WrestlingINC.com owner Raj Giri recently interviewed former WWE play-by-play announcer Sean Mooney. In it, he spoke about the charismatic wrestlers he interviewed in his era like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Roddy Piper.
"We talked about this a few times on the podcast, even this week where Hacksaw and I had a discussion about the difference between the Superstars of today and the guys of my era, and Jim Duggan's era when we were there," said Mooney. "We both agreed; there are guys in WWE right now that we think would be tremendous personalities if they were back in the 80s and 90s."
"The difference between today and back then is back then the boys had a lot more freedom with their character, and all those interviews they did, they had an idea, they had a storyline going on; but a lot of that stuff they had their own method; whether it was memorizing stuff. Jim mentioned that he would go with an idea and what he wanted to do and the best thing I could have done was just get in front of the camera and go," Mooney continued.
Mooney worked for WWE from 1988 to 1993, eventually being replaced by Todd Pettengill and Gorilla Monsoon. He's made special guest appearances on RAW in 2005 and 2012.
"Hulk Hogan was like that too, as well as Randy Savage; guys that were the best to cut promos," said Mooney. "I remember Hulk saying that he was giving advice to one of the boys where he would tell to not talk about wrestling; he would come back to whatever it was…"
"Cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway, dipping my toes in the Pacific; hanging and banging with the boys at Muscle Beach," Mooney said, doing his best Hulk Hogan impersonation.
"He would do that, and was hammering away with what he wanted to do, but he took you away from something else. It wasn't just saying that he was going to get into the arena and is going to do this on you and whatever. That worked for him," said Mooney. "It was great, and he pretty much did that whenever he was interviewed. You asked about interviewing them; we had a pretty good idea; we had direction."
"Vince McMahon would tell you that he would do this and I would have to pass the mic, but after a while being with these guys I knew how to do that, as long as we knew where we were going with it," said Mooney. "The only time it was really structured is when we did Saturday Night's Main Event, then it was pretty much word for word. I didn't appear on too many of those episodes because everybody had to hit their mark, and that was pretty much what they do today. My point was a lot of these guys could be huge and could have that same connection with the fans if it wasn't so much focused on scripting these things and letting some of that stuff happen."
Raj asked Mooney who he believes are guys today that are hampered by a lack of freedom.
"Well, we were talking like Bray Wyatt, who I think is great. His promos that he cuts, it reminds me of Jake 'The Snake' Roberts. I call it the slow burn and some of the stuff that they do; and some of the guys that they are pushing are up there," Mooney continued.
"Roman Reigns and these other guys I think are great, but it's kind of like having a Governor on them; if you take these characters and allow them to develop. You think back to some of those people that were instrumental in developing The Rock, and a really good friend of mine who worked closely there said that Vince McMahon had gave him the idea, but in order for him to own it, The Rock took it and ran with it," said Mooney.
"I'm not involved with how they do that anymore, but I don't think they have the ability as much to develop that on their own and really own it, which is how they become those people. The story like Stone Cold Steve Austin; who would have really say to him that his is how you are going to do this; you are going to be a heel/babyface, and be able to cross the line whenever you want and people are still going to love you. He basically said you know what, screw it, I'm just going to do it and look what happened. That is kind of my view today. I'm not really in it so I don't know the inner workings; I'm looking at it from a total fan's viewpoint."
Mooney now works for News 4 Tucson as a weekend news anchor. He's had success along the way, including winning three Emmy awards.
Mooney hosts a podcast alongside "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan called Primetime with Sean Mooney that drops every Wednesday on MLW Radio. His full interview with WrestlingINC.com owner Raj Giri will be available next week.