The Cornellverse was created by Adam Ryland, as part of his Total Extreme Wrestling series, a wrestling booker simulation game that had been previously released as Extreme Wrestling Revenge. Unlike EWR, which was released for free with real world workers and promotions attached to it, TEW was released with a fictional world attached to it due to it being a commercial release and copyright laws. Over the years the Cornellverse has gained a life of its own and attracted many fans from the .400 Software Forums and most recently from the forums of Grey Dog Software, the game's publisher since 2005. Its forum has seen a host of fan based dynasties and mods created for the Cornellverse over the last 5 years - most notably Mr.T Jobs to Me's 1975 and Derek B's 1997 mod. Adam Ryland has shown interest in adding both the 1975 and 1997 databases to the Cornellverse canon.
This mod, created by Grey Dog Software forum user derek_b, is set in January of 1997. The starting date allows players the freedom to change several key events in Cornellverse history: J.K. Stallings Jr. has only recently founded the Hollyweird Grappling Company, Tommy Cornell and Nemesis have not yet had the fateful brawl that led to both men leaving the Supreme Wrestling Federation, and the four-way battle for supremacy popularly known as The East Coast Wars is in full swing. The database starts with only 832 active workers and 21 active promotions, but includes over 900 workers yet to debut and a total of 65 promotions which can potentially open as gameplay progresses.
Despite the Cornellverse making its first appearance with Total Extreme Wrestling 2004 (then Total Extreme Warfare), many of the characters who became prominent fan favorites were not included in the database, and others had different names. No pictures were included to accompany the workers, and many of the women wrestlers weighed twice the maximum limit for their gimmicks. At least one listing in the gimmick file (Power and Paint) was not attainable by any worker at the time gameplay started. The Australian continent was depicted as having no wrestling promotions and only two workers, Bruce The Giant and Golden Delicious, hailed from the region. Despite these limitations, Adam Ryland's introduction of the Cornellverse proved that a wrestling simulator using an entirely fictional database could be a commercial success. Fans of the Cornellverse contributed hundreds of renders, and by the release of Wrestling Spirit every active wrestler in the United States region had at least one profile picture.