WHAT HAPPENED WHEN MONDAY WITH TONY SCHIAVONE & CONRAD THOMPSON
Episode 24: “Q&A with Tony Schiavone”
Release Date: July 10, 2017
Recap by: Dominic DeAngelo
Top Newsworthy Items:
- Would Tony ever take a pro wrestling announcing gig again?
- Bobby Heenan talk
- Tony’s favorite/least favorite matches
- Behind the Nitro scenes
Subjects covered (with timestamps):
(6:00) Q&A starts – commentary voice overs / Doug Dillinger
(17:00) Monday Nitro work schedule / Bobby Heenan / Dusty & Goldust WWF gimmicks
(28:30) Gorilla Monsoon / Tracey Smothers / WCW Bruise Cruise / Bob Caudle
(47:30) Would Tony take a wrestling announcing gig again? / best jobber gimmick / best rib / best match Tony’s witnessed / all-time match he would have loved to call / Nikita having locker room heat / most underrated talker
(1:04:45) Ever pay for a WWF PPV while at WCW? / best towns to do shows in / saddest moment of Tony’s career
(1:12:15) Tony’s personal favorite wrestlers / Rick Rude’s funeral / Bischoff getting to head WCW / Gordon Solie / handling of the DX invasion angle
(1:30:00) Heenan’s “phoning it in”? / Jay Leno or Karl Malone? / Lasertron / Undertaker in WCW / tension while in WWF / Larry Zybysko / working with JR again / Spring Stampede 1997
(1:48:40) Poll options for next week
– It is difficult to do voice over commentary after the matches? Tony remembers having fun with Zbyszko during commentary making bets on the over/under of clotheslines during the matches. Really fun to do.
– Tony doesn’t remember wearing KISS makeup.
– Does Tony remember Flair doing “I don’t do jobs” promo (and Dusty’s response)? Tony remembers no heat with that (absolutely not).
– A lot of panic in the back when Sid shattered his leg. It changed the complexion of that night.
– Any memories of Doug Dillinger? Doug always took care of Dusty – he drove for Tony and the gang because he was a Charlotte cop who could get out of a ticket. He also remembers Doug telling the wrestlers to avoid kicking a fan’s ass if they run into the ring. He started out doing security in baseball in Crockett Park.
– Tony’s typical work schedule: he got to the meeting at noon, they’d read over the script for the day, agents would have their meetings with the boys, do any pre-tape interviews, and start getting ready for the show at 5:00. Any bookers would give them changes to the show beforehand. After the show they would immediately sprint to their cars to avoid the fans. Nearing the end, Tony would remove himself from everyone because he didn’t want to hear all the dirt, rumor and innuendo of where WCW was going.
– Best memory of P.N. News: when he was scared to hell of being on the scaffold during the scaffold match.
– Did Tony enjoy filming at the Techwood Center in Atlanta? Great memories, that’s where the legend of the Four Horsemen began. He also remembers a lot of clusterf*cks.
– Was Bobby Heenan fired for his drinking? Tony doesn’t think that’s true. They were cutting back. Tony passes on Bobby drinking before the show.
– Dusty never shared his opinion on the Goldust, but Tony thinks this had to be a rib on the Rhodes family by the WWF. Goldust & Dusty both made their WWE looks work.
– Any memories of working with Gorilla Monsoon? Tony was brought into compete with play-by-play on WWF Challenge and Gorilla was a professional about it. Gorilla was quite the gambler – he pulled out a wad of bills once at the casino and Bobby Heenan asked was he “looking to buy – a f*cking house?”
– It’s confirmed: Tony will not take ecstasy.
– Tony believes that WCW should have ran with the NWO angle as long as possible.
– Conrad puts over Tracey Smothers as a great worker.
– Worst gimmick ever in WCW: Tony thinks it was Leprechaun.
– Favorite Chris Jericho story: Chris said he liked working with Tony. He knew Jericho wasn’t going to be around long because he was too talented. They would always rehearse their interviews.
– Sting decided to stop dying his hair on his own. A lot of guys in WCW had more control over their own looks.
– Tony’s experience on the Bruise Cruise: Lois inadvertently made a foul comment during one of the captain’s dinners. Sting also claimed the clowns on the Bruise Cruise were doing his spots.
