Tony Schiavone is usually a co-host of the AEW Unrestricted podcast, but he was the guest on the show’s newest episode. He looked back on his remarkable broadcasting career. The AEW Dynamite color commentator shared a rather humorous story and revealed that his beloved wife, Lois, threatened to leave him if he signed with WWE in 2019 rather than AEW.
On AEW Unrestricted, Tony explained that he’d become friends with Bruce Prichard through Conrad Thompson, and Bruce had informed him in 2019 of his plans to go back to work for WWE. Schiavone says once Bruce was working for them, he let Tony know that they were interested in bringing him in as a producer since they knew that’s what he enjoyed most.
Schiavone would go on to say that he called Conrad first instead of his wife, Lois, and that got the ball rolling with AEW. He explained that Cody Rhodes ended up calling him and told him he didn’t want him in WWE and instead asked Tony to speak with Tony Khan before making any type of decision.
Schiavone went into detail about his visit to Jacksonville to discuss a role with the company, then said he knew immediately that he wanted to be with AEW and Khan offered him an amazing deal, but he knew he still had to listen to what WWE had to say.
“I knew immediately I wanted to work [for AEW],” said Schiavone. “And I also had a wife of mine, we’ve been married now 39 years, who told me, ‘If you take a job back with the WWE, I’m gonna divorce your ass.'”
Schiavone ultimately found out that summer that WWE was no longer interesting in signing him, but prior to that he was still open to fielding offers from both sides. When he shared this with Lois, she told him it didn’t matter what WWE offered because he shouldn’t take it, with Tony noting that she had a bad vibe about the company.
For those unaware, Tony Schiavone worked for the then-WWF for a brief stint between 1989 and 1990, but it ultimately didn’t work out for many reasons. Schiavone has previously talked about the decision to quit WWF, noting it was difficult uprooting his family from Georgia to move to Stamford, and despite making good money, it was still a financial strain. Schiavone ultimately received an offer from WCW in 1990 to return, and he ended up working for them until they were bought out by WWE in 2001.
Later in the show, he also reflected on the end of his run with WCW. At the time, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter named him the worst TV announcer in 1999 and 2000. Schiavone admitted that he wasn’t happy with his performance.
“It was not a good time, and I’ve had people since then say, ‘Oh the matches were so bad that it dragged you down,” said Schiavone. ‘Well, that’s an excuse. When the matches are really bad is when you have to shine, is when you have to up your game, and I was a little too much over the top.
“And I go back and listen to those days, ‘99 and ‘00. I go back and listen to those days or watch that, and it bugs me because I was nothing but a hype machine. And I tried to overhype it, and I was pushed to do that, too and I get it. But still, you’ve got to accept responsibility for, I could have done a much better job. And I was kind of checked out at that time. I get it, I was bad, we were bad.”
The full episode of AEW Unrestricted with Tony Schiavone is available here: