Tony Schiavone

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Tony Schiavone
Ring name(s)Tony Schiavone
Billed height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Billed weight185 lb (84 kg)
Born(1957-11-07) November 7, 1957 (age 54)[1]
Craigsville, Virginia
Debut1983
Retired2003
 
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Tony Schiavone
Ring name(s)Tony Schiavone
Billed height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Billed weight185 lb (84 kg)
Born(1957-11-07) November 7, 1957 (age 54)[1]
Craigsville, Virginia
Debut1983
Retired2003

Noah Anthony "Tony" Schiavone (/ʃəˈvɒni/, sha-VAHN-ee; born on November 7, 1957)[1] is an American sports broadcaster. He is the play-by-play broadcaster for the Gwinnett Braves of the International League. He has been a sports radio host and a professional wrestling announcer known for his work in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

Contents

Career

Early life and career

Schiavone attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and served in a play-by-play role for the school's women's college basketball team before starting his radio and television career calling high school football and basketball games in the Southeast. He also worked five years in minor league baseball with the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles' minor league franchises in the mid-Atlantic, most notably the Charlotte O's, which was partly owned by Jim Crockett, Jr.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling

While affiliated with the Charlotte O's, he began as a wrestling announcer with another Crockett venture, Jim Crockett Promotions, (the precursor to World Championship Wrestling or WCW) in the early 1980s. In 1984, Schiavone was seen as a ring announcer on the syndicated "Pro Wrestling USA" television show. When Jim Crockett Promotions got national television exposure on TBS Superstation in 1985, he was a regular host of the wrestling program. He worked alongside David Crockett in the announce booth, playing more of a straight color commentator, while Crockett did the play-by-play. Schiavone would also interview wrestlers about upcoming house show matches they would have.

World Wrestling Federation

He was signed by Vince McMahon's WWF for a stint in 1989 and early 1990, and was most notable as being the main play-by-play announcer for their SummerSlam 1989 and Royal Rumble 1990 pay-per-views. Schiavone returned soon afterwards to WCW, the former Crockett promotion by then owned by media mogul Ted Turner.

World Championship Wrestling

Schiavone became the lead voice for WCW's flagship program, Monday Nitro. He also served as the lead announcer of Thunder, typically working alongside "The Professor" Mike Tenay, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, "The Living Legend" Larry Zbyszko, and later with Mark Madden. Before the advent of Nitro and Thunder, Schiavone hosted WCW Saturday Night and WCW WorldWide. He made an appearance in the movie Ready to Rumble. When WCW's main assets were bought by the World Wrestling Federation in 2001, Schiavone left.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling

In 2003, Schiavone made an appearance on NWA TNA during one of their weekly pay-per-views. Schiavone, unrecognizable with bleach blonde hair and a beard, interrupted an interview with Goldylocks and Percy Pringle and proceeded to cut a worked shoot promo.[2] He started by insulting Pringle's weight, telling him to stand near him because he "needed to look thin". He then insulted Goldylocks by claiming she only got her job with sexual favors. Mike Tenay, TNA's lead broadcaster and Schiavone's former WCW colleague, then entered the ring and the two got into a storyline argument over their careers and what happened during the last days of WCW, where both men lost their jobs. The promo ended when Vince Russo entered the ring and promised Schiavone a job with him. However, nothing ever came of that as Schiavone only made one more appearance in TNA [3] and he hasn't been seen on a televised wrestling program since.

Back to the Diamond

Schiavone now is in the rare position of being the morning sports anchor for both WDUN in Gainesville and WSB-AM in Atlanta simultaneously, even though the two stations have different owners (WDUN has a partnership with Cox Communications, which owns WSB-TV and WSB-AM.) Schiavone also has done morning sports reports for WHIO-AM and WHIO-FM in Dayton, Ohio. Additionally, Schiavone is a writer for the Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network and produced the Best of the Bulldogs, which won the AP Award for Best Sports Program in 2004.[4] Schiavone owns his own radio production company, Blind Dog Sports.

After a few years of work with the Braves system including pre-game and post-game radio coverage, and also spot duty as an official scorer for games, Schiavone returned to play-by-play duties on radio when the Gwinnett Braves began their first season in Lawrenceville, Georgia as Atlanta's AAA-level affiliate for the 2009-10 season.

