Despite being a harsh critic on comedic wrestling and unrealistic styles of wrestling, Jim Cornette took part in some of the most ridiculous matches of all time. He has long been a critic of wrestlers like Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks, for their high-flying and spot-heavy matches apparently “killing the business”.
Omega in particular drew the ire of Cornette, for the time he wrestled a nine-year-old girl whilst in Japan. This was a joke match and not meant to be taken seriously at all, but Cornette blew a gasket and held a grudge with Kenny Omega ever since. This has evolved to also include anybody in AEW, and he has constantly derided the promotion, despite any excellent wrestling they put out.
This criticism has bordered on obsession in recent times, with Cornette’s podcast (The Jim Cornette Experience) seeing him spend hours and hours deriding anything to do with AEW, and especially insulting them any time they did any comedy wrestling, or something that made the business of professional wrestling looking “fake”.
However, Jim Cornette did something even worse in Smokey Mountain Wrestling. Jim Cornette wrestled a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle multiple times in the promotion, something even Kenny Omega would think twice about (although he’d probably take on the challenge and put on a five-star match).
Jim Cornette Wrestled A Ninja Turtle
Jim Cornette wrestled multiple times against a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in 1993, during summer time shows for Smokey Mountain Wrestling. The legendary manager would wrestle against Kowabunga, which was referee Brian Hildebrand inside a mock Ninja Turtle suit (Cowabunga was a catchphrase used by various TV characters, including Bart Simpson and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).
Cornette revealed that the matches were put on for the kids, and weren’t meant to be taken seriously (sound familiar?).Speaking on Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru podcast in 2017, the wrestling legend said;
“We would occasionally do this in the spot shows in the summertime when the kids were out of school because I only had to pay one extra guy, Brian Hildebrand, as I didn’t have to pay myself.
“We would have the manager Jim Cornette versus Kowabunga the Ninja Turtle for the kiddies.
“I think both of those guys would say, technically, Brian Hildebrand was a better worker than either one of them, and more exciting in his own way athletically. He was just too small.”
“Brian was my top referee, but in the summertime, as something for the kids, the Ninja Turtle would beat up the fat, middle-aged manager, and the kids would get a tickle out of it.”
Cornette was always a manager in his heyday, so seeing him wrestling in the ring was a rare sight to behold. Clad in a red spandex bodysuit, he cut an interesting figure when compared to Brian Hildebrand prancing around in an ill-fitting bright-green one-piece suit, with a large turtle head to mask his appearance.
It was a clear rip-off the hugely popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in such blatant fashion that not even Cornette could deny it. Nothing Kowabunga did in the ring really mimicked the Ninja Turtles, even if cutting Cornette in half with katana’s would have probably been the best thing to do.
The match wasn’t very good. It is clear why Jim Cornette is a manager who stays outside of the ring. The bout was mainly posturing and extended rest holds, and didn’t contain a huge deal of action between the referee and the manager. Cornette did grab the microphone to insult Kowabunga and the crowd before the match, padding the run time of the bout significantly.
All in all, the match lasted around ten minutes. Kowabunga picked up the victory with a diving senton onto Jim Cornette, pinning him for the three count to win the match. The WrestleMania main event it was not, and all parties will be doing their best to forget this dreadful match.
Killing the business indeed, Jim Cornette.
You can click the video to watch Jim Cornette wrestling a Ninja Turtle (Kawabunga) in Smokey Mountain Wrestling.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.