The Corino Chronicles XXVIII: Oh Where Do I Start?
It’s been about five weeks since I have sat down and wrote a Chronicle and of course when it gets to past two or three weeks, you can guarantee that it is going to be LONG! And since ROH wisely canceled last night’s TV tapings due to this massive amount of snow the Philadelphia area got, so I have no more excuses.
For the most part I am going to try and go current and then work backwards to my last entry on December 25th.
I guess the big news and one of the main questions people have emailed me with this is “How cool are those new Steve Corino shirts?” LOL. OK, it was not that (even though two new styles are available plus new Allison Danger shirts at CorinoWrestling.com). It was “What do I think about Vince McMahon shutting down ECW?”
That’s a great question and the answer could be something that fans might not understand or even be a little shocking. But hopefully my explanation will answer a few questions of why I have stayed away from ECW reunions.
I loved ECW. Extreme Championship Wrestling gave me the opportunity to work in pro-wrestling full time. When I debuted for ECW in late 1998, I was doing well working for a dairy full time and getting two to three bookings a week on the Independent circuit. Most fans have an idea in their mind that Indy wrestlers make no money and they are half right. Unless you have that national (US TV, sorry to offend the great people in Europe) television exposure, as an indy wrestler, you can hit a glass ceiling. You can do OK if you live cheap, but you might not be able to make a living. Paul Heyman changed my life by allowing me to not only make a living from pro-wrestling but learn under some of the best wrestlers ever.
When I debuted there were no promises. Nova (Mike Bucci/Simon Dean) pushed for me to get a tryout. I was lucky enough that Nova wanted to work with me and allowed me to shine a bit. Paul and Dreamer liked me enough to offer me a spot. Still there were no promises. I used to look around the locker room and see the amazing talent that we had: Shane Douglas, Taz, Dreamer, Rob Van Dam, Lance Storm, Jerry Lynn, Justin Credible, Tracy Smothers, The Dudley’s, New Jack, Jack Victory, Rod Price, Balls Mahoney, and Axl Rotten. If I am forgetting someone I am sorry. Then you had the young, hungry guys like myself, Nova, Chris Chetti, Danny Doring, and Roadkill working our asses off just to be lucky enough to get an opening match spot. It was a great time to be there and just learn.
As guys went on to bigger things and better salaries I made my way up the card. And you can’t get upset with guys leaving ECW. It was never because they hated the product or fans but you have to look at it like it was Major League Baseball. Guys earn that chance for free agency and they go to a bigger market team. Sometimes bigger salaries don’t mean they will be happier. I am sure most guys that talk about their ECW experiences they talk positive. The bigger companies were good for them and even better then their families. Paul knew this and most times promoted within. That gave the young guys even more incentive to work harder.
When Paul Heyman’s ECW closed in early 2001, everyone was upset. Of course we would be. Paul took almost all the heat but after a while I realized that Paul Heyman did everything he could to make the company stay afloat. Running a major wrestling company is one of the hardest things ever. Heck, I have tried to run a few independent companies and usually they only last a year or two because we don’t have the capital to keep it going. Paul Heyman wore the hats of many. He edited the TV, wrote the shows, met with executives, etc. I can’t imagine how burned out he became. To me, the two best wrestling minds I have ever worked for are Paul Heyman and Jim Cornette. Paul Heyman made me what I am today and for that I thank him. He took a skinny kid from the suburbs of Philadelphia and made him the ECW World heavyweight champion. He let me learn this craft from some of the best and the business and paid me for it. Paul will never get the credit he deserves.
For Steve Corino, Extreme Championship Wrestling died in 2001.
In 2005, Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment had the concept of bringing the ECW brand back for a pay per view. Although I wanted nothing to do with it I loved the idea. I even watched the pay per view and enjoyed it. Why did I want nothing to do with it? It’s because I moved on. For me, ECW was a place to learn, work, and have fun. My dream was always to go to Japan and in 2005 I had already started my fourth year in Pro-Wrestling ZERO-ONE. But for the other guys and fans that missed ECW, it was great.
When the WWE brought back ECW as a brand, I thought it was a good idea. I knew, as most of us did, that it would never be the ECW that it was from 1993-2001. It didn’t have to be. The WWE is not stupid. They knew there was a market for the old ECW footage and the older fans would buy it. Without Paul Heyman booking the new ECW and Tommy Dreamer at his side to be the buffer between management and the boys, the new ECW would never be like the old one. The old ECW was a renegade. The new one was corporate. But that is how it had to be.
In 2007, when I had a tryout as a writer, I got a lot of heat from the writers when I said that the WWE should re-name the ECW program into a brand called “WWE Xtreme”. It didn’t have to be hardcore. It had to be NEW. Three years later, Vince McMahon re-names ECW “WWE NXT”. I love it. I will never claim that I had the original idea because I am sure that thousands of people had the same idea.
