Jim Cornette has revealed who, in his opinion are some of the greatest wrestlers of all time as he tried to narrow down a field encompassing over a hundred years of the business.
Speaking on his ‘Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru’ podcast, Cornette tried to narrow down the field when it comes to the much-vaunted greatest of all-time spot.
Ultimately, Cornette struggled to get to just one name:
“You can’t do it. If someone is one of the most experienced and well-researched person to ever study professional wrestling and still you go to a pre-film and tape era where you can only surmise by written accounts and photographs what people did. You might can narrow it down to eras but you can’t just say ‘so and so was the greatest of all time at this.'”
“If you put Ric Flair in Strangler Lewis’ place in time people would have laughed at Flair and Strangler Lewis would have stretched him and sent him on his way. You’d have never heard of him again. But if you brought Strangler Lewis out in the Charlotte Coliseum and tried to have him work with Ric Flair, the people would’ve said ‘what the f*ck’s going on here?'”
Jim Cornette then tried to break down what would qualify someone to be considered the greatest of all time:
“Who was more instrumental? Buddy Rogers because he was so good, he invented all these heel mannerisms and tactics or perfected them and all of the boys in the business copied him and wanted to be like him. He led to Ray Stevens and the Grahams and the Fargos and Flair and etc. Or Gorgeous George because even though it was a popular gimmick, not as many people copied it and it was hotter than Rogers but for a shorter period of time. Whereas Rogers was the box office attraction until he had to quit 15 years later after he became a main event guy because he had a bad heart, Gorgeous George was broke and penniless and still wrestling by the end of the same decade because the gimmick didn’t f*cking have legs.”
“Is Thesz the greatest because he was consistently the world champion and one of the most important guys in the business because he was real and could convey that? Or was another guy who was a bigger worker and more flamboyant? You can’t – and then you’re just talking about who’s the greatest artist, Da Vinci or f*cking Whistler’s Mother?”
Cornette’s co-host Brian Last then breaks the question down further, asking Cornette who he thinks the most influential wrestler of all time is alongside who his personal favourite was.
“Who did I enjoy watching more than anybody else as a wrestling fan? It might be a tie between [Jerry] Lawler and [Terry] Funk. […] Who was the most influential? Buddy Rogers and Bruno Sammartino in the sixties, couldn’t have been completely more different people. Was Bruno the most influential because he ruled the biggest money, high-population territory in the country? Bu still [Bruno] had no imitators. Who tried to be like Bruno? You couldn’t. But everybody tried to be like Buddy Rogers. Then later people imitated Flair the same way they imitated Rogers. For the same reasons because he was so cool but then you had guys who were just as big as the guy that everybody imitated but nobody ever imitated them because they were so unique. Like I said, Rogers was very influential but Bruno was one of the major names of the business for twenty years.”
“Was Dusty [Rhodes] more influential than Bruno because even though Bruno ruled the north-east, Dusty became a booker which Bruno never did? Dusty then was the booker for the only challenger that Vince McMahon had for his national expansion. You could argue this all day.”
Jim Cornette has also recently recalled the time that WCW managed to book a show in a building with no seats for fans to sit on.