What we learned from: Tony Schiavone on AEW Unrestricted

AEW commentator Tony Schiavone was the most recent guest on the AEW unrestricted podcast. Here are the most notable points from the episode.

On his journey to AEW

“I knew from my friends (mainly Conrad Thompson) that it looks like Tony Khan’s new promotion is going to be on the TNT network. Conrad said to me “what do you think about that?” I said “I don’t think anything about it. With the exception of your podcast I am out of wrestling.” So it did interest me that someone else’s product was going to be on a major cable channel. I never asked for a job, I never called Tony or Cody Rhodes, but Cody reached out to me. In 2015, I had lost my job with the radio station WSB as their sports director for over thirteen years. In December 2015 I had no job and no health insurance. For someone in their 50’s, that’s pretty scary. I still worked for the University of Georgia doing sports broadcasts. I had work but not enough to pay the bills. I thought I would have to sell the house.”

“In 2016 I started working in Starbucks for the money and the health insurance. At the end of 2016 I did an NWA fan-fest, I did a panel with Jim Valley and Conrad Thompson was there. He approached me in 2017 to do a podcast. That podcast led us to do some crazy things online. Tony Khan liked those. I got to know Bruce Prichard. He told me at the beginning of 2019 that he was going back to WWE. He said to me give it a few months and I will contact you and get you to come to work here. He contacted me in the summer, and said Vince wants you to work for us. We would like you to be a producer. I called Conrad and told him about the job. Two minutes later I got a text from Cody. He didn’t want me working from WWE. He put me in touch with Tony Khan and we talked for over an hour. We arranged for a meeting in Florida. WWE didn’t know about this. Later on, WWE contacted me and I wanted them to make me an offer. I threw the ball high for that one. Meanwhile I talked with Tony Khan. It was an all day meeting at the Jaguars stadium. I knew right away I wanted to work there. I never played the sides against each other. Tony offered me a phenomenal deal but I wanted to see what WWE wanted to offer me. The week of Summerslam, they said they would be back in touch after the show. The Monday after, HR said to me they had nothing for me, even though they contacted me. I then contracted Tony and accepted the offer.”

On knowing about the arrival of Sting in AEW

“I knew that there was a chance that Sting might come and work for us. But I didn’t know when it was going to be. On the day it happened, I was backstage and Cody says to me “Hey your buddy is here today.” I said who are you talking about, then he said it was Sting, but keep it quiet. With the exception of Mark Quen of Private Party, I didn’t tell anyone. Tony wanted me to say that line when he came out (it’s Sting!). My excitement was authentic, but I just wish I could have been backstage when he was walking through.”

On taping shows in bulk

“I recorded commentary from noon until midnight. I felt like I was an instrumental part of something at an important time. We had to get the shows in the can. Tony said we had to put these shows together because tomorrow is going to be out last day. I was thinking I have six shows to do, and then I was told that Chris Jericho was going to join me, that was an exciting time. I’ve known Chris for a long time. I realised how much he cares about the business, and the amount of effort that he puts into his character. We had a great working relationship, I never fight for broadcast time. I let Chris Jericho be Chris Jericho.”

On if he knows the results beforehand

“I prefer not to know. What is important about knowing the finish is knowing what you want to get across. If there is a match where the finish needs to get over, I would want to know. But I would rather not know. I didn’t know about the angle with Don Callis and Kenny Omega. I don’t always know the finishes but I know where they want me to go.”

On how the podcast started

“It was our first show in Washington. They wanted me to do the podcast because of my success with Conrad Thompson. I was then asked if there was anyone I wanted to work with. I didn’t know too many people at the time. Later in the day Aubrey and I were trying to take a picture. While we were trying to get it, Aubrey said “I can’t find the F**king photographer anywhere. That moment I knew that I wanted to work with Aubrey Edwards.”

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