Current AEW commentator, Tony Schiavone, has orated his disappointment at choosing to leave the World Wrestling Federation in 1990.
In 1989, Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation were struggling to find an iconic voice for its television product. With Jim Ross still some years away from arriving in the promotion, Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan serving in the role only part-time while the latter continued to manage on-screen and Jesse Ventura searching for an on-air partner, the company turned to the tried and tested, Tony Schiavone.
Schiavone had been a mainstay of Jim Crockett Promotions for six years from 1983 – 1989 and jumped at the chance to work on a worldwide stage which was exponentially growing by the day. Signed to a one-year deal, the play-by-play talent served mainly as the voice of WWF pay-per-view events while also orating some television product.
Now, the voice of a generation has sat down with Lucha Libre Online to discuss his time with the company which he referred to as his best year in the industry prior to joining All Elite Wrestling:
“I had a great year with them. Before I started working with AEW, I would consider the WWF my best year in pro wrestling. I loved working there and I got along with Vince McMahon. His children were very young at that time and weren’t in the business. I got to know Vince and Linda McMahon very well. They treated me really well.”
However, after one year with the company the star was forced to leave the promotion due to reasons related to his family and returned to World Championship Wrestling where he would remain until the company dissolved in 2001.
Leaving the World Wrestling Federation is a decision that the voice regrets even to this day as many wonder how different the product would have been and sounded had he remained as part of the WWF family:
“I had grown up in Virginia and later moved to North Carolina. That’s where I was working with Jim Crockett Promotions. Once they were purchased by Turner Broadcasting in 1989, I decided I didn’t want to work for them. Vince McMahon and the WWF offered me a substantial amount of money. So I packed up my family and moved to Connecticut.
After about a year there… we just didn’t like living up there. We didn’t think it was a good place to raise a family. It was the cost of living. It was very expensive. So my decision to leave the WWF was based purely on what was best for my family. Not what was best for my career professionally. It was a move that I regretted for many, many years.”
Tony Schiavone has been the voice of AEW since August 2019, serving at the commentary desk alongside the legendary Jim Ross and Excalibur.
Credit for the interview: Lucha Libre Online
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.