Much to the chagrin of ballet enthusiasts the city of Louisville has always had a close relationship with the world of professional wrestling. Dating back to the likes of Jerry “The King” Lawler, George “The Animal” Steele, and “Superstar” Billy Graham coming through town it seems the Derby City has hosted a number of notable events in the history of sports entertainment, from pay per views to Ohio Valley Wrestling which has produced a number of World Wrestling Entertainment’s current top stars Louisville has been a source of wrestling production for years now.
Enter the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, located in upstate New York the Hall’s first class of inductees from 2002 included such notables as Andre the Giant, Bruno Sammartino, and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat among others. Since then the Hall has paid homage to the likes of Hulk Hogan, “Killer” Kowalski, “Classy” Freddie Blassie, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage to name but a few.
Because of the close connections to the Derby City though, it comes as little surprise that the city has produced its first wrestling hall of famer in manager, commentator, and promoter Jim Cornette.
Cornette for years acted as a wrestling manager often times being the heel or bad guy that would work against the baby face or good guy. In addition, Cornette was known for his boisterous and opinionated (at times almost too much so) commentary on the world of professional wrestling.
What makes Cornette, who was often referred to as the Louisville Lip, a real hall of famer is his work behind the scenes establishing and promoting smaller wrestling promotions, including Ohio Valley Wrestling to the “big dogs” if you will with World Wrestling Entertainment. Positioning himself as a fan he had a keen understanding of the business of wrestling so his resume has filled out through the years as one of the most sought after in the business.
Image courtesy of the Wrestling Hall of Fame