– Tony was scared of being on the scaffold during the scaffold match in 1986. He did it though.
– What was it like to work with Bob Caudle? One of the most wonderful men to work with. He was really disappointed when the annual NWA Fanfest was canceled because he liked seeing everybody. He was the first wrestling commentator he’s ever heard.
– Scott Steiner story: J.J. Dillon was going to “suspend Steiner for his actions.” Dillon was going stop Steiner from going to the ring. As soon as the angle occurred, Tony and Bobby bolted and Steiner damaged a good chunk of the set.
– Would Tony take a pro wrestling announcing gig? No he wouldn’t, but he wouldn’t mind being a producer backstage.
– Tony’s favorite jobber gimmick: he always liked the jobbers who were themselves: George South, Sam Houston, etc.
– Favorite match he witnessed: 1978 – Andersons vs. Ric Flair & Greg Valentine for the NWA Tag Team Championship. Flair & Valentine won, being the greatest match Tony’s ever seen.
– The best rib Tony ever saw: Giant going to the bathroom in their toilet, Curt Hennig messing with Bischoff’s stage.
– What match in history does Tony wish he would have called? Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage at WrestleMania 3.
– Dave Penzer was a great ring announcer. To Tony, Tom Miller was the greatest ring announcer ever, but he had a severe drinking problem. A cautionary tale.
– JYD was fired and brought back most out of anybody.
– Nikita wasn’t as popular with the boys because he kayfabed everyone, even the boys.
– New Breed from the Crockett years: they were very talented, but the car crash basically ended their careers. They were going to be a big tag team.
– Tully was probably the most underrated talker. Both him and Magnum T.A. were, but Tully especially.
– Tony hasn’t ran into Tom Zenk or Rey Mysterio in a long while. Tony really wants to reconnect with people. He loves connecting with fans and people he lost contact with.
– Did Tony ever pay for a WWF PPV while in WCW? Survivor Series 1994. He had friends come in from Connecticut so he ordered that.
– Current favorite female musician: Taylor Swift
– Current wrestler who would fit best with the Four Horsemen: Tony has to think about that.
– Favorite town to do shows in: Baltimore with Philly as a close second. He loved Sabbatino’s in Baltimore. Everybody goes to Jimmy’s Favorite Seafood now.
– What NWA era PPV main event match would Tony book that didn’t happen? He would have liked to seen the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson.
– Why not keep the Hollywood Blondes together? They changed their minds all the time.
– Saddest moment of Tony’s career: going back to WCW for the second time.
– How come Arn never got a run as world champ? Promoters probably didn’t think that he was in the same category as Flair, which Tony doesn’t know why.
– Any memories of Randy Anderson & Mark Curtis? Tony & Bobby went to honor Curtis one time for Smokey Mountain Wrestling. Tony encourages people to watch matches with Curtis & Anderson on the Network and see how active they were in the ring.
– The WCW All Nighters were filmed in an Omni Hotel
– Tony’s personal favorites: Arn, Flair, DDP, Macho Man
– What happened with the six-man tag team titles? Tony has one in his attic.
– Tony’s thoughts on Rick Rude: he had so many personal problems. Unfortunately, Tony’s big memory of him was seeing him at his funeral. He also remembers the rumor of Bischoff being turned away at Rude’s funeral.
– He remembers when Bischoff got the job as head of WCW, Tony gives Bischoff a hug and he wasn’t the hugging type.
– Tony didn’t remember any discussions of Joey Styles being brought in.
– Any alternate names for Hall & Nash? Lots of names discussed, but to avoid any legal issues they just kept their real names.
– No heat with Vince Russo. Only when he called Vince’s shoot on Hogan a work. Tony still believes that.
– The WWF put it’s money in staffing and into production. The NWA ran itself like a small time business.
– Greatest Gordon Solie moment: working with him on Worldwide.
– Heels did not enjoy getting trash thrown in the ring.
– Tony’s favorite Oz match was his first one because the monkey tried to hang himself.
– Tony pronounced “Yeti” wrong to show how effed up WCW was.
– Tony thought Flair showing up on WWF TV with the WCW title. He thought it was a pretty good slap in the face to WCW, but totally understood it.
– Wrestlers would show up to Nitro and not get used.
– Tony thought it was a good idea to ignore the DX invasion angle.
