If there was a Mount Rushmore of people who are notorious for being fired or let go from various wrestling promotions a few names come to mine: Jeff Jarrett, Teddy Hart, Hulk Hogan and the man who is at the center of today's storytelling episode: Jim Cornette.
Cornette's many firings from various promotions are as legendary as Vince McMahon's love of big, sweaty, muscular men or the over usage of the Canadian Destroyer or Super Kicks in today's climate of wrestling, However the most funniest example of the Louisville Lip getting the pink slip would have to be the time he got fired from TNA Wrestling in 2009 over the booking plans of Eric Young.
Pro Wrestling's Most Polarizing Duo
Our story starts like how all stories surrounding Jim Cornette getting angry start: Jim getting upset over something Vince Russo has said or done.
After being hired as an on-air authority figure for TNA Wrestling in 2007, Cornette would unfortunately run into his old rival who was the main booker for a lot of the storylines involving the company at the time; Considering Cornette has criticized Russo for a number of booking decisions most notably "The Brawl For All" in the WWF you can imagine that Cornette wasn't too pleased with Russo's work in TNA.
In fact, it has been mentioned by Cornette and other ex-TNA employees that the two would get into screaming matches with each whilst people like Dutch Mantel, Dixie Carter and Jeff Jarrett were forced to bear witness to what could best be described as two grown men having a screaming b#tch fit.
The results of these endlessly shouting matches saw Cornette gain a considerably amount of weight, become more stressed, arguing with almost anyone he could find in the locker room and of course openly disputing a lot of Russo decisions including the one involving the other main character in this story Eric Young.
Jeremy Fritz aka Eric Young is a Canadian born wrestler whose best known for his time in TNA/Impact Wrestling from 2004-2016 during which Eric also known as E.Y. would portray a vase assortment of gimmicks, become a part of some of the most well remember groups in the promotion's history and has pretty much won almost every single title that the company has had in it's near 20 year existence from the World title to the X Division to the Tag Team titles to even more obscure titles like the time he won The Beer Drinking Championship during his feud with "The Cowboy" James Storm (yes, that was a actually championship at the time).
But what E.Y. was best known for was his persona as the dumb but lovable blonde haired goofball who would do ridiculous things like striping down to his SpongeBob Squarepants inspired bikini at Turning Point 2006 to wrestling former child actor turned radio personality Danny Bonaduce at the pre-show of Lockdown 2009 to having beer drinking contest for the previously mentioned Beer Drinking title to hanging around some of the more stranger characters on the TNA roster like Curry Man and Shark Boy while under his super hero gimmick of "Super Eric".
Along the way, Eric would also find himself in feuds with various names like Bobby Roode, James Storm, Larry Zbyszko among others. This didn't stop Eric from being a crowd and fan favorite as he was one of the more likable wrestlers to ever step into the square circle however E.Y. proved his was more than a comedy wrestler as Young's career would take a sudden turn in the summer of 2009.
The Plans for E.Y.
So you might be asking what were the plans involving Eric Young that led to Jim Cornette getting fired from TNA? well those plans involved Eric Young becoming the TNA World Champion.
Now considering how I've described Eric Young's career in the company as a goofball that many wrestlers and fans didn't take seriously you could probably see where Cornette was coming from when it came to voicing his disapproval. But the Summer of 2009 things were beginning to look up for TNA's resident goofball.
Following weeks of frustration showing on Eric Young's face after countless losses to his opponents not to mention the times he kayfabe bad mouthed Jeff Jarrett on T.V. to double crossing Rhino during a tag team match at that years Slammiversary pre-show the promotions well known goofball began to show signs of what looked like a heel turn in the making.
Things came to ahead on the July 23rd 2009 episode of Impact, when E.Y. took part in a ten man tag team match where he teamed with TNA originals Beer Money (James Storm and Bobby Roode), Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles to take on the team of Kiyoshi, Sheik Abdul Bashir and The British Invasion (Magnus, Douglas Williams and Rob Terry); The match saw the foreign heels defeat the originals thanks to Eric Young who spiked AJ on the head with a vicious looking piledriver.
After this, E.Y. would appear on screen with the foreign heels where confirmed his heel turn by not only shaving parts of his head but also announced the formation the faction known as "World Elite" which saw Eric become the leader of a group of foreign heel wrestlers who were sick of Americans and America as whole taking things from other countries and meddling in affairs regarding international regions.
The heel turn was well received by the fans and many welcomed the idea of new heel stable in the company especially since around this time the MEM or the Main Event Mafia still had a strangle hold over the promotion due to their members winning all the championship gold. Although an alliance between both factions were made at the time, it proved to be temporary as Eric Young would become the TNA Legends Champion (later renamed by E.Y. as the Global Championship) after defeating Hernandez and Kevin Nash (who was the champion at the time) in a triple threat match at Bound For Glory 2009.
