Tony Schiavone Shoot Interview

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He was the voice of NWA/Mid Atlantic wrestling when most of us were teenagers in the 80’s when wrestling was still real to us all. He worked his way to the top of the mountain and became the face of TBS wrestling for the Crockett’s alongside another legendary announcer David Crockett. He would later become an announcer in the WWE and of course return to WCW to host Monday Night Nitro and Thunder during the Monday Night Wars. For the first time ever Tony Schiavone sits down one on one with RF VIDEO for his first ever tell all interview that will leave you breathless and wanting more.

The interview talks about Tony’s early days being a fan and going to house shows around his hometown. You will learn about his passion for the business and of course his passion for broadcasting. We talk all about is run working for the Crockett’s at a early age doing baseball for them out of their office and how one day he was lucky enough to get picked to go to Ric Flair’s house for a candid one on one interview for Starrcade 83 that earned him his spot with the company. They were just getting his feet wet, before he dove into the pool of the NWA to become the face of the company wether it was on Saturday afternoon or at 6:05 PM on TBS. Tony takes us thru a typical day during the NWA TV tapings in the 80’s and how he broke into the business and earned the trust of the boys. You will hear stories on all the greats that he was able to meet, including becoming friends with the top names in the business like the 4 Horseman. Do you want ton’s of backstage stories from the NWA during the 80’s, well you got it. Tony holds NOTHING back as this was a legit tell all interview.

What what did he learn from Dusty Rhodes and what was his opinion on him as the head booker for the NWA. Did he ever get ribbed by the boys, just ask Barry Windham that one. What did he think when he saw David Crockett get the Russian Sickle by Nikita Koloff? Tony has stories on all of the biggest stars of the NWA during the 80’s too, from Missy Hyatt, Michael Hayes, Road Warriors, Magnum TA, Jim Cornette and so many more. What happened when Hawk almost took his eye out by accident with a spike? Want to know how Jim Cornette almost killed a fan and why Tony jumped in to help and hold back Jimmy? What did he think about the NWA and the WWF going head to head? When did he realize the NWA was loosing the battle and what did he think about the Turner take over.

We talk about the early days in the office and what it was like to work for the Turner organization and why Tony wanted to jump ship over to the WWF in the late 80’s. What was his initial meeting like with Vince and Pat. What were the differences behind the scenes between both companies? What was it like working with Bobby Heenan. We also talk in depth about all the public bashing that might have went on as Bobby often would bury Tony on interviews. We asked Tony point blank about all the past heat issues there were between both men. Tony goes into great detail on his side of the story and holds nothing back. Why did he leave the WWF and what happened the day he got back to WCW for the first time. You will be shocked to find out who Tony called when he got back on the job during his first day.

You want stories on the Monday Night Wars from the guy who has seen it all…What did he think of Eric Bischoff taking over and becoming the Vice President in WCW. What were his views on the NWO angle. We talk about his first time seeing Lex Luger backstage in MN. We had to ask him of course why he gave spoilers out before Mick Foley one the title. Who called for that to be said and what happened when Mick Foley called Tony on the phone a few days after to express his feelings on the matter. There are endless WCW stories with all the top talent from Hall & Nash, Hogan, Goldberg, DDP, Chris Jericho and the list goes on and on. What was his take on all the backstage politics between Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff. His thoughts on Jim Herd in the company during it’s early days. We talk about the Chris Benoit tragedy. Did he ever laugh during a broadcast and if so who gave him heat for it?

What was it like for him to find out that the company was going out of business and that the WWE was taking over. Did he ever call Vince again for his job back? We go into great detail on the final WCW Nitro taping and what he did after the show ended. We talk about life after wrestling for Tony. Did he ever want to be in the WWE HOF? Memories of his brief run in TNA and what does he think about the business today. If you are a wrestling fan and love the business as much as I do, you will want to watch this interview as it needed to happen only with RF VIDEO. We left no rock unturned and asked him everything under the sun. If you loved the NWA as much as I did, you will love this amazing interview that lasted for three solid hours. Tony Schiavone gave us one of the best interviews of all time and just like I did you just never wanted to hear the words “Well Tony we got to go we are out of time.”

