AEW commentator Tony Schiavone and AEW referee Aubrey Edwards welcomed fellow AEW commentator Excalibur on the latest episode of AEW Unrestricted. Schiavone and Edwards complimented Excalibur on his ability to name moves on the spot, and Schiavone talked about when he had to do play-by-play alone with co-AEW executive vice presidents Cody Rhodes and Kenny Omega joining him on commentary.
“Here’s a little behind-the-scenes thing. When I found out that I was going to be doing one with Cody and Kenny Omega, the first one by myself. I was really nervous, and I don’t get nervous, never been nervous,” Schiavone revealed. “I don’t know if nervous is the right word. It’s concerned. I sent you a text, and I said, ‘you need to help me out with naming these moves because you’re so good at it.’ I’m just going to make sure that I’m on top of things, and I found out quickly who I’m not.”
Excalibur had talked about his days as a tape trader where he would go to a video store to rent VHS tapes of wrestling shows from AJPW, NJPW or Michinoku Pro. He would watch them, dub them and trade them to build his tape collection and gain more wrestling knowledge. He also talked about learning more from the “Fire Pro Wrestling” video game franchise.
“Yeah, like I said during during my high school days, when I was dedicating a lot of time to wrestling, I was watching the Japanese tapes, and after a while I figured out, oh, they’re actually saying English words just kind of like an accent to Japanese,” Excalibur said. “I would start to break down what those words were, and the other thing that really kind of pushed me in that wrestling nerd direction was there is this game that came out for Sega Saturn called ‘Fire Pro Wrestling S: 6Men Scramble.’ There’s this legendary series of video games called ‘Fire Pro Wrestling’, which started out on the Super Nintendo and then kind of went through different iterations, but this was the first one that came out during the early internet age. I was super into this game and actually helped work on that the FAQ like the translation the fan translation of this game.”
He continued with how he would make mental notes of the things that he was translating and of the matches that he would call at PWG. He explained how he has been watching Omega at PWG for over 10 years and says that Schiavone having trouble learning his moves would be the same if he was thrown in to call a baseball game.
“And so that really provided me like the foundation of knowledge of wrestling moves because I would be working with people that were translating, and this is all fan-driven stuff. And we’d all be working on translations together. This was way before Google Translate. If you had like a Japanese friend, you would ask them or their parents to translate one specific phrase or move,” Excalibur said. “Through working on that type of project, that’s what provided me this foundational knowledge. Then just throughout the years of watching wrestling and building upon it and just, I don’t know, making mental notes about what things are called. The first Kenny Omega match I called was in 2007 or 2008, and so I’ve been very closely monitoring his in-ring career and making mental notes about these moves, or he would be like, ‘hey I’ve got this this finisher. I’m calling it this.’ I’ve got this long-running bank of knowledge. Tony, I think the first Kenny Omega match you called was probably in 2019. If I had to call a Gwinnett Stripers game, I might not have the ERA at hand, whereas you might have that just rummaging around in the back of your head.”
AEW has attracted a diverse fan base that may also not know the origins of the names of some wrestling moves. Excalibur talked about where the names of some moves come from and how most of the moves that he calls have a precedent.
“Not unless somebody specifically asked me what should I call this. Everything, not everything but I’d say 99 percent of the things that I call have been called that somewhere else either by the guy that came up with it, like Kenny Omega’s finisher, the One Winged Angel,” Excalibur explained. “That’s the move that he named, but Tope Suicida, that is the Spanish translation of suicide dive. Then there’s Tope Con Giro, which is mistranslated to Japanese to Tope Con Hilo because Japanese people sometimes will transpose L’s and R’s, but Tope Con Giro is a dive with a flip or with a rotation or a gyro. So a lot of it is just my wrestling Spanish is much more proficient than my day-to-day conversational Spanish.”
Edwards asked Excalibur if he has even been asked to name a wrestler’s signature move. He said sometimes and remembers when AEW President and CEO Tony Khan had told him to name Pac’s finisher just seconds before the finish of his match with Omega at All Out.
“Yeah, a lot of times guys will come up to me like, ‘hey, I got an idea for a thing. So, you know, if you see me do it just name it something cool,’ and I’ll be like, ‘your not giving me a lot of notes here.’ Actually during Pac and Omega at All Out, Tony Khan, one of the few times that he gets in my ear, he got in my ear, and he’s like, ‘hey, think of a name for Pac’s finisher.’ And this was 30 seconds before it happened,” Excalibur revealed. “And so I just blurted out ‘brutalizer.’ So that was one that I named, but it was just on the spot and something that I had to come up with.”
Khan has praised Schiavone and Jericho for their work on commentary during the tapings that they did together. However, Schiavone recalled when he was asked to name a finisher and had to call Excalibur for assistance.
“Well, I got one more for you. The first day that I had to do the commentary alone when we were in Jacksonville, Sammy Guevara was going to win a match, and I said, ‘what’s the name of your finish called?’ He said, ‘I don’t know. I haven’t come up with a name yet. I went, ‘OK.’ I said, ‘you need to call Excalibur.’ Maybe you’ll have to name another one,” Schiavone remarked. “We’ll see.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.