Jim Cornette is a should-be WWE Hall Of Famer for many fans not even in his loyal Cult Of Cornette fanbase. Through his travels in pro wrestling, he made memories for decades and continues to entertain fans who wish to hear his opinion on any matter he finds topical. But it turns out while Cornette was doing his thing in ROH one interaction with a young upstart turned out to have much greater implications than anyone could have realized at the time.
Seth Rollins wrestled as Tyler Black before coming to WWE and that included a rather impressive stint in Ring Of Honor. Jim Cornette and Rollins got rather close during The Architect’s time with the company and Corney remembers Rollins well as someone with unbelievable potential who was already ahead of the game in many respects. He also remembers Rollins as a guy he was able to help along the way and it turns out taking Cornette’s advice worked out very well for him.
“Tyler Black, our old Ring Of Honor compadre from the old days,” Jim Cornette said as he reminisced on the Jim Cornette Experience this week. “I think he’s f-cking tremendous in pretty much every aspect although they dropped the ball at one point when he was really, really about to be the guy or one of the guys, the very top guys when he came back from the [knee] injury they blew it because he was a ready-made babyface cause he’s a good-looking guy, blah blah blah but anyway.”
Then Cornette started telling a story about how he not only gave Seth Rollins a wise piece of advice but also changed his career forever.
“For the people who say that I’m old and washed up and don’t contribute anything to modern wrestling if you like Seth Rollins in WWE then you’re welcome,” Cornette said. “I personally threw my body in between [Seth Rollins] and TNA when he was about to sign a contract with them that bought a couple of weeks for the WWE to get back with him and offer him an actual legitimate job.”
“Obviously when Tyler Black (or Seth Rollins) left Ring Of Honor I would have loved to have had him as “the guy” when Sinclair Broadcasting bought the f-ckin’ company, right? And went on real television and at the time HD Net wasn’t as popular as AXS has become. Anyway, [Rollins] was gonna go someplace because he had been to a WWE tryout and he had also either been to a TNA tryout or actually worked a dark match or whatever the f-ck, when he was finished up with us he was gonna go one place or the other. Hopefully, was what his goal was.”
“He called me and said that Terry Taylor had offered him a [TNA] contract and he read me the stipulations, and I’ll be honest, I’m not gonna mention it — well he probably wouldn’t care now and I’m fixing to say it was an insulting contract. The point is TNA offered him a deal for what I thought was an insulting amount of money for a number of dates that they were going to do but didn’t end up running anyways. But they also had the right to book him out and who knows if he did get over, who knows how much they were getting for him? But they would still pay him whatever, it was not a good amount of money. It was for a number of dates that TNA wasn’t gonna run they were gonna farm him out to who knows where — it was horrible, right?”
“But he hadn’t heard anything back from WWE and that’s where he was hoping there’d be interest,” Jim Cornette continued as he explained what he said to Seth Rollins. “I insisted that he at least ask Terry Taylor 2 or 3 questions. I said, ‘look if they want you now’ — because he wasn’t getting any interest up north but he wanted to sign something and he was gonna take this because at least it put him better than where he was — and I said, ‘ask Terry Taylor these 3 or 4 questions because if they want you now, they’ll want you next week and you can clarify this’ and I’m just thinking to bide time, don’t sign this the way it is or give [WWE] a chance and son of a gun wouldn’t you know who won the pony. I’m proud to say this.”
“And I don’t know if he’s ever commented on this but I would hope he would tell the story. In the time he asked Terry these questions, or I bought the week or whatever, [WWE] did call and they wanted him to come to Florida to Orlando.”
Cornette concluded his story by saying, “and the rest, as they say, is history” and truer words have never been spoken. Seth Rollins took WWE on in full-force and quickly started gaining attention. He not only went on to become the first-ever NXT Champion but also continued to form The Shield and he’s still a major player in WWE today.
It’s hard to imagine WWE without Seth Rollins at this point, but it turns out that if it wasn’t for Jim Cornette the WWE Universe might be a much different place because they’d be missing an Architect.
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If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit The Jim Cornette Experience with a H/T to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription