Steve Corino began wrestling in 1994 and has won countless titles including (but obviously not limited to) the ECW, NWA, and WWC World Titles. He has had extensive runs in Puerto Rico and Japan. He first wrestled for Ring of Honor in 2002 and has been in and out of the company ever since. 2010 may have been his best year in his wrestling career because of his involvement with the Kevin Steen/El Generico feud. Steve is booked for the next Ring of Honor iPPV, Best in the World. Best in the World takes place on June 26th in New York City. All information about that event can be found at ROHwrestling.com. (Photo Credit to ROHWrestling.com)
T.J. Hawke: The feud between Kevin Steen (with yourself) vs. El Generico (w/Colt Cabana) was largely heralded as the best pro wrestling feud of 2010. How did you get hooked up with Steen for this feud? Were you surprised to get another run with ROH?
Steve Corino: I had just gotten back from a year run in Puerto Rico and the timing was perfect. Kevin and I have always been close and me coming back to the mainland and Kevin's breakout just happened to be right around the same time. Was I surprised to get another run? Yes. In Puerto Rico, I had gotten to about 263 and lost a lot of confidence. I had asked Adam Pearce, who was booking at the time, if I could get into some ring shape before I came back and that is when the time line was early November. I worked hard to get 20 pounds down and felt good physically.
TJ: 6 months later, what are your thoughts on the whole feud now? Is there anything that you would change? What aspect of the whole feud are you most fond of?
SC: That feud was crazy. Just a true highlight of my career. I was amazed that Kevin Steen and El Generico, with myself and Colt Cabana as supporting players, kept it going for a full year. In today's world of two hour storylines I was concerned that the ROH fans would get restless, but they showed why they are some of the greatest fans in the world. I told Kevin, Cary, Adam, and everyone that would listen, that 2010 was the best year of my career.
TJ: You have been in and out of ROH from the beginning. You commentated on the very first show, you've been there with three different bookers and have probably seen some highs and lows of the promotion. How has the promotion changed/evolved since you got there? Are there aspects of the promotion that have essentially remained the same?
SC: I have been in and out by design. When ROH started in 2002, I had a very busy Japan schedule with ZERO-ONE so it was always that I would start some trouble, almost get mine, and leave for a little bit. Very Riki Choshu-ish.
ROH has been very lucky to have three of best minds for today's wrestling booking for them. Gabe [Sapolsky] had a great early vision. He had a great support staff of Rob and Doug with him. He really put ROH on the map. Then Adam [Pearce] was more of a TV booker and helped fit the ROH style on television. Adam was a fun guy to work for because he was so passionate. One minute he would be yelling at you and you yelling at him, but the next you were telling each other how much you loved each other. And Hunter [Delirious] is a totally different personality. Hunter is so deep and laid back. He listens to everyone and always keeps the same disposition. He has a great mind for the in-depth stories that I think ROH need to be successful. And like Gabe, he has a great support staff with Jim Cornette.
TJ: One thing about ROH that I thought would never change was that if you were there, you would be one of the most evil men in ROH. However, your turn to the light in 2011 has been inspired and probably the most interesting character development in ROH in a while. What has 2011 in ROH been like for you? Did you ever think that you shoving your thumb up someone's ass would be the most over move in ROH?
SC: 2011 has been quite a transition year for me. For the last 17 years, I would say I have been a heel about 90% of the time. And I'm good at it. But its not who I am outside the ring. I had heard it was the match I had with Kevin against The Kings Of Wrestling that were the idea of me being more the real me in the ring was born. They saw how nervous I was and that being a guy that did everything evil was starting to bother me. It was too easy to say mean things to people. I had an almost "Jerry Maguire" experience and grew a complex. I was happy when they told me that they would like ROH fans to see more of the real me.
Crazy how over Thumb In The Bum is right? Man, if only I came up with that move in 2000 I would have saved myself a ton of scars. People still think that I enjoyed bleeding all time in ECW, but I didn't. It was my job. I am not a guy, like Balls Mahoney, that loves to bleed. I hated it but it was what I was asked to do. If I am known for sticking my thumb up guys' asses more than bleeding, I will be a happy man! LOL.
TJ: One aspect of your 2010 ROH run that was different than your earlier runs was that your son, Colby Corino, became involved with your feud against Generico and Cabana. What is it like for you to hear 2,000 pissed off New York males chanting "Kill the Kid!" at your son?
SC: He loved it, I HATED it. I understand that he was playing the part but I still think it was cheap. But that is the father in me that comes out. If you watched it, you could see that I was truly angered by the chant. Colby and Kevin loved it.
But its my job to separate pro-wrestling and real life. NYC fans are some of the best fans in the world. Except that Green Lantern Fan. He's a toolbag. The rest of New York? I love them.
