Courtesy of Alan J. Wojcik and http://alanwojcik.com
Alan Wojcik: The last time we met in person was October 2006 at a Florida event and you were still working for Ring of Honor. But not long after letting Homicide shave your head after a “Fight Without Honor” you stopped working for ROH. What went down with ROH and have you seen their HDNet TV show?
Steve Corino: I was only in for the Homicide feud and mistakenly we all felt like it needed a conclusion before he went on to win the ROH championship. The last match I liked but it was done in the wrong building. It should have been in New York instead of Philadelphia and done AFTER he beat Dragon, but it’s easy for all of us to say that now. LOL. I was proud of it because we once again beat the hell out of each other, like we always did, but the crowd heat was not there. I believe it was ruined because of the promo before and the fact that people in Philadelphia knew there was no way he could lose that close to getting his shot at Dragon. ROH is a great company and they have a loyal base of fans that are passionate about the product. Sometimes too passionate! LOL. No, they are great fans. And their fighters are just amazing. I enjoy watching their product a lot. I don’t have HDNet here in Puerto Rico or I would be glued to the TV.
Alan Wojcik: During 2006-07 you held the AWA World Heavyweight title and partnered with Ricky Landell to hold the World Tag Team championships. Did you think the AWA would attempt to return to the national level under Verne Gagne’s regime and what is its current place in wrestling?
Steve Corino: I don’t think that was ever Dale Gagne’s plan. A lot of people have negative thoughts about Dale but he was always good to me. Is he a real Gagne? I don’t know but honestly that is not my business either. Dale always booked me and paid me on time. I think Dale’s version of the AWA was to be a lot like the old NWA with the territories. And it worked for a while. When I was the AWA Heavyweight champion I traveled all over. Even if hardcore fans don’t want to recognize that the AWA of Verne’s and the AWA of Dale’s are the same (they aren’t), I did a lot (and so did the Japanese) for the AWA name and title value.
Alan Wojcik: You also did some work for Hermie Sadler’s UWF promotion which was rumored to be funded by TNA Wrestling. In your view as a person who has promoted shows, why did UWF work short term but fade away?
Steve Corino: Hermie is a big money guy and I don’t think they needed TNA’s money. I do think it was a possible test run to see if TNA house shows would work. And it does. Hermie Sadler is a great man and his UWF shows were a blast. I think he stopped promoting because he helps TNA with ground promotion (I think) and he is busy working for NASCAR and the Speed Channel. The Sadler family are great people and both CW (Extreme Horseman member CW Anderson) and I had a bunch of fun working for them.
Alan Wojcik: Is there truth to the rumor you were served a cease and desist letter from WWE claming they owned the rights to your monicker “King of Old School?”
Steve Corino: No, not at all. It always makes me laugh when people assume that. The WWE could give two craps about what I do. A lot of the confusion is based around a Japanese magazine that called me “The Trouble King” in early 2007 and I started using that to describe myself. But the “King Of Old School” moniker I hung up for good at the end of 2007 and adopted Mr. Wrestling 3, which if I read ahead, we will get into in a bit.
Alan Wojcik: In December of 2007 you wrestled Harry (DH) Smith and Kofi Kingston in dark matches before Raw/Smackdown tapings. Were these tryout matches and if you were offered a deal would you have accepted it?
Steve Corino: Yep, they were tryout matches. I was actually up there to try out as a writer also. My style was not what they were looking for. I liked both matches with Harry and Kofi but the office didn’t. And it’s their company and if I am not what they are looking for then it’s their choice. I enjoyed myself. Got to see a bunch of the boys I usually don’t get to see much anymore and ate well! LOL. Would I have accepted a deal? Yep.
Alan Wojcik: As you mentioned earlier here is someone new in your life, Mr. Wrestling III. Why use the persona and how different is his wrestling style from Steve Corino?
Steve Corino: I have told this story many times over the last 18 months but basically I was in Hawaii in January of 2007 and met Mr. Wrestling II Johnny Walker. What a guy! This guy has forgotten more about pro-wrestling then I will ever learn! For some reason he took a liking to me. Remember I had already told everyone that I wanted to leave pro-wrestling at the end of 2007. When I returned to Hawaii a few months later, we talked about why he never endorsed a real Mr. Wrestling 3. By the end of the weekend he told me he would like me to be it. At first I thought about saying no (can you believe that?) because I wanted to be out of the business but the more we talked, the more I liked it. He wanted 3 to be different then both him and Tim Woods. I wasn’t a clone of them, I was the next chapter of “Mr. Wrestling”. That to me is a tremendous honor.
