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bpickering
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The Mid-Atlantic Legends Fanfest continued with a Tony Schiavone Q&A.  Any typos will be fixed upon completion of coverage.

The discussion started with talk of Tony being bitter about the business.  He said that he wasn't bitter and always loved pro wrestling.  He said at the end of WCW, his work wasn't as good as he had been and WWE didnt show interest in him.  He was hired by WSB Radio the same day WCW had their final employee meeting. 

He said the story he was bitter came from him answering questions about wrestling on a radio show and those comments were repurposed on an interview online without permission.  He said the person responsible for that can kiss his fat ass.  Tony said he loved the business and ran down people he liked working with.  He is so busy he can't do pro wrestling events but this weekend there are baseball games nearby and it allowed it to happen.

Growing up, he was a fan and talked up how special Blackjack Mulligan was.  He said the best angle he ever saw was Ric Flair and Blackjack and talked about the build for that storyline and how he went around the territory to watch the feud.

Tony was working in baseball when he was hired by The Crockett family and was working on that end.  He was called into an office by Francis Crockett after a crappy day of trying to sell season tickets and was told he was going to Ric Flair's house to interview him about Starrcade '83.  He said he literally sh** his pants and was so excited.

They filmed the interview and Francis told him her brothers wanted him to do the weekly Wednesday interviews.  He was told by Jim Crockett thatbwhat he saw stayed where he saw it.  He was brought into the interview room and saw Ric Flair hugging Ricky Steamboat and was blown away.  He saw everyone congregating and away they went.  He called it thebl most jarring thing.

Schiavone was asked about the difference between calling real sports and pro wrestling.  His first TV broadcast was in Shelby, NC and he was told by Steamboat he was great.  Tony said he knew his job was just to make the matches sound great.  He said his job was keeping a straight face and calling the matches.
They talked about the Jim Crockett TV show replacing the WWF series after Black Saturday.  He was asked if there was blowback because he was on the show and not Gordon Solie.  He said there was tons and he's happy there were not emails then.

He said he was asked if he wanted to do the show with David Crockett and he jumped in wanting more work.  They would fly in early AM and waited until they came up with the show.  They were handed a production sheet and they taped.  They were never told what was going to happen.

They talked about Nikita nailing David Crockett with the Russian Sickle.  Tony said he was asked by Vince Russo to do something in WCW and he said no.  He once thought he broke his arm when Cactus Jack fell on him from the ring.  Vader and Cactus bled all over he and Jesse Ventura at Halloween Havoc '93.
Tony was asked about being ribbed.  He told a story about being asked about Ric  Flair's penis by the ESPN Producer working on the Flair doc.  He then told a great story about Flair in Baltimore ribbing him by asking to put a sock on his penis.

Schiavone said 70s were his favorite time as a fan and 80s were the best time in the business.  He said that ended when that "piece of sh** company" Turner Broadcasting bought the company and he can say that now as they no longer own The Atlanta Braves.

They talked about The Great American Bash tour.  He said he went on the road as a ring announcer as Crockett felt it added prestige to the shows.  He said he got to travel with some of the greatest characters ever.  He told a story about getting drunk with Barry Windham and said it was the drunkest he ever was. 

He said the first Starrcade was probably his favorite.  He did interviews in the back.  Meeting Bob Caudle that night was one of the biggest thrills of his life.  That night was the first time he met Dusty Rhodes.  He didnt know Rhodes was the booker and said the show was his idea to pitch himself as a booker.   The fact it was at the Greensboro Coliseum made it special.  He still has ticket stubs in his attic and collected cardstock posters from Greensboro shows.
Tony talked about Wahoo McDaniel.  He said Wahoo was a legitimate badass but if he as drinking, it was scary.  He talked about the night Magnum TA won the U.S. title from Wahoo and Wahoo got legitimately busted open.  Tony took him home and Wahoo wanted to stop for a drink.  A female fan got into with Wahoo because he had turned heel so Wahoo slapped her

Tony said his opinions about Turner Broadcasting is based on them being so stupid as to sell a library they could make millions for nothing.  He went to WWF the first time because he didn't want to work for Turner.  He said that the fact WCW lasted so long was a credit to those who worked so hard there.

He was asked about calling scaffold matches.  He said it was difficult and sometimes the build to something is better than the final result.  He told the story of Ray Traylor not catching Jim Cornette.
When WCW sued Ric Flair, it didn't have any personal issue with it.  He said Eric Bischoff wasn't the first person to end up in a lawsuit with Flair.
They talked about Eric Bischoff and told the story of him giving a speech about wanting to put a stake through the heart of Vince McMahon.  When that was said, Tony thought that everyone wants a job there.

He said that the night Vince Russo screwed Hulk Hogan and had him lay down for Jeff Jarrett and then cut a promo on Hogan.  He said he believes that was all a work and that Vince Russo took issue.  He said sometimes you work so hard, you work the boys.

The comment about it being the greatest night in the history of WCW Nitro was a result of him being a "lazy a**"  Sometimes he was produced and sometimes it was him. 

He told a story about how one of the things they were going to do in WCW was give away a million dollars to a viewer.  Bischoff pitched it and walked out of the room.  Tony spent the entire Nitro pushing it even though he hated it and didnt push one wrestler.  Bishoff told him great job and Tony knew they were going to hell.    He said the art of getting the wrestlers over was lost in the push for the next PPV.
Tony said he was never mad at Mike Tenay when he cut a promo on him in TNA.  He said when Steve Regal ripped him, it was part of the show.
They talked about Tom Miller as a ring announcer.
Jim Cornette made him laugh the most on interviews.  He said Magnum had amazing charisma and intensity.      He said he knew to step away so he could make faces as he held the mic.

Tony was asked how he found his voice as an announcer.  He said he learned so much from Gorilla Monsoon when he was in WWF in terms of putting people over.  He said a lot came from his passion as a fan.
Tony was excited and honored to work with Jesse Ventura.  He wanted Jesse to be Jesse.  Working with David Crockett was never hard because David signed the check.   He said one of his sons are named after David and the Crockett Family lent him the down payment to buy his first home, interest free.

They talked about the night The Mulkeys won on TV.

They talked about Mike Tenay calling Lucha matches while Tony sat back.  He said that was fine as he never liked Lucha and it was all highspots that never made sense.  He knows people like it but what made wrestling was selling and the Lucha guys didn't selm sh**.  He let Tenay do his thing.  Tony said he never had an ego about having TV time.

Tony said that when he was all over WCW TV, that was all a WCW call and he was sure everyone was sick of himself because he was sick of himself.
The spoiling and knock on Mick Foley winning the WWF title on Nitro was Tony doing what he was told to do.  He said the line was his words but he was instructed to say something bad.  He called Foley the next day and apologized.  He said he regrets doing it but would do it today if the promoter asked him to. Do it.

Tony said when WWE started the Network he called them because he wanted to go through the footage.  Kevin Dunn called him back and said they would get back to him and they never have.  He said that they knew he would steal the footage so everyone can see it.
Tony closed out talking about how much he loved Mid-Atlantic to the point he didn't want to go to college in PA because he would miss Mid-Atlantic.

Last edited on Fri Aug 5th, 2016 04:18 pm by bpickering

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He gets a bad rap, but I always enjoyed Tony. Especially in the Crockett days.

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I heard stories that he was a prick but I always liked his work. In particular, in the early days after taking over the WWF TBS slot, he knew how to enhance a worker's Mike skills and knew when to shut up. In the end, you could hear that he was mailing it in. He basically confirms that.

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I wish he was asked about his relationship with Heenan and why it got so strained.  Also the changes at the end when everyone from Scott Hudson to Mark Madden were given jobs in an effort to phase him out.

Last edited on Fri Aug 5th, 2016 11:32 pm by srossi

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I would have liked someone to ask why his name is pronounced with a sh sound at the start, when it should be sk. Skya-vow-nee. It's not difficult.

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He comes across as a decent guy. Perhaps it's the family man in him, and he was a baseball guy who was a wrestling fan growing up. Seems like he'd be easy to get along with. He's had a couple of interviews with JR and Flair. He takes the blame regarding Heenan. Said he should have called him.

Last edited on Sat Aug 6th, 2016 02:00 am by Blazer

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srossi wrote: I wish he was asked about his relationship with Heenan and why it got so strained.  Also the changes at the end when everyone from Scott Hudson to Mark Madden were given jobs in an effort to phase him out.
Tony has appeared on JR's podcast and says it started when he was told by the office to not contact Heenan when they let him go. They felt or feared that Heenan would sue the company so they did not want Schiavone talking to him. He said that in hindsight, he should have called Heenan anyway, that he loved to talk on the phone for periods of time with the guys.
They made up a few years later while recording the audio to the Legends of Wrestling game. Heenan asked Tony to call him sometime and he never did. He said he deserves any scorn Heenan feels for him. On a side note, they were never paid for the game audio.

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LAF wrote: srossi wrote: I wish he was asked about his relationship with Heenan and why it got so strained.  Also the changes at the end when everyone from Scott Hudson to Mark Madden were given jobs in an effort to phase him out.
Tony has appeared on JR's podcast and says it started when he was told by the office to not contact Heenan when they let him go. They felt or feared that Heenan would sue the company so they did not want Schiavone talking to him. He said that in hindsight, he should have called Heenan anyway, that he loved to talk on the phone for periods of time with the guys.
They made up a few years later while recording the audio to the Legends of Wrestling game. Heenan asked Tony to call him sometime and he never did. He said he deserves any scorn Heenan feels for him. On a side note, they were never paid for the game audio.

I thought they had problems while still working together. 

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He basically ripped into Heenan for saying something reminded him of Karl Gotch. "Karl Gotch? Are you 137 or something?"

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srossi wrote: LAF wrote: srossi wrote: I wish he was asked about his relationship with Heenan and why it got so strained.  Also the changes at the end when everyone from Scott Hudson to Mark Madden were given jobs in an effort to phase him out.
Tony has appeared on JR's podcast and says it started when he was told by the office to not contact Heenan when they let him go. They felt or feared that Heenan would sue the company so they did not want Schiavone talking to him. He said that in hindsight, he should have called Heenan anyway, that he loved to talk on the phone for periods of time with the guys.
They made up a few years later while recording the audio to the Legends of Wrestling game. Heenan asked Tony to call him sometime and he never did. He said he deserves any scorn Heenan feels for him. On a side note, they were never paid for the game audio.

I thought they had problems while still working together. 
I think so and Schiavone just glossed over it. I remember a Nitro when they had a petty argument on the air because Heenan refused to face the camera.

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The real beef with Heenan started when Gorrila died. Heenan wanted to say something on Nitro and Tony was against it. Bobby went to Bischoff and said he would quit if he could so Bishoff let it happen. Bobby would never forgive Tony for that and it built from there. 

Last edited on Sun Aug 7th, 2016 08:09 pm by Pulp

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I was in attendance for the q&a. He was probably the best guest they had.

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I have met Tony a few times over time. He never came across in a bad way to me. Always informative and giving me information for my research along with great behind the scenes stuff. The internet is what gave him the bad reputation.

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>>>He was called into an office by Francis Crockett after a crappy day of trying to sell season tickets and was told he was going to Ric Flair's house to interview him about Starrcade '83.  He said he literally sh** his pants and was so excited.<<<


Well, that's peculiar.

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Tony Schiavone has paid a big price for being the voice of WCW during its decline and for getting burned out but staying in the booth while doing poor work. Had he left WCW circa 1994-95 to do something else, be it as the studio host for Braves baseball or as the sports guy at 6:00 and 11:00 for some network affiliate, I think wrestling fans would view him much differently and more favorably. I've watched some mid to late 1980s clips from the WTBS studio recently, just flipping through stuff on YouTube, and Tony's level of enthusiasm, care for the product, and resulting credibility are off the charts higher than stuff in the late 1990s and early 2000s when he clearly was cashing a paycheck and didn't care anymore.

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TerryWWWF wrote: >>>He was called into an office by Francis Crockett after a crappy day of trying to sell season tickets and was told he was going to Ric Flair's house to interview him about Starrcade '83.  He said he literally sh** his pants and was so excited.<<<


Well, that's peculiar.

They are literally hanging off the rafters!! 
It must be a prerequisite to not know what literally means to be a wrestling announcer. 

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he gets a bad rap. the only people that really disliked him were WWF fans who took the WWF vs WCW war way too seriously. All commentators over hype the product. Jim Ross never did?lol

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Regardless of why he was doing it; his "this is the most important night" routine came across pretty lame. His inability to recognize the real sting or the fake sting got old rather quickly but we all have our issues.

At least he wasnt talking about the hard and soft style within karate like Larry Z when trying to hype glacier.

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Schiavone became the face and voice of a dying brand and he never could get that stench off of him.  Part of it was beyond his control, part of it was obviously his fault.  He admits he got lazy, and that certainly showed.  The hype and enthusiasm over silly stuff can actually be endearing, like how Don West is remembered fondly by some because he was usually sincere, but Tony came across as particularly disingenuous and even bored as he was over-hyping.  A really bad combo.  And although his job was to hype, I'm sure he personally made the choice to say "The greatest night in the history of our industry" on a routine basis.  He could've used different verbiage, especially after becoming a punchline.

But I enjoyed his work when he was the "serious" analyst standing next to the buffoon which was David Crockett.  That seems like another lifetime ago.

Last edited on Tue Aug 9th, 2016 10:32 pm by srossi

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Tony Schiavone was a top lead announcer in all of wrestling in my opinion - then he went to the WWF, shaved the mustache, dyed his hair, and oversold everything more than Gene Mean did. When he came back to WCW, he wasn't the same.

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I like Tony. One of my favorite 80's announcers. Maybe even #1, to me.

I appreciate how he acknowledged learning from Gorilla. When he first came on "Prime Time", Tony was sort of being brought along as Gorilla's protege. They kayfabed it up, even leading to Heenan walking out on "Wrestling Challenge" in the fall of 1989. Gorilla and Tony co-hosted that show for about... a month, maybe? I remember their on-air interactions seemed pleasant.

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Good guy, good announcer. Doesn't deserve the shit he sometimes gets. Jesus, he had to announce with David Crocket for chrissakes.

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Great insight thank you. Wasnt a big fan of TS i. The 80s but t i enjoyed his voice in a nostalgic way on wcw 90s. Loved some of the late 90s wcw before it got ridiculous.



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