The Meeting and Cornette's Firing
They issues regarding Russo and Cornette came to a head during a production meeting in 2009 which according to a report from 'The Sun' website and former employees, the Louisville Lip was reportedly losing his mind over the ideas of giving E.Y. more T.V. time especially when it came to the idea of putting the TNA world title on the former Team Canada member.
Russo was reported to have been calm throughout the thing and was seen by some as level headed (which is surprising considering this is Vince Russo being berated with insults by Jim Cornette), It's not clear what Cornette said during his tirade in the meeting but I think this photo here probably the best representation of Cornette's disapproval...
Ultimately, the higher ups in TNA were getting sick of Jim Cornette's whining and temperamental issues and as a result he would be fired from the company while his contract expired in September of 2009, Cornette would then reappear in Ring of Honor not too long after his firing but he would continue to causes problems until his departure in November of 2012.
So now that Cornette was gone from the company and the Eric Young heel experiment was going remarkably well, you'd think the company would pull the trigger and put E.Y. in a championship match and make him become the new face of the promotion...right?!
If there were indeed plans to make Eric Young the TNA World Heavyweight Champion then those plans and any other storylines regarding the wrestlers on the roster were quickly dropped following the signing of Hulk Hogan on October 27th 2009.
The seeds for what would be the Hogan/Bischoff regime in TNA would begin to show in early 2010 when many of the wrestlers who home grown talent in TNA were being reduced to being mid carders and opening acts for names like the Nasty Boys, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman, Sean Morley, RVD and many more.
In regards to Eric Young, he saw all of his work as heel be flushed down the toilet in the following months as World Elite would fall apart and disband with little to no fan fare, he lose the Global championship to former member Rob Terry during a live event at Wales, and he became a babyface again unfortunately he would get treated as a sacrificial lamp during a program which included "The Band" (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman) beating down E.Y. and convolutedly having him join and exit the group.
In July of 2010 Eric would return to in-ring action where he suffered a kayfabe bump on the head which caused and began E.Y.'s new gimmick of a mentally challenged person who would eventually partnering with Orlando Jordan (during which E.Y. was completely unaware of Jordan's bisexuality).
The two formed a tag team that saw them wrestling predominately on Xplosion while also wrestling on PPV's like Bound For Glory 2010 and Lockdown 2011.
Following his partnership with Jordan, E.Y. would spend the next couple of years in the mid card division wrestling against names like Robbie E for television championship before getting engaged and married to his kayfabe wife and TNA Knockout, ODB; However this married couple is probably best known for winning the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship against Madison Rayne and Gail Kim.
After years of being a goofball mid carder for the second time during his TNA/Impact Run, Eric would become the #1 contender to Magnus' TNA World Heavyweight Championship and the match concluded with E.Y. shocking the world and becoming the new world champion in 2014.
Unfortunately, because the internet wrestling community can't allow TNA/Impact to have nice things, it didn't take long for people to start believing that the reason E.Y. was made world champion was to simply ride the wavy of momentum that was happening with another bearded babyface in the form of WWE's Daniel Bryan.
Although no proof of this was ever confirmed, it didn't take long for people make up the story and run with it as if it was true, after people will believe a lie if you tell it enough times.
Following his world title run, Eric Young would continue to be thrusted in the main event scene with feuds against wrestlers like Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Bobby Lashley, Kurt Angle and Bram whilst winning the King of the Mountain championship in the process. On March 19th 2016 Eric announced that he would be leaving the company that made him famous after 12 crazy years within the promotion.
E.Y. would resurface as a heel in the WWE, leading a ragtag group of characters known as Sanity which included names like former British Boot Camp participate Nikki Cross and current Impact Wrestling star, Madman Fulton; while group were an opposing threat in NXT, they were completely wasted on the WWE main roster with the group appearing one week and then appearing a month later with little to no explanation only to be jobbed out to wrestlers like The Miz all by himself...thereby killing the credibility of the faction altogether.
Since then, Eric Young has made a small number of appearances on WWE programming whilst reportedly serving a producer the company that is until he was released from the WWE in April of 2020 as part of a mass firing known as "Black Wednesday".
In July of 2020, it was revealed that Eric Young had returned to Impact Wrestling as one of the many contenders to take part in the five world title main event at this year's Slammiversary event. Since then E.Y. has become a main event star once again and hasn't been afraid to call out the WWE for their mistakes most notably for not giving him something to do on TV during his time in the company.
To be fair, the man has a point I mean he can play a heel or babyface remarkably well and make also any gimmick work but his associated with a company that has two shows that run 3-2 hours and you can't find time for him to do anything? And people wonder why WWE's ratings are tanking.
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