In 1975, the O’Jays sang the lyric:
“No, don’t know? You don’t know, no
Got to give the people
Give the people what they want”
Well it’s time to give the wrestling fans what they want! It’s a matchup that’s been building for years. It builds to a confrontation over and over again, but we’ve never gotten the climax. The two participants have never been in the right place at the right time for the big payoff. It’s been talked about, it’s even been teased several times. It’s landed on fantasy booking sheets over and over again, but no organization has ever pulled the trigger on getting the superstars into the ring together. Now, in the twilight of their respective careers, it’s time. Before the opportunity passes again, someone must capitalize on the moment. If the WWE doesn’t do it now, they’ll likely never get the chance to bank the money that this matchup could bring. To help them along, I’m going to lay out exactly how they could book this monumental meeting of two mortal enemies that’s been 18 years in the making. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s FINALLY time to give the fans the dream match they have been clamoring for for years and years. Today, we’re going to book Vince Russo vs Jim Cornette!!!
Yes, yes, this is said a little tongue in cheek. The chances of these two working together is about as likely as me getting another job as a booker with the WWE, but let’s have some fun with this. Honestly, if you could somehow get both parties to agree, and not legitimately kill one another in the process, there might actually be some money to be made with these guys. You have one of two options, you can bring them in and use the tension in a complete work, where they don’t actually come in contact with each other, or you can go full shoot and actually have them fight!
Obviously the second option isn’t possible since neither of them are wrestlers and it would likely lead to a stinker of a match, though we are all curious as to who would win in a shoot, but I digress. Let’s go with option one and use the tension between the two as on screen fodder to create a storyline that would be, I hope at least, mildly entertaining.
The ground work has already been set, and I’m sure a quick YouTube search will give you all the background info on this real-life feud, but in case you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll give you a quick summary. Vince Russo and Jim Cornette have worked together several times over the years. Each time, they have both ended up at each other’s throats. They’ve basically never gotten along and have very different views on wrestling. Just recently, Jim sat down for a shoot style interview in WWE’s Table for Three where the subject of Russo came up once again, since the two will forever be linked in wrestling circles. During the show, Jim once again rained down his distaste for Russo and his errant bookings. Once Mr. Russo heard what was said he went on his podcast and “called out” Corny to debate him on a podcast, so Cornette responded by saying it was past that and they needed to meet up for a fight. This all culminated with Russo filing a restraining order accusing Jim of stalking him. That’s the basics, and it’s all been real life up until this point.
Here’s where we get to play fantasy. We will try to blur the line between shoot (real) and Kayfabe (fake) to turn this into a never-going-to-happen wrestling angle. It starts with Kurt Angle announcing a huge surprise coming to RAW. It gets teased throughout the show, but, of course, we are left waiting for the final segment before it’s revealed. Angle takes to the ring and announces that viewership on the WWE Network has never been better, that a recent episode of one of their original shows has been so popular that we decided to allow one of the participants a chance to come out here and address the fans. Then he says, “Ladies and gentlemen, James E. Cornette!!”
Jim comes to the ring and cuts one of his usual scathing promos. He discusses that his tension with “he whom can’t be named” was obviously the reason the ratings for Table for Three were so high. He says that he heard about Russo’s online “apology” and how he said he was a much better writer/booker than Cornette could ever be. Then he turns to Angle and asks, “If you don’t mind Kurt, I feel the need to prove myself. How about I lend you a hand around here for a while?” Kurt says, “You want to be co-commissioner? You got it buddy!”
The next night on SmackDown, during a commercial break when no one is in the ring, Vince Russo jumps the barricade and grabs a mic. He climbs in the ring and starts his promo with how he made the WWE. At this time, the show returns from commercial and the announcers tell the TV audience that during the break what we thought was a casual fan had jumped in the ring, but it turned out to be Vince Russo, so after Cornette’s rant last night let’s listen to what he has to say. Having it begin during commercial break will give it the appearance that’s its real and not just part of the WWE program. Vince continues to put himself over. He created the Attitude Era, blah blah blah. Eventually, his mic is cut and he begins yelling loud enough the TV cameras can still hear him. Soon, security grabs him, places him in cuffs and carries him out of the building, but not before he’s heard yelling that it’s a disgrace that Cornette works here, and Jim will finally put this company out of business!
The next Monday on RAW, Jim and Kurt are seen working together to make matches. Jim is pushing for more tag teams and saying that RAW needs an “old school feel.” He convinces Angle to reinstate the 20-minute time limit, and Angle sets a main event of The Revival vs The Club. In one segment, they rewatch the Russo incident and have a good laugh. Kurt tells Cornette he’s glad to have a great wrestling mind like his to help out around here.
The next night on SmackDown, the show starts with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan in the ring. Shane shows a replay of what happened with Russo and tells the crowd he’s invited him to come to the ring tonight to talk about this. Vince makes his way to the ring, and Shane lets him talk about how great he is, all he’s done for wrestling, and how much better he is than Cornette. Shane tells him that he’s ready to end this debate once and for all. Since the two can’t work together, or be near each other with that restraining order, he’s making Russo co-commissioner of SmackDown! Daniel Bryan looks on with a shocked expression. Shane tells him that he’s responsible for keeping Russo in check!
