Global Force Wrestling ring announcer David Penzer was a guest on the Wrestling Inc. Podcast last Wednesday where he talked about working for Eric Bischoff and on ring announcer pay in pro wrestling. On working for Eric Bischoff, Penzer commented:
"I really didn't have a lot of interaction with Eric Bischoff, as you can figure," said Penzer. "He definitely had a lot of bigger fish to fry. Eric wasn't one of those hey, shake your hand, pat you on the back bosses.
"He once told me that I worked hard. He had gone to bat on me for something and I said 'Thank you' and he said, 'You deserve it, you work hard.' Tony Schiavone was there and Tony said that's the biggest compliment Eric Bischoff could give you is that you work hard. Not that you do a good job, that you work hard. It wasn't management 101 but I took it and I had other people I reported directly to."
"Eric was Eric," said Penzer. "Looking back at all the stuff he was dealing with, I don't know that I'd be 'pat you on the back either.' There's a lot of pressure."
David Penzer worked for WCW from the early 1990's through the company's closer in 2001. He was there throughout the Monday Night Wars as the ring announcer on WCW Monday Nitro.
Later in the podcast, Penzer talked about pay for ring announcers in professional wrestling and revealed he's never had a contract.
"I never had a contract, I always thought it was funny," said Penzer. "I was kidding with Bob Ryder about that the other day when I was at Impact, they were working on a contract for somebody, I don't know who it was and was like, 'You know, I never had a contract.' In WCW, I was an employee. At XWF [Jimmy Hart's Xcitement Wrestling Federation] I was in employee. At TNA, I was an independent contractor. You know, all the other places I worked, there was never a contract. All those years I never had a contract, I just thought that was interesting."
"It depends. I'll tell you what, there's not a lot of money on the independent scene and I get it," Penzer told the Wrestling Inc. Podcast. "Because you're promoting an independent show and you have a budget of say $5,000 and Wrestler A is $1000 that's going to headline, plus a plane ticket and a hotel. You want to get some other minor guys and you've got to get a ring and referees and you might say, 'Hey I've got to get a Justin Roberts or David Penzer or a Gary Cappetta but I'm running out of money. You know, the guy at the radio station offered to ring announce for me for free.' So I get it. If anybody ever asks me to do an indie show it's humbling that they would choose to spend that fraction of money to have me there."
"WCW I was an employee so it was a little different of a pay structure. But I had insurance and 401K and all that stuff and thank God I was an employee because it got me severance pay for almost a year for when the company went out of business. I don't know what I would have done without," said Penzer.
"So it wasn't the half million / $350,000 everybody else was making at the time at minimum but it was enough to live a nice life and take care of my family. And TNA at the time, it was on a per shot basis and you know, it's very fair. It's certainly not wrestler money but I'm not taking bumps. I certainly don't expect to get wrestler money when I'm not taking bumps. I think I'm humble but I may not be. I may be an egoistical SOB but I know my place on the card, I know my place on the show and my place is not to be the face of the product and my place is not to be the star but to entertain the fans and announce the matches. And I'm cool with that. I'm just happy to be there for the ride."
You can listen to David Penzer's complete interview on the Wrestling Inc. Podcast in the video embedded above. If you use any quotes from this article, please be sure to credit the Wrestling Inc. Podcast.
The Wrestling Inc. Podcast airs post-WWE PPV Sundays immediately following the event with Matt Morgan, Glenn Rubenstein and Raj Giri. On Mondays immediately following WWE RAW with Matt Morgan, Glenn Rubenstein and Raj Giri and on Wednesdays at Noon ET with Raj Giri and Glenn Rubenstein. Episodes episodes are available by clicking here.