wrestling / News

Jim Cornette On the WrestleMania Boneyard Match, Says It’s a Good Movie Fight But Isn’t Wrestling, Says Vince McMahon Has Always Wanted To Do This

April 8, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
AJ Styles Undertaker WWE WrestleMania 36 Bone Yard Match

Jim Cornette shared his thoughts on the AJ Styles vs. Undertaker Boneyard Match at WrestleMania on the latest Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru. The Styles vs. Taker match headlined the first night of WrestleMania and was a very different experience, being shot in a cinematic style. The match was largely praised by most critics and fans and while Cornette said he appreciated it as a cinematic experience, as you might expect he had some serious issues with it.

In the discussion, Cornette repeated that “it’s not wrestling” several times (with the requisite f-bombs) and talked about how it was very well executed but set a dangerous precedent for what he said was something that Vince McMahon has wanted to do for a long time in that it “made wrestling a movie.” He suggested that WWE will continue to do this kind of thing and it will only get worse from here, also pointing out that it will get really embarrassing when others try to copy the style without the talent or budget. You can see highlights and the full clip below:

On the build to the match: “When I watched the package — and once again, great editing job on the package. The heavy stuff that AJ was saying about Michelle McCool, I had not watched this whole thing unfold. We switched off the show as soon as it apparently got a couple of good segments on it. But I didn’t know that they’ve finally made Taker — they’ve finally given up and said, ‘Okay, they’re gonna make him a human being. Taker’s human, we’re going to acknowledge this. Mark Calloway, the whole nine yards.’ But they tell the story well. And this was somewhat, it was personal enough to where it felt a little f**king pointed. I had flashbacks to the Buried Alive match.”

On the match being what Vince McMahon has been wanting to do: “This is what they have always wanted. They have made wrestling a f**king movie. And here is the problem. Much like the first ladder match, Michaels and Razor on a mainstream basis gets over so it’s going to continue on. Now that they have done this, they’re going to do it more and more, and it’s going to get worse and worse. And it’s not going to be as novel, and it’s not going to have Undertaker in it. And it’s gonna get farther and farther out because Vince has always wanted to be a movie studio. Kevin Dunn’s always wanted to be a big-time TV producer as well as a double naught spy. They’ve all had delusions of grandeur, the WWF Films or WWE Films or whatever the f**k. [sighs] They’re gonna do more of this, because they got away with it.”

On the match itself: “Here’s the thing, I didn’t know how to make notes on this. Because what the f**k? It’s not wrestling, how do you critique a wrestling match that is not wrestling? This proves what I’ve always said, and we talked about here the last couple weeks about the boys being better than Hollywood stunt men, because they do things in one take without benefit of camera angles because they have an audience on all four sides of them. And that’s been borne out by a lot of people that have worked in movies.

“This looked better than most movie fights. But it wasn’t wrestling! Both these guys looked like movie f**king stars. You would have bought this in the theater. But it wasn’t f**king wrestling. The Undertaker should be a badass action f**king movie star. Because once the Undertaker started talking like Mark, who is a badass in real life, you could buy him in the same kind of movies that Steve Austin and the f**king Rock have made. But it wasn’t f**king wrestling. It was a masterful performance of camera work and cinematography. But wasn’t wrestling. If you had done something like this with wrestlers that weren’t saying currently on national television they were mad at each other, hated each other, wanted to beat the f**k out of each other. If this was in a movie just between two f**king wrestlers, it would be hailed as the greatest f**king fight scene and had more twists and turns than Peter Griffin vs. the giant chicken. But to be presented on a program where the package and all the buildup had led you to believe that AJ was really saying these horrible things about Undertaker and his wife, and Undertaker really wanted to get even. And then the way they settle this is by obviously cooperating in a cinematic masterpiece, it ain’t f**king wrestling!'”