TJ: How has your son been able to balance being a high school student and an aspiring professional wrestler?
SC: Colby is the Hannah Montana of pro-wrestling. He is a normal 14 year old kid during the week and then an aspiring wrestler on the weekends. Kids at his school don't know that he wrestles. He likes to keep that separation. I think he learned it early on from me. When I am home, I am just Colby's dad. I don't live the wrestler lifestyle 24 hours a day. I never understood people like that. Pro-wrestling is the greatest job in the world, but its a job. You need to know when to clock out and be yourself again. Colby is the same way. He is very grounded and that is good.
TJ: You have had many ups and downs in the wrestling business. Were you surprised that your son would want to follow in your footsteps? Did you ever try to stop him from training?
SC: Ups and downs? No way. It has always been up for me. Do you know what my main goal was when I entered wrestling school? To have ONE match. That's it. Everything else is just gravy. I have always considered myself an overachiever. Getting the ECW run, 10 years in Japan, back and forth in ROH, traveling the world, two big runs in Puerto Rico. All ups. I am very fortunate to have done 1/100 of what I have done.
That being said, I do get a bit concerned about Colby in pro-wrestling. There are a lot of bad things out there but I am lucky that the ROH locker room has a bunch of guys that he can look up to. He is a big fan of Kevin Steen, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Chris Hero, and especially Claudio Castagnoli. Guys that are straight laced. Good role models for him. I think that will help him stay away from the bad stuff. He's a very smart kid. Honor roll every marking period.
TJ: What was the inspiration to bring Jimmy Jacobs back to ROH as your sponsor? What are your ultimate goals for this new pairing? Would I be correct in guessing that the best way for Steve Corino to find redemption is to guide Kevin Steen to the ROH World Title in an honorable way?
SC: Jimmy is just like me. We are guys that are trying to redeem ourselves in the eyes of the fans and the wrestlers. Remember, that none of the wrestlers want to be around me. Leading Kevin to the ROH World title is the farthest thing from my mind. Having Kevin come back to ROH, where he belongs, and forgive me is my goal.
TJ: Rough transition here, but what was the reaction from the locker room upon hearing about Cary Silken selling the company to the Sinclair Broadcast group? The internet naturally divided into two extremist groups: one group declaring this as the saving grace of ROH and the other one stating that this is the final death nail for ROH.
SC: There wasn't a huge celebration. Its a business. Cary Silken is just an amazing man and great boss. Him and Yoshiyuki Nakamura (ZERO1 in Japan) are the two best people I have ever worked.
Sinclair Broadcasting said a lot of good things. But its a business. They are going to make mistakes just like I do every night in the ring. They want ROH for their stations. They like our product and that helps. Trust me, there is a part of me that remembers when ECW went on TNN. I thought TNN would be the best thing ever for ECW and it turned out to be a killer. But Sinclair purchased the company to make money for their company.
Does this mean we will challenge WWE and TNA? I sure hope not because that would just be stupid. ROH is totally different then both the WWE and TNA. Its a different style. There is plenty of TV time for all three companies. Hell, I say get another national company out there too. More wrestling, more action. The big winners? The fans. And that is what it is about at my level. What goes on in the board room of Sinclair is not my concern. My job is to go out there and do my best to entertain the ROH fans. I think everyone in ROH thinks the same way. We are businessmen but we aren't millionaires either. ROH allows us to make a nice living, but we do it because we love it. I can be in a ton of pain but when I hear that ROH crowd bang on the guardrails or chant "This Is Awesome" or anything else like that, it is the best drug in the world.
I tell people that ask what is going to happen to stay tuned. It could be a real fun ride.
TJ: What are your goals in ROH Best in the World and beyond? Have you given up on the idea on getting a steady job in WWE or TNA?
SC: My goals are to keep growing as a pro-wrestler. With the exception of the never-aging Christopher Daniels, I am the oldest wrestler in ROH. I need to earn my spot every show. I have been lucky that the ROH fans have accepted me as a babyface right now but that doesn't mean that it is cruise time.
I was never a huge WWE fan. I like the product, and I watch it but I never saw myself there. Even in 2007 when I got a tryout there was never a time that I thought "Oh boy, I'm going to WrestleMania." LOL.
I'm not even on TNA's radar. I think I could be a big help to them in the background but that is up to them. Honestly, this is the best time of my life with ROH. I love my job there, I love my life. Things are good. No reason to hope for a change.
TJ: Thanks for doing the interview Steve. Do you have anything you want to promote (websites, twitter, facebook, merch, bookings, etc)? Where can wrestling fans see you besides ROH?
SC: My pleasure. Check out www.IHateSteveCorino.com. Also follow me on Twitter @SteveCorino. I'll warn you that there is not a lot of wrestling talk. Lots of fun though. And get to the website and get your Thumb In The Bum shirts! Now in stock.