Tony Schiavone recently spoke with Chuck Carroll for CBS Sports; you can read a few highlights below:
Schiavone comments on how calling lucha libre style matches in WCW helped prepare him to call today’s style of wrestling:
Yeah, that’s helped me out a lot, it really did. But I think if fans remember back at the end of WCW — and I think it was one of the reasons that we went down — there were times that I just had to completely ignore a match and promote what was coming up or promote a Pay-Per-View.
And so my actual calling of the play-by-play near the end of WCW was non-existent, I thought, compared to what I’ve gotta do today. Now I actually focus on the match, and put the guys or girls over as great athletes without having to promote ahead. Which I absolutely love. When I think about when I was a wrestling fan, back in the 70s, that’s how I fell in love with wrestling, when the announcers talked about the guys and made them seem bigger than life. And now that’s what I’m doing once again.
Schiavone comments on trying to keep his composure during some of Ric Flair’s more infamous promos:
Yeah, the one that I remember was one that we did on the set of World Championship Wrestling back in the 80s. He was doing the angle against Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin and Precious, and he was trying to woo Precious, and he brought out a mannequin. He kissed and made love to the mannequin, while I was holding the microphone. If you go back and watch it, I think you catch me laughing.
He and I talk about that often, when I talk to him and I talk to him about how nutty he was. I say, “yeah but, I was there when you kissed a mannequin.”
I go back to some of the great things we did on World Championship Wrestling in the mid 80s and there was one where Dusty brought out a gorilla in a cage. He said, that he could team up with a gorilla and beat the Andersons at the Omni. And what he did he brought out a guy in a gorilla costume. And it was J.J. Dillon in that gorilla costume.
He said, “come over here Tony, I want you to ask the gorilla what he thinks of Ole Anderson?” And he said, “go ahead stick the microphone in there.” And I stuck the microphone in there and the Gorilla just made that motorboat noise and that was hysterical too. That was one that is gonna stand the test of time with me.
Tony comments on MLW’s production value, and how it compares to WCW’s early days:
It’s really a different era. You think about the 80s, what was available to us back then compared to what’s available to wrestling fans today with the WWE network, with YouTube, with all types of outlets, and New Japan Pro Wrestling. It’s a much different world to try to make your way in, but what I like about what we’re doing is it looks good.
If you’re going to try to get out there and compete, and I’m not saying compete against Vince, but against other television shows you gotta look good. You’ve gotta have good production values, and I think that’s what MLW does. I think MLW is going to prosper because they have got people behind the scenes that know TV and know TV production. It’s a slick-looking show, and I think the future is really bright for them.
Back then, we were like the only other wrestling promotion, and we were on TBS with the bigger cable networks. We could afford to not look that good, and it’s not like that anymore.