You were a fan growing up in the Mid-Atlantic area. Talk about your earliest memories that made you a fan.
Who were the talents that made an impression on you as a fan?
Were you going to a lot of shows in that era as a fan and if so, what feud and venues stood out to you?
When did you realize the business was a work?
When did you decide that you wanted to get into pro wrestling?
Did you have any announcing experience prior to pro wrestling?
You were hired by the Crockett family to work on the baseball side, not the wrestling side of the business – how did all that come about? We’ve heard it was Frances Crockett who opened the door?
Did they know you were a wrestling fan at that time?
Talk about the makeup of the Crockett family and their different roles working for the company?
As you were working on the baseball side, did you ever pitch getting involved in the wrestling side?

The story we’ve heard is that out of nowhere, you were picked to go to Ric Flair’s house and interview him to promote Starrcade 83 – is this story correct and if so, what are your recollections of how it all went down?
How soon after the interview were you moved over to the wrestling side of the Crockett company?
How important were the Crockett family to you personally?
Did you have a hard time getting the boys in the back to trust you?
Did you have that moment where kayfabe was destroyed for you behind the scenes?
What was your reaction to that?
When did you start announcing matches for Crocketts and what sort of instructions did they give?
Commentary at that point had a very sports-oriented edge to it – was that something that was an edict from the company or was it simply a byproduct of trying to call the matches like a shoot?
Talk about your mindset at that point when it came to calling matches and protecting the business while doing so?
Take us through a week in the life of working for Mid-Atlantic Wrestling?
When you found out Jim Crockett TV was going to replace WWE on TBS, were you excited or worried that you were going to now be the guy who had replaced Gordon Solie on TBS?
Did you get any negative feedback from that time period?
Break down a typical day backstage at a Crockett Promotions TV taping – how much were you aware of happening in terms of finishes and angles? Were you cued in or did the company try to kayfabe it so you had more legitimate reactions?
Was it hard to find your voice as an announcer?
Ever say anything on the air that got you heat with wrestlers or the office?
Memories of working with David Crockett as an announcer?
Memories of working with Bob Caudle?
You did backstage interviews at Starrcade 83 – what sort of pressure was the company under that night since it was a live closed circuit broadcast? Do you recall anyone being overly stressed or freaked out about the show?
Memories of Flair vs. Race that night?
Was that night your first time meeting Dusty Rhodes?
Talk about working with Dusty and his work as booker for Crockett?
Did production in terms of what announcers knew change with Dusty as the producer?
Memories of working the Great American Bash tour?
Was there ever anyone who was so good or so funny that it was hard to keep a straight face during interviews?
Let’s talk the Horsemen – memories of watching that unit form before your eyes and what made it so special?
Any memories of partying with the Horsemen?
Did you have any favorite travel partners on the road in Crockett?
Did you ever think the group would have had the legacy that lives on today?

Memories of Nikita nailng David Crockett with the Russian Sickle?
Did you know it was coming?
How did you feel about Crockett buying out Florida and Watts and the other territories?
Did you feel buying the UWF and moving HQ to Dallas was a mistake?
How did you first get along with Jim Ross when he came on board with Crockett? Was there ever a concern for your spot with him coming in?
The biggest acquisition out of that purchase was Sting – talk about memories of him and his rising star during that period?
Memories of Crockett running head to head with WWF in the same night?
Memories of the Bunkhouse Stampede PPV at the Nassau Coliseum and what went wrong that night?
Memories thoughts/stories of the following from the Crockett era?
Magnum TA
Wahoo McDaniel
Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express
Abdullah the Butcher
The Andersons
Randy Anderson
The Road Warriors
Brad Armstrong
Baby Doll
The Barbarian
Powers of Pain
Paul Jones
Dark Journey
J.J. Dillon
Rick Rude & Manny Fernandez
The Garvins
Eddie Gilbert
Kevin Sullivan
Michael Hayes
Missy Hyatt
The Kernodles
Ivan Koloff
Nikita Koloff
Buddy Landel
Stan Lane
Lex Luger
Magnum T.A.
Bugsy McGraw
Blackjack Mulligan
Dick Murdoch
Paul Orndorff
Al Perez
Brian Pillman
Harley Race
Butch Reed
Steve Regal
Dustin Rhodes
Tommy Rich
The Varsity Club
Big Bubba Rogers
Jimmy Valiant
Barry Windham
Tom Miller