As the 2005-2010 version of ECW is put away all I can say is THANK YOU to Vince McMahon. Not for putting it away for good, but for keeping it alive for the fans that wanted that little bit of nostalgia back. Chanting E-C-Dub was something that fans loved to do. And thank you for allowing the wrestlers that worked for ECW to create a legacy. My ECW has been closed for nine years now and there are fans ranging from ages 10-16 that were too young to remember the old ECW stuff. Keeping those letters around made fans watch the old stuff and see the great wrestling that we put out.
We can say that the WWE stripped the original ECW of everything but they didn’t. Time did. I am happy that the WWE kept it going as long as they did. Just like how the NWA tries their best to survive and how Dale Gagner tried to build a new AWA; fans enjoy the old school wrestling. It is so hard to re-create the past and instead of thumbing our nose at them, we should applaud them.
Will I watch WWE NXT? Sure…but after LOST goes off the air! LOL.
Speaking of LOST, holy shitburger what a first episode of this season! I could spend a whole Chronicle talking about LOST. Actually one of the Pro-Wrestling BLITZ referees in Chicago sent me a website, http://www.4815162342.com/forum/index.php
, and if you’re a LOST fan you could lose yourself with the amount of ideas and scenarios that they come up with. I nerd it up on that site a few times a week!
As I write this it is Sunday morning, February 7th, and I am lacking the motivation to write. I have no idea why. I have tons to write but I think I need another cup of coffee. Be right back…
…NICE. Wawa coffee always awakens the mind of Steve Corino.
Friday night was the ROH TV tapings at The Arena in South Philly. I want to thank all the fans that did come and braved the weather. For me, I live about an hour west of Philadelphia, so going home was quite a battle. It took a little over two hours to get home but better safe and slow then fast and in a ditch. I thought it was a good idea to cancel Saturday night, even though we did need to tape TV. Putting the fans at risk driving through a blizzard to watch us wrestle is not worth it.
Going backwards, I had the rare double shot on Sunday (January 31) in Jackson and Voorhees, NJ.
The Jackson show was produced by WORLD-1 (www.WORLD1Online.com) and if you read this Chronicle much you know that W-1 is a company that I part own. I was so thrilled and proud that we drew our biggest house ever at that building, which is great because that is our new monthly home. Everyone worked hard and the crowd just ate everything up. It was amazing! Can’t wait for the next show on Sunday, February 28 at 2pm. And if you live near Jackson, the W-1 television show is on Wednesday nights. We have really found our niche and if you come to W-1 you know it’s a fun atmosphere and it is so cool to see all of the guys that are on our TV be treated like stars. It does go to show that the right TV promotion will help bring people to the buildings. And our company offers something different then other promotions. We don’t try to re-invent the wheel but we also try to keep the rules a mix of American sports entertainment and Japanese Royal Road. We have a 20-count on the outside, earned title shots, and try to push everyone to a middle card status instead of having 7 top guys and 7 bottom guys. This way you never know who is going to win or lose. Much like mid-90’s All Japan. I hope the fans keep coming out to enjoy the product.
After losing the W-1 heavyweight title I had no time to grieve because Colby and I had to run right to the TWA “Bodyslamming Autism” event in Voorhees. The TWA and especially Wiseguy Jimmy Cicero worked so hard to promote this event and made it a huge success. During the event I won my 62nd different championship of my career, the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance heavyweight title, in a 3-way match with Glen Osbourne and Tony Hitman Stetson. Wow, 62 different titles? I think people don’t realize that each and every title I have won means a ton to me. It’s the ultimate honor a promotion can give you. For me, winning the TWA is a dream because I was a TWA fan back in 1990-1992 when they were changing Philadelphia wrestling. ECW always gets the credit but if there was no TWA, there would have been no ECW. It is almost an extension of the Extreme Championship Wrestling history. TWA lead into Eastern Championship Wrestling, which lead to the Extreme! And for you history buffs, I would be the first guy to ever hold the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance title AND ECW World heavyweight title. Sorry, couldn’t help but mark out for myself on that one!!!
The weekend before this (January 21 and 23) was what felt like one long day! It started out on Thursday the 21st on a trip to Winnipeg and ended when I finally got home around 4am on Monday the 24th. It is weekends like this that make me ask why I wrestle and once I recover, I go “What a great weekend!”
Just off the subject for a second: I was just looking back at all of the Live Journal postings I have made and it has been almost five years there! I usually post them on there at the same time as I upload them on CorinoWrestling.com and I am copy/pasting them to include in my (one day to be published…one day!) book. Some crazy stuff in there.
