interview with ECW Superstar Steve Corino was conducted on September 14,1999
ECW News.com editor BJ Leiby and TNN Reporter Josh Hughes.
Steve, probably the most logical place to start off here is to ask you
how you got started in the wrestling business?
Corino:I got started in a small wrestling school in Reading, PA and my first day there I met Tom Brandi and King Kaluha who trained me
Do you feel that those two guys were major influences on your career?
Corino: Sure, because when I started Brandi was about a year out of WCW and close to starting with Titan and Kaluha was a veteran of the independents.They were very good to learn off of.
Do you still get a chance to stay in touch with them?
Corino: Not really. Brandi is still very busy on the Indies and Kaluha is very busy with his job and family life.
Speaking of Brandi ..did you get to see him on that MTV special that featured
Corino: Yeah and I felt bad for the both of them, but that is everyday life on the Indies.
Do you like the fact that a lot of major stations are picking up on the
mainstream popularity of wrestling these days and putting up specials of
their own on their networks such as MTV?
Corino: Yes. In this day of wrestling, any publicity is good publicity.
Other than Brandi and Kaluha, what other guys influenced you? and in what
way have they helped you succeed in the business?
Corino: Alot of guys influenced me. When I first started I got the chance to drive Jeff Jarrett,Tom Pritchard, and Jimmy DelRey around for a weekend and Jarrett and Pritchard took the time out to teach me and tell me things they didn't have to. Jim Cornette was a huge help. He got me booked in Memphis at the end of USWA and then sent me to Puerto Rico and tried a million times to get Titan to sign me for the light heavyweight division and he was the one that got me in the WWF Dojo. Dory Funk Jr. was a major help when I was there at the Dojo and still is. Then it was Cornette that told me that ECW would be the place to go because he knows that Paul Heyman can develop talent. And since I was here in ECW, guys like Nova, Dreamer, Taz, and The Dudley Boyz have been great influences in not only ring work but how to act in a locker room.
Definitely aren't politics in ECW's locker room compared to WCW/WWF.
Corino: I have never been in a WCW locker room but doing WWF TV for two years I noticed that everyone belonged to cliques. In ECW, everybody’s goal is for everyone to do well.
back to Cornette for a second, he has been very vocal about how he dislikes
ECW's product. Why do you think he suggested ECW to you?
Corino: Because he knew me from the indies and he knew that the WWF would never even come close to giving me the opportunity that Paul has given me and thought that this would be a perfect place for me.
Speaking of the Indies, you said earlier that life in the Indies is rough.
Please describe your experiences in the Indies
Corino: I always took the independents are a learning tool and a way to get to the next level. A lot of Indy guys know think that if they are kings of the Indies that they actually mean something in this business and it is so far from the truth. For almost 4 years I drove 500 miles for $25-$75, sometimes nothing. I put up with the crappy rings and the promoters that put the show on just to get on a show. I worked with all the horrible talent that thought they were the next big thing and it is tough. There are times when you start to wonder if it is worth it but it is.
Steve, everyone knows how ECW has expanded with the TNN deal, taking the
product all overthe United States and Canada,are there any places that
you'd like to go that are considered untapped territories?
The first one that pops into my mind is California, lot of ECW fans out there. And what places do you think would be beneficial to visit for ECW.
Corino: I think we need to open up Texas and the old Mid South/UWF regions again. They were so good in the 70's and 80's and if the right people promote them then we are going to draw alot of money there. I would also like to see us do some stuff in Canada and hit the West Coast. They need good wrestling in California.
Did you enjoy your time in the New Jersey NWA with Dennis and Lance Diamond?
Also, what was your opinion on all the heat between that promotion and
Corino: Everyone has their Dennis Coraluzzo story but to do honest he was great to me. He ran alot of shows last summer and it helped Simon and myself out a ton and got us noticed by ECW. I think the heat between NWA and ECW is probably miscommunication. Paul likes to run things his way and Dennis likes to run things his way. If I had my way I wish they would work together and the NWA could be like a farm team for us.
How did the deal with ECW work out to get you involved?
Corino: I just got done with the WWF Dojo and to be serious I was thinking that I was going to get some sort of deal with them when Nova called me at midnight one night. He said that Paul was looking for a few indy guys to come in and make a impact and work with Nova and Chris Chetti. Paul's original choice was Reckless Youth and I was Nova's and as history will tell you, he didn't work out and I did. Lucky for me. Also Dreamer had seen me do the anti-hard core gimmick with Nova in the AWC/IWF in New Jersey and I guess he liked it.
Where did that anti-hardcore gimmick come from?? A creation of yours?
And along those lines...how has Tommy Dreamer helped you along?
Corino: Yes. I was in a tournament for the first AWC championship in New Jersey in 97 and Nova was there and all the fans just wanted to chant ECW. And I figured here I am busting my butt for these people and all they want to see is tables and chairs and blood and it got me ticked off. By the end of the tournament I was the most hated guy in the promotion and probably the most hated guy in the ECW locker room because they got wind of it. As for Tommy Dreamer, just being around him helped. Look at him, he is Mr. hardcore here. We are a feud made in heaven.