Georgia Bulldogs Football Radio Show

Along with being a writer for the Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network, Schiavone also works one of the post game game talk show's on the Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network for home and away games alongside former University of Georgia quarterback David Greene.[5]

Controversy

During his tenure with WCW, Schiavone developed a reputation for both his over-the-top announcing style and his relentless shilling of the WCW product itself; he was well known for proclaiming any particular Nitro broadcast to be "the greatest", or "most explosive", telecast "in the history of our sport." However, when this extreme hyperbole was repeated on a weekly basis throughout the duration of the Monday Night Wars, the phrase itself lost meaning and became a target of mockery by Schiavone's detractors.

A famous incident Schiavone is tied to came on the January 4, 1999 edition of Nitro. That week, Nitro was airing live against a pre-taped edition of WWF RAW IS WAR on USA Network and was to feature a rematch between WCW World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Nash and Goldberg from Starrcade, where Nash had ended Goldberg's undefeated streak and taken his title under controversial circumstances, as well as the first appearance of Hollywood Hogan since he announced his "retirement" from professional wrestling on the Thanksgiving 1998 edition of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Meanwhile, RAW was to feature Mick Foley, who was wrestling as Mankind at the time and had previously wrestled for nearly five years with WCW as Cactus Jack, win his first WWF Championship in a Survivor Series rematch against The Rock. However, since the World Wrestling Federation's practice of broadcasting a live episode of RAW IS WAR every other Monday and recording the next week's show every other Tuesday was still in effect, with the rise of the Internet it was possible to know the results of the following week's RAW simply by searching one of the many wrestling news sites that were available online at the time. It was also a practice that WCW had used to its advantage previously, where WCW Executive Vice President Eric Bischoff would use his position as lead broadcaster for Nitro to spoil pre-taped RAW episodes and not give fans reasons to change the channel to watch the WWF's show. However, by this time Bischoff had long removed himself from the broadcast booth and WCW had not resorted to spoiling the competition's programming.

According to Foley, who remarked about the incident in the first chapter of his book Foley Is Good (and the Real World is Faker than Wrestling), this was to be a pivotal night for WCW as people believed that WCW, whose record streak of 84 consecutive wins in the ratings had been snapped by RAW in April 1998 and had only eight head-to-head wins after that, would turn the ratings tide back to them and potentially take over the lead in the so-called Monday Night Wars.[6] During the show Schiavone spoiled the result of RAW's main event by saying that Foley would win, sarcastically remarking "That'll put a lot of butts in seats". In fact, Schiavone made several references to Foley's win during the course of the three-hour Nitro.

Foley was genuinely upset by what he had heard and telephoned Schiavone to let him know. When Schiavone called Foley back, he told Foley that Bischoff had ordered Schiavone to reveal his title win over the air. The strategy backfired on Bischoff in two ways. First, almost immediately after Schiavone spoiled Foley's title win, 600,000 households switched from TNT, the network airing Nitro, to USA Network, RAWs home, to watch Foley win the title. This was enough to give the WWF the ratings win for the night, with a 5.7 final rating to Nitro's 5.0, vindicating Foley. WCW's ratings never saw more than a 5.0 going head-to-head with RAW again and Nitro's rating quickly sank below 5 and by the end of the year was struggling to stay above 3.0. RAW, in the meantime, continued to gain viewers and built up a huge lead.

In an RF Video Shoot interview, Schiavone was criticized by Bobby Heenan who claimed that Schiavone would allegedly hide finishes and angles from him and Mike Tenay during broadcasts, claiming Schiavone's key to life is "knowledge is power". This was an opinion shared by long-time wrestling broadcaster "Mean Gene" Okerlund who claimed that, while he liked Schiavone and did not have many problems with him, "Tony was the consummate politician" and "Tony watched out for Tony and in doing so, had a tendency to bury people along the way".[7] One particular incident of tension happened on the Nitro following the death of Heenan's longtime best friend Gorilla Monsoon. Heenan was allowed to say a word of honor for Monsoon albeit only a small statement. Word has it that Schiavone was against any mention of Monsoon on the show and Heenan resented him for it. Later on in the show when Schiavone asked for Heenan's opinion on an upcoming tag team match Heenan responded, "I can't hear you from way down here", then mumbled some unintelligible words towards Tony, in tears, before the camera cut away.[8]

Personal Life

Tony has been married to his wife Lois since 1981, and together they have 5 children: Matt, Laurie, Chris, Jon Michael and Tim. They also have 2 grandchildren.[9]

Awards and Accomplishments

References

External links