Alan Wojcik: Where did you grow up and when did you first become a fan of professional wrestling?
Steve Corino: I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and moved to the states, specifically Philadelphia, when I was 5. I discovered wrestling in 1981. My parents were watching TV one night when I came in to say goodnight to them. They were watching this old station called Prism TV and it was WWF (now WWE) from the Philadelphia Spectrum. The first match I saw was Tony Garea & Rick Martel against Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito. I was stunned by what was going on. The next Saturday I was flipping channels and I came across TBS with Tommy Rich and Gordon Solie. Ive been hooked ever since.
AW: What led you to train to be a wrestler?
SC: My training was weird. It funny to say this now, I went to see a Great White concert in Reading, Pennsylvania. On the wall I saw a poster for this wrestling school called Dios Dungeon in Reading. At the time I was 21. I thought let me go and try out and if I am told I am too small or not athletic enough, then there would be no bitter feelings. All I wanted to be told was no. At the school I met Tom Brandi who was Johnny Gunn in WCW and Sal Sincere in WWF. He was training his cousin named Russ Money. I was the same size as Russ. So Tom put me in the ring with them. I got a real good education from Tom, along with a guy named King Kahlua who trained Tom. Kahlua was a terrific old school wrestler based out of Philadelphia. He had lots of Indy matches but had a good paying job and family. From there I learned from all the top guys when I started working. I was a sponge in locker rooms. Anyone who gave advice I sat there and took notes.
AW: Who was your first match with and any memories?
SC: My memories are being real nervous and wanting to throw up. I really cant remember it. I teamed with Bad Boy Oyo who was a student at the school against the Mess Brothers who owned Dios Dungeon. It was in the 1st round of the Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling Tag Team title tournament. I sold about 85-90 tickets to all my friends and family. I wont watch the match on tape because Im sure its god awful. It was at the place I discovered about the school, The Silo. It was cool because my main goal was to have my first match. If I had just one match I would have been happy.
AW: One of the first promotions you worked for was ECWA and Jim Ketner.
SC: Jim Kenter was another guy that had 1000s of matches on the Indy scene back in the 50s and 60s. A tremendous mind for wrestling. Jim does a different style of booking, he books guys for seasons. Like September to July. He teaches you about pro wrestling. I first came in August/September of 1995 to October of 1996. It was great and I learned so much. He gave me the best pieces of advice. He asked me, Why are you a wrestler? I told him, Its always been a dream. He then asked, Is it fun? I said Yeah. He responded, When its not fun then it is time for you to retire. Wrestlings kept me happy for the last eight years. When it becomes a job then its time to go.
AW: During this run with ECWA, you teamed with your current Extreme Horseman confidant, Simon Diamond. What was it like to team with the then named Lance Diamond?
SC: Lance was a full time guy for Ketner but didnt work for anyone else. He was going to VirginiaCommonwealthUniversity at the time. Simon is a genius. He has two degrees and two masters degrees. I loved his promos. The stuff he was doing got great heat. From day one I wanted to team with him. But he was in a team with Devon Storm. I cant remember if Devon got hurt or if it was when he signed with WCW to be Crowbar. Jim threw me in one night and we had great chemistry. When Devon signed with WCW, Jim kept us a team and we became his number one tag team until October of 1996.
AW: At this early part of your career, did you have any criteria for you to join a company?
SC: I was trying to get as much as experience as possible. At that time Jim was my number one guy. I wouldnt take another booking if I had one with him. I was Tom Brandis young boy. I would drive him to shows, carry his bags and help put up rings. Sometimes Tom would get me a quick match and always tell me, This job is yours to win or lose; I can only get you on the show once. I would make $10-15, but it was great to travel with Tom and Kahlua. I learned little things about the business like how to market yourself and how to read a map. There are so many guys that dont even have drivers licenses. The irresponsibility of the Indy workers of today. I learned how to save money and how to make it work for you. It was a great time for me.
AW: How did you get booked by WWC of Puerto Rico in 1997?
SC: At the time when the WWC came about I was in USWA. It was on its last legs. Jim Cornette got me down there. Dutch Mantel was the USWA booker but knew the end was near so he called down and became the booker for WWC. He offered to bring me and Bulldog Raines down. I called Tom Brandi for advice and he told me, This is the worst thing for you. Youre married, theyll screw you on money and youll get hurt. Theyre going to hate you. It was the end of our relationship because I Told Tom there was nothing going for me here. I wanted to go and learn the style. He was bitter at the time, he was working for WWF. Seems working for WWF makes you bitter (laughs.) It was great. I was down there for the 1st trip for six weeks. My roommates were Ricky Santana, Glamour Boy Shane and Shawn Morley (WWE Chief Morley/Val Venis.) If youre young, single and want to learn a different style, I highly recommend going to Puerto Rico. Youre not going to make a ton of money. I was making $500 a week but I sent money home and had to pay rent and a rental car. But I was literally three minutes from the beach. Your longest trip was two hours and that was on Sunday. Every other trip was 30-40 minutes. You worked five nights a week and learning every show. I lived in an apartment complex that was like Melrose Place only a little dirtier. If I was single I would have stayed because the whole complex was wrestlers and strippers. We are kind of in the same business. Theres such kayfabe in Puerto Rico and both groups knew that the other is a worker, why not have them live together. Youd look at them and go, Ah, shes a female version of a wrestler (laughs.) For the single guy what better place. Youre in paradise, your making a couple of dollars and there are ladies in bikinis.
AW: You mentioned USWA. What input did the Jarretts and Jerry Lawler have at the time?
SC: As I said, I was there at the end. Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler had sold their interests to a guy named Larry Burton, who was not a wrestling guy. So Jerry was gone and Lawler was only a wrestler. I think at the time Jeff was in his 1st run with WCW. Dutch had the book. I got to work in the WMC studios. I went on the road worked Rod Price and Spellbinder. I made little money and slept in my car. To me it was paying my dues.
AW: Lots of workers say the Mid-South is the biggest kayfabe region. What was it like to work in some of those towns where someone might stab someone because theyre a heel?
SC: I was an un-over babyface in USWA, so I never feared for that. It was great though that they want to believe. Thats the type of wrestling I love to do. Its a magic show when youre out there. I am so against the idea of sports entertainment, Im a professional wrestler. The whole thing you want is to create some reality and thats what USWA gave those fans.
AW: Speaking of sports entertainment, you worked several dark matches for the then WWF including a RAW dark match in MadisonSquareGarden. What was that like?
SC: Like a dream come true. Growing up in Philly, the WWF is what you watched at the Spectrum and also see it on TV from MSG. The Garden is the Mecca of Professional Wrestling. To do a dark match in front of 20,000 people and win in the Garden was great. It was one of my only WWF dark match win. No one cared because they were there to see Rock, Austin and Bret Hart.
AW: Was there ever a feeling you might get a developmental deal or a tryout contract?
SC: It was talked about but I had always heard from old school guys that Vince loves big guys. He feels cruiserweights or junior heavyweights dont draw money. Thats why I am big and fat now, since that got drummed into my mind (laughs.) I always knew there was a chance at a deal but could be passed over by a high flier. The TV shows were cool. For an Indy guy making $40 a night, going on Shotgun Saturday Night or a dark match was great. It makes your attitude a lot better. That extra money came in great since I had a young child.
AW: What led you to winning the NWA light heavyweight title and then your conversion to a heavyweight style?
SC: I didnt convert to a heavyweight style until I got into ECW. Paul Heyman always believed that even if you were Spike Dudley at 150 pounds or Rhino (now Rhyno in WWE) at 280, everyone was the same and you were there to fight. Winning the NWA title came about when they were trying to reinstate the belt and I lived in the Carolinas. Matter of fact I think I am the only man to hold both the light heavyweight and heavyweight belts. That doesnt get me a cup of coffee at my local 7-11 but becoming a heavyweight came out of necessity. The older I got I was hitting the gym more and the metabolism slows down and my body took more abuse. More money led to shopping at GNC style stores on stuff I never knew existed. Here I am at 61; I should be 215-220 where I can do both styles. I prefer wrestling as a heavyweight.
AW: When did Steve Corino become the KingOf OldSchool?
SC: Ive always been old school; its a style I like. Its my lifestyle and philosophy in things. My music tastes are old. I started in ECW with a tryout match against Nova in December of 1998. Paul sat with me and offered me a job. He asked me what I saw myself as. I was very shy and he kept asking me. I told him I was old school and against the extreme, because everyone on the Indy scene was doing the extreme stuff. I had been busted open in Puerto Rico and had no problem with it but I was a believer of being busted open for a reason not just bleeding to just bleed. Paul liked hearing that and decided I was Mr. Old School with my anti-hardcore idea. I felt we should build it up to the first person to bust me open and that would be the biggest moment. If I turn baby then I have changed my ways and fight for the Extreme style. Now youre talking about the Old School. Guys like Dusty and Tommy Rich who got busted open. It could have been a way for the character to evolve. Joey Styles was the one who gave me the KingOf OldSchool name. Im a big fan of Jerry Lawler and English history. Ive always wanted to be a king, my name Steven means crowned one. I talked it over with Joey but Paul was against it because he didnt want flak from WWF over the King. I guess Joey was pissed with Paul and called me the KingOf OldSchool on a PPV.
AW: What were your initial impressions of Paul Heyman or maybe then he was Paul E. Dangerously?
SC: He was always Paul Heyman to me. Paul is a guy who can sell ice to Eskimos. He is a motivator. When it comes to TV and getting talent over and also discovering talent, I dont know of anyone better. The guy can go. But running a business that got as big as ECW, I dont think I could run a business that big. I faulted him for letting ECW go bankrupt but it afforded me what I have now with Japan. I never had a close relationship with him, just on a professional level. He liked what I did promo-wise. He gave me an outline of what to say plus the freedom to expand the character. When Lance Storm left he decided he was not going to replace him but he was going to give me and CW Anderson a push, which he lived up to. There is a famous worker who I will not name, that when I started with ECW I asked him his impression of Paul. He said, That boy would rather run up a tree and lie to you then stand in front of you and tell the truth. Paul is a worker. Its not that Paul is a compulsive liar but I think he would rather lie to keep everyone happy. He wanted everything to be right. He had the wrong people helping in the office. My relationship with him now is very cordial and I am grateful for the opportunities he gave me.
AW: During the early months in ECW you teamed with Jack Victory against Tommy Dreamer and Raven. What did you think of Tommy and Raven then and any feelings on their work now?
SC: I hated Raven. God did I hate him. Raven in ECW was very cocky. Once you get to know Raven as Scotty, you realized that is his personality. He looked me as a young kid that didnt pay my dues. He told me I needed to dye my hair and grow a beard. That I didnt look like a superstar and he was just there until he started with WWF in June. I asked what day and on the booking sheet for every show I did a Ravens leaving countdown. The matches we had with him, he wouldnt sell. I did tons of stuff with Dreamer. Any time I came back on Raven he would cut me off. I couldnt say anything because he was the veteran. We drove to a show and Jack made me drive Raven. On the 200-odd mile drive Raven looked at me and said, I got the funny feeling you dont like me. I told him, You know what I hate you. It was the first time I spoke up for myself. After that night we became friends. Actually right now I am better friends with him than Dreamer. A couple months ago I had a match with him in Pittsburgh. The promoter came up and said that he wanted me as a babyface and Raven as heel. I said thats wrong, Raven just came off WWE TV and hes going to be the face. Im awful at being the face. Im one of those guys that hate choreographing a match. Thats not pro wrestling. I like to go out there, feel the crowd. Work catch as catch can style and telling a story out there. So Raven agreed if he was heel he would call the match and if I was heel I would call the match. Second into it he said youre the heel. We worked twenty minutes and it was so good. He said it was like wrestling himself. That was the ultimate compliment and he respected me. It was a credit to Raven that I dyed my hair and grew the beard. He wanted me to look like Michael Hayes who he loved growing up. Hayes was different. He told me, You look like a kid in a nightclub. If dyed your hair youll look like and become a superstar. It was the greatest thing I ever did for my career.
AW: You also teamed with Rhino. How different was he in style as opposed to Jack Victory?
SC: Huge difference in style. Teaming with Jack was also a dream come true watching him growing up. Hes major old school and to this day a best friend in life. When Rhino came in and got put with us, heres this guy with a great body and great looks. Rhino was going to take Tazzs spot in the company. He was just developing a personality on the mic. Paul put him with me and he became my monster Rhino, and I would do most of the talking while Paul groomed him. I got to watch Rhino come in as a young guy and when ECW was going down to be the guy on top. Hes a great family man and real appreciative of what he has. When you see a guy like him succeed, its great to watch.
AW: You mentioned Dusty Rhodes as a childhood hero, what was it like to wrestle the American Dream at Living Dangerously 2000 and Cyberslam 2000?
SC: Oh my goodness. When you talk about dreams coming true, that was living a dream. Heres a guy who was never in real great shape and a great worker but he surrounded himself with great workers like Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson and Ric Flair. He has charisma, a great brain and what got over with the crowd. He takes lots of flak for the Dusty finish and putting himself over, but who was more over than Dusty? He has such a big heart. Dusty came to a show in Atlanta in December of 1998, right after this thing I did with Limp Bizkit. I used to call Tommy Dreamer The Dream. Tommy came to me and said, Youre working the Dream tonight. He always referred to himself in the third person. I asked him what he wanted to do tonight. He said, No youre working with THE DREAM tonight. I go, Dusty Rhodes? Yes, oh my goodness. I was just going to do a promo with him and hed give the big elbows. Paul didnt know if Dusty was going to do this one-spot or build on it. I called him Mr. Rhodes and he said, No Im Dusty and Ive heard lots of good things about you. I asked him were there any points he wanted me to avoid. He said, Kid if youre as good as they say you are, we wont need to say anything, just feel it from the crowd. I walk off and Dreamer grabs me and say dont say anything about his kid. I said no problem. We did the thing and I blamed him for hardcore and made him the innovator of hardcore wrestling. It got great ratings on TNN. Dusty was for doing the feud. That feud made me. Before that I was feuding with Tommy, Tazz, Francine and Jazz. I was looked more as an annoyance more than a big heel. With Dusty he was the first old school guy fighting the KingOf OldSchool. It made me a legitimate guy. Heres this 50 year old guy fighting for ECW, the young group and here I am saying he is the cause of extreme and hardcore styles. It was the battle of old school but here I am at age 27 fighting him. At Living Dangerously it was Dustys idea to do the old-school bunkhouse match. I thought about the match for days. I watched tapes of Dusty and Kevin Sullivan, Dusty and Tully. Tully was one of my big heroes from my youth. Dusty gave me a great compliment that night by asking me how I wanted the match to go. I was shocked, so I came up with him taping the cowbell to my head and hitting me with the chair for the count. It was only the second time I ever bled and that was a big deal with the fans. I will never forget what happened afterwards. No matter how mad I ever got at Paul over the years. I dont think Paul knew how much of a Tully fan I was. After the match, while I was cleaning up, Paul hugged me and said that it was better than anything Dusty and Tully ever did. I thought it was the greatest compliment. Cyberslam 2000 was the night I was supposed to beat Dusty and I was totally against it. To me just the rub Dusty gave me and being in the ring made Steve Corino. I didnt need to beat him, especially in Philly. I felt it was ridiculous, this cant happen and I told Paul that he couldnt ask Dusty to do it. He told me he didnt have to, Dusty asked to do it. I was said oh My God!! Here is my idol. Dusty said it was his way of thanking me. He got a six month run out of it and the ECW crowd loved him. Before he came in, the message boards were saying Dusty would never survive in ECW, hed get booed out of the building. He credited himself with getting over because of me with being a great heel. To this day Dusty is like a Father to me.
