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Corino retiring with useless NWA belt
by B. Brian Burke on 2001-10-07

For all the bellyaching this past summer about my earlier columns calling into question the viability of the continuing relationship of ECCW with the NWA and the CWF in Winnipeg, recent events have more than proven my point. With friends like these who needs enemies?

NWA Champion Steve Corino, in his second trip to Winnipeg, only drew a reported 203 rude, unappreciative fans. This was in spite of his appearance on fellow ECW alumnus Don Callis' NHB Radio show, and the fact that promoter Ernie Todd had oodles of time to market the event, a title match against North American champion Spyder. (By the way, Ernie, it was not the first time in however long a NA champion had met the NWA champ, Terry Taylor remembers challenging Ric Flair when he had the NA belt in the 80's.)

Todd probably shot himself in the foot when he insisted on not only making himself the star of his TV pilot, but then also showed the bout from April where Corino did a job for a wrestler who then walked out on Todd after taking the NA belt off Corino. It may have been a good match but Todd committed a cardinal sin, don't let the people see your main eventer lose if it doesn't involve a rematch. All it accomplished was killing Corino's heat and giving the rub to a bum who left the CWF after getting pushed to the top ahead of Spyder and Swan.

According to reports, Corino decided about 20 minutes into his match with Spyder, which by the way got good reviews, that he was fed up with the business and was quitting active wrestling. Corino had traveled far and wide trying to bring respect to the NWA title, but the Japanese fans do not accept him, and in the current climate the belt itself has no drawing power or prestige. To make things worse, he has announced that he has no intention of dropping the title on his way out, making any booked title defences non-attractions. That is in itself an f-you to the NWA Board.

It would be easy to blame Ernie Todd for driving Corino out of the business, as one poster on Meatfarm's Message Board has, but in fact it is the failure of the entire NWA to develop a coherent marketing plan and elevate the operation to a clear #2 that is to blame. Ernie Todd is but one of many mark promoters who have failed to provide vision and leadership. Todd will not be attending this weeks NWA show due to travel issues, but Michelle Starr and EZ Ryder are scheduled to renew their 1999 feud over the dormant Canadian Title, and hopefully the 2 vets can talk some sense into Howard Brody and the rest of the NWA about the total failure of the NWA.

If the NWA is to continue, the next champion must be a viable name and still marketable. Dan Severn's time may have passed, and Mike Rapada was the worst choice possible before. Sabu is beat up and unreliable, no one knows who Hotstuff Hernandez is, and if Dr. Luther didn't want to be president (as I suggested earlier this summer) then he surely wouldn't want to be champion.

Corino's stock has dropped so far that he even lost the tournament to our own Moondog Manson, which is like me losing a writing contest to Tidwell, I would quit too. Really Corino deserved a happier fate, he put on a lot of miles and is a hard worker. At least he got out of Winnipeg when he was young.

Meanwhile Vancouver's All Star Wrestling fired a shot across the ECCW bow when they used The Honky Tonk Man on 2 recent shows, the North Van show drew pretty well. ASW also dropped Manson from the line-up for a variety of excuses that I am sure owner Randy Tyler would never try if he were present. First it was because his opponents, Mr. Gillis and Leatherface, were unavailable. Then it turned into a conditioning and practice issue. Apparently at ASW they rehearse their matches.

Someone please tell Fabio that WRESTLERS DO NOT rehearse their matches in workouts, let alone hardcore bouts. Maybe rookies do, but Manson is not a rookie. One day when the ASW kids start to travel and go on the road with other promotions, they are going to get laughed at when they complain that with all that driving to the show, they did not have time to "rehearse" their match. Manson deserves more respect than the way he was treated. Simple, honest question- has Fabio ever wrestled in a territory besides Tomko's ?

The co-operation of ICW and Tim Flowers with recent ASW shows is a welcome development, although how long the deal lasts is anyones guess. It adds depth and some experience to the events, and Flowers is a strong presence. It may be time for Dave Republic to figure out how he can strike a truce with all parties involved, as localized angles may now have to replace the importing of old names as a promotional tactic. An earlier ASW run-in on an ECCW show now seems to have led to nothing.

If I had a choice between going to Tyler and Flowers, or Ernie Todd and Howard Brody, for business help, I would follow Corino and walk away from the NWA.

Finally Dr. Luther got a lot of criticism for the IWA pilot on APTN, but he is still a fine choice to be lead heel for any promotion. he just needs a better writer. He and Black Dragon, are both underutilized in North America, and have more ability than almost anyone in the entire NWA. A few months ago I said Luther should be NWA president and he declined. In light of Corino's actions, it looks like Luther made the right choice. Again.

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Quotes from the boys: Ed Moretti says "Relax there kid. Who's calling this match...them or us? They bought the tickets to see us, not the other way around".
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