OK, back to Winnipeg. As many of you know, both A-Danger and I were born in Winnipeg. We moved to the States when we were young but we are still proud to say we are from Winnipeg. I always love going back. And when I go I like working for the PCW promotion. Every time I have come, they always treat me so well and they have a real fun fan base. Smart marks that enjoy a good show. They know some of the guys are new and not polished but they treat them well. Believe it or not fans, that helps the young guys with confidence. I always like when I see that.
This time in PCW was different. Where usually I am spilling blood with Robby Royce, I find myself on his side. Our opponents are ATM (I didn’t want to ask the meaning either..hehe) and Adam Knight. This guy is freaking big. I saw him when I walked in and thought he was big and then I got in the ring with him. Holy jeez, this guy is blocking the ring lights! Big, strong guy.
I don’t want to ruin it if you didn’t see it but what went down at PCW was pretty brutal. For Royce maybe! Check out www.PremierChampionshipWrestling.com or PCWAction.com to see the video’s. Can’t wait to come back on March 25 and cause some more trouble!
Because of running shows in a bar, PCW’s belltime is 9:00PM (aka way way past my bedtime). By the time the show gets going its 9:15ish and ends around midnight. My flight is 6:00am. You see where this is going…
…I don’t drink much. Maybe a beer here and there. I rarely get drunk. Usually once a year and I try to save it for Milwaukee while hanging out with Steve Stone. But I had a few beers and then a few more beers in Winnipeg. By the time we left the bar there was no sleep time! None. But more important then sleep was the great time I had back in Winnipeg. Like I said before, the guys at PCW treat me so good and I enjoy being there every time. I can’t wait for March 25! Royce get ready because we NEED to make history.
By the time I got home on Friday with flight delays I was beat. I was going to go up to the Newark area and hang out with Masato Tanaka before the JAPW show but decided that a good night’s sleep would be better. I hate driving when tired and more then that it is super dangerous.
So Saturday morning I picked up Rob Dimension (yeah I know…LOL) and went to Rahway to pick up Tanaka-san for some shopping. If you have seen Tanaka in the last few years you will see what kind of shape that he has gotten into. Just amazing. This guy works so hard and I am so proud that what a transformation he has made. Its inspirational to be honest. When I was in Japan in December he was there to help me stay the course with my diet.
I wish I could say the same for his trip to the US! I blame Rob because somewhere during the day, Rob suggested we eat Chinese. This poor guy had to go off his diet but Tanaka did seem to mind.
The JAPW show was long but a lot of fun. It felt good to be the second match. With no story between me and Azerial (who is a great wrestler) it was a perfect spot. Now after the show we all decide that we are going to eat. Ryan and Carolyn suggest a diner that they saw on their way in. Now I love diners. Rarely do you get a bad meal at a diner. Notice I said “Rarely”. This is was one of those times. It wasn’t the fact that the 300 pound woman with dirty band-aids on her fingers was serving the food, but worse then that was the sight I had in front of me. Well actually it was behind me. There are certain things that people shouldn’t wear if they don’t have the body for them. You would never see me in a wife beater so why would young girls wear jeans that are too small for them? When I say that I saw crack, I saw CRACK. Worse then my grilled cheese was these two girls’ butt cracks in my view. Tanaka figures this out, takes a picture, and emails it right to Kanemura. Awful food but great fun and that is what counts.
Back tracking to the January ROH TV tapings, it was good to be back in Philadelphia. I would be lying to say that I am not nervous going out there and doing shorter matches. While I can do 20-30 minute matches in my sleep, the thought of doing a 4-6 minute match is stressful. I know it doesn’t make sense.
While I wasn’t happy with the tag team match between Kevin and myself vs. Dempsey and Sugarfoot, you live to fight another day. Colby told me they didn’t clip the bad parts and at first I was a bit upset but then I thought about it. Pro-Wrestling matches are not perfect and when mistakes happen they should be shown. Plus if they show them there is a better chance that I could appear on another edition of Botchamania! And if you don’t know what Botchamania is then you need to stop reading, buy a shirt, and then go over to You Tube and check it out. Awesome pro-wrestling bloopers. Real fun stuff.
For the record, the match with Bobby Dempsey on next week’s edition of ROH on HDNet is much better.
A friend of mine sent me a review of last night’s ROH show where a guy wrote “Man, I was kinda excited to see Steve Corino back in ROH and I was happy to see that he'd also be wrestling at some shows, but after seeing him for the first time tonight, I no longer want to see him in an in ring role. Corino has really let himself go. He's only about 36 but he looks about 50. Corino makes Adam Pearce look like Brock Lesnar.” I popped for this. I look 50? LOL. Little does he know that I feel 55!