AW: To backtrack a moment. You mentioned Francine and Jazz, how did these ladies end up wrestling you?
SC: I think I had lots of heat in the office (laughs.) Tommy Dreamer got hurt I think at Hardcore Heaven 1999. I was in a house show feud with him and he was seconded by Francine. I came up with the idea one night. We had this great 20 minute back and forth on the mic and then a 20 minute match. I decided how about I do the same thing tonight but with Francine. I throw a punch at her, she DDTs me 1,2,3. I still got a lot of heat. It wasnt my idea to do it every night in EVERY city. At the time I was in a TV feud with Tazz who was ECW World champ and he was white hot. Here I am getting my butt beat by a girl every night. It got frustrating doing the thing with Francine. Shes great but shes a valet, Jazz was a wrestler. Funny story. The first night we worked, she was timid about what to do in the ring. We came up with her giving me a couple of clotheslines and I would shake them off being Im the bigger person. Plus why should I sell for her, me being the veteran (laughs.) She hit me with the first clothesline so hard I thought my teeth got knocked out of my mouth. In a total shoot, I rolled out of the ring and headed for the locker room. Jack comes over and says, What are you doing? I said, Forget it Im not getting back in there with her. Shes too tough. Jack says, Do you here yourself? I said, You go in there and take a clothesline from her. She hit me so hard and it was a clean clothesline to the upper chest not one to the mouth. I had fun wrestling her. Its amazing to see her and the success on TV with Rodney (Mack of WWE.) But I had more fun wrestling Jazz than Francine. Jazz is a wrestler; Francine is a valet that can throw a DDT. Even though it was guy vs girl, I was able to get lots of heat and it made the people believe that they could win.
AW: What led to the formation of the Network group and how much say did you have in the grouping?
SC: It came about after something happened between Paul and TNN. I think Cyrus came up with the idea for the Network. The biggest guy in the company was Rhino and he was still with me and Jack. So it made it natural all of us would be in the group. Also you had me and Cyrus going back and forth over who controlled Rhino. Anything you saw of Cyrus on TV was Cyrus in real life. Were both Philly boys. Hes an annoying person (laughs.) It was great with him as the rep of TNN. It was real successful. Paul could get his shoot frustrations with TNN out through the group. Anything that went wrong on the show he could blame on the Network.
AW: What was the craziest thing the Network did on ECW TV?
SC: There were so many but there was one night that stands out. Justin Credible was a minor member of the Network. He had the ECW World title at the time and he would come out and join us when we would be beating Dreamer down or someone else. One night at a TV taping Cyrus was in the ring with him. He said to Justin, You know what I mean PJ? We all looked at each other and did a double take as Justins name is PJ. We watched TV next week and Paul didnt bleep it out. Here on tape is Cyrus breaking major kayfabe. On the road we did some crazy stuff. On the house mic I would call Cyrus Jerkyl instead of Jackyl. One night in Pensacola, Florida, we were in an eight man tag and Sandman had a few too many before the match and dropped his pants. We had great fun as a group. When Tajiri left the group we did funny promos showing how dumb we were that got us accused us of racism by saying he was Chinese instead of Japanese. We were doing the Blazing Saddles thing by saying how the white man is stupid yet he likes the white man. This Chinaman coming in when hes Japanese. We knew we were over but not many people got the idea of what we were doing. Those were real fun times.
AW: What was it like to work the man nicknamed the Japanese Buzzsaw at Hardcore Heaven 2000? Does he live up to the nickname?
SC: Yes, he cuts through you with those kicks. Tajiri is one of the best in the world. I lots of fun and learned a lot from him. You look back at that show. The main event was Lance Storm against Justin Credible in Lances last ECW match, plus Sandman/Rhino and Rob Van Dam/Jerry Lynn wrestling in their first matches back. So we were the fourth main event. Tajiri and I decided to go out there and beat the hell out of each other. I dont know if I beat the hell out of him but he beat the hell out of me. It was so brutal that even though Joey Styles knew the finish, listen to his call of the match. Tajiri it me with what I called it the stiff 50, which was 50 punches and kicks that all I did was cover up. To me it was the Japanese stiff style but Joey didnt feel that way. Joey knew that the end was me going through the table you hear Joey say, Steve its almost over. Joey was concerned for my welfare. It was something that put me on the map as a guy that as much as I hated hardcore wrestling, I was going to do whatever it took to get to the top, even if it meant taking a beating to get my point across. This match made me more than just a good talker. It showed my toughness.
AW: A couple of months later you worked Jerry Lynn. What was he like to be in there with?
SC: I was intimidated working with Jerry. You watch the great matches he has had and he makes everyone better. When we worked at Heatwave 2000 I didnt know what to expect. I knew Jerry was going to win but I didnt know it was going to be as special as it was. We had an incredible match. It was the start of me turning babyface. While the PPV crowd watched the replay of the finish, you can hear a little of it. I was just getting to my feet from what is commonly known as a gusher. I almost bled to death. I got 25 stitches and he wrote DIE on his chest in my blood. That was disturbing for me to watch on tape. We were so exhausted that when he hit with the piledriver, his legs gave out and he spiked me. He said I cant hook your leg and I told him Im not kicking out. It was like Rocky and Apollo, There aint gonna be no rematch. Dont want one. He gets out of the ring. As I start to get up, the LA crowd gave me an ovation. They respected me because they felt heres this guy who just got the crap kicked out of him. He could be bleeding to death and he gave us a great match. Paul then and there decided to turn me babyface. Jerry pound for pound is one of the five best in the world. I would put him up there with Christopher Daniels, who I think is the best in the business. Put Jerry on the list with Daniels as well as Shinjiro Otani, Low Ki, Masato Tanaka.
AW: Speaking of your despise of hardcore, what was it like to get in the ring with the hardcore killer named New Jack?
SC: What you see in New Jack is what you get.
AW: Four justifiable homicides to his name.
