Tony Schiavone On Talking To WWE Before Signing With AEW & More!

AEW’s Tony Schiavone was recently the guest on AEW Unrestricted. Here are some highlights….

On talking to Conrad Thompson about his initial thoughts of AEW:

“Conrad Thompson and I have been doing a podcast for quite a while, and Conrad had told me a few years back that it looks like that Tony Khan’s new promotion is going to be on TNT. He said, ‘What do you think about that? I said, ‘I don’t think anything about it. I’m out of wrestling with exception doing your podcast.’ So it did interest me. I thought man, that’s a great idea to get somebody else’s product on a major cable channel. So that being said, I never did, at all, ask for a job or call Tony Khan, or called Cody or just check with The Bucks. Didn’t do anything. Cody [reached out].”

On his financial struggles after losing his job at a radio station:

“At end of 2015, I lost my job with the radio station WSB, and I’d been working as their sports director and working as an editor on their website for a number of years, actually for 13 years. I lost that job. My contract was not renewed. They wanted to cut back, and so in December 2015, I was thrown out. Basically, no job and no health insurance.”

“For someone in their 50s, that’s a pretty scary thing. I still worked for the University of Georgia on their football broadcast, on their basketball broadcast. I still had a job with the Braves’ AAA team. So I did have work, but I didn’t have enough to really supplement my income and pay the house here. So I got the family together.”

“I said, ‘I’m going to sell the house guys. I don’t think I can afford this.’ So hung in there and 2016 was a terrible year financially for the Schiavone family. I started working at Starbucks for a number of reasons. Number one, I needed the job and was looking for health insurance, which they offered, and number two, I really like Starbucks.”

On Conrad Thompson pitching the podcast to him:

“During 2016, I did a NWA Fan Fest where I did a panel with Jim Valley. Conrad Thompson was in that, and he saw how funny I was, how irreverent I was [and] how I was, obviously, talking honestly. And he approached me in 2017 to do a podcast, and we started the podcast. That podcast led to us doing some crazy things online of which Tony Khan saw and liked, and I got to know Bruce Prichard because Bruce does a podcast with Conrad as well.”

“Bruce told me, at the beginning of 2019, he said, ‘I’m going to go back to work for Vince. You’ll give me a few months. I’ll contact you because I think you can come to work here.’ He did contact me on a Sunday in the summertime of that year, and he said, ‘Vince wants you to come back to work for us.’ And I said, ‘great, what are we talking about?’ He said, ‘We still don’t know yet, but we know we like for you to be a producer. We know you like to produce. We know you like to work behind the scenes. We’ll be back in touch.’ I said, ‘Got it.'”

On Cody Rhodes not wanting him to work for WWE:

“So you get an offer like that thinking, man, things may be on the way up. So do I call my wife? No, I call Conrad. I say, ‘I just got offered a job from the WWE,’ and he said, ‘That’s great.’ Hung up the phone. Two minutes later, I got a text from Cody. Conrad called him, and Cody says, ‘I don’t want you to go to work for the WWE.’ And I said, ‘Okay good.’ And that’s all I said, and then he said, ‘Will you accept a call from Tony Khan?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ Tony called me. We talked for over an hour because you know how you can go. So it was very interesting, and he said, ‘I might have you come down to Jacksonville.'”

On talking to WWE before signing with AEW:

“Now during this time, the WWE kept talking to me, and I never told the WWE that Tony Khan had an interest in me. I would just listen to what they had to say. So they would call me, and they would say, ‘We don’t have our ducks in a row yet. We’ll be back in touch with you.’ Bruce called and said, ‘Vince is very much interested, really wants you to come here and end your career.’ I said, ‘Okay, well then make me an offer.’ So they had an HR person call me, and they said, ‘How much do you need?’ Well, I threw the ball way up in the air on that one, and they said, ‘Okay, we’ll be back in touch with you.’ Meanwhile, I go down and talk to Tony Khan, and I met with Tony.”

“It was an all-day meeting at the stadium, and I knew immediately I wanted to work there. And I also had my wife of mine, we’ve been married now 39 years, who told me, ‘If you take a job back with the WWE, I’m going to divorce your ass,’ but I didn’t play two sides against the middle. I didn’t, so I was just waiting and waiting to hear. Tony offered me something phenomenal, and I knew I wanted to work there, but I was going to listen to what the WWE had to say.”

On WWE calling him after SummerSlam saying they were no longer interested:

“I was not one to call the WWE and say, ‘Listen, Tony Khan offered me this’ or go to Tony, and I did tell Tony. I said, ‘I did hear from the WWE, and Tony says, ‘Well, if they offer you a million dollars, take it.’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, I will, and Lois told me, ‘It doesn’t matter what they offer you. Don’t take it.’ She has a bad feeling about them. So anyway, the week of SummerSlam, they contacted me.”

“I was talking to one of the HR ladies. ‘We’ll be back in touch with you right after SummerSlam.’ So the Monday after SummerSlam, I get a call first thing in the morning, and the lady from the WWE says, ‘Thank you for your interest Mr. Schiavone. We have nothing for you,’ and I went, ‘You guys contacted me.’ I immediately turned around and called Tony. I said, ‘I’m in.’ That’s how it happened.”

Click here to listen to the full show.

Huskie Howard

Huskie Howard

Huskie Howard is the owner and editor-in-chief of He is a long time contributor to, where he is known for his extensive coverage of Ohio pro wrestling and interviews with the stars of the Ohio pro wrestling scene.

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