Obviously he didn’t see me at my worst in Puerto Rico last year. I will never say I am perfect but at 234-238ish I am happy. Healthy too, so if he thinks I look 50 I am going to take it. Pearce looking like Brock? I love it!!! I think people imagine most wrestlers get mad when someone is burying them online but I am different. I am pretty much just appreciative that people are watching and feel inclined to make comments. I would be upset if it was a guy that didn’t watch the show just making generalizations. Last week there was some moron on Facebook that tried to post on my wall that ROH was not a big deal because HE doesn’t watch. I never get that. At least the guy that said I looked 50 watches the damn show! People can say whatever they want but at least watch what you are burying. It would be like me burying the Super Bowl when I didn’t even watch it. Why would people even care what I had to say if I didn’t even watch it? People need to stop being stupid. My goal is to keep working harder and the next time this guy does a review of the TV show says I look at least 48!
Speaking of Facebook, I am starting to enjoy some of the messages I get once I delete people for putting those stupid F’n surveys on my wall. Don’t people get that they are just flooding other people’s shit? And they always try to make it YOUR fault that they posted something dumb. Those people get deleted. Without question. Especially with Facebook only allowing a 5000 friend limit, these spots can go to real fans. Fans that will not spam other people’s wall with stupid apps. Ladies and gentlemen, Steve Corino is getting off his soapbox now!
Quick edit: Thankfully I didn’t upload this before I got this story. I was telling my son about the guy that buried me about looking and this is how the conversation went.
Dad: Can you believe he said I looked 50?
Colby: Well dad it is in HD.
Dad: So do I look 50 in HD?
Colby (giving me the 80’s movie nod): Yep.
Damn you HD, damn you! LOL
Before I go I would be amiss if I didn’t talk about the deaths of Steve Williams, Ed Chuman, and Jack Brisco.
I didn’t know Jack Brisco very well but he was all that was good about the NWA World championship. Men like Brisco, Race, Flair, Thesz, and others carried the title and themselves with such class. And sad as it is to see someone that you watched and admire pass away, Jack Brisco led a good life and his book is one of my favorites. I actually re-read it while traveling to Winnipeg on January 25.
One day if I actually publish my autobiography I have quite a Jack Brisco story that involves Dory Funk Jr. and Missy Hyatt! But that story is definitely for a book!!!
Dr. Death Steve Williams was a cool guy. I first met Doc at the WWF Funkin’ Dojo in 1998 while I was training. He was rehabbing and joined the Dojo to get the ring rust off. Being a huge fan of Japanese wrestling, I watched as Doc would drop the All-Japan favorites on the top of their head and beat them within an inch of their life. To say I was a bit intimidated about getting in the ring with him is an understatement. But Doc knew what he had to do to get over and try not to hurt guys, even though he could. I enjoyed talking to him and learning from him.
A little known fact is that Doc actually threw a word in for me to go to All-Japan Pro-Wrestling in late 2000 while I was still ECW World champion. I had asked Paul Heyman if it was alright to take dates with them while ECW was trying to survive and he gave me his blessing. I never did get to go and ended up going to Pro-Wrestling ZERO-ONE and stayed.
When I was ½ of the AWA Wrestling Superstars Live tag team champion we were doing a show in Louisiana and Dale Gagne asked me who I wanted to wrestle and the first name that came to me was Doc. I knew he would be over right away because of the Mid-South/UWF connection and he teamed with The Patriot (Tom Brandi, the best version). The match kicked ass and it was something both Tom and I, even though we don’t talk anymore, wanted to take to other AWA/WSL shows.
And finally Ed Chuman. Ed was one of those promoters that I just loved to work for. Never gave me any compliments but that was his way. He was totally old school and honest. I remember that he was not in favor of me getting the nod for the NWA World title in 2001 but was man enough to call me and tell me why. Six months later he told me he made a mistake and said I deserved the title and really enjoyed my reign. That meant a lot to me.
I stayed in contact with Ed over the years and since the summer of 2009 I worked for his NWA affiliates a bunch. At first, he wasn’t sure if he wanted me to run with one of his titles and I think that Frankie DeFalco convinced him it was the way to go and he went with it.
I used to kid Ed all the time about getting healthy because I needed the bookings, which always got a big Ed Chuman laugh and a “F you Corino”. Right before he died I texted him and told him that he looked like Patches from the movie Dodgeball. He called me and told me to kiss his ass! We laughed and that was the last time I talked to him.
Ed Chuman lived a good life. He loved pro-wrestling, he loved the NWA, and he loved the boys. But Ed was sick for a long time and as much as I will miss the banter we had, I feel good to know that he is in Wrestling Heaven and in perfect health. Thank you Ed.
OK, everyone until next time remember the important things in life: Family, Being Nice To Everyone, & Spring Training Is Right Around The Corner!