The next several weeks we see Kurt and Cornette continue to work together to make RAW feel more old school while Daniel Bryan and Vince Russo butt heads at almost every turn. Eventually, Russo complains that Bryan is holding him back and he’s not allowing the great Vince Russo’s ideas to be implemented. This all comes to a head two weeks before SummerSlam when Russo takes to the ring and tells everyone that he’s being sabotaged. They won’t let him do what he does best, so he’s making a challenge! Since there’s no way they’ll allow Daniel Bryan to fight me, and they’ll never sanction a match between him and Cornette, then at SummerSlam there’s going to be a match for control of RAW! The match will be between two competitors, one chosen by me, and one chosen by Cornette. Oh, and by the way, this won’t be a “wrasslin’ match” it’ll be a real actual fight!!! The winner gets RAW, and the loser gets his walking papers!
And I’ve already chosen my fighter…Brock Lesnar!!!! Vince then drops the mic and walks out. Shane and Daniel Bryan are seen going over this in the back. Daniel says they can’t do this and Shane counters with, “If we don’t let it happen, we’ll never know what might have been. And frankly, this might be interesting…”
The next week on RAW we see Kurt and Jim stewing over the entire WWE roster looking for someone that could actually compete with Brock in a real fight. Kurt suggests Samoa Joe since he just beat Brock. Cornette reminds Kurt that Joe has to wrestle Roman. They continue to discuss names back and forth but come up with nobody. Kurt tells Jim that he has to choose soon because he’s got to make the announcement before the end of the show. The segment ends with Cornette looking distraught and unsure of who to pick.
As RAW comes to an end, Kurt and Jim are in the ring. Jim begins by saying that they looked over the entire roster and it was really hard to find a name that he was willing to trust in a legitimate fight against Brock Lesnar with control of RAW, and Cornette’s job, at risk. He continues by saying he searched long and hard to find that one person, the one with the legitimate fighting background that could handle this type of match. He thought it was a futile search, he thought there’s no one that can do it, but then it hit him. He knew the perfect competitor. He turns to Angle, “It’s you….” Kurt goes on to say he can’t, there’s no way, but Corny, ever the salesman, convinces him that he can do it. The show ends with Kurt having a content look upon his face. Maybe he can beat the beast.
SmackDown the next night has Vince cutting a promo about Kurt Angle being old and out of shape. He has no chance. Vince decides that this is so good, he’s going to be at ringside to see Cornette’s face when his guy loses. He then tears up the restraining order and Brock’s music plays. Out comes Paul Heyman, the advocate for the beast incarnate Brock Lesnar. He reminds Vince Russo that they have a deal. Like the old saying goes, “Everybody has a price.” Vince says yes, of course. He hands Paul a check and Heyman smiles and says, “I hope this check isn’t made of rubber” Vince snaps back, “Look who’s talking, Paul E.” Paul laughs and says, “Good point. Brock and I will see you Sunday night, sir.”
SummerSlam: The Match
Now I know you are going to say that I’m taking some serious liberties with this fantasy booking because Kurt Angle still can’t wrestle, but this is a legit match. It’s one where Kurt and Brock will tie up in more of an Olympic style match. One where Brock can easily take care of Kurt’s injuries. The match goes slow with several tie ups and submissions. Both Jim and Russo are screaming at their competitors, and several times, security has to restrain them from each other. This helps to take your eyes away from the slow-paced match in the ring. At one point, Cornette throws his racket at Russo, who promptly throws it back at him. Back in the ring, the grappling continues. Soon the tide turns and Kurt locks in an ankle lock on Lesnar. Lesnar squirms to try to break the hold. He begins to crawl for the ropes, but Kurt locks it in tighter, and then…. ding, ding, ding!
Kurt and Jim begin to celebrate, but Brock grabs the ref saying he never submitted! Argument ensues. Pushing and shoving. Security storms the ring to hold everybody apart. The announcer calls for their attention. He announces, “This match has ended in a 20-minute time limit draw!!”
SummerSlam ends in confusion. Nobody knows what happens next.
On RAW the next night, Cornette addresses the crowd with Kurt. He says that since it was a draw, that Russo doesn’t get control, blah blah blah. Russo interrupts saying that it was a draw and they have to have another match tonight to settle it. One with no time limit. Brock’s music plays and Heyman comes out. He tells Vince that his check was no good and if there’s another match he’s on his own! Kurt jumps at the chance to get Vince in the ring, but then Stephanie McMahon’s music plays. Stef comes out to tell them that a decision will be made and Vince will announce it tonight on RAW. Russo looks at her confused. She quips, “My dad, Vince McMahon, you idiot!”
The show continues with everyone waiting for Vincent K. McMahon to show up. Finally, the limo arrives. Then, as the main event segment begins, Russo, Shane, Steph, Daniel Bryan, Kurt Angle and Cornette are all in the ring. Everyone is surrounded by security as Vince makes his way out. Once in the ring, Vince goes on a tirade about how things have been run the last few weeks. This is his show damn it, and none of you are going to bastardize the product that HE created. Then he looks at Russo and Cornette, “I’ve never liked either of you! Since your match ended with no winner…. You’re both FIRED!!” Security grabs them and escorts them from the ring. The show closes with Vince doing his evil laugh.
From here you can continue to have them involved if ratings are good. If not, this serves well as a blow off and things go back to normal. It’s a far-fetched idea. It’s so personal that I’m sure the WWE wants to stay as far away from it as possible. On the other hand, they’ve been known to use very personal, very real heat between to people to capitalize on the moment in the past.
Let’s be honest, we all know that when real life spills over into the business, it usually makes money, but hey, what do I know?