Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Piece of my Mind Aug 30th 2008 by "The Big Cheese" Sal Corrente

There are many times that names come up in conversation from the “old days”. One of the names is JYD. The man named Sylvester Ritter later became The Junkyard Dog. I met JYD through my association with The Wild Samoans. It was Afa who tracked down JYD for him to come to NY. I remember sitting there with Afa when the call came from Vince for Afa to track down JYD. I can remember Afa telling me that he never heard an ovation like when The Junkyard Dog walked into the Louisiana Superdome. The Samoans had been involved in a program in the territory against JYD and Mr. Olympia (Jerry Stubbs).

I got to be friends with JYD and when he left WWF I used him on shows. I also took him over to Hamilton, Bermuda for a show. I actually got to work in Bermuda several times for a guy named Eddy DeMello. He had a lot of power on the island and did a lot of promoting of various events. On this particular trip I took JYD, Ivan Koloff, Carolina’s Own David Isley and Thunderfoot #2 Gene Ligon. There were others on the trip that I cannot recall at this time.

I had Ivan in a single with JYD that eventually turned into a tag match. I remember JYD saying to Isley over the house microphone "I don’t know much about you kid but let’s get these guys". It was sometime later in the trip that JYD recommended Isley talk to Stan Hansen about going to Japan. It wasn’t long after that Isley was on his way to work for the Giant Baba. It was a huge thrill for him to go to Japan and work with legends. I remember him coming back and telling me that he was in a six man tag match with Abdullah the Butcher and somebody against Baba and two guys. He told me that when Baba went to shoot him into the ropes that Abdullah walked the apron and said “Please go off your feet kid”. You see Abdullah knew that Baba’s chop would probably not look very good and he wanted to be sure the Japan new comer would go off his feet for a move that couldn’t break an egg.

You might ask yourself "why would Abdullah need to do that?" But I spoke to Gorgeous Gary Royal who had the chance to work in Charlotte against The Giant Baba. He barely sold anything and Gary Royal was for sure one of the better workers of his era. I have wrestled Gary numerous times and I can tell you wrestling Gary Royal is like taking a night off every day. When he got back to the dressing room JJ Dillon gave him a hard time for not selling for someone as legendary as The Giant Baba. It wasn’t only his stature as a legend but also the head of All Japan Pro Wrestling. All Gary told JJ was that he didn’t think he would want him to sell that stuff it all looked so horrible. You see Gary didn’t even know who Baba was except some big Japanese guy. I can personally tell you that Gary can and would sell for anyone. He has no ego but he just didn’t know. So that type of thinking is why Abby had to be sure of the result in Isley’s case. It’s one thing to not sell for Baba in Charlotte. It would be a whole other issue in Osaka.

I am not trying to speak poorly of Baba. I have had many conversations about Baba with Bruno Sammartino and in his youth he was a great competitor. This stuff all happened at the end of his career a career that he managed very well. In Isley’s case, he will always be grateful to JYD and I will always think of how electric it was to hear Another One Bites The Dust as JYD made his way to the ring whether it was in Madison Square Garden or some show I booked him on.

There has been a lot of talk this week about Raven’s lawsuit with WWE. I have seen quotes from WWE’s long time attorney Jerry McDevitt. He seems to believe this case is a non-issue. I am well aware of McDevitt’s reputation and I would certainly feel comfortable if he was representing me based on everything I have heard about him. He has kept WWE out of a lot of hot water over the years. I have run businesses for many years and if WWE wrestlers qualify for Independent Contractor status then many businesses should have employee status reevaluated. The other solution is the IRS has no clue about what wrestling really is. I wonder if previous inquiries have really been done correctly. The IRS should go on the road for a week and see how “independent” these wrestlers really are.

All in all many times wrestlers and wrestling have flown under the radar because for so many years it was such a secret fraternity. As time has gone by we have clearly seen that things are opening up and as time goes by more truths are uncovered. The more exposed and available the business is to the public the more things truly need to be in order. In the world of WWE the more they get away with the more they attempt to get away with. I have to say if you can beat the IRS that’s really accomplishing something. I think I’d like to see the outcome of this case as the main event at Wrestlemania. I know that wouldn’t work out but the finish will have more to do with the future of the wrestling business than any match they could put together.

It seems you can’t go anywhere without hearing someone talk about the Ric Flair situation and there is good reason for that. It doesn’t add up or make any sense to anyone who has thought about it for more than five minutes. The way Flair left WWE for other opportunities I would have thought he going to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars this year. I think he would have made a great choice. I wasn’t over thrilled with this year’s lineup he would have added some real “flair” to it. In this situation the numbers don’t add up and the big opportunities have yet to show themselves. In this business most stuff leaks out so whatever reasons are out there over time we may here about them. In Ric Flair’s case he has always performed on the biggest stage in our business and now he walks away for better money opportunities? How about the worldwide TV recognition that the WWE brings with it?
It was just recently that Flair appeared at Greg Price’s Mid Atlantic Legends event. It has been long coming that Flair appear at this event. He should have been there years ago when the other Horsemen were there. This event is held in Charlotte and it didn’t seem right that Flair never appeared there before. I hope that Greg and the Charlotte wrestling fans are happy two legends appeared at the convention which I understand was a huge success. In all that I have just said one thing is still a fact Ric Flair did not leave WWE to attend these types of events. It doesn’t matter how much he can make at these events. I have heard numbers between $350,000.00 and $500,000.00 being his WWE salary so before he can say this experiment made him one penny he has to beat whatever his WWE salary was. I say look for the real story and look for Ric Flair to be back in the WWE after he rakes in all the big money he has been missing on the autograph and Indy circuit.

This picture is me with Erin Murphy who playes Tabitha on the tv show Bewitched. You may wonder why this is relevant well because she is one of the celebrity participants in Hulk Hogans Celebrity Wrestling starting soon on CMT. I can tell you Erin is a great girl and I was very happy when she was selected.