Jim Cornette & Tony Schiavone Talk NWA 70 & More

Jim Cornette & Tony Schiavone Talk NWA 70 & More

Tony Schiavone At Starrcast For “WHW Podcast” – August 31, 2018, Schaumburg, IL (Photo: Dominic DeAngelo)

The legendary announce team of Jim Cornette and Tony Schiavone will reunite for tonight’s NWA 70 pay-per-view; but, before that historic event caught up with Bill Apter and co-host Josh Shernoff for The Apter Chat.

The two opened up about a number of topics

On NWA 70:

Schiavone: I’m really excited about this and really excited about seeing you [Jim Cornette] again and really excited about being able to call one of Cody’s matches. That’s gonna be sensational.

Cornette: I saw the first match from All In and they had a psychologically and athletically, etc, they had a good old fashioned, to me, and that’s not a dirty word, NWA championship match. Now with this being two out of three falls and of course Dusty [Rhodes] loved those, we’ve seen and been in a bunch of them and been in a bunch of them between us, I think it’s gonna be a great opportunity to call a great wrestling match and I figured out now that Tony doing this with you, I will have been on or announced an NWA telecast in four different decades.

On Wrestling Changing:

Schiavone: Pro wrestling has changed a great deal from back in the 80s. Sometimes, I think it’s for the best and sometimes I’m not so sure because of all the crazy high spots they do and all the gimmicks they use and the tables and the chairs, just crazy stuff. A lot of times it’s about the high spots and not about telling the story; but, I’m really excited that two out of three falls will be able to tell a story.

Cornette: I’m with you with the crazy spots. High spots don’t even make me mad anymore. It’s their bodies. I’m not gonna be in the iron lung as Jay Strongbow would say. I did ask and receive assurance that with this NWA 70th Anniversary event The Invisible Man will not be on the card. It’s gonna be a wrestling event and we’re gonna be proud of it. We’re gonna have a fun time.

On Wrestling Being Overly Scripted Today:

Schiavone: They’re accustomed to it [being overly scripted]; but, they’re not doing a good job of it. To me that was the magic of what we did. It wasn’t the wrestling matches because they were enhancement matches. It was the time when Jim would come up on the set with me and David and bring Beautiful Bobby and Sweet Stan or Loverboy Dennis up and talk. They wouldn’t really say back in the days, go out and give me three minutes. They’d let you go out and talk until Dusty wrapped you up.

Cornette: You had an alleged time; but, if you were going good you wouldn’t get the wrap and if you were dying, you’d get the wrap early.

Shiavone: Right, that was the magic of what we did back then. It really was. It was taking the talent that you had and making it work and people wanted to see that. They watched it for the interviews. That’s why you watched TBS.

On Their Favorite People To Work With While On Commentary:

Schiavone: I can tell you it’s not only Jim, it was obviously Ric Flair and I enjoyed working with Roddy Piper a lot to. Now Dusty’s a foregone conclusion because Dusty was so entertaining; but, I really think you’ve got to slide Roddy in there because I did some things that maybe they didn’t see on a national level; but, back in the old Crockett garage back there I did some wonderful things with Roddy Piper, especially for the first Starrcade and those stick in my mind. I remember Roddy coming in, his plane had just landed and they ran him from the Charlotte airport to the Crockett’s. He came in with a Halliburton case and he came in and Gene Anderson said, ‘You’re up.’ He opened up the Halliburton case and he had a dog collar and a chain in it and he put the dog collar around on me and pulled me back and forth by the chain and the dog collar back and forth on the set. I’m thinking, ‘Wow, this is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. A guy just ran from the airport, got in here and was able to improve like this.’ I really enjoyed working with him a lot too. You go back to the days of TBS and think about the stuff Jim did and the stuff Arn [Anderson] did and the stuff Flair did. You’re not gonna get better than that and that’s why those things withstand the test of time.

Cornette: You asked Tony his favorite people to work with. He mentioned the wrestlers he liked working with. I was lucky to have a string of great announcers starting with Jim Ross and Bill Watts in Mid-South and later on Tony and even Blessing David. Tony and Bob Caudle, ‘He got him by the honker,’ in Mid-Atlantic. J.R. came over to TBS and even the multitude of guys – I’ve even been able to work with Vince McMahon as an announcer and in his own way, he cornered the market. I’ve worked with Gordon Solie a few times on TBS. I had a string of great announcers to work with, also, in my announcing and managing performances.

On Ten Pounds of Gold:

Cornette: I’ve watched the Ten Pounds of Gold series that Dave Lagana and Billy Corgan have been doing over the NWA Championship to build Cody and Nick Aldis. I look at those programs and I had to be a fan because they’re doing what I said people ought to be doing. They’re taking two guys that look and act and carry themselves and perform as professional athletes. They’re giving the reasons why, each one of them, their individual reasons for wanting to attain this championship and they’re highlighting the prestige that it has and again, modern times, but it has in the past, and why people should want it. They’ve done a great job.

On Whether The NWA’s Resurgence Is Surprising:

Schiavone: Nothing surprises me in pro wrestling now and time heals all; but, yes, I’m shocked. I thought once it was sold to Turner Broadcasting and they were in WCW and did all they could to screw up wrestling, I thought that the NWA was completely dead. Then, of course, when Vince [McMahon] took over everything I thought, there’s no chance in the world that we’ll ever see the old NWA title and the old title belt, but I’m just absolutely shocked it’s back and so appreciative of it because that’s what I grew up on.

Cornette: I didn’t think it was gonna come back like this; but, what Corgan’s done now is they’re putting emphasis on the NWA title itself and they’ve put it on athletes, so far, that have been able to carry the thing and carry themselves as professionals and now the NWA Champion is once again defending on big promotion events: Ring of Honor, New Japan that didn’t need to join the NWA to get big; but, now, at the same time, they have access. That’s a touring NWA Champion. That’s what it was in the old days, you know, to the different promotions.

On What It Means To Announce A Cody Match, After Having Worked With Dusty Rhodes:

Schiavone: I finally get to do a match for Cody. I know Nick too, very well; but, I finally get to do a match for Cody and be a part of that and it means a lot to me.

(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone)

The two also talk their favorite eras to work in the business and Tony Schiavone also reveals what brought him back to the world of professional wrestling and what it was like working with Dusty Rhodes.

Listen to all that and more in the full episode of The Apter Chat below:

RELATED: NWA 70 Preview: History And Tradition Bring Us To Nashville To Celebrate Wrestling’s Most Heralded Promotion