SC: That says it all there. I always feared I would become the fifth (laughs.) I always reminded him, New Jack I dont care what happens in the match but remember I have a young son. He would laugh at me. We had some brutal yet fun times. He believes in that hardcore style as much as I believe in the old school style. When you know New Jack the person you can see where New Jack the character came from. It was good for me to work someone with a different style. I could work New Jack one night, Jerry Lynn on another night and Tommy Dreamer the next. I like being versatile and working with New Jack was just another piece of the overall puzzle.
AW: At November To Remember you became the ECW world champion in a match against Justin Credible, Jerry Lynn and Sandman. What was it like to find out what was going to happen that night?
SC: A month or two before that show, Paul came to me and said, You are going to be world champion one night. I said, Paul Im very loyal to you, you dont need to lie to me. I never expected the title, especially when you have those three in the match with me. I thought the plan was to put the belt back on Justin. At the airport I talked it over with Sandman and we thought lets do what we can because its going to come down to Justin and Jerry. Lets make our part real good. We didnt know talking at that time it was a mini tournament. When we got to the building around , Sandman came over and said, Alright kid this is your night. I thought cool because he usually lets me lead matches between me and him. So I asked him what he wanted to do. He said, Are you ready for this? I told him Hak its just another match. Lets make sure Jerry and Justin get over good. He said, Kid what are you talking about? Well, what are you talking about? Youre up tonight! I said get out of here. You need to stop getting drunk before shows. Here comes Justin to give me a big hug. Congratulations your champ tonight. After Justin came over I knew it was real because Justin didnt joke around. It hit me and all I could think was Oh my god why are they taking the belt off Jerry so quick? I went to find Jerry and tell him that I just found out and asked was he ok with this. He had worked so hard to get the belt and one month later they taking it from him. He said, Its your time. Hearing him say that made me feel so comfortable. The three of them made that night so special. I remember it more for what else we did in the match besides me winning the belt. I remember it for the professionalism of the three of them. Paul gave us the rules of the match and he must have made them up at that venue. It was going to be Sandman and me, then Justin and Jerry then me and Justin. So everyone goes off to stretch and prepare. We re-gather, get to the ring and go over it one time. We had to feel the crowd; there was no way to map this one out. During the final match Justin and I realize we forgot one vital thing, the finish of OUR match. We never went over a finish. We knew Dawn Marie was going to turn. So it became a shoot finish. Was it going to be the Old School Explusion, was it going to be a schoolboy rollup? Lets feel it when the time is right. It was a great night and I was honored to win the belt. There were other things that led to it. Breaches of contract by the other three men had something to do with it. I was the only one that didnt have one. Paul thought I was the safe bet. If he put it on the other three when the breach period ended they could have left with the belt a la Mike Awesome. So I figured they thought I was the safe bet. If the match wasnt good and the other three didnt do what they did, I probably thought it was just another title win. They made it real sweet for me. My first World Heavyweight title.
AW: You lost the belt at Guilty as Charged 2001 in a non- Old School Tables, Ladders, Chairs and Canes match against Sandman and Justin Credible. How much input did you have in the match?
SC: None! Justin and I had a real strained relationship with Paul at that time. We knew the company was going down. I had a feeling I was going to lose the belt back to Justin because they were going to the end of the breach of contract period. Lots of strange things happened that night. We used the word NO that night. We stood up for ourselves that night. Not to sound like a dick but we made a Power Play and said this is how its going to happen. We tried to do the match as best we could but it was too similar to the last match we did at the last ECW arena show. That match was so special that we couldnt duplicate it. I felt bad because I wanted to make the 5 minutes Sandman held the belt for the fourth time or fifth if you ask him, as special as he made it for me. It didnt click as much as the ECW Arena match did. I felt the New York crowd felt it was the end and the world title was not important and knew that Rob Van Dam was coming back one more time.
AW: What led to you leaving ECW and any thoughts on the demise of the group and final thoughts on Paul Heyman?
SC: There are probably a million factors that led to the fall. Until Paul does a shoot the truth will not be totally 100% out. It comes down to the fact what made ECW great was we were a stepping stone to WCW and WWF. Guys would get over here and then go to WCW/WWF and then those feds would ruin them. What Paul did, and it was genius, hed let them guys go and build someone new. Economically for a small company thats brilliant. Eventually if this guy is going to stay and get over, hes going to want more and more money. I think Paul started to get pissed off that WCW/WWF raided his talent. So he started putting guys up to that level of pay. I know I wasnt in the top 15 in payroll, but it was more money than I had seen in my life and it was great money. It made me want to stay even though I might have made three times more by going to WCW/WWF, I enjoyed where I was in life. Instead of Paul letting guys go, he wanted to keep that core of guys like Van Dam, Dreamer, Justin, Rhino, Jerry and me. So he paid us more money. Shows were selling 2-3,000 tickets and merchandise is selling great. But when youre paying guys a ton of money it doesnt even out. This is just my opinion. Paul needed to let guys go at the right time. For example you have a guy at the $2,000 a week level and someone at $750 a week that can fill his role. Were drawing 2-3,000 a night, so let the $2,000 guy go to make $6,000 in WWE and start to build up the $750 guy. When he makes $2,000 level and WWE calls, let him ago and build again. I think thats what Paul did for a while. My overall opinion was there was not enough money to pay all that talent, plus our PPV and TV deals werent so great and stuff like that. We were behind the eight ball and couldnt borrow any more money.
AW: At this juncture did you have calls from WCW and WWF?
SC: I was just about to debut in WCW in 2001 and do something with Dusty/Dustin/Flair and Jarrett. It was going to be good. But then WCW and Dusty called me the week before their last ever PPV. Dusty said something big is going to happen to this company. He thought it was either going to be sold to these Fusion guys or its going down; he thought it was going down. I knew that when WWF was interested in buying they wouldnt pick my contract up. I began to look into getting work in Japan and I wanted to win the NWA World title, the first title I saw on TV. In the end, WCW and ECW going down were the two greatest things to happen to me.
AW: What led you to winning the NWA World title from Mike Rapada?
SC: Mike was a good champion. Hes a very solid wrester but he couldnt draw for the various NWA affiliates. Many of them dont have TV so its hard to get a guy over when no one knows him. In my promotion PWF which is on TV in 13 markets, if I want to get a guy over that has never worked for me,I ask him to send a promo tape and I have my producer chop it up into 4 week blocks so when he arrives the fans know him. Mike didnt have that luxury. Putting the belt on me is putting the belt on someone who is just off ECW-TV, has no desire to go to WWF and WCW is no more. Its the most old-school belt and since Im the KingOf OldSchool, its the perfect fit. I was really thrilled to do it in Tampa/St Pete where Dusty won his first NWA World title. It all worked out in the end. The NWA was a hard group to deal with at the time. That made it not as fun as it should have been. I took the title and made it a WORLD title by defending it in Japan, England, Canada and all over the US. I was the first guy to do that since Ric Flair. Ogawa was a great champion but he didnt like to travel all over. It was a great honor that I will always remember.
AW: Speaking of St. Pete, you lost the title at the Florida WrestlePlex at the NWA Anniversary show in controversial fashion to Shinya Hashimoto. Any thoughts or memories?
SC: Yeah I got my ass beat (laughs.)
