In case you were unaware, Jim Cornette—a man with a legitimate argument for being one of the top three managers in wrestling history—hates Kenny Omega. Like, he possesses the kind of hatred that makes him wish Kenny Omega were dead. Every time Omega so much as laces up his boots or is praised for his latest main event marathon in New Japan Pro Wrestling, ol’ James E. is there to tell us that the guy wrestling in front of a sold out crowd (the kind of thing Cornette is so passionate about he released an entire book about the drawing power of his union with the Midnight Express) is also somehow actively ruining the business.
To be blunt, his opinion, no matter how loud and how often he repeats it, is trash. But he does repeat it, loudly and often, because every time he does, a legion of fans on Twitter rise up in unison to angrily shout the very serious man in the Family Guy t-shirt down. Wrestling being a business where the only thing a worker has to do to seem relevant is to draw a reaction, I’ve got a suggestion that might get Cornette to recede to the corner of the wrestling world where the only people who’ll listen to him are middle-aged men so poisoned by nostalgia that they’d actually listen to his weekly podcast:
Stop paying attention to him.
Seriously, that’s it. Cornette is a genius and his mark on professional wrestling is indelible, but at this point he’s an old carnie playing the only trick he’s got left. Every shot he takes at Kenny Omega, the Young Bucks, or any other professional wrestler whose success flies in the face of what respectable wrestling looks like is made in vain: this war, if you want to be charitable and call it a war, is one Cornette lost a long time ago, one his targets aren’t even fighting. If wrestling fans wanted what Jim Cornette had to sell, he’d still be booking Ring of Honor. If Jim Cornette meant what he continues to say about wrestlers who are ruining the business with invisible grenades and matches against sex dolls, he would have taken Powerbomb.tv up on their offer of showing up at their Break the Barrier event to confront Chuck Taylor.
But Jim Cornette hardly has the courage of his convictions. I don’t say that to insinuate that he’s a coward, but that he’s a worker, and like any worker who plugs away at his gimmick, he’s grown stale. I remember in 1997 Cornette cut a blistering promo on Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper’s Halloween Havoc “Age In a Cage” match where he ended with the line “Hulk Hogan, you may be a household name, but so is garbage and it stinks when it gets old, too.” Nothing Cornette has said about Kenny Omega has reached the level of professional embarrassment the way that cage match did, but witnessing the man commit to this continued string of personal embarrassments is sad enough. Let the man scream into the void all he likes. Eventually, he’ll see himself out.
Colette Arrand is the author of Hold Me Gorilla Monsoon, and the Assistant Wrestling Editor of Paste Magazine. She can be found on Twitter, @colettearrand.