Jim CornetteBio

Perhaps the most obnoxious manager in wrestling history, Jim Cornette was never at a loss for words. When he wasn’t making his foes’ ears ring with a screeching diatribe, the Louisville, Ky., native was whacking his opponents with the trusty tennis racket that never left his hand.

Cornette broke into the wrestling business in the early ‘80s as a photographer, announcer and magazine writer in Memphis. Deciding to become a manager, he told the world that he had the backing of his very wealthy mama.

Looking to gain more experience, Cornette headed further south to Bill Watts’ Mid-South territory. Wearing garish pink and purple suits, the obnoxious adviser spoke for The Midnight Express, the finest tag team that his mama’s money could buy. Fans hoping to see Cornette, “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey and “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton dethroned often left unhappy. The underhanded manager did anything possible for a win. Most often, he utilized a tennis racket swing that would make John McEnroe jealous. Cornette’s sweet forehand earned him the moniker “The Louisville Slugger.”

Cornette and The Midnight Express soon headed to the Carolinas and Jim Crockett Promotions. With a global audience watching, he led Condrey, Eaton and, later, Stan Lane, to global success. Under his tutelage, The Midnight Express captured the NWA World Tag Team Titles on two occasions and the U.S. Tag Team Titles on three.

“The Louisville Slugger” also wanted the biggest spotlight on himself, so he joined WWE in 1993. Camp Cornette quickly came to include Yokozuna, Owen Hart, British Bulldog and the unruly Mastodon, Vader. Cornette and his charges were a consistent thorn in the sides of WWE Champions like Diesel and Shawn Michaels.

After becoming an announcer in 1997, he also took up arms against those who undermined the wrestling business. Cornette got on his soapbox in a series of Keith Olbermann-esque monologues on Monday Night Raw, punctuated by an almost-unneeded statement: “I’m Jim Cornette and that’s my opinion.”

Though Cornette was out of WWE rings by 1999, he still had a hand in many Superstars’ careers. Cornette helped establish Ohio Valley Wrestling as a WWE developmental territory, bringing future WWE Superstars to his hometown. At OVW, Cornette fostered talent that went on to become multiple-time World Champions, including Batista, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton and John Cena.

Who would have thought that Mama Cornette’s investment in her baby boy would still be felt in the WWE Universe today?