AW: Sorry to bring back bad memories.
SC: Its alright; the memories are all good ones. That was the match that solidified my job in Japan. I knew there was a plan to put the belt on Hashimoto and I was fully in favor of it. To me Hashimoto is a Japanese legend. Hashimoto, Muta, Chono and Masawa are the American versions to Hogan, Rock and Austin. I was very in favor of the change and I knew he wanted to defend it in the States to keep it a WORLD title. I had grown frustrated with the NWA and I wanted to do something different because wrestling was starting to become a job and I had thoughts of going back to school. I knew everyone in that place knew that there was going to be a title change. I went to (then NWA President) Howard Brodie with this idea for the match. He came back and said the Japanese dont like it. I said come on how could no one like this. This is creating reality and will totally shock the internet, which you couldnt do unless someone dies. This was going to shock them, everyone in the building and the Japanese press. More amazing is to shock the boys, because you shock them and you know the fans will believe it. I loved this idea so much. I had just done my first tour for Zero-One. I went and faxed the Zero-One office and Yoshi Nakamura with my idea and 10 minutes later he responded with a yes on the idea. The idea was to have the NWA send out press releases with the results of the show before it ever took place. I made sure that there were no changes made to it. They sent them out to sites that will not be named because I know this is true even if they deny it to their dying day. The whole idea was to make them think they are getting a scoop at , so they dont have to call when the show ends at 11. I can write up my review of the show now. I had Howard put on the release Corino wins via DQ and Corino retains the World title. If there is a pin that still cool. I am a huge fan of the Rocky movies and I think Rocky is wrestling psychology in a boxing movie. I came up with the plan of a shoot finish and a knockout. I cant defend my self anymore. I had the referee say Steve you have had enough and I dont care what the finish is and Im stopping it. We smartened up five of the boys because there was going to be apart where I lose it and go after Hashimoto. Go back and watch the tape. I knew where the cameras were so that when the referee Fred Richards starts telling me in the corner as Hashimoto was giving me shoot kicks to the face. I told him I didnt mind that but please dont kick me in the nose because I didnt want to be knocked out for real and lose my wits. I got opened up over my eye. I did the dont you stop this match and as Hashimoto puts his last kick, Fred is calling for the bell and it doesnt look like a work. As the bell rings he kicked me. The fans are stunned. I get pissed off and throw a shoot punch at Hashimoto, which he knew was coming. So in his mind this was supposed to be a DQ finish, what is going on? I have to look like I got screwed and he needs to look like what just happened! I got the idea from the way Zero-One was formed in the shoot between Hashimoto and Ogawa. I wanted to create that kind of reality. One of the fives guys that I had come out was Christopher Daniels who came up with the idea of putting a towel over my eye instead of my forehead. So the crowd thinks oh god Corinos eye is hurt. Now the 4 other boys need to be thinking we have to get Hashimoto out of here and the fans began to chant F$%k you Hashimoto and you screwed him. Jimmy Del Ray after the match told me he loved me to death and that he almost fought Hashimoto on my defense. He thought it was a shoot/screw job. We created this gimmick that Hashimoto needed to get in a car and leave because there was going to be a riot. All the sheets had stuff saying I didnt want to drop the belt and the end was a possible shoot. I got the heat on me and remember they had the advance release with the DQ on it. I wanted to do a best-of-seven with Hashimoto. We would do a press conference and have the matches with a Zero-One strong/shoot style. Make this a real important event. It worked until two days later when one of the NWA people came out and said it was a work. It killed the mystique. But for two days people believed. It showed me that people want to believe wrestling is real as much as I want to believe magic is real. I always want to show that in my mind it is real. I put as much realism in my matches as possible. Not death-defying flips and stuff. I love the Hardy Boys style. But, I want to create the realism that guys like Kevin Sullivan, Dick Murdoch, Dusty, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham and Ric Flair had in their matches. That is the realism that I wanted. The kind I saw when I was a kid, when adults believed in it for those three hours they watched it on TV or in the arena. I think that is what is wrong with our sport now. We need is that idea back, is it real or is it fake? Its real. Look at my x-rays, my head, my hands and my personal life. We create magic out there. Whether you believe in it or not I want you goinghome after seeing my promo thinking that guy is an a##hole or Im going to remember that match. You watch Monday night Raw and theres no realism. Why was wrestling so big in 1998? You wanted to believe that Steve Austin really hated Vince McMahon. I believed it. Plus you have a great supporting cast with the Rock and all the stuff with Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. You believe all of that is real. People think, This is cool I hate my boss and wish I could do that stuff to him.
AW: Before going into your Japanese tours. Even though this is old stuff, what is your view on the Shawn/Bret issue? Did that change the business forever?
SC: My own opinion, its a conspiracy. Bret, Shawn and Vince will go to their graves saying it was a shoot. To me it was the greatest work of all time. Vince is not adummy. Granted the people he has writing TV arent geniuses. Why would he ask Bret to lose the world title on the night that the Wrestling with Shadows people are filming everything? Knowing Bret has so much pride. If you not Canadian, you cannot understand what pride Canadians have in Canadian wrestlers. For a Canadian wrestler to lose in Canada you might as well kidnap their kid. Its that big. I lost once in Winnipeg. I hadnt been there in 15 years and it caused such uproar. From that I kind of relate to Bret. Bret and Shawn didnt like each other everyone knows that. I was there for dark matches and I saw it first hand. Hall and Nash were in WCW. Either Bret or Shawn had to go. Vince claims business was down and I dont believe that, I think business was coming up. The Wrestling with Shadows documentary crew is there. They probably talked in the back and said you cant let Shawn go because then the whole Kliq is in WCW. If you let Bret go and keep Shawn knowing Bret with 14 years of service is making $1 million a year. Vince knows Bischoff is such a mark wanting to put WWF out of business that hell pay Bret $3 million a year. Vince says Bret this is my idea. I want to keep you but I cant. If I let Shawn go then he kills business and WCW wins. If I let you go, you make 3 times the money, youre a hero and Im the big heel. You have this crew here filming your life and we can make it the biggest shoot ever. Bret might read this and have heat with me but this is my conspiracy theory. There are guys in this business that I dont like but I will wrestle them. I have a couple of finishers but there is no way in this world I am going to let someone I hate beat me with my own finisher like Bret did because I want to be a professional but there are limitations. Bret never thought Shawn was in his league, but that might have been a work as well. Why have the cameramen get all that backstage stuff on film? This was also around the time when Steve Austin was coming on. For 20 years Vince had been looking for the ultimate heel when it was looking him back in the mirror. I am thinking this is great; this made the Austin/McMahon feud. Shawn is world champ and Bret has the guaranteed money. This sets up Michaels/Austin for the belt. Davey Boy and (Jim) Neidhart were expendable, WWF let them go. Owen and Bret were tight. Youre telling me that Owen loved money more than his brother. Here is Bret with $3 million a year, why didnt he say how dare you work for Vince. I will give you money to sit out the contract. So I thought Owen is still there and soon after he got a big push. Its real unfortunate he died the way he did. That definitely led to real heat between Bret and Vince.
AW: Enough about sports entertainment, how did you get involved with Zero-One? How does it compare to the WWF?