It really is. With Raven in now, the angle has changed somewhat.
Do you see yourself fitting into that anywhere?
Corino: Hopefully. On one hand Raven coming in pushed me to #2 with Dreamer so I will have to work harder to weasel my way back in. But if anyone has noticed Raven hasn't touched me either and I think I have a connection with him.
Right now you’re surrounded by Rhino, Victory and Tajiri, what do you like
about working with them?
Corino: Jack is a great veteran. He has taught me so much in the short time that we have been together. I personally see us a 1999 version of Tatum & Victory. Tajiri is an awesome talent that needed an edge and someone to tell the people what he is thinking and Rhino is a future superstar.
Someone you have been working a lot with recently
has been Taz. Describe his impact on your career and what kind of
wisdom he has shared to make you a better talent.
Corino: Taz has always intimidated everyone that he has worked with and here I am a kid that just keeps pestering him. Taz has been a great impact on my career and I admire him as a person and a wrestler. Hopefully the time will come that we will get to work together. I know that we would have a great match. 9 months ago a Corino-Taz match looked like another squash for Taz but now you don't know.
What is your opinion on all the big talk going around now concerning Taz
and his situation with ECW and the possibility of him going to the WWF
at the end of the year?
Corino: Taz has to do what is best for him and his family. If going to the WWF is what he needs to I will be the first to tell him "Good Luck". Taz has been a great World champion and continues to be. I haven't heard anything from anyone in ECW to confirm what has been said on the Internet but on a personal note, I would be sad to see him go. I was looking forward to wrestle him and learn from him. Just because you feud with a guy doesn't mean you don't learn from him. Taz has a unique style in and out of the ring and he probably doesn't know it but he has taught me alot in the 9 months I have been here.
Well this weekend you got a big PPV, are you looking forward to going to
Chicago and where do you see yourself being booked?
Corino: Hopefully somewhere with Tommy Dreamer & Raven.
are there any other things your looking forward to returning to Chicago
for other than the Fan Fest and PPV?
Corino: I wanted to see a Cubs game. I will admit that I am a huge Cubs fan but they are sold out this weekend. Jack and I won't be at the Fan Fest, we will be at a indy show in Staunton, VA. Maybe we will see if Jerry Springer will be taping on Monday or something.
Even though you wont be able to see the Cubbies do you find that you'll
have the time to stop off at a legendary hang
out? Harry Caray's?
Corino: That is number one on the list. I was and still am a big Harry Carry fan.I can't wait. To sing take me out to the ball game at Wrigley Field would be like a dream to me. He was great.
Ok, the last thing I think we are going to do is just play a little game
of 5 questions
ECW News: These questions have nothing to do with anything and are completely pointless.
#1 Favorite hotel to stay in while on the road?
Corino: Residence Inn in Orlando
#2 Big Mac vs. Sosa ...who wins??
Corino: This year-Sosa
#3 A Steve Corino action figure??
Corino: Yes, next year.
#4 Hardcore style vs. Memphis style
Corino: Memphis style will always win out. You can last longer than with the hardcore style. Look at Hogan (65 years old) compared to Dreamer (28), you tell me.
#5 Steve Corino vs. Mike Quackenbush
Corino: I would KILL that kid. Here is a kid that wears sweatpants and a black t-shirt with a singlet over top-What is that??? Keep doing your stupid flips and writing your boring articles for The Wrestler and then when you are serious about your career come to ECW and learn something but I don't know if we would competition for him and his 21 "backyard" championships.
Ouch. #6(yes, I know there are only
5...oh well) Philly fans vs. NY fans
Corino: They are both insane!! I prefer the Philly fans because I live in the suburbs of Philly and the Arena is so much cleaner than Queens!
News: For someone wanting to get into the
business, more specifically ECW what kind of things should they do to make
their chances greater or what advice can you give to someone with such
Corino: Pay their dues.. Don't worry about being the kings of the small independents. Don't worry about being over with the Internet. Get out there and learn. You need to be a sponge and whoever gives you advice write it down and study it. The Vets don't have to give out their wisdom so when they do you need to listen. If the WWF calls you to get killed on TV-do it, you can learn more in a 3 minute squash match than a 15 minute match with a guy that has a year experience. Don't worry about money, it will come.
so basically, stick it out no matter what if its what you truly in your
heart want to do?
With the added exposure on TNN, ECW is growing.. where do you see not only
ECW in 5 years or where do you see Steve Corino in 5 years?
Corino: I will hopefully be the World heavyweight champion and be in a position in the company where I can help out with the newer talent. I want to continue to be a good father and be there as much as possible for my son and I want to be there when the Cubs finally win a World Series.
Thanks a bunch Steve
Corino: My pleasure
ECW News: ok, guess that does it- thanks alot, I hope this wasn't too painful
Corino: No, it was fun