Jim Cornette makes racist comments on NWA wrestling, for Brendan Bell's article

Jim Cornette’s Joke Is a Reminder of Professional Wrestling’s Racism

Bad jokes aren’t the only racist things to come out of wrestling.
December 1, 2019
8 mins read

It is hard being a wrestling fan sometimes. I know this sounds trivial, but imagine being a fan of a certain show for over ten years and finding out that some characters on the show are racists in real life. It would ruin your perception of them, likely forever causing you to never look at them the same way again. I imagine this is what many people went through when they watched a recent episode of “NWA Powerrr” on YouTube and heard show commentator Jim Cornette make a racist remark.

On Nov. 19, the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) livestreamed a new episode of their weekly show “NWA Powerrr.” During a match between Nick Aldis and Trevor Murdoch, Cornette made the following “joke” in his commentary: “Trevor Murdoch is mad, bad and dangerous. He’s the only man I know that can strap a bucket of fried chicken on his back and ride a motor scooter across Ethiopia.”

After this was noticed by many people watching, the episode was immediately pulled and the NWA released a tweet saying: “On tonight’s episode of NWA Powerr airing on Nov. 19th 2019, one of our talents made comments which some viewers found offensive.  We deeply regret the error and apologize. We have temporarily taken the program down while we correct this error.” Soon after this tweet came out, Cornette left the NWA.

I have so many questions about this situation but here are a few: Why does he say this joke during a match between two white guys? If it’s not racist, then why did he say fried chicken, a stereotypical black food, along with Ethiopia, a country in Africa filled with black people? This was a taped show that was recorded months ago, how did this joke make it past the video editors?

Cornette answered some of these questions when he decided to double down on the comments on his podcast. He didn’t apologize at all and even said that his comments weren’t racist. He said that if they were, why didn’t anyone stop him or correct him? He also explained that he used fried chicken in the joke because it’s funnier than a burger or sushi. Why? I have no idea. This is the kind of response expected from a person like Cornette. You know the “Old Man Yells at Cloud” joke from “The Simpsons”? That is Jim Cornette.

I don’t want anyone thinking that the NWA is innocent in all of this. They could have easily edited out those comments, but they didn’t. Also, is it really a surprise that they weren’t edited out when the vice president of the NWA, Dave Lagana, tweeted out that previous statement on Cornette’s comments while he had this tweet on his timeline? I say “had” because the tweet was of course deleted once people noticed it. That’s not the end of people in NWA agreeing with vaguely racist beliefs. Billy Corgan, lead singer of the Smashing Pumpkins, is the president of the company and gave an interview comparing SJWs and the KKK, which makes no sense to me as civil rights activists, and the people protesting the KKK, would be considered SJWs by today’s standards.

It’s pretty clear what type of people are running NWA and why the joke was not originally edited out. They don’t see anything wrong or racist about it. Anyone complaining about the joke is just “triggered” and needs to get over it. The only reason why Cornette was let go is because the NWA would like to try and get a TV deal at some point, and employing the guy who made a racist joke won’t help at all.

Apparently Cornette has made this exact joke before sometime in the 1980s; it does not surprise me that someone like him said what he said. “NWA Powerrr” is meant to be a throwback to the “Southern wrasslin” days of the ‘70s and ‘80s, a time period Cornette seems to enjoy very much as that was when he was getting his start in the wrestling industry. The South had, and still has, racism in its DNA, just like wrestling. In the ‘80s we had this racist black people joke from commentator Bobby Heenan. In the ‘90s we had black men wrestling KKK members and being hung by one. There’s also that time Hulk Hogan said some very racist things about black people.

You would think that these incidents would spark outrage like the Cornette one, but outside of the Hulk Hogan incident, there was none because professional wrestling has always been a white-dominated industry. That is what makes it difficult to be a fan sometimes. Most black wrestlers are given gimmicks that revolve around smiling and dancing or being a thug. Just look at the tag team name “Cryme Tyme.” Two black guys who go around dressed like thugs assaulting and robbing white people.

As a kid I loved this, but when I got older I realized that this is what racists see black people as. WWE even had Randy Orton say this once in a promo with black wrestlers. This is the same Randy Orton who used the n-word on stream in response to unarmed black men being shot by police. There are a few exceptions to stereotypes in wrestling like Bobby Lashley and Mark Henry, but even though they aren’t stereotypes, they get stereotyped. For a while Mark Henry was called “The Silverback,” which is a gorilla, another black stereotype.

Professional wrestling unfortunately will always have these racists involved since those are usually the people who run the industry. I would not blame any black person who chooses to stop watching wrestling because of this. I still do watch because it’s hard not too since I’ve been watching since I was a kid. There are others like me who still watch because they have been watching for so long. I think it’s important that if you are still going to watch, then you should be aware of just how racist wrestling can be.

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