Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
James E. Cornette (born September 17, 1961 in Louisville, Kentucky) is an American professional wrestling manager, commentator, promoter, and booker. He is widely respected in the business for his ingenuity, talent development skills, and entertaining on-screen persona.
Cornette always loved wrestling, reportedly installing a ten-foot antenna on top of his house as a youth so he could watch as much regional wrestling as possible. He began working at wrestling events at the age of 15, serving as a photographer, ring announcer, and magazine correspondent. He entered the business at the age of 21 as a manager.
In 1983, he would take on his best-known role as a manager, becoming the frontman for the legendary tag team the Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey and Bobby Eaton). With Cornette as manager, the team were 2-time National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Tag Team Champions and 2-time NWA United States Tag Team champions. As a manager, Cornette was known for both his loud mouth and his ever-present tennis racket, which Cornette often used to ensure victory for his wrestlers. Cornette was at his best as a heel manager; fans loved to see the constantly-yelling Cornette and his equally annoying charges beaten and humiliated.
Career in WCW
In 1986, Cornette became the color commentator for Jim Crockett Promotions' nationally-syndicated NWA television show, and later took over the same role on the Saturday night TBS broadcasts alongside play-by-play announcer Jim Ross. Years later, after leaving WCW (the new name for Jim Crockett Promotions after its purchase by Ted Turner) for the WWF (now WWE), the announcing team of Cornette and Ross was reunited for several WWF shows and pay-per-views. Among his many other roles in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), Cornette currently serves as color commentator in that promotion.
In 1989, Cornette became a member of WCW's creative team, also known as a booker. As a booker for WCW, Cornette helped write storylines and shape the format of its television shows. Cornette later served as a booker for WWE, lead booker in SMW, and is currently lead booker of OVW.
Smoky Mountain Wrestling
A firm believer in "old-school" territory wrestling, Cornette began the Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW) promotion in 1991. SMW promoted shows in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas. By this point, however, the nature of wrestling in the United States had already changed irrevocably, leading Cornette to seek a working relationship with the WWF in 1994. This did not change the new national perception that regional promotions were "minor league," however, and Cornette closed SMW's doors in 1995.
Career in WWE and Ohio Valley Wrestling
Cornette went to the WWF (now WWE) in 1993 while seving as promoter of SMW. As he had in other promotions, Cornette wore many hats in WWE, including manager, color commentator, and booker. Cornette's most notable managerial role in WWE was as the "American spokesperson" of late former WWE Champion Yokozuna. Cornette joined WWE full-time in 1996 after the demise of SMW, and in recent years has had a major role in scouting and developing new talent. As part of this role, Cornette became lead booker of Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), WWE's lead developmental territory, run by "Dangerous" Danny Davis of out Cornette's hometown of Louisville. As a talent developer, Cornette helped discover current and former WWE Superstars Kane, D-Lo Brown, Sunny, Al Snow, and others. He continues in that role to this day.
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