SC: Apples and Oranges. Zero-One started as a shoot company. Hashimoto left New Japan and wanted to start a semi-shoot company. They had a backer called Shinjeki (sic) along with bringing Mark Cole and Mark Herman in from mixed martial arts/UFC. Then Otani and Takiawa jumped. Hashimoto is very popular person in Japan. Zero-One is now a collection of styles. The main style is Strong style. You are on the mat having long matches and hitting full contact. We have Ogawa who does the shoot stuff. The WW guys like Hanamora and Kurona (both sic) who do hardcore. We have had kickboxers and karate guys. It has made Zero-One very popular. Our foreign guys are more popular than any other Japanese company. The office told us to be ourselves. You dont have to be the tough guy, smile if you want to. If you want to get the crowd into your matches go for it. Our crowds have been unbelievable. It is the most enjoyable place to wrestle. To the fans it is 100% real. The way it should be. Are there some that think its a work? Sure. But we dont insult their intelligence. We go out there and kick each others ass every night. You come out of there knowing you gave it all in that match. You are really training for matches, not sitting there thinking out I got this guy coming up. Youre at the dojos learning new styles all the time or youre going to get your ass beat. You dont know a guys style he going to kill you in the ring. It maybe 2003 but its the 1973 mentality of the media treating it as 100% real. Magazines come out every week that are better looking than Sports Illustrated. Guys that are feuding dont travel together to shows or sit together in the back. The press never sees them together. After matches you are interviewed like you are Jim Thome. They ask you real questions not stuff about spots or you dont cut a promo. That makes it so much.
AW: For those reading this that have never seen the way Japanese fans view wrestling matches, which is in total silence. Does that throw you off in the ring?
SC: In the beginning yes. Japanese fans are very quiet. I have turned it that guys like Otani and I can have our names chanted before the match. They love rope breaks. You have your guy in a submission move and he crawls to the ropes on that break, the crowd will pop. They love big kick outs at 2. When youre near the end and doing tons of false finishes, they are at a fever pitch. To hear them go nuts after a kick out is amazing. You wrestled 25 minutes and working with a guy that doesnt speak your language, the false finishes are all on the fly. You see an opening you take it. Its such a rush because youre shoot-kicking out. People cant see me getting excited here getting up into a frenzy. Ring of Honor is one of the US promotions that has tried to capture that style. In the states the people dont get into the false finishes. In the US guys only have one finishes, in Japan you have to have three finishes. I have the Old School Explusion then another night I will hit the Northern Lights bomb or a submission. Youre hitting two of your finishers and hitting your third to get the win. Its a great buildup to the finish.
AW: What is your current travel schedule between the US and Japan?
SC: Its rough. Usually I do two weeks in each country, but more recently its been three weeks in Japan and one here at home. It gets tiring with a one-way 16 hour flight. You never get used to the time change. I have a son who lives in the states. I dont get to spend much with him which is sad. But he knows this is my job and what I do to pay the bills. He has come over to Japan two times this year with me. Couple of years ago we were running two or three shows a month. Now we do seven to ten a moth. Its a brutal schedule but it rewarding in the end.
AW: You currently hold two different titles in Japan (NWA I-C tag titles with C.W. Anderson and the Zero-One US champion.) What is it like to be a double champion?
SC: Zero-One created a group called Zero-One USA. It is a different style. The Japanese guys get to use a gimmick. Masato Tanaka became Masa Tanaka the legend of ECW. Otani went back to his England working days to become the generic Mr. Otani. Hashimoto went back to his Stampede days as Hashi Fukane. All the Japanese guys turned into a gimmick while all the US guys became the Strong/Japanese guys. They created a US title and I wrestled Tanaka. We had never fought singles together. We worked in Kourkean Hall and my son was in attendance. All the Japanese guys became heels that night. The Zero-One office wanted an ECW style match between us, even though both of us had fought to change our styles. We did that and the fans got to see something special. The Japanese makes title changes so special with a 4-foot trophy. My son put the belt on me and they read a proclamation in the ring. I really felt like I shoot won a title. This past trip C.W. and I won the tag titles. In a shoot CW is my best friend. Winning the belts was a major surprise because Ogawa and Hashimoto were the champs. We had no idea that they were going to have the NWA take the belts away from them after they threw Fat Guffari (sic) over the top rope, then hold up the belts and have us win them. Hashimoto may have the All Japan triple-crown titles but to be the first dual Zero-One champion was an honor from the office and the fans. I am able to hold two of the four Zero-One belts; the other two are Jr. Heavyweight titles.
AW: During your trips around the USA, you wrestled for NWA Florida and IPW Hardcore. What was it like to wrestle Danny Doring in the NWA Florida title tournament?
SC: It was great. The style of the NWA Florida belt is something I loved. At that time NWA Florida changed from Howard Brodie to Joe Price who owns Championshipleather.com, a great place to get title belts from. I requested Joe re-create the old style Florida title belt. Knowing I was going to win the tournament but I then realized his next four shows I wouldnt be able to work. So Joe called me and said we have to let Danny win the tournament. No problem with me. I came up with the idea of me winning the tournament then losing the belt in an impromptu because they wanted Danny to be a big heel. I hate when heels go over in a tournament. So have me go over. Then have Danny shake my hand and I say anytime you want a re-match you get it. He says how about now and tosses the mic in my face. I lose to him in five minutes and theres Danny as the heel they wanted.
AW: You mentioned the NWA Southern title that you beat Jack Victory for. What was it like to work your former partner?
SC: We did a tournament in Boyertown, Pennsylvania for the belt. Jack and I now feud in PWF. When the finals came out to Jack and me, it was cool. I never wanted to feud but when I started PWF it seemed natural and a money maker. Paul swore he would never break us up and he kept is word. If ECW was still around we would have broken up. To this day Jack and I have never been together in PWF. Weve created a realism in the company is there just a difference in views or would they really be there for each other if the chips are down.
AW: You won the IPW world title from Agent Steele in October 2002 and at Independent Armageddon a month later, you lost in ladder match with Agent Steele that Alliance of Defiance member Rod Steel stuck himself in through an amazing loophole in the contract. Memories on those two matches?
SC: It was great to be the champion. It came as a shock. Agent Steele is really good in the ring. I enjoyed wrestling him for the title. Here is a guy that going into that match had a bad knee. He went 15 minutes with me and I knew he was hurt and I am giving him those Japanese style kicks to the back of the knee to make the realism that he is going to fight back from this to beat me. The ladder match was not that great because I am not a fan of them. What can you do on a ladder that the Hardys, Dudleys and Edge/Christian have done before? So I would have rather lost the title the regular way. I thought Rod Steel winning the belt the way he did was genius. What better way for your top heel to win the belt? Here are Corino and Agent Steele, two babyfaces fighting for the titles and pride. This ass brings the AOD with him and they hold Corino and Agent Steele down while Rod climbed and got the belt. The contract read the first man to get the title belt won the title. It didnt say Agent Steele or Steve Corino. I made sure the ring announcer read it so theres the loophole. That showed how smart the AOD is by seeing the loophole.
AW: What are your impressions of IPW and its owner Ron Neimi? Do you see them as the new ECW-style company, even though they may never be another ECW?