Alan Wojcik: Last June you suffered a type 2 separation to your shoulder and a broken collarbone at the hands of Rick Landell. Besides your ear problems (thanks to Homicide) what is your current health status?
Steve Corino: Shoulder is a mess but I can’t complain. I still wake up every morning and do my thing.
Alan Wojcik: As we talk you have been working for the Puerto Rico based WWC (World Wrestling Council) for the past few months and currently hold the Universal Heavyweight championship. For fans that have never watched WWC, tell them the differences from US-based promotions like WWE or TNA.
Steve Corino: WWC is the last territory. Guys that come down here sometimes don’t realize that. Months ago we got this guy that was out of WWE developmental, who just thought he knew everything. It was crazy because at the end of the day, he knew nothing. Working here is easy and tough at the same time. Its not like the WWE or TNA where you are always working toward the PPV. Here in WWC you are trying to sell yourself every show, house or TV. We get paid based on how the houses are so when you are in front of that camera and have 45 seconds to get yourself, the title, and the match. It is a lot of fun. Plus how can you not like the beach?
Alan Wojcik: This past May you successfully defended the championship against a former ECW competitor who calls himself Sabu. Are you surprised he is still working despite the near fatal injuries he has incurred over his career?
Steve Corino: No matter what anyone says, Sabu is a battler. This guy is always in pain but he loves to be out there wrestling. Some people might think he is slower now but he is also 44 or 46 years old. This guy literally gave his body for his artform and I have nothing but respect for him.
Alan Wojcik: On July 11th you will defend the championship at the 36th anniversary show against a competitor called BJ (see press conference footage on the website listed below). Talk about what is planned for BJ, who is the masked man sitting next to you and what exactly is “the Derailer?”
Steve Corino: The Derailer is a sitting lariat, much like Masato Tanaka’s Sliding D (he uses the forearm). BJ is a great young wrestler here in WWC and will be a future WWC Universal champion. Just not now. But July 11 will be special because I am dedicating the match to my mentor and friend Shinya Hashimoto.
The masked man is known as The Nightmare. If anyone has followed the WWC over the past eight months you will know that the Nightmare is rumored to be Orlando Colon, which would be crazy to see a heel Colon on the island. But lately the Nightmare has been screwing over Orlando against Ray Gonzalez. I don’t even know where they are going with it but it’s a lot of fun.
Alan Wojcik: Here comes the question everyone probably asks you, have you seen Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler and what were your thoughts on it?
Steve Corino: I loved it. Its not 100% accurate but its a movie and it is there for entertainment. Some people say that it exposes too much but for me it becomes more of a challenge to play magician in the ring.
Alan Wojcik: Your former home promotion ECW died nearly eight/nine years ago. But WWE uses the name and TNA appears to be bringing in several former ECW stars (Raven, Stevie Richards, Taz & Shane Douglas to name a few.) What do you attribute to the longevity of the ECW name and attitude the fans exude when the promotion is brought up? Could you ever see yourself working for TNA even if Vince Russo left?
Steve Corino: I could see myself working for TNA even if Russo stayed. My beef with him was buried a few Christmas’ ago. In fact I just emailed (aka begged) him yesterday for a job! LOL. I think the ECW name is always going to live because the fans and wrestlers really lived that life. The fans were every bit a part of the company as the wrestlers were. It was a family. A family of misfits, but a family! Plus ECW then meant that you had to not only be tough but freaking crazy. I have watched some of my old stuff and think “What the hell was I thinking there?” but it was all for the fans.
Alan Wojcik: MTV and Big Vision Entertainment (www.bvdvd.com) tried to launch an ECW-like promotion Wrestling Society X. Were you ever asked to be part of it and did you ever see any of the shows?
Steve Corino: Only watched it a few times but they didn’t contact me. I wish it would have stayed around. More work for the boys is always helpful.
Alan Wojcik: If fans check out your website (www.corinowrestling.com) they will notice it’s not just your site. It is a site for the Corino wrestling family which includes Allison Danger, Are$ and a young man called “the Future” Colby Corino. What made you take control and change the site around to add these people and at age 13 Colby is wrestling exhibitions, please explain this to the fans who might be thinking this is child endangerment.
