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Tony Schiavone On Three-Man Commentary, Rising Stars & Returning To Wrestling

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

Mike Killam of talked to MLW announcer and the voice of World Championship Wrestling Tony Schiavone before MLW has it’s live Fusion show on beIN Sports this Friday. There’s plenty to the interview which you can check out by going here, but below are a few quotes (credit Killam & for interview & transcription):

His reaction to the wrestling world after coming back in 2017 after years away from the business: 
“I didn’t keep up with wrestling at all. When Conrad and I started doing the podcast, I hadn’t watched any wrestling at all. I remember watching the 2017 Royal Rumble — I used Conrad’s password on the Network. That was the first wrestling I watched since I walked away from it.”
“I came back thinking, “Wow, things have changed.’ As far as the pace of the matches, what makes a good match, the audience, and of course the fan interactions. I kind of realized that what was ECW has kind of stood the test of time, at least more than the old school Jim Crockett Promotions, WCW style. I slowly got into it, and what’s going on with the indies and with MLW. I think it’s a great time for wrestling, and I think most people would agree. Even though Vince [McMahon] feels like he’s shut everybody down, he really hasn’t. There’s a lot out there to turn to.”
His thoughts on three-man commentary teams & why WWE can’t seem to get them right: 
“I always thought that myself, Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan as a three-man team clicked very well. I go back and I listen to myself, Heenan and Dusty [Rhodes], and I think that it worked too. The reason I think it worked is because we were three distinct personalities.”
“I never once wanted it to be The Tony Show. I always thought I was the guy that directs the ship in the right direction, and Heenan and Bobby would add the color, or the entertainment value. I think we all worked together, and I didn’t have a problem with it at all.”
“I don’t have a problem with a three-man team, but they gotta have well-defined roles. I’m not so sure they have well-defined roles in WWE.” … “We were able to do our own thing without being told what to say, and without being screamed at. I’ve heard that they get screamed at, or talked down to, but I don’t think you can do your job when you feel the pressure of somebody trying to browbeat you, or coach you, or whatever.”
“If they let three people do their own stuff, the announcers should know the storylines. They live it. They see it every day. They should know what’s going on, and you shouldn’t have to tell them what to say, or how to say it. But who am I to say, because [Vince] has a multi-billion dollar corporation, so he’s obviously doing something right.”
On young stars in MLW or on the indie scene that he believes will be major stars one day: 
“Tom Lawlor has done a great job in moving from UFC into what we do, and I really him. I like all the stuff that he can do. Jason Cade has the potential. He loves old school wrestling, and I think it’s really important to respect the business, and learn from what the business taught you. I love Pentagon and Fenix. My god they can do some phenomenal stuff.”
“But I really think MJF — he’s so young, and he’s such a legitimate, good heel. I think he’s got as much potential as anyone. He’s like what Nikita Koloff was, and kind of what Baron Von Raschke was. Of course, they were over-the-top characters in many ways, but they lived their gimmick when they were around the fans. I agree with that — I absolutely agree with that. I think that’s one of the reasons MJF is going to be successful. Until of course, he goes to WWE and they tell him what to say. [Laughs] I’m sorry.”