Tony Schiavone is known as the voice of WCW, and was recently named Commentator of the year for his work in AEW. However, what’s often forgotten is that Schiavone briefly stopped off in the then WWF in 1989, after leaving Jim Crockett Promotions.
Tony Schiavone would leave the company the following year, taking up his now iconic role in WCW. Appearing on a recent episode of AEW Unrestricted, Schiavone reflected fondly in his time working with Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson.
“I was very fortunate in that one year I worked with Vince. I traveled on Vince’s private plane to television, and also on the road between towns. We would go out and do Superstars one night and Challenge the next, and so we would fly into one town, do Superstars, drive to another town, do Challenge and then fly back.
“And I would ride in the car with Vince, and Pat, and Bruce Prichard Kevin Dunn, and I got to know Pat. He had a great sense of humor, and he was always thinking about the business. Even when a bunch of us were cutting up in the car, he was always somewhere else, and he would turn to Vince. ‘Hey, I got an idea about the finish of that match.’ So I knew that he was thinking about wrestling more than any of us were thinking about wrestling all the time, and he was also very funny about his sexuality. We’re talking ’89. He wrestled in an era where you had to keep it quiet.”
Schiavone went on to praise Vince and the WWE staff at the time for making Patterson’s sexuality a complete non-issue, in what were very different times to today.
“I’ve said a lot of bad things on other podcasts about the people of the WWE, but this is one thing I can say about Vince and the company back then. They did not care about Pat’s sexuality. They did not care that Pat was gay, and they accepted him for it, thus Pat was very relaxed with us about talking about it and making jokes. We all got along, and I just thought that was so cool that we could accept him and we all loved him and could travel with him.”
Expanding further, Schiavone explained how Pat Patterson helped him grow as a person, as well as being instrumental in him leaving Jim Crockett Promotions for the WWF in 89.
“I really think that he was instrumental in me leaving Jim Crockett Promotions and working for the WWF back then because he advised Vince on who he liked to see on TV, and it was a great experience… Did I learn anything from him? Yeah, I learned that it doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter your sexuality. It doesn’t matter what you think.
You’re a person and accept a person for that. So I think I learned a lot from him because I come from a — that was ’89. I left my hometown in 1981. So eight years before that, I lived in a very redneck town in the south in the hills, and I never really experienced anything like this. It helped me grow as a person, and I really feel that Pat was a part of that.”
As well as being named Inside The Ropes Commentator of The Year, Tony Schiavone also recently revealed how
his wife threatened to divorce him if he returned to WWE, amid interest in his services prior to singing with AEW.
h/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.