When the National Wrestling Alliance announced its new program Powerrr, there was excitement. When they announced that Jim Cornette would be part of the broadcast team, the excitement was tempered with reservations. This wouldn’t be the first time Cornette worked with the revitalized NWA, as he had provided commentary for several NWA special events. Cornette is one of those names that is synonymous with the legacy of the NWA.
For better or for worse, Jim Cornette is unapologetic about his views, styles, and manner. He hosts a pair of very successful podcasts where his Cult of Cornette faithfully tunes in to hear his stories and opinions. However, Cornette had just recently left Major League Wrestling following questionable comments made about Sonny Kiss. These were on Cornette’s podcast and not on MLW programming.
The NWA held its first set of tapings on September 30 and October 1 and the first episode of Powerrr hit the airwaves on October 8. Things first hit a snag after the fourth episode aired on October 29. During the commentary on this episode, Cornette made an errant joke about suicide. Fans balked at this joke and brought it to the attention of Billy Corgan and David Lagana. On November 1, the NWA issued a statement condemning the statement made by Cornette and advised that they had spoken with him about this subject.
Jim Cornette and The NWA
Things again hit the fan after the initial airing of episode seven on November 19. Cornette made another one-liner on commentary during the match between Nick Aldis and Trevor Murdoch. The unedited remark is as follows: “Trevor Murdoch is the only person I know who can strap a bucket of fried chicken to his back and ride a motor scooter through Ethiopia.” There are two specific connotations to this offensive remark. One is the trope of Ethiopia and famine, an issue that garners a lot of attention from charities and celebrities. The other which is racially charged is the connotation of people of African descent and the association with fried chicken.
In a few hours of this making air, the NWA issued another statement via David Lagana, apologizing for this remark. The episode was pulled down for a short period while it was edited out of the program. This backlash was of a higher magnitude than that of the suicide remark, and many called for punishment of the Louisville, Kentucky native. During the firestorm, audio footage was shared online of Cornette using the n-word repeatedly. This only heightened the reaction online.
On November 20, the NWA shared another statement announcing that Jim Cornette had resigned from the NWA effective immediately. Cornette will appear in the remaining episodes that are already taped, and as pointed out in NWA’s statement, additional care will be taken in the editing of NWA Powerrr. Cornette has yet to make an official statement online, aside from two tweets posted below.
Morning everybody! Heard any good jokes lately?
This coming Friday's Jim Cornette Experience (wherever you find your favorite podcasts) is liable to be a good one if you like hearing stupid people told what they can do with their stupidity.
— Jim Cornette (@TheJimCornette) November 20, 2019
Morning all–wish I had time to thank, acknowledge, retweet, block or cuss out all of you but there's too many weighing in & too little time. Tune in to Friday's Jim Cornette Experience for complete details on all the "controversies".
— Jim Cornette (@TheJimCornette) November 21, 2019
As the NWA attempts to continue to build their brand, slip-ups like these on a taped show are embarrassing. In the world of 2019, commentary like jokes about suicide or invoking racial connotations simply have no place. I appreciate the NWA’s swift response to the issue, however, realistically, it should never have made it to air. Cornette will address this on his podcast on Friday, November 22.
In his usual fashion, Cornette will offer a half-hearted apology and blame those around him, sensitive fans and the PC culture of the world for his departure. I and the rest of the team on the Pro Wrestling Post do not condone the remarks made by Mr. Cornette nor do we stand by him in this instance. We can’t overlook his contributions to the wrestling industry during the last forty years. However, that does not excuse his behavior and they only serve to tarnish his legacy.