Jim Cornette is one of AEW's most vocal critics and often refers to the promotion as "All Petite Wrestling." Jim Ross sat down with Conrad Thompson on a recent episode of Grilling JR to discuss his relationship with Cornette and what he thinks of Cornette's criticisim.
"We're still friends," Ross said, "we've never agreed on all kinds of things because he is the kind of guy that rarely has a compromising moment. He's very set in his ways, he knows what he likes. He knows how wrestling in his view should be positioned, and I'm not disagreeing with that, it's just that sometimes the message gets a little bit coarse and overly generalized. We know what we have, we know what we need. I think basically Corny is pointing out the obvious. He's not providing any information that I've seen that is new and revolutionary. It's the same thing many of us say behind the scenes. There are things we need to do, but look, these kids are working their ass off, Conrad, and they're not all giants."
Jim Ross used Ric Flair, Buddy Rogers and Verne Gagne as examples of popular champions who weren't giants while Thompson mentioned Floyd Maywether and Conor McGregor as being the main draws in combat sports over the past five years. Thompson wondered why so much criticism is directed towards AEW.
"I think there has been a lot of armchair quarterbacking about AEW, which i think is a little weird," Thompson said. "If you're a real wrestling fan why would you want anybody to go out of business or not do well. I know you're wearing the AEW jersey, but you still want Ring of Honor to do well and Impact to do well, it's better That everyone does well."
"NWA Pro, I want those guys to do well, like you said all of them," Ross said. "We all have friends, Conrad. As long as I've been in the business, there's not a wrestling company in the world that I don't know somebody. Somebody at some level of influence. So for me to have such a narrow minded, ignorant point of view that I want their brands to suffer so my brand can grow, I'm being a coward. It's like I tell our guys now, 'I don't care what NXT does, I don't care who is on that show.' It's irrelevant to me. I want them to do well. I have friends that work there, that have been working there a long time. There are people there that I signed. Randy Orton is hotter than hell right now, I signed Randy Orton. You think I want Randy Orton to fail? Of course not.
"That's how I look at it, if you're a wrestling fan, either support everybody and their families to make a living or just hold all of your overt criticism to yourself," Ross said.
Thompson gave a hypothetical scenario where all of the criticism Cornette gives to AEW is a set-up for him to manage The Revival in a feud with The Young Bucks. Ross scoffs at that idea but mentions how much money that angle would make.
Ross said money is the reason everyone gets into the wrestling business, but nobody makes money when everyone is criticizing little things. Ross then talks about how crowds have become desensitized to certain types of moves.
"You know when wrestlers have a big tag match and they gather outside the ring, and that one guy is left in the ring, and they all hang around for awhile until he gets his speed up so that person can jump over the top rope and they catch him? Now what logic does that make with anybody? Stop and think about it," Ross said. "So you've got friends and foes standing side by side not fighting. They're not fighting and we are waiting to catch, like The Flying Wallendas, and if we don't catch it you're going over Niagara Falls and near death. Now we see that every match, every show seemingly someone is going to do something along those lines, and nobody ever wins with it. It used to be a great high spot, it's now mundane. It's like a side-headlock takeover. I've seen it before, I got it, okay move on."
Ross said some of the moves seen today are done because they are tradition and those traditional spots don't have the same effect anymore. The topic of conversation returned to Cornette in AEW and Ross said in an alternate universe Cornette would be a great addition to the company.
"I'm not angry at Corny, I've known since the Mid-South days in the mid 80's," Ross said.
"This is worth mentioning too," Thompson said, "Corny and I are friendly but we don't exchange birthday cards or anything like that. Some of his shtick is for entertainment purposes. It's a podcast and I think so many fans get knee deep in the weeds. This is a guy who gets that funny haha has a place in wrestling. You can go watch some of the stuff in Smokey Mountain and the stuff he grew up on in Memphis. Some of those elements are in AEW today. If what's hot right now is him s--tting on AEW he's going to do more of what's working right?"
Ross repeats he isn't mad at Cornette, but said Cornette doesn't know the AEW wrestlers like he does. Ross admits that some of what Cornette is saying he agrees with.
"All he's done is point out a lot of problems that we are all aware of that are not a discovery 'oh my god i've never thought of it that way.' He's not saying anything that's revolutionary, he said the obvious, and bah god he's right on a lot of things."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grillin' JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.