The Mulkeys
Tommy Young
Teddy Long

When did you realize Crockett Promotions was in trouble?
How bad was the loss of Tully and Arn to the morale of the company. Most people see that as the day the Horsemen died.
Were you hopeful Crockett could be saved?
When did you find out the plan was to sell to Turner and what was your thought on it at the time?
Thoughts on Turner Broadcasting purchasing Crockett Promotions?
How do you think the sale effected the family personally?
Do you think the family should have tried to save the company?
Who do you blame for the Crocketts having to sell – some blame Dusty, some blame the accounting, Jim Crockett Jr. said that he should take the blame in a documentary – but who you think was responsible?
Initial thoughts on working under Turner?
What were your first impressions of Jim Herd?
Should he have ever been in charge of a pro wrestling company?
When did you first realize it was a different world and the Crockett era was gone forever?
Talk about the political nightmare that was working under the Turner organization.
Was it something that was exclusive to Turner’s ownership of pro wrestling or was it the same when you later worked in the baseball world?
You leave WCW for the WWF – talk about what leads you to that moment. Did it personally bother you to leave or did you feel it wasn’t the Crockett company anymore?
Is it true that WCW decided they were going to go with Jim Ross as the voice of TBS and you as the voice of syndicated TV and if so, was that part of your decision to leave for WWF?
Talk about the differences of working for The Crocketts and Vince McMahon?
Was it hard to assimilate into WWE after so many years of working for the Crocketts?
Compare doing production for Crockett vs. WWF?
Did you feel like you had made the big time working for WWF?
Now that you were working for WWF, do you think Crockett could have ever competed with them successfully and survived?
Did you like living in the Northeast?
Memories of working with Jesse Ventura for the first time?
Was there any jealous when Jesse Ventura came in and got a big money deal in 1992? There’s been talk that Jim Ross resented him at that time – how did you look at the situation?
Today, there’s a lot of talk about how much Vince Mcmahon is in the announcers’ ears during broadcasts – was that the case when you were calling Summerslam 89 and Royal Rumble 1990 or were you left to your own devices?
Memories of working with Bobby Heenan in the WWF?
Memories of working with Bobby Heenan – there are so many stories about Heenan being allegedly drunk on duty while announcing – have any stories about that?
How different was Bobby in WCW vs. WWF overall?
In an interview we did with Bobby Heenan, he claimed you would allegedly hide finishes and angles from Bobby and Mike Tenay during WCW broadcasts to make yourself look better. Heenan said your key to life is “knowledge is power” – care to comment?
Heenan also claimed that you took issue with him paying tribute to Gorilla Monsoon after Monsoon’s passing. Was that correct and if so, why?
Memories of working with the following in WWE – Gorilla Monsoon. Hillbilly Jim, Lorf Alfred Hayes, Rod Trongard.
Was it important to you to get to call a match in Madison Square Garden?
Were you bummed that while you were in WWF, Flair was having classic matches with Terry Funk and Ricky Steamboat that you couldnt call?
Memories of traveling overseas for WWE?
Memories of working Wrestlemania VI?
What led to your WWE departure?
You returned to Turner/WCW – what were your first impressions returning to the company?
Did you regret exiting WWE?
Was there ever a time where you pitched the idea of going back to WWE and was the company ever receptive to the idea?
Were you happy to be reunited with Jim Ross in WCW?
How had working with Jesse Ventura changed from WWF to WCW, if at all?
Thoughts on Flair leaving WCW for the WWF?
Reaction when Jim Herd was finally removed from power? Did you have any hopes things might change?
Why did names like Ole Anderson and Bill Watts not work out when they were in charge of WCW?
Kip Frye memories?
Did you ever try to apply for the Executive Vice President position with the company?
Memories of the Halloween Havoc opening where you turned into a monster and scared little kids? Who’s idea was that?
Memories of going to Japan for the WCW Japan Supershow

