Sean Mooney Talks His “Ridiculous” WWE Tryout, Donald Trump Being His Worst Celebrity Encounter, Vince McMahon, Hogan and More

sean mooney
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Retro Wrestling Podcast recently interviewed former WWE announcer Sean Mooney, and you can listen to the entire interview at this link. The following highlights have been issued:

How he got the job with WWE:

“I knew nothing about wrestling. I didn’t grow up with it, following it, or anything like that. I knew who Hulk Hogan was. A guy that I worked with happened to get a job up in Stamford and Vince [McMahon] saw the show. I got a phone call saying ‘Vince wants to meet you. They put me through this stupid audition. They give you a broom and have you do something with it. It’s just really ridiculous.”

First impressions of working for WWE:

“I remember Hulk came in, the fame had really started to set in with him. I remember the only thing he said to me was, ‘hey did you bring a bag?’ Yeah. ‘Don’t unpack’. That was it.

“They drove me up there and I remember walking into the backstage area. I remember it being Mr. Fuji and Ax & Smash [Demolition] in full costume playing cribbage. I said, ‘I have joined the circus.'”

The Event Center:

“Gene had started doing this and he wanted no part of it. We customized at one point probably 90+ markets a WEEK. You couldn’t put that into a teleprompter – it was just way too much material. I’d have to ad-lib these. It was a tremendous learning tool for me. It was brutal. Let’s say you get 20 markets in and then Howard [Finkel] would call me, ‘Hey uh, Berzeker hurt something, he’s gonna miss 12 cards’, and I’d already done 10 cities and would have to go back and re-do them all.

“I look back at this stuff and am like, ‘how in the world would they EVER put me on TV?’ Honest to God, if you look at early stuff, I liken in to the Loud Mouth Frog, because Howard kept telling me ‘you’ve gotta be bigger!’ And finally I said, ‘This is stupid, this is ridiculous. I’m going to do it my way. I can’t keep screaming like this.’ I don’t know why they ever put me on. I was bad.”

Doing play-by-play:

“It was tough. Thank God for Lord Alfred Hayes. If it wasn’t for Alfred, there’s no way I would’ve been able to do it. But really it just came down to – they didn’t have anybody else. I certainly had no business doing it. I never considered myself a play-by-play guy.”

Being accepted:

“I was one of the outside guys. You talk about hazing periods and trying to fit in. Alfred, after a few months, figured out I was OK and we started to become friends and he took me under his wing. So did Gorilla.

“You had to earn it with those people. It didn’t just happen. I was always very respectful, I really respected what they did. I learned how to put them over, and after a while they respected what I did. I never tried to ‘cross over'”

Bobby Heenan:

“Off-camera, on-camera, Bobby was always on. He could have been a comedian. No question about it. Bobby is one of the funniest human beings I’ve ever known in my life, and always treated me really well.”

Vince McMahon:

“It was a love-hate relationship. If it wasn’t for Vince McMahon, I wouldn’t have done all the things I’ve gotten to do.”

Gorilla Monsoon:

“He was a prince. He was unbelievable, I’m not kidding. He was so much more than a wrestler. I think Bobby and Gorilla are the best announce team I’ve ever heard.”

Leaving WWE:

“It was at a point where I was ready to do something else and the company was in a different place then and didn’t know where it was going to go. I felt like… maybe it’s time to go do something else. People thought that I wanted to get away from it or whatever, that wasn’t it at all.”

Meeting Donald Trump at Wrestlemania V:

“My worst celebrity encounter. I was so green and so nervous. I couldn’t get his name out.”

Backstage interviewers:

“There’s Mean Gene, and then there’s the rest of us. Those announcers now, they’re basically controlled. That’s why I don’t fault these backstage guys now, I don’t think it’s because necessarily that they don’t have talent. It’s just a different format.”

Betty Mooney?

“You know, to put another rumor to rest: there was NEVER a Betty Mooney. I’ve always gotten a kick out of the Wikipedia stuff.”