Tony Schiavone Explains How ‘Thunder’ Led to WCW Trending Downwards


Former WCW commentator Tony Schiavone was interviewed on the “E&C’s Pod Of Awesomeness” to talk about several professional wrestling topics. Schiavone discussed stepping away from wrestling after WCW went under, when things went downhill for WCW, and working at Starbucks for a time.

Here are the highlights:

Leaving wrestling initially after WCW went under: “When I left the business in 2001 and decided I was going to try to recreate myself, I really left thinking that I was just another guy in the business trying to make a name for himself.

“As we move into the present day and I make appearances, I’ve realized that what we did back then with Nitro and WCW did have impact on a lot of fans and people trying to get into the business.”

When things went downhill for WCW: “Things went downhill, and there are so many things you can point to, but I really think it could be because they wanted us to do a new show which was Thunder. That’s what started our trend downward. I remember Eric saying that “They want us to another weekly live show for TBS, and I don’t think we have the manpower to do it.

“Unless Ted Turner comes to me and says otherwise, we’re not going to do it.” We all left the meeting thinking we’re not going to do it, and Ted must have come to him because we were doing Thunder about a month later. I think we were spreading ourselves too thin, and that’s why it declined. All of a sudden, we were doing a second live show every week and that takes money.

“By the end, money was so tight that we couldn’t do it live and we had to record Thunder on the same night as Nitro. We had the wrestling talent but we didn’t have the production talent or the people to make it happen.”

Working at Starbucks for a time: “I love Starbucks, and there’s one close to the house here. I always told my wife “Man, that looks so cool.” So they hired me after I applied online. I’ve built up such a relationship with the management that they told me that they’d hire me back if I ever need a job. So if I lose everything, at least I can go work at Starbucks.

“I would be there, working the drive-through or the registers and I would sit and listen to the 23-year-old girls who worked with me and they’d gossip about each other. It was the greatest thing in my life to listen to that gossip. It just made my mornings, thinking about some of the petty problems that they had compared to some of the big problems that I had in my life. Listening to them nag and bitch about each other, it was a wonderful time.

“I did it because I wanted to do it. They say it’s one of the great places to work, and that’s true. Working in the service industry where you have to deal with people, it can be a little bit grinding. Some people can be challenging, I don’t know how people do it full time.”

H/T WrestleZone for the transcriptions

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