On the match being a good movie fight: “You can’t fault the f**king — as a matter of fact, truthfully and honestly it got disturbingly realistic as a violent movie fight scene. Did it not? … I mean, as far far as movie fight scenes go, it was disturbingly violent with the groaning and the heaving. And the — you know I even wrote down, I said, ‘God damn, I hope Undertaker is never gonna f**king wrestle again. Because now that they’ve seen him down and grovelling, and gasping for breath, heaving and puking, it takes his mystique away. But for a movie fight scene, this was somewhat f**king violent. But at the same time, it’s obviously bulls**t because of the way that they built it and the way that they’re doing it! And do I fault these guys for doing this for what I still assume is going to be hundreds of thousands of dollars that they get for WrestleMania. Maybe, does Vince not pay them? … This year I have no idea, but I have a feeling several of these guys still think they’re getting several hundreds of thousands of dollars and probably will. And I believe Undertaker’d be at the head of the list. But do I fault these guys for doing this for hundreds of thousands of dollars, or the guys that worked with the Invisible Man for $25 and it just looks hokey. At least they made a good movie here. But it ain’t f**king wrestling. And I’m afraid this is what’s wrestling’s gonna be. I’m afraid they’re gonna get the go-ahead, the green light to add the sad music when Undertaker’s selling. Or the suspenseful music or the whatever the f**k.”

On the end of the match: “A group of druids came out, Gallows and Anderson were appearing back and forth … the druids are fighting the Undertaker. I didn’t [understand], maybe it was the Dork Order. Maybe they’re trying to take their opportunity to get rid of the ‘big star’ on the other program. But anyway, then Undertaker gets knocked into the grave, and then AJ goes on the bulldozer to dump dirt on him. And Taker’s done this great job of selling. You’ve never seen the Undertaker sell before, and finally he sells it, my God he was selling f**king great. But then suddenly he’s behind AJ on the bulldozer and he’s not selling anymore. So now they’ve almost made me feel sorry for the Undertaker in the f**king worked world, and then they make the worked world a work. So even in the worked world, the silly world got more silly because then he was teleporting from one place to the other … so it continued after he’s on the — I thought at least that was the finish, and that probably would have been just find right there. But he blows off the pyro from the barn, makes a big comeback on all the heels, tosses him off the f**king roof. This is — I’m afraid to say Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn’s ultimate dream of what wrestling can be. I’m afraid. I’m a-feared.”

On Undertaker and Styles’ work in the match: “And you know, Mark should be a movie star. That may be why he did this, because he’s not going to wrestle anymore but he can do this for a while yet and look good doing it. He got paid a large sum of money to have a Hollywood f**king audition to be a new action star. You believed his s**t when he was talking to AJ. You knew it was all bulls**t because of the setting, which made it even f**king worse and hurt my feelings even more that he’s saying this s**t with such feeling and f**king creepy animosity, and because of the setting you knew it was all bulls**t. But AJ, ‘Don’t bury me, bro! Don’t bury me!’ They already have, AJ.”

“You know, as I said, I’ve always liked AJ, and I’ve always been a fan of his talent. And Undertaker to me is one of the guys, and the greatest gimmick. And this is completely bulls**t in terms of the legitimacy of wrestling, but I guess if they were going to do something — as we’ll see, it can get worse. If they were gonna do something like this, it was a good job at what they did. Whatever this was, it was done well. It just, it wasn’t wrestling and wasn’t particularly good for the legitimacy of wrestling.”

On the match likely setting a precedent: “And here’s the problem besides [that] the WWE I’m sure will copy this. Everybody else is gonna try also, and you’re gonna have a bunch of guys out there, aspiring auteurs with f**king iPhone video cameras trying to shoot s**t just like this and putting it up over god damned YouTube and calling it pro wrestling. And that’s when it’s really gonna get embarrassing. Because they don’t have this budget or this talent to shoot something like this.”

On his final opinion of the match: “As a wrestling match, as Thumbs Down as it can possibly be because it wasn’t even a wrestling match. And it was advertised to be a wrestling match [but] we didn’t get one. As a movie fight scene, as I said, one of the better ones that I’ve ever seen, because movie fight scenes don’t usually look that good and go into that much detail. Because they have actors rather that wrestlers, who as we’ve mentioned are better stuntmen and stuntmen, and in some cases better actors than actors. Not in all of those cases, though. So for a movie fight scene this worked, but it wasn’t wrestling and it shouldn’t have been billed as wrestling. But when it gets so much worse, does it make any difference?”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Jim Cornette’s Drive-Thru with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.