Memories of the following early 1990s Turner/WCW talents:

Steve Austin
The Dangerous Alliance
Sid Vicious
El Giganta
Tom Zenk
Southern Boys
Ron Simmons
Johnny B Badd
Cactus Jar
Dr. Death
Terry Gordy
Great Muta
Steven/William Regal
Davey Boy Smith
2 Cold Scorpio
Erik Watts
Van Hammer
PN Newz
Jushin Liger
Bill Kazmaier
Why was Eric Bischoff able to politically maneuver through Turner Broadcasting when so many before him failed to do so?
Memories of the speeches Eric Bischoff used to give about wanting to destroy WWE?
Bischoff pretty much denies he said any such thing now. Why do you think he does that?
Were you surprised when Hogan, Savage, etc. all jumped to WCW?
What was your first reaction when you found out WCW was going to go head to head against Raw?
Did you think the idea would fail?
Memories of the first Nitro at the Mall of America?
When did you find out Lex Luger was going to be appearing?
What were the factors that made Nitro take off as fast and hot as is did?
Were you surprised by how the perception of the company changed?
Thoughts on the NWO angle, why it got so hot and why the company was never able to replicate it?
Do you think the assesment that Bischoff was getting controlled by the boys was accurate?
Were you surprised when he was removed from power?
What were the first signs that things were disorganized behind the scenes?There are stories of Nitro going on the air without the entire show being written – how often would such a thing happen and how would you deal with the awkward nature of being on the air without knowing what direction you were supposed to be taking?
There was a famous incident where DX was outside Nitro taping material for Raw – what was your reaction when you learned about it?
Memories of working with the following as announcers and how would you rate them?
Gene Okerlund
Mark Madden
Mike Tenay
Mongo McMichael
Larry Zbyszko
Eric Bischoff
Scott Hudson
Whos the most underrated announcer in your mind?
Once of the infamous moments you’ve been involved in was ripping on Mick Foley winning the WWF title the night he won it on a taped Raw opposide a live Nitro. Talk us through who produced you and ordered you say it, whether you improvised any of it and when you realized that the fallout of it actually led to viewers turning on Raw?
How did you feel about the line when you were asked to do it and would you do it again if you were announcing today and were instructed to say it?
In Mick Foley’s first book, he writes about you calling to apologize for the line -memories of that conversation.
How do you feel about that moment being partially blamed for the beginning of the end of the company?
You’ve said that at the end of WCW, your announcing work wasn’t as good as it had been – what were the factors that led to that happening – was it something you recognized at the time or did you only know through hindsight? What could you have done differently – or was it a case of being beaten down by the insanity that was WCW management?
Is it true you were sick of yourself being all over the TV?
Did you ever try and have yourself replaced?
“Greatest night in the history of this great sport” – why did you overuse that term so often?
There was an episode of Nitro where pretty much all you pushed was that the company was going to give away a million dollars…but they never did. What was the story there?
Thoughts on Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara coming in to take over WCW Creative?
Did you think it was a good idea at the time?
Talk about how the company changed under their watch?
What strengths and weaknesses did they have?
Memories of suggesting David Arquette winning the WCW World title? Did you ever regret it?
Russo always defends the decision as it got the company front page coverage in USA Today – what are your thoughts on whether the idea was successful or not?
Do you think it hurt the credibility of the championship that the belt Flair and Dusty fought for was now held by an actor?
Did you have a favorite celebrity involvement or match in WCW that you personally enjoyed the most? Leno, Rodman, Malone, etc.
Memories of the following Nitro era WCW talents:
The Giant
Booker T
Rey Mysterio
Scott Steiner
Stacy Keibler
Bret Hart
Buff Bagwell
Scott Nortonm
Disco Infero
Rick Martel
Chris Jericho
Curt Hennig
Louie Spicoli
Public Enemy
Stevie Ray
Sonny Onoo
Alex Wright
Ernest Miller
Thoughts on the decision to “reboot” WCW with the Millionares Club vs. New Blood – why didn’t it work?
Did Bischoff and Russo ever really have a chance of working together without it going to hell?