SC: They have great guys. Ron for being such a short guy is a great promoter. Ron is a very good guy with me. Both him and Joe Price. He has slowly expanded his TV and hes not rushing to take over the world. Dare I call him Napoleon (laughs.) You are right there will never be another ECW or AWA or UWF. But theres going to be the next big thing other than WWE. There is a call for a big Florida promotion whether its IPW or NWA Florida or MLW. There is that calling that the state can be broken up. Its great for the business of wrestling. MLW and IPW can expand and get TV out all over.
AW: On a somber note at the Independent Armageddon show you worked the same night with the deceased Curt Hennig. Any memories of Curt?
SC: I was friends with Curt. I had a dark match with WWF in 1996 he was great. A night later I did a spot where I was a fan that got beat up by Crush. Curt put me over as a fan with a big heart while Jim Ross tried to bury me. Curt was always cool with me. I met him again four years later. I was ECW champion and working for IWA while Curt was working for WWC. There was a place called Lupes were everyone met up and hung out. That trip I took my then-girlfriend down to Puerto Rico. We got to the place about and here comes Curt Hennig. I thought its been four years and hes not going to remember me, my hair is different. I walk up and say hi Mr. Henning my name is Steve Corino. He goes are you on drugs, I met you four years ago. I said you remember me? Yeah I watch ECW all the time and your promos are great. We ended up talking all night and drinking and talking about our love for the business. My girlfriend decides to go back to the hotel around . I told her Ill come back and she told me to stay with Curt. We ended up sitting there talking until . I sat and listened to him talk about his love of pro wrestling. He always introduced me to people as his friend Steve Corino. He was a big practical joker but he had a big heart. Its a shame that he had passed away. My sister ran into him a week before in Minneapolis. He said to ask me to call him and I never got to call him back. There are lots of a##holes in the business and he was the coolest guys Ive ever been around.
AW: You brought up the internet before; Ring of Honor has become an internet favorite. What do you think makes it special?
SC: It is a great product. Gabe Zapolski and Rob Feinstein have a great idea. They want to bring the sport back into wrestling. They have a very stiff style. Its great. You really have to work hard for that Philly crowd. I wouldnt say its total Japanese ring style. You have great young talent in AJ Styles, American Dragon, Homicide, Low Ki, Michael Shane and Paul London. Its good to see a promotion that is working towards the future and have guys that are ready to get to the next level. Theyre over on the internet because they are more focused on in-ring action than storylines. Its very entertaining to me.
AW: How did you get involved with NWA Total Non-stop Action?
SC: I did their initial show and the Gauntlet for the Gold match. Because of my Japan schedule its hard for them to keep me in a storyline. Jeff Jarrett and I have been friends for almost eight years now. Hell give me a call and see if I want to come in. Sometimes I think theyre wasting their money by bringing me in (laughs.) I think it could be a great promotion if Jerry Jarrett was doing the show writing and not someone else. Lets leave Vince Russos name out of it. Vince still believes in that Crash-TV style in a two-hour time frame. You look at some of the angles that people believe in like the recent one with Jeff & Raven where theyve been teasing the title match until two weeks ago. Thats what people want to see. I think TNA can have a big future or they can crash real soon. This is another group with great young talent. My biggest issue is they talk way too much about the WWE and bring up the bad part of peoples past. Focus on the positives. The NWA has 95 years of tradition and this is the newest part of it. Focus on that when guys like Justin or DLo Brown come in. Dont bring up that these guys were dropped and not given the chance by the WWE. Embrace them and say its great to have DLo Brown, former WWE European champion and Justin Credible, former ECW World champion. There here to prove themselves. Instead they come in and say were here because we want to show Vince that we can work and deserve to be on TV. Thats the thing I have against the group. Backstage it is a very professionally run group.
AW: Do you see Vinces writing of the SEX angle and the misuse of ECW talent as something that can lead to the downfall of the company?
SC: Definitely. Its great that guys like New Jack, Sandman and Sabu are working but ECW IS DEAD and its been dead for two years. Instead of talking about the past, focus on the future. Talk about why they are here and what they plan to do. I thought the second generation grouping of (Erik) Watts, (Brian) Lawler and David Flair was a great idea. They feel like theyre in their fathers shadows and people can relate to that. The whole SEX thinganytime you bring sex into wrestling its no good. Sex is for the bedroom not in the ring. You can have pretty ladies like Athena on from time to time. Dont shove it down my throat.
AW: Like (TNA cage dancer) Lollipop losing her top on live TV.
SC: Exactly. Lollipop has a great body. Sure its on PPV and has a high TV rating. But the viewer has to explain it to their wife or girlfriend or kid why theyre watching it. I know some guys including me were pissed off. Like I said shes got a great body to look at. Id rather be at home watching it than have it happen during my wrestling time. Wrestling and nudity dont need to be together. The idea of Sports Entertainment eXtreme only validates its not wrestling its sports entertainment. Thats a shame. Russos a guy that wants to be a wrestler and never will be.
AW: One last TNA question, do like the idea of unannounced appearances by Raven or Roddy Piper and Justin Credible is good or bad?
SC: What we need to address first is the idea of Justin Credible and the lights-off, lights-on is not an original one. He did that in my company PWF a month before they did it on TNA. It was all over the internet. I got the idea from Paul doing it with Sabu one night. We had never done that gimmick in PWF. Justin made his first post-WWE appearance with PWF. I asked Justin if he wanted to do the light deal and he said yes. I like the idea. I like the idea of surprises every week. But you need something else to bring the people back every week. Having too many surprises will lead to a letdown the night you dont have one. Whats going to one up Roddy Piper or Raven? You bring Hacksaw Duggan out one week and the crowd fell flat. The week Nikita Koloff came out, I went nuts but not much of the crowd knew who he was and thats a shame. We dont rely on the history of pro wrestling and the stars that paved the way. Were into how much T & A we can have on a show and how much we can expose the inner workings of the business. Vinces idea is lets teach them the magic, theyre not stupid. Well no one said they were stupid Vince! No one said the fans back in the day were stupid. Am I dumb because I believe in pro wrestling? Of course not! Its like magic, I dont want to know how its done because then I wont watch it once I know the secrets behind the trick. The boost from Austin/McMahon made Russo believe he was the mastermind by exposing the backstage stuff. It was more the idea of is it real or is this a work that made wrestling great. We can still go back to that idea. Guys are falling on their heads giving it their all week after week, but fans saying he fell on a padded mat and he knew the outcome. You should be thinking these are great athletes not that its fake. Im not the toughest guy in the world, but in a bar fight Im going to win. Im not a 110 pound guy that does a 1,000 flips and calls himself a pro wrestler. Im a 230 pound guy that respects the sport I do. Were not insulting peoples intelligence in saying its fake, we should give them that choice. To the people out there its not fake. Anyone who has fallen on that mat knows it hurts. Anyone that has been hit with a chair knows it hurts. Anyone that wrestled 10 minutes in front of a crowd knows you are tired afterwards and are gasping for hair. You need to be in great shape. I dont understand where its fake. Boxing is fake. In Japan the bosses say wrestling is real while the American bosses say its fake. I like the Japanese bosses view.
AW: What led you to create your company PWF? How much input do you give to the storylines?
