Jim Cornette Presents: Behind the Curtain -Real Pro Wrestling Stories (2019)
Stories by Jim Cornette
Written by Brandon Easton
Art by Denis Medri
I got back into watching wrestling around 1998 and I have been keeping tabs on it ever since. I have friends that enjoy pro wrestling, and we can have long conversations about life in the squared circle. As I grow older, it’s interesting to learn the history about the business and the men and women that helped make it a star-studded attraction. After a busy March, I got to sit down and discuss this graphic novel with the TO Comic Club and special guest Brandon Easton!
Love him or hate him, Jim Cornette is an important part of the pro wrestling landscape. From manager to promoter to writer, Ol’ Corny pulls back the curtain to reveal how important kayfabe was in the early days of pro wrestling, while highlighting both the triumphs and tragedies of the sport.
I described this book like a Whitman’s Sampler, each story a tiny morsel that leaves the reader satisfied yet hungry for more. There are some familiar characters we have grown to both boo and cheer in this book like Ric Flair, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels as well as some wrestlers you might not haven’t heard about before like Dr. Jerry Graham, Sputnik Monroe, and Ed “Strangler” Lewis. As a history lover, it’s interesting to see where pro wrestling started and how it evolved over the years and how important kayfabe was to the business and what happened once that air of mystery was shattered for good in the 1990s.
This book is definitely a must-read for wrestling fans. For those that have a casual interest, it’s an experience that will make you want to take a deep dive into all facets of the sport. I thought it was very helpful that newspaper clippings from Cornette’s own personal collection were included to give more background to the stories and to help the reader better understand that these stories actually happened. You can’t make this stuff up! There is also a glossary of wrestling terms toward the end that helps you grasp their meaning when used during the narration of stories.
At only 82 pages, this is a quick read, but it will help pass the time between the next wrestling show or PPV during the week. I really hope that one day we get a sequel series to this graphic novel but if it doesn’t come to fruition, I will at least take a look at some of the matches of the wrestlers featured in this book and look for other documentaries and biographies of these beloved/hated athletes. Honestly, some of these stories, like Sputnik Monroe helping desegregate the Jim Crow South, are so inspiring they could have their own TV miniseries or movie someday.
The next time someone says that wrestling is fake and before you give them a thumb to the eye and a punch to the gut, take the high road and recommend this collection to them so they can see that pro wrestling is, in fact, real and why the sport is still loved today. It’s all because of the men and women that laid the foundation for the Superstars of today. The ones known, forgotten, or unknown; The ones that deserve to be honored and thanked for their blood, sweat, and tears. Hopefully, you’ll be able to turn these naysayers into new fans.