Memories of the Bash at the Beach incident with Hulk Hogan and Vince Russo – work or shoot?
When did you personally realize WCW was going to hell and there was no way to save it?
Why did WWE beat WCW in your opinion?
When and where did you first find out WWE was purchasing the company?
When you found out how cheaply WWE purchased everything, including the library,what was your reaction?
Who do you wish had purchased it?
Who do you blame for the company closing?
Had the company continued on under Eric Bischoff, what would your role in WCW have been?
Were you hoping to move on back to WWE or did you see it as the end of your run in professional wrestling?
Memories of what it was like walking into the final Nitro taping?
How did the locker room react to Shane McMahon and other WWE officials being there?
Memories of the speech David Crockett gave to the locker room before the show?
Thoughts on the company’s final match being Sting vs. Ric Flair?
Were you offended that the final voices and images seen on the Nitro were WWE announcers?
What do you remember about the scene after the show was over from a behind the scenes perspective?
Turner Broadcasting called for a meeting in Atlanta after the taping where everyone was laid off – memories of that meeting?
Did you ever attempt to go to WWE in the aftermath of the destruction of WCW?
Did you watch any of the WWE Invasion storyline featuring the WCW talents and if so, thoughts on it?
Thoughts on the company choosing Scott Hudson and Arn Anderson as the announcers for the lone WCW main evehat let on Raw?
Did you keep up with pro wrestling post-2001 or did you just move on?
Talk about getting involved with the Braves organization?
What are the major differences between calling pro wrestling and baseball?
Was there ever a case of your credibility being called into question because of your pro wrestling background?
What led to your TNA appearances where you argued with Mike Tenay? Were they leading anywhere? Why did you abruptly disappear again?
It was a long time before you popped up at any of the legends conventions – what led to you finally agreeing to make an appearance?
What was your expectations going to the Mid-Atlantic fanfest in Charlotte and your thoughts on the entire experience?
Is it true to once pitched yourself for a job with the WWE Network and if so, what was the resposne?
What would you like to see WWE do with all the old Crockett footage?
What are the major changes in pro wrestling announcing compared to your time in the business?
What are the elements that you think are lost?
Do you think the business has lost something because there’s no emphasis on the sport aspect?
What do you think can be done to improve the business today?
When you look back on your announcing career, is there one wrestler who stands out the most as your favorite to announce or interview?
What’s your favorite match you’ve ever called?
Who was your best announcing partner?
What was the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever called – Shockmaster? The Yeti? Monster Truck sumo match?
There has been talk that you are bitter about the state of the business and that you are no longer involved – would you care to address this and give your thoughts on the business today and the idea you are bitter?
What do you think are the misconceptions of you, if any, by fans of the business?
Would you want to go back to announcing wrestling fulltime if the offer was made?
Was there ever a moment where you refused to do something that was asked of you?
Any moments at ringside where you felt you were in danger physically or something crazy happened?
Favorite wrestling venue as a fan and favorite venue you’ve gotten to call matches in?
Any great ribs your want to share from your time in the business?
We were told to ask you about the time you got drunk with Barry Windham and whether it was the drunkest you’ve ever been in your life?
We’ve mentioned your work in baseball a few times, but can you let fans know what you are up to today?
Talk about working for Starbucks and why you decided to pursue that?
Talk about being an official scorer for baseball and what that’s like?
Ever thought about writing a book about your experiences in the business?
Think you will ever get the call for the WWE Hall of Fame?
If WWE asked you to come in and voice over old material, would you be willing?
Can another company ever rise up to compete with WWE again? Why or why not?
Talk about your podcast with Conrad Thompson? How did that all come together?
Any final words for your fans?