– Neil Pruitt was the announcer for the NWO commercials.
– Miss Atlanta Lively: Tony loved it.
– Tony was once approached to do a punch angle with Tank Abbott but he refused to get punched by him.
– Stan Lane has aged very well. Great tag team wrestler.
– Tony never confronted Heenan about “phoning it in.” Conrad says this all stems from Mark Madden tweets. Tony thinks Heenan’s best WCW work was with him and Dusty Rhodes.
– Any thoughts on Jay Leno or Karl Malone? He enjoyed working with Malone because he was a big wrestling fan. He enjoyed Jay Leno because of who he was.
– Tony preferred being next to the ring to commentate.
– Tony would rather call the World Series over WrestleMania.
– No memories of working with Chris Benoit. Chris was a very quiet, polite guy.
– Lasertron (Hector Guerrero) was something to bring the kids in. Hector tried to make the best of it so Tony won’t sh*t on it.
– FMK: Conrad, Bruce Prichard, Twitter Troll? Kill: Twitter Troll, F**k: Bruce, Marry: Conrad.
– Tony doesn’t think WCW ever reached out to Tully for the 1997 Horsemen reunion.
– Tony thinks the Undertaker being the third man in the NWO would have been tremendous, but they wouldn’t have gotten the Undertaker gimmick with him. He remembers seeing him as “Mean” Mark Callous and knowing that people thought he was a great worker.
– Why wasn’t there a tournament for the title at the Great American Bash of 1991? Too much thought about it probably.
– Tony wasn’t upset about not calling WrestleMania 6, but was upset about not calling Survivor Series because of the way it was handled. He left WrestleMania 6 early to work on the video cassettes. He was responsible for producing those in the back which he loved doing.
– Larry Zbyszko was a 10 on commentary. He was quick-witted and put himself over against the NWO so he had to be good.
– Tony would love to work with JR again, but he loves what he’s doing. Why would he want to change it?
– Wrestlers did some celebrating with Brian Curtis after he kicked a fan’s ass.
– Tony played high school baseball. He was the only one on his team to make it into pro baseball.
– Lee Marshall would rip on Bobby during his announcements because it was funny.
– Tony loves Stevie Ray and thinks he gets a real bad rap.
– The 1997 Spring Stampede one of the greatest of all time; who was on the booking committee? Terry Taylor, Jody Hamilton, Kevin Sullivan, Ric Flair. Why does Flair deny being the head booker? Maybe to avoid heat. Tony was in on the booking committee taking notes and remembering Ric looking like he did not want to be there.
– Tony’s worst matches he called: for a finish the Luger Flair match, Hogan vs. Warrior at Halloween Havoc 1998, Van Hammer vs. Doug Summers of Halloween Havoc of 1991.
– What year does Tony cut from the poll? He cuts 1997.
– Options for next week are: WCW Beach Blast 1993, WCW Bash At The Beach 1995, WCW Bash At The Beach 1998.
Score and review (9.1 out of 10)
Depending on who you are as a wrestling fan, this one has some newsworthy insight by Tony, but not depending who you are as a wrestling fan, this episode is an all out a joy to listen to. Some of the topics brought up tease stories for future episodes (this is the wrestling business after all promotion is key), but there’s a lot of fun yarns Tony spins about working on Nitro, most in particular with his broadcast comrades like Heenan, Zbyszko, and even Gordon Solie. Hearing that him and Zbyszko would bet on the amount of clotheslines per match is such a great story that it makes you want to fire up the WWE Network and check out when their gambling might have happened exactly. Tony answering questions like these also shows you the love he still has for those days and how much he really enjoys talking about wrestling again. Conrad and Tony’s chemistry is always the highlight of the episode, but it’s especially true for episode 22.
About the Author
Dominic DeAngelo has a weekly column on PWTorch.com, “Rising Star, Fading Star” and runs a sports, entertainment and lifestyle blog in the Pittsburgh area called The Keystone Statement. In addition, he writes book reviews for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. His wrestling top three are Scott Hall, Bret Hart & Bruno Sammartino. Follow him on Twitter @DominicDeAngelo and visit his site www.keystonestatement.com for good articles and the two podcasts he hosts, “The Keystone Cast” & “Here Comes Everybody”