 'Hey, New Jack, Dum Dum's missing something. He kind of looks like Michael Jackson'

So from then on, every time Terry Gordy appears on television, he's made up in blackface".

If that wasn't bad enough, in another "suggested new angle for Cornette to use", Mitchell then portrayed 2 real-life SMW fans and a real-life pregnant (not to mention born-again Christian) SMW office employee as "bitches" to be led around in dog collars and slapped around by Mustafa.

Needless to say, after those kinds of comments... the war was on between Cornette and the writers of the Torch.

I was around Cornette for SMW Fanweek 1994 when this whole situation went down. Back then, Cornette was at least as pissed (if not more) about the attacks on Gordy and his office employee than anything said about him.

Face it, promoters are usually considered fair game in pissing matches like these. But when a innocent woman who did nothing to Bruce Mitchell (and who undoubtedly never even met Mitchell or Wade Keller) is attacked, and when a legend like Gordy is attacked (in part for health problems admittedly caused by his own drug use)... simply to get at Cornette, THAT goes way below the belt. No matter what your feelings are pro or con about Jim Cornette from other situations, any fair-minded person can understand his anger at such attacks.

Fast forward to 2003 and the same spirit still exists.

Wade Keller's responded to the above Cornette rant with the following:

"...The most important thing to remember in this discussion is that Cornette wasn't given accurate information about what was actually reported. He believes, from the wording of his response, that the Torch said the decision was made to shut down OVW. The Torch didn't report that. If that was the case, we would have headlined with the story and called WWE for comment. Instead, it was a notebook acknowledgement, between an item on a house show match and a former WWE referee, of rumors heating up among those who keep up with the sometimes tenuous OVW-Cornette-WWE relationship.

In this situation, it's not a case of whether Cornette is right or the Torch is right. They both are. Cornette is right that WWE is not cutting off its relationship with OVW next week. The Torch is right that rumors heated up two weeks ago that the end could be coming. It isn't a secret that Vince McMahon at times and especially Shane McMahon and Hunter are not fans of Cornette and/or OVW. There are others in positions of power who also are not in favor of the relationship because Cornette can be a big headache to them and has butted heads with them numerous times in the past. That is not a reflection on Danny Davis, who owns OVW, or the job and his crew do actually training wrestlers.

It's unfortunate that Cornette, who is admittedly a major hot head, was fed false information by others who get off on trying to make the Torch look bad for their own personal gains. It made Cornette look bad when he is responding to something he apparently didn't actually read."

The above sounds like Keller making a statement written so vaguely that it could be matter what is or isn't happening.

Everyone knows Vince McMahon's seeming hostility these days to anyone critical of his product summarized in his comment "I don't listen to our critics, I listen to our fans".

It's stating the obvious to say that Cornette could have heat with McMahon (and vice versa) because of McMahon's calling up of OVW talent with no notice and no chance to wind up storylines; as seen in the situation with McMahon calling up Doug Basham and Damaja who were opponents and a major part of one of OVW's longest running storylines...and then promptly booking Damaja as Basham's "brother Danny Basham". This left Cornette to do mental cartwheels to come up with a quick way to explain what WWE was doing while coming up with a way to quickly wind up the Basham-Damaja storyline, AND to wind up the long-running Danny Davis-Doug Basham storyline.

But to take this small kernel of truth that anyone can figure out suggest it means that OVW is losing its WWE developmental affiliation is really reaching... REALLY reaching.

Ironically, only weeks before this war of words started all over again, Bruce Mitchell's "Mitchell's Memo" had complimented OVW's booking with these words:

"...OVW booker Jim Cornette has made it more than just a minor league, though. He’s made OVW the best, most consistently enjoyable wrestling show in the country. Cornette has done the impossible—getting over a bunch of unknowns who admit on the air that they’re minor leaguers. One of the constant goals for wrestlers in the storyline is to snag an elusive WWE contract, go to the big time, and leave Louisville, Ky. (That OVW’s single best wrestler, “Mr. Wrestling” Nick Dinsmore, hasn’t been called up is another story.)

Ohio Valley Wrestling doesn’t feature shocking surprises, lesbian tongue kissing, garbage wrestling, death defying highspots, or camera–hogging out–of–control General Managers. Refreshingly it’s focused on hungry wrestlers who have one agenda—getting better and getting out. With trainer Danny Davis and Cornette these young wrestlers have teachers who can show them how to do just that...

Ohio Valley Wrestling is a pleasure to watch, because it proves that, even without every resource, good logical wrestling works even today.

It's sad to watch this going on, as the Torch has featured some of the best interviews available to those not online, and Bruce Mitchell can be one of the more insightful observers around. As said before, Cornette's booking is far more solid, his TV makes more sense, and his ways of getting out of problems caused by WWE call-ups are ALL more creative than the current product of the promotion his OVW supports.

Yet all that most people seem to know lately of OVW and of the Torch are the pissing matches they've gotten involved a time when the things that each of them do well are and should be welcome by wrestling fans.

A final note...

AS I SEE IT's flagship's website,, will have results for WWE Summer Slam this coming Sunday night, immediately following the PPV at approximately 11:00 pm EDT (8:00 pm PDT for our west coast US readers, and 4:00 am BST for our UK readers).

If you're not able to get this event on PPV, able to go to a "WWE Blast Area" (officially sanctioned WWE PPV site), to order the event via webcast at here, or view the show at a local bar or friend's house, come to at approximately 11:00 pm EDT to get the results of matches including:

Matches scheduled for Summer Slam to this point:

So go to for WWE Summer Slam results this coming Sunday at approximately 11:00 pm EDT/8:00 pm PDT/4:00 am BST.

Until next time...


(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at