SC: I have the ultimate input. I have a guy named Charlie guillotine LeGrande who is my booker. We do the TV writing together. I started it up in February of 2001 right after ECW went under. I was looking for something where I could learn the inside of sport like booking and TV production. I dont want to be 45 and still wrestling. I want to develop new talent like Paul and Dusty. When I was working for ECW at the end, I was also booking for IWA in Reading. I got the crowd up to 200-250 from 75-100. I had a chance to go into another building and I asked the owner if he wanted to expand IWA and he was against it. I started PWF. I used ECW guys during the 1st shows. Its been two years now and through ups and downs but were still here. The business side is hard. Picking the venue and what date to run and bringing in talent. Trying to keep the people into following storylines is easy. I dont ask too much of my guys. They dont have to kill themselves and make the people come back for more. We have TV shows in 13 markets including Philly, Boston and Hartford. We need to build a sales team to get advertising for the shows. The TV show is good. I have Tanya Cornell from TCTapes.net as my producer. Shes been wonderful, by making an old-school type TV show. We have great ratings in Boston and a suburb called FallsRiver where we might run a show soon. The one thing I hate coming back from a commercial and the locker room is there. Why is it there? On PWF-TV its there is when we are cutting promos about upcoming events. The locker room is a sacred place and we need a reason for the camera to be there, not just to be spying on guys. PWF takes up lots of time but its fun.
AW: We are sitting poolside about 24 hours from MLW Revolutions show in Orlando. What brought you to working for MLW?
SC: (MLW Owner) Court Bauer called me when he started the group to see if I was interested. He claims I was the first guy he called I dont believe that (laughs.) it was an honor to hear him say that though. He had something in mind that was an All-Japan style in the show. He used his All-Japan contacts along with my Zero-One contacts. I was excited because he didnt want to take over the world, just do a show every once and a while. Now we have TV on Sunshine Network. It was his idea of putting C.W., Simon and I together. It was a great idea because weve had always wanted to be a group. He wanted to call us the Elite but I told him I own the rights to the name the Extreme Horsemen. So I told him the story of how C.W., Barry Windham I started the group in Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling and how I copyrighted it. I didnt want the WWE or Russo taking it as a second hand idea. Weve been doing stuff with Terry and Dusty. Tomorrow is my first time in a one-on-one match with Terry. Ive been getting e-mails from fans that say they used to be Steve Corino fans. Then they saw the MLW-TV promos. They write saying my promos are too real, I shouldnt disrespect Terry and we are coming to see you get your ass kicked by Terry. I love that. Thats the greatest compliment to have people believe I hate Terry. It shows the people believe. I put out there that I dont like Terry and he puts out there he doesnt like me. To be honest I dont really know Terry all that well on a personal level. Its not two guys acting out. This is a competition, this is old vs new. This is great and Ive always dreamed of this stuff working with Terry and Dusty. Court and MLW had given me the opportunity to do this. I have respect for Court and what hes doing with MLW. I love to wrestle here in Florida and appreciate the history of wrestling here.
AW: By the time this gets out for people to read you might have attended the 1st ever Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup (May 16-17, 2003.) Do you have any feelings or memories of Jeff Peterson?
SC: I didnt know Jeff that well. The times I did get to see him were great. Jeff was a good kid. He was Jim Ketners nephew. He had lots of heart, the heart of a 250 pound man. The fact he wanted to be a wrestler. He loved to entertain people whether here in Florida or in Delaware. He loved what we do in this sport/business. A kid that young was taken way before his time and thats sad. I wish I had known them better. Its great to help memorialize someone great like him. Whether theyre watching us from above or not. There are lots of guys that are in the Cup and other matches on the show that knew him better than me. The show benefits his family and the American Cancer Society, a great cause. We need to beat cancer in young people. What did Jeff and other young people like him ever do to deserve it? Ive donated some items for auction and hope someone wins them and enjoys them, wrestling fan or non-wrestling fan. It will be a great night of action to remember Jeff and keep his spirit alive.
AW: To begin to wrap this up. During a radio appearance, you mentioned an infamous top-10 list. What does it entail and can you give some of the people on it?
SC: Its called THE LIST. Charlie (LeGrande) and I made it up. Its a list of people that I want to die. It people that if they died I wouldnt care. Number one of course is my ex-mother-in-law. Number two is Keanu Reeves.
AW: Keanu Reeves?
SC: Keanu is a dick (laughs.) There are other people, including some wrestlers that I wont give the free publicity to. Its a fun thing to do. People hear theyre on THE LIST they hide in fear. It is a list of people you just wish would go away.
AW: If Vince and the WWE called tomorrow and offered you a job, would you take it?
SC: No. I can say it with a straight face and honesty. My career is in Japan. I want to be like Stan Hansen and the Destroyer and end my career in Japan. I have so many things going with Zero-One. I will follow Hashimoto and Nakamura wherever they go. If they closed shop and went back to New Japan I would follow. When I was at my lowest point they were there for me. I love that style of wrestling. I could never see myself as a member of the WWE machine. I could never have the body-type they desire. To me a real wrestler looks like Dick Murdoch, not Triple H. Im not going to count calories and eat grilled chicken breasts every day. Ill go to the gym but Im not going to be ripped. To me thats bodybuilding not wrestling. Ill go to the gym or dojo and workout and work on moves, to me that is pro wrestling. I dont like the exposure WWE gives the business that it is sports entertainment and their idea that title belts mean nothing. To me the WWE is like the Harlem Globetrotters and I would rather play in the NBA.
AW: You mentioned you have a son, if he wanted to be a pro wrestler what would your reaction be?
SC: That is a hard question knowing what is out there in the world, the temptations. I hope when he has grown up, he will know what is right and wrong and learn from me. If he wants to be wrestler, fireman, vet or work in a milk plant I would support him. I measure success in happiness not money. You can have millions of dollars and not be happy. Successful is making money but also being happy with your life and your wife. Being a wrestler was my dream, he doesnt need to follow me. If he wants to be soccer player, at least he tried. If he fails I will support him. Failing is not trying.
AW: You have wrestled most of your heroes. Is there someone you want to wrestle before you retire?
SC: Theres so many new guys that I want to wrestle when theyre over. Wrestling them now is cool, but it would be better when theyre over. Of the old-school guys, number one is Ric Flair but thats slim due to his WWE deal. I have met him on a couple of occasions and hes a real nice man. I would have loved to have wrestled Tully. Im at a different level in my career. Im the veteran and Im just 30. I have become a teacher to the younger guys. I like it when I get to work with a young guy like Paul London. A year ago he was an unknown. Now hes wrestled in the Super 8 and Ring of Honor. I just got him with Zero-One. I think some older guys would be jealous. To me this is the future of our sport and we need to help him along the way. If someday I drop the Zero-One US Title to him. It will be an honor to do it. I want to help out the younger guys like Dusty did.
AW: How do you want to be remembered by the fans when you decide to retire?
SC: I want to be remembered as a guy that loved the sport of pro wrestling, whether you didnt like me or you loved me. I loved the interaction with the fans all over the world. When fans come up to me and says it an honor to talk to me, thats heartwarming. I may act shy around people, that my personality. A person wanting to talk to you is something you never get used to. When someone appreciates you, its their way of saying thank you. My way of thanking them is continuing to work and impress them every time they see me in the ring. I want to thank everyone that has ever come to a wrestling show and seen me wrestle. I hope I am around for another 10-12 years before I go into the front office and I hope to entertain from there as well.