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April 15, 2010

The Jim Cornette-Vince Russo e-mail controversy

I’m assuming that most people have seen the story that has been making the rounds on the Internet about Jim Cornette writing in an e-mail to TNA director of talent relations Terry Taylor that he “wants Vince Russo to die” and would “willingly go to jail if I ever see him in person again.” Cornette also wrote that he has dreams about murdering Russo and that if he “could figure out a way to murder him without going to prison, I would consider it the greatest accomplishment of my life.”

A law firm representing TNA responded with a legal letter to Cornette that said his statements “constitute terroristic threats” and that it has notified “all applicable Federal and State law enforcement agencies.”

This has to be one of the most bizarre wrestling stories I have ever heard, and that’s saying something.

Cornette, who worked as an on-air talent in TNA until being let go last September, and Russo, the lead writer for the company, have a long history of not seeing eye to eye that goes back to the 1990s when they were on the booking team in WWE. Both are polarizing figures with strong personalities, but that’s where the similarities end. They could not be on further ends of the spectrum when it comes to their respective visions of what pro wrestling should be. The fact that they were able to co-exist in TNA for as long as they did was astounding to me.

The outspoken Cornette has been a vocal critic of TNA and Russo since he left the company. Much like his promos during his days as a manager, Cornette’s public comments about Russo have been vitriolic and over the top, although his e-mail certainly took things to another level.

Rather than speculate about Cornette’s intentions regarding Russo, I will let his words speak for themselves. Cornette has posted his e-mail to Taylor as well as the legal letter that he received on his Web site. To read them, click here. Be forewarned that there is strong language in Cornette’s e-mail.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 10:40 PM | | Comments (28)


And the worst part is: this could quickly become an angle on TNA (if it wasn't already one to begin with). Anyone up for a no-DQ match between Vince Russo and Jim Cornette?

All I can say is WOW!!! Just a bit over the top huh JC??? Unbelievable!!!

I'm not quite ready to take the bait yet. After all, Kevin Sullivan sent his wife to live with Chris Benoit to sell an angle (with tragic results). If TNA is scripting this fued, it will be the most clever thing Russo has ever conceived. Nah, he's not that bright. If it is a work, it must be Cornette's idea.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I don't think Cornette wants any part of doing an angle with Russo.

I wouldn't be surprised if Russo were writing this into Impact's script as we speak.

Much adu about nothing. Would anyone take a comment from Cornette and find it intimidating? He's a big wuss. And stating that u wished u could do something; is that a threat? Dreaming about doing something; is that a threat? I'm not a criminal defense lawyer, so I dont know. But it seems that wishing and dreaming of crimes is not a crime. I dont think anything will become of this. I've been threatend way worse than what Cornette is alleged to have done. TNA needs to not waste money hiring Beverly Hills law firms to interprett alleged email threatening language from Jim Cornette and instead pay their wrestlers better.

Cornette should really go to some anger management classes.

I'd like to make two quick points. First, I read Cornette's words with several grains of salt. Does he hate Russo? Sure. Does he actually pose a threat to him? I highly doubt it. Second, if I read TNA's response correctly, it doesn't seem that Taylor "turned in" the e-mail, but rather that TNA filters their employee e-mail. I worked at a law firm in college, and a few co-workers were fired for sending inappropriate e-mails back-and-forth.

But you're right, Kevin, very bizarre story.

I'd work for JC in any capacity in a heartbeat. He speaketh the truth of the absolute mess TNA has become.

looks like a threat to kill someone to me, you sure about this Mr.Eck? I wish you could say the same for Chubba

I dont condone Cornette for saying what he says, but I see his frustratins about making TNA great. It cant be as good as WWE because once Hogan Got in he got rid of stupid junk that was there(Booker,Steiners etc.) however he brought in his own junk Crackhead Waldman, drunk and doped up Scott Hall, Flair. Wheres the improvement. All these guys are junk and washed up. Even the idiot Bubba the fat slob dont belong there. Vince Russo has made enemies anywhere he has gone and fans know it. I am not a fan of Cornette but he is right about the fall of TNA its comming.

As an outsider Cornette has always been good value but he's long earned the reputation of an embittered, sad individual who cannot handle rejection.

He did it when McMahon binned him and he's doing it again now after TNA binned him.

