Tony Schiavone was out of the wrestling business until he was pulled back in.
Schiavone left wrestling after WCW, but started to be slowly re-acclimating himself to the sport on What Happened When with Conrad Thompson. Being friends with Conrad and Bruce Prichard, who was set to return to WWE in 2019, led Schiavone to start thinking about a return.
Speaking on AEW Unrestricted, Schiavone explained how talks with WWE and AEW led him back to the announce booth.
"Bruce told me at the beginning of 2019, 'I'm going to go back to work for Vince. If you give me a few months, I'll contact you, because I think you can come to work here.' He did contact me in the summer and said, 'Vince wants you to come work for us.' I said, 'Great, what are we talking about?' He said, 'We don't know yet, but we'd like for you to be a producer, we'll be back in touch.' You got an offer like that and think things may be on the way up. I call Conrad and said I got offered a job from WWE. Two minutes later, I got a text from Cody. He said, 'I don't want you to work for WWE.' I said, 'Ok, good.' He asked if I would accept a call from Tony Khan. I said sure. Tony called me, we talked for over an hour and said he was going to have me come to Jacksonville. During this time, WWE kept talking to me and I never told WWE that Tony Khan had an interest, I was just listening. They called and said, 'We don't have our ducks in a row yet, we'll be back in touch.' Bruce called and said, 'Vince is interested and wants you to end your career here.' I said, 'Okay, then make me an offer.' They had an HR person call and said, 'How much do you need?' I threw the ball way in the air on that and they said they would be in touch," Schiavone recalled.
He continued by saying, "Meanwhile, I met with Tony Khan. It was an all-day meeting at the stadium and I knew immediately that I wanted to work there. My wife also told me, 'If you take a job at WWE, I'll divorce your ass.' I didn't play two sides against the middle, I was just waiting to here. Tony offered me something phenomenal and I knew I wanted to work there, but I was going to listen to WWE. I did tell Tony that I heard from WWE. He said, 'If they offer you $1 million, take it.' I said, 'Don't worry, I will.' [My wife] told me, 'Doesn't matter what they offer, don't take it.' She has a bad feeling about them. The week of SummerSlam, they told me they would be in touch after SummerSlam. The Monday after SummerSlam, I get a call first thing in the morning and the lady says, 'Thank you for your interest Mr. Schiavone, we have nothing for you.' I went, 'You guys contacted me.' I immediately contacted Tony and said, 'I'm in.'
And the rest is history.
Schiavone's signing was announced by AEW on August 26, 2019, two weeks after SummerSlam. Schiavone provides commentary and interviews for AEW on-screen, while also serving as a senior producer backstage.
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