Friday, January 25, 2008

A Piece of my Mind Jan 25th 2008 by "The Big Cheese" Sal Corrente

When we started booking WrestleReunion I thought that it would be interesting to use The Ultimate Warrior. I had met Jim Hellwig several times when he first started in the WWF. I actually found him pleasant to be around and had no problems with him at all. I knew all these years later the chances of him remembering me were ZERO. I had heard all of the stories about him but hadn’t been around him since the mid-eighties when he wrestled The Honky Tonk Man on a show in upstate NY. I knew it would be a challenge but I thought I was prepared for it. After multiple conversations and multiple deals being consummated this guy then demanded one hundred percent of his money in advance. I would never agree to such a thing and told him so. At that time we came to our final agreement that Warrior would not be appearing at WrestleReunion. I can tell you that I had 95 cooperative people. I would not be willing to have Warrior alone cause me more trouble than the rest of the talent combined. It was a shame, I have been around a headache free Ultimate Warrior and a headache filled Warrior. Oh the good old days.
I was a referee the night that The Ultimate Warrior wrestled The Honky Tonk Man. I can remember working with The Hart Foundation with “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart in their corner as faced off against The Rougeau Bros. I didn’t know several of the guys at that time since as I had been away for awhile. I was a NY State Athletic Commission referee in those days. It was not great to be a commission referee because they had reputations of being clueless except for very few of them like my friend Billy Caputo, Mike Torres and Jack Lotz from my hometown of Yonkers NY. It was clear to me that Jim Neidhart was not happy that we were booked on the show. I could tell that he was looking to catch me on a slip up and nail me. I also had to deal with the paranoia of The Rougeau’s who kept going over and over the finish. It was getting annoying but I went along with it. At the end I was supposed to go with Jimmy while Bret and Jim were double teaming one of The Rougeau’s. I was told when Jimmy jumped off the apron turn around and make the three count. I went with Jimmy as told but he was holding my shirt so tight that I couldn’t turn around if I wanted to. When we got to the back I got a totally different attitude from Neidhart and everyone else was happy too. I did approach Jimmy Hart and say "Brother I wasn’t going to turn around until you jumped off the apron". He said "Listen if anything went wrong this way the heat is on me and not on you." I can say that almost twenty five years later Jimmy hasn’t changed a bit and I think back on that night many times as a good moment in my career.

It appears that Wrestlemania still has tickets available. I realize that it should sell out that isn’t the issue. If truth be told, its pay per view buys that matters and if the buzz for the live gate isn’t what Wrestlemania normally is, a quick sellout I believe that will transfer to the PPV numbers. They still have time to make something special happen for Wrestlemania but these guys are like chefs without a recipe or ingredients. They are like a choreographer with no music or dancers. I think someone there had better start working or lay offs will be coming. If you are going to go into panic mode anyway why not do it now when you have a chance to make a positive impact instead of when it’s too late to do anything but say we will get em next time.

The picture in this article is from an autograph show that took place in Manhattan. In the picture from left to right you see Jimmy Hart, Yvonne Craig (Batgirl from the original Batman TV Series), Myself and “The Living Legend” Bruno Sammartino.

This has been a piece of my mind