I rate him as one of the most talented individuals in the business over my lifetime but he needs to learn some grace, some humility and most importantly, how to keep his mouth closed.

Kevin, what are your thoughts on Jim's
predictions about the future for TNA? They are not doing ratings of 1's let alone the 4's as predicted by Hogan.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I wouldn't write them off just yet as far as them continuing to exist, but do I thjnk they will ever beat WWE. Highly unlikely.

this is a set up for a cornette-russo, lawsuit on a pole match at the next tna ppv!

Wow, I don't like Russo's booking style either, but DAMN!

Letter to Kev from TNA- "Dear blogger, We saw that you posted some not-so-nice stuff about some of our employees on your blog. Your disparaging comments concerning Mr Russo's complete lack of talent constitute aggressive, antagonizing, behavior resulting in emotional distress of our brain-dead client. Please stop putting him down by telling the straight truth that anyone with the intelligence of a sun-dried tomato can plainly see; it hurts his self-esteem and makes him feel like the loser he actually is. If you fail to relent in your commentary, we fear he will wet his panties and continue to cry like a 3-yr-old girl, wanting his lawyers to make the bad man with the mean words go away. So cut it out or some suits in a dark sedan will threaten you with legal codes. Sincerely, Soulless Jackass Ambulance-Chaser"

Obviously, Jim Cornette is a miserable, psychotic has been who only became famous because of his great tag team. Every wrestling site shouldn't publish his rants so maybe he will realize no one cares about him and he will just go away. This case where he threatened Russo should be covered; not his typical crap where he is whining about the companies that fired him. He needs to look in the mirror and see why he gets fired from every company he works for and has to work for free at Ring of Honor. Threatening Russo and slapping Santion just shows this person needs professional help and needs to be confined somewhere. Hope his fat self gets arrested for his threats. Sure he would enjoy taking showers in prison; judging from past stories about his tendencies.

Jim Cornette rules. This letter made my day.

Chair shots to the head are legal in TNA... and Vince Russo just got busted wide open.


I'm not sure I can find one redeemable personality trait of anyone involved with that whole story.

I don't see the issue here, besides TNA taking a step too far. As Jim stated on his site, it was an email between two old friends. In TNA's letter, it states they "intercepted" the email. What's next? They're going to start "intercepting" 15 year old girls' texts to each other, about how they hate Tiffany, and wish she would die?

With all the harm that Russo has done and continues to do to the Wrestling industry,i have often wished he would DROP DEAD.
Most Wrestling fans that i know feel the same way,there are millions of people especially those who know him who wish he would DROP DEAD.
So TNA's lawyers have to write a lot more letters.

To VD, Jim Cornette may be a "wrestling genius" but he sent that to Terry's business email address, i.e. or such.

Whether Terry Taylor reported the email, or whether TNA monitors incoming emails for keywords especially those noting violent actions, turning the email over to the proper authorities was the right thing to do.

If (and disregard the actual odds of this happening) Cornette murdered Russo, it would be discovered that Terry Taylor received an email from the culprit stating his plans on his business email, and no actions were taken. That would look bad for TNA.

To John @ 1:00AM, yes and no is your answer. Dreaming and wishing would not be a threat because it has no basis for intent. Stating your dreams and wishes publicly (and if you think emails are private, then think again) would reflect enough intent to warrant that response from TNA.

To crimson wombat, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! HIGH-larious!

Kevin, aside from turning into one of the weirdest wrestling stories you've heard, what are your thoughts on Cornette's email? (Or do you not feel comfortable speculating? Which is certainly understandable based on the number of readers here.)

Your fourth paragraph sounded as though you think it's mostly a conflict of personalities (taken to extreme levels, as you noted) with Russo and nothing new in terms of criticisms of TNA. But I wanted to make sure I was intepreting that correctly.

RESPONSE FROM KE: Yeah, I don't really want to say too much more on the e-mail.

It seems that a majority of wrestling fans, at least those who blog, realize that Vince Russo is really not very good at his job.
Kevin, are you plugged in enough to the wrestling world to know if those who work in the industry also think Russo is a poor script writer? I'm not asking whether they all hate him as much as Cornette does, but do they think he is good at his job?
Sure, he is one of a very few people who had previous experience with a major wrestling organization, but I just find it hard to fathom that given his track record he was able to land the TNA job.
I suspect there are very few people with his experience, but I would also venture there are many interested writers with more skill who would be a huge upgrade with just minimal experience.
I would love to see you do a behind-the-scenes story on a day in the life of Vince Russo where you get to shadow him as he performs his job. That would be interesting.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I know some in the industry who like Russo's style and others who hate it.