Steve Corino: I was tired of my last webmaster telling me that he didn’t have time to update it and how hard it was to do. So one day I got bored and went in and took it over. I am an idiot and figured it out. He was just lazy. I love working on the site because there is always something going on. And now including stuff that my sister, brother in law, and son are involved in makes it even more fun. The Corino’s will never be the Von Erich’s or Hart’s but we all love the sport and sharing our experiences.
Alan Wojcik: In addition to the site fans can add your Myspace www.myspace.com/prideofthemask to read the Corino Chronicles, which are long and entertaining. What won’t you talk about in the Chronicles?
Steve Corino: The Chronicles are my non-filtered thoughts on the world. I love doing them and they are just little things that happen in my world. Sometimes they are funny and sometimes they are irritating but always entertaining! You can read the Chronicles (#19 is about to go up) on CorinoWrestling.com and also read Allison Danger’s “Dangerous Thoughts” on the website.
Alan Wojcik: On your website I found an advertisement for the Dungeon & Revolution Puroresu Dojo. What led you to be part of it and how does your training method differ from other schools including the one you attended for training?
Steve Corino: The school is owned by Mark Mest, who I broke in with in 1994. This training center has been there for 17-18 years in the same spot. And we have two different programs. One is training hard with me and Ricky Reyes and also there is a program for people that want to try pro-wrestling or do it as a hobby. We work hard but produced a few good kids like Alex Anthony, Ryan Sawyer, and Kevin Payne. And even guys that were let go are back and learning more then ever. I am looking forward to helping out more once I am done my run in Puerto Rico. If people are interested in the school go to www.CorinoWrestling.com or call 610-916-1238 and talk to Mark.
Alan Wojcik: I would like to ask your thoughts and memories on your late mentor Shinya Hashimoto who passed away since our last interview.
Steve Corino: Hashimoto-san was an amazing man. The things he did for me personally even outweigh what he did for me professionally. I miss him everyday but know that he is proud of what I have done.
Alan Wojcik: Since we last talked several high profile wrestlers have passed away including Mike Awesome, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Sherri Martel and Andrew Martin. Vince McMahon says the business didn’t do it to them. Do you agree with his position and if you would like, please share any memories you have on the individuals mentioned.
Steve Corino: We are all masters of our own destiny. We can’t blame Vince McMahon for everything. It is always sad to see someone pass away and you want to blame everyone else but at the end of the day we have to watch our own lives. I didn’t know Benoit, Guerrero, or Test well. Just hi and bye stuff. Mike Awesome was a nice guy but had a lot of demons and Sherri was just a sweetheart. It sucks that they are all gone now but we all have to go forward.
Alan Wojcik: You have been wrestling for close to sixteen years (Steve just celebrated his 36th birthday, you do the math) how long do you see yourself being an in-ring competitor and since everyone else seems to do it, is there a Steve Corino biography coming soon to bookstore soon?
Steve Corino: I wanted to wrestle since I was 8 years old. Twice I thought about walking away (2001 and 2008) but at the end of the day I am a pro-wrestler. And proud of it. I will stay in the ring as long as promoters and fans want to book me. The ring is my safe haven. As for a book, would anyone buy it? I have about 60,000 words written with a ton of great stories (mostly all funny too) but at the end of the day I have been off US television for a long time. I don’t know if my story is relevant to fans now.
Alan Wojcik: Let’s end on a light note. From talking with you over the years I know you’re a huge Philadelphia Phillies supporter. This past season saw the high of winning the World Series but this season got off bad with the loss of announcer Harry Kalas. Talk about both experiences and do you see the possibility of a repeat?
Steve Corino: I think they have a great shot if the Phillies stay healthy. Not having Harry The K is sad because I grew up watching and listening to him. He will always be the voice of the Phillies for me.
Alan Wojcik: People who have read or heard interviews with you know about “the List” which at one point included you ex-mother-in-law, Missy Hyatt and Keanu Reeves. Any new additions to the List?
Steve Corino: Hahaha. Missy has never been on the list! I love Missy. Sometimes she doesn’t like me, but I have nothing but respect and love for her. Missy was a trendsetter and is a great person to hang out with. And I still find her hot after all these years! She also has some great road stories that fans would love. She was there for a lot of great things that happened in Mid-South and WCW. Missy is good people. Tons of new addition since we talked: JD Drew, Chipper Jones, Joe Morgan, the entire USAirways company, and more! LOL
Thanks to Steve Corino for taking time out of his busy schedule. Check out the links above for everything involving Steve, Allison Danger and Ares.