NEWS, HISTORY AND ANALYSIS THAT MATTER TO THE SERIOUS WRESTLING FAN
Published Sunday, January 15, 2006 by DEVELOPMENTALspotlight.
Recently, Jim Cornette took part in Ring of Honor's Secrets of the Ring-- a series where those within the wrestling industry touch on the concepts and philosophies that they personally value in making professional wrestling successful. During this interview, Jim Cornette broke the American public into four groups when it came to promoting and marketing professional wrestling. The following is a transcript of Jim Cornette's explanation.
The First Group: "There are this many people who come to see anything in a wrestling ring. They're going to come to see anybody in boots and tights in a wrestling ring no matter what. They're hardcore. They are on the internet. They want to come because either they can't get enough wrestling or they want to bitch and complain about something and say how they could do it better."
The Second Group: "This crowd likes good wrestling. Not old wrestling, not new wrestling, just good wrestling. There's two kinds of wrestling: good wrestling and bad wrestling. I don't care who presents it or what it is, that's this crowd, that's the second crowd. They want to see good wrestling and if you present a good product for an extended period of time to where it gets the point across, they will come to see you.
The Third Group: This crowd comes to see the star, comes to the see the big event. The Rock, The Steve Austin. Either somebody really gets hot like Hulk Hogan two decades ago or The Rock and Austin in the late 90's or whatever. Or Wrestlemania is hot. That's the crowd where no matter what you do they aren't going to come all the time, and they're not going to watch every week, but they know it is around. That's the third group, the people who will come for the big shows or the big stars.
Everybody else in the world is in the fourth group. They don't give two flying fucks. You could put a flying elephant in the ring, they don't give a shit because it's wrestling and they don't want to see it. They want to see ballet, fly fishing and I don't give a fuck what else. You ain't going to get them.
So you've always got these people [group one] right. And I'm not saying you should shit on them because they are your ticket purchasing patrons, but you have always got these people. If you've got a good product, you've got group number two so concentrate on that. There's really no way that you control group number three because how do you just say 'Ok, this guy is going to be the next Rock. Or the next Steve Austin or Hulk Hogan'. You can't do that, they've got to come along. That's when you get the really big house, record gates, whatever.
And the fourth group, who gives a flying fuck what you people want to see, if you people are going to god damn ballet, fuck you! Because we're doing wrestling. And the people who try to say 'Well, we're going to give people who don't like wrestling something to watch'. They've got something to watch, it's on all the other fucking stations while your program is on you dumb son of a bitch! So why do you do shit that's not related in any way to wrestling on a wrestling program. They don't stop Saturday Night Live to have Curt Gowdy give the god damn Olympic freestyle skating report. The people watching Saturday Night Live don't give two flying fucks about the god damn Olympic freestyle skating. So WHY DO IT is all I am saying?
You've got group one. If you're good you get group two. When you're lucky you get group three, and the rest of them it don't make a fuck because they're not coming anyway."
Published Saturday, January 14, 2006 by DEVELOPMENTALspotlight.
With Jim Herd's disasterous reign as the chair of the National Wrestling Alliance booking committee a memory better off forgotten, a lawyer for Ted Turner's Superstation TBS named Jim Frey was inexplicably promoted to fill the void left behind. He wouldn't hold the position long, as soon therafter a colorful legend --and promotional genius -- by the name of "Cowboy" Bill Watts was signed to a deal as the new Vice President of Wrestling Operations for World Championship Wrestling. Jim Herd quietly resigned and was moved elsewhere within the Turner Organization.
If Turner brass would have read comments made by Watts in an interview several months earlier, they could have saved themselves the trouble of hiring him in the first place. Ironically, it was a future employee of World Championship Wrestling named Mark Madden who would fax a transcript of Watts's controversial interview to Turner darling and professional baseball homerun king Hank Aaron a short time after "The Cowboy" first put his imprint on World Championship Wrestling.
"Horrible" and "despicable" were the two words emphasized most by Aaron in discussing Watts' statement. Amid controvery, Watts and Turner Sports would soon part ways.
The question of whether Bill Watts's was in fact a bigot or simply a man who spoke too openly about his honest opinions on social issues has always intrigued wrestling fans. Statements have ranged from "Bill Watts was the type of guy, if he's gonna call you a n-----, he's gonna call you a n----- to your face" (Charles "2 Cold Scorpio" Scaggs) to "Bill Watts saw only one color, green". The truth may never be known, and it probably isn't particularly relevant anyway.
Perhaps in no other instance was Bill Watts' straddling this thin line more dangerously than in an interview with The Pro-Wrestling Torch Newsletter in the summer of 1991. The following are the statements that would eventually lead to the departure of Bill Watts from World Championship Wrestling.