If I could turn Cornette mute and cut off his hands without going to prison, I'd do it in a heartbeat. All he's done since leaving TNA is talk trash again and again and again. Boring.

If I wanted to be a smart-a-- and wanted to score on Jim Cornette - whom I respect tremendously - I would have the b---s to sign my name to it.

'Anonymous'' - what a loser you must be....

Here are some things to consider about Russo and Cornette:

It's been said time and again that Russo isn't all that bad when he is filtered. I didn't watch the Attitude era, but Russo (filtered through Vince) was writing a lot of the WWE's programming at the time. Russo didn't do much of interest in WCW, but he at least wanted to see some of the young guys get some opportunities (Booker T, Jarrett, and others winning the gold instead of Hogan). Even in TNA, Russo's first run several years back ('02-'04) was largely said to be pretty good, and Russo created a lot of feuds and new teams (I only began watching regularly very early in '05, so I can't say much about the quality beyond a handful of matches that I've seen).

I don't want to give Russo too much credit, but a lot of people in TNA have said that Russo gets blamed for some things he wasn't responsible for. Russo became the head of creative in the summer of 2009 (only after Jeff Jarrett was sent home because of personal issues with Kurt Angle), a couple months before Cornette lost his job.

The probable reason behind Cornette's anger with Russo is the circumstance surrounding Cornette's dismissal. Dixie Carter wanted everyone to completely support Russo, but Cornette refused to say he would get behind Russo 100%. That's pretty much what led to his release. I imagine that Carter wanted to get rid of Cornette for one reason or another, and that was her excuse. Whatever the case may be, Cornette was gone because he didn't completely see eye to eye with Russo, and maybe that's the reason Cornette feels so much animosity. It's almost always all about the money.

TNA's direction falls squarely on the shoulders of Dixie Carter, because it's her company and she is the captain of the ship. When ROH's old booker Gabe Sapolsky was let go from that promotion in late 2008, many of the TNA wrestlers pushed for him to come in as the head booker (which could have been cool), but Carter wanted the program to move in a more Sports Entertainment direction. It has even been reported in late '09 (right around the time of Cornette's release) that Dixie Carter wanted to bring in Hollywood writers, similar to the WWE. If Russo had never returned to TNA, the product would still be the same soap opera explosion.

All of this is to say that TNA will never resemble the wrestling company that Jim Cornette wants to see. Cornette and Russo were able to co-exist for years, so this degree of anger probably isn't just about Russo's booking style so much as it's about the loss of a TNA paycheck. Cornette has a new job so he needs to let the past go and focus on his work in ROH. It's just a TV show, and no one deserves to be harmed over it.

"If I wanted to be a smart-a-- and wanted to score on Jim Cornette - whom I respect tremendously - I would have the b---s to sign my name to it.

'Anonymous'' - what a loser you must be...."

Well, the reason I didn't sign my name is because it would be stupid. I would be giving away my identity, leading, perhaps, to psychotic people like Cornette and his loyal fans who respect him despite the stuff he says and does harrassing me. Then again, I'm probably not important enough, in which case, signing with your name online is still a pretty stupid idea.

So, am I loser? By most definitions, yes. Am I a coward? Definitely. You can even call me a hypocrite because I'm dreaming of cutting off Cornette's hand and muting him. I don't deserve respect, but neither does Cornette. He does nothing but send death threats and constantly whine and pretend to be sorry for working for certain companies in the past. What's he gonna do? Donate all the money he earned from TNA/WWE to charity? Cornette has every right to hate Russo - hell, I hate Russo and TNA's product, and I'll even admit Cornette makes a lot of good points - but saying he wants to kill somebody is downright idiotic. Reiterating himself over and over again won't change what's happening. Just shut up and move on.

This is bs what is going on with tna right know i did like jeff hardy know i do not carry what the hell happends to him i do not want to see his face on tna or in the wwe he need to go back to jail where he beolng not on tna or the wwe IN JIAL WHERE HE CAN ROT

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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