Most remember Tony Schiavone for his years in WCW as the voice of their programming, but he actually had a one-year stint in WWE that preceded that. Schiavone was a play-by-play man and interviewer although he says Vince McMahon wasn't a fan of his work.
Schiavone joined our WINCLY to talk about his time in WWE while also comparing working WrestleMania vs. WCW's Starrcade.
"Starrcade I never was nervous, but WrestleMania I think I was because of what it was," said Schiavone before adding that he went from a mom-and-pop operation in Jim Crockett Promotions to a big-time promotion in WWE.
"That was a little intimidating and I also think that my work during WrestleMania, those backstage interviews, I don't think Vince liked my work at all….I was being the Tony Schiavone in WCW, but that's not what he wanted. He wanted kind of a Gene Okerlund guy."
McMahon is very hands-on today, and things were no different 30 years ago with Schiavone.
"Every interview I did backstage at WrestleMania, he produced them.... I had a great relationship with him. I flew on the airplane with he and Bruce, Kevin Dunn," said Schiavone.
Schiavone and McMahon would often ride together in a van when going between TV tapings back in the day, but Schiavone also says that McMahon was never the one to tell him bad news.
"To be honest with you, he didn't like my work very well, but he never told me that," revealed Schiavone. "He always told Bruce Prichard and Bruce was the guy to bring you bad news. Someone told me, 'That's old school McMahon because his dad was like that too.'"
Speaking of Bruce Prichard, the former WWE writer and producer is back with the company again. Schiavone says WWE is where Bruce Prichard belongs as it's home for him.
"It's his passion. I always thought that would happen….It's always where Bruce wanted to be. Bruce and Vince work so well so I always thought it was a natural fit," Schiavone stated before adding that he remembers telling Conrad Thompson that Prichard would find his way back to WWE.
"Conrad said, 'Yeah I don't know.' And here he is again. He belongs there…Wrestling has changed since 1989-90 when I was there, but he'll be a good sounding board for Vince."
Schiavone also says that Prichard knows what he's getting into because "when you work that closely with Vince, your life is not your own."
Schiavone then made a comparison between Vince McMahon and Alabama football coach Nick Saban in that they are work-a-holics, even saying that they would interrupt your Christmas if there was work that needed to be done.
"You are on call to Vince 24/7. You have to realize that before you take that job…If Bruce is part of that inner circle, guess what Bruce: doctor's calling Bruce 24/7," said Schiavone.
These days Schiavone is staying busy with his work with MLW and the Georgia Bulldogs. Because of the latter, wrestling fans won't see much of him on MLW this year.
"You're not gonna see much of me this year as they moved their tapings from Thursdays to Saturdays," Schiavone said before adding that he can maybe work one MLW date in 2019.
"I'm the producer for [Georgia's] radio network for basketball and football. I do some announcing but I'm mostly behind the scenes. Every Saturday I either have a basketball or football game."
Even without Schiavone's presence and voice, he praised the current crop of broadcasters that are in MLW.
"They're doing good. They have good announcers and they'll be fine without me. But I'll show up there again some time," stated Schiavone.
The full audio from our exclusive interview with Tony was included in a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard in the embedded player below. During the full interview Tony discusses working with Eric Bischoff, how he blew his chance with AEW, his memories of Cody Rhodes as a child, his "butts in the seats" comment after Mick Foley won the WWE Championship and more.