Jim Cornette has given his typically outspoken thoughts on the Jake Hager vs. Wardlow MMA fight that took place on Dynamite, saying what might be a good idea on paper does not always work.
Hager challenged Wardlow to face him in an MMA fight, in which Hager remains undefeated as the war between The Pinnacle and Inner Circe rages on. Wardlow already held a pinfall victory over Hager after the two giants of their respective groups met several months ago.
Speaking on his Jim Cornette Experience podcast, the legendary manager of the Midnight Express shared his thoughts on the bout.
“It’s hard to f*ck up an MMA fight in wrestling when one of the guys in it is an MMA fighter. But they managed to do this. I’m not even gonna just be f*cking hard on them this week and I’m not gonna just blister everybody, I’m just gonna laugh at this point because yes, Jake Hager is an MMA fighter. Why would any booker not wanting to lay a complete sh*t encusted turd on their television programme book Wardlow to be in an MMA fight with an MMA fighter? He’s so green he can hardly wrestle!”
“This is something that a fan would think is a great idea but an experienced booker would instantly realise that it may be a great idea on paper but the match is gonna suck because they can’t do it. This was an example of it. The first part was great, they did the UFC-style walk-ins, the referee checking them out, the vaseline, the fight intros from Mr. Sunshine Justin Roberts. Everybody was being serious.”
“And then the bell rang. For the first two minutes where they danced and felt each other out and threw some jabs, that was pretty good too because they didn’t have to actually touch. They had built anticipation but they couldn’t capitalise because let’s face it right now Jake Hager I think we can say is where he’s going to be. He’s been in the business long enough, he ain’t gonna get any better. He’s got the size and some presence and he’s got the legit background and you can use him as an enforcer, as a stooge, as a bodyguard, as a tag team partner, whatever but in a single match, he’s awkward as f*ck and he’s not smooth by any means. His sh*t does not look that good and he doesn’t have a great grip on psychology for what he oughta be doing and when.”
“Wardlow has a ton of potential. I think he looked physically even better, it seems like he’s picking up professional wrestling much quicker and better than Hager does because we haven’t seen Wardlow past a year and a half ago, I assume he’s fairly fresh.”
As for the match itself, Cornette enjoyed the first two minutes but says after that, things soon fell apart for him:
“Three rounds, three five minute rounds, for the first two minutes they danced, they jabbed, Hager got one straight jab in. At one point Wardlow gutwrenched Hager and just tossed him and Hager got right back up and double-legged him and let him back up. And right there is about as far as they needed to go because then Hager starts throwing the leg kicks but Wardlow sells them. You don’t sell the leg kicks unless it’s a big leg kick and these weren’t. Then with a minute left in the first round, they started punching and it was terrible.”
“Phoney punches, slow-mo punches, rotten punches. They were trading like two drunks in a wading pool and it was sloppy and it didn’t look like a fight or like wrestling, it didn’t look like anything. It looked like two guys trying not to hurt each other. It’s not a great match idea if they can’t work it. You can go down the list of all the MMA guys or the high-level amateur wrestlers or the old shooters like a Billy Robinson or people that could have done this. That could work either legit pro wrestling style or work MMA style, it would be snug, it would be tight, it would be a lot of grappling, not many strikes. Especially not to the face because those are the hardest to work, but you could have guys that know how to work a contest. Just not these two.”
“It made both of them look like klutzes and that’s not the job of a good booker to make your talent look like klutzes. Wardlow’s punches were destroying Hager’s elbows because he wasn’t anywhere near his f*cking head. Then Wardlow popped out of nowhere and did a hurricanrana in the middle of an MMA fight and Hager just lost his legs off of his f*cking neck so he just did a forward roll with it like two seconds later. Then within seconds Hager did a sloppy Rock Bottom on Wardlow and kept the triangle and just choked him out flat. Just choked him out. Boom. Done.”
Jim Cornette also gave his thoughts on the debut of Arn Anderson’s son Brock Anderson as he made his first AEW outing teaming with Cody Rhodes.