Is Tony Schiavone the most underrated play-by-play man of all time?

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May 22, 2012

Jim Ross recalls calling the Clash of the Champions with Tony Schiavone.

On April 27, 1988, Tony and I worked our most significant event together for Crockett and TBS. The first Clash of the Champions, which went head to head versus WrestleMania IV, emanated from Greensboro, North Carolina and is most remembered for World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair and Sting battling to a 45-minute draw in a match that catapulted Sting to national prominence. Looking back at that bout — which is included in WWE’s recent “Best of WCW Clash of the Champions” release — I felt like Tony and I had a strong broadcast and our team had chemistry. Tony worked the lead and I provided color commentary and we nailed it that night.  

Neither of our TV personas was that of an antagonist announcer, but we both worked diligently to enhance the talents in the ring and to bring as much of a reality based feel to the bouts as we could. Tony used his baseball background/influences to accentuate his delivery while I utilized football analogies and a little passion to add to our team. 

As Shakespeare said many moons ago, “The play is the thing.” The action in the ring wasn’t about the announcers — it was all about the wrestlers. As I’ve always said, the wrestles write the music and we announcers are responsible for providing the lyrics.

Tony left WCW in 1989 to briefly work for WWE. Going to WWE was obviously an opportunity for Schiavone, but many speculate that he likely wouldn’t have left WCW if TBS management had decided to put me on the syndicated shows instead of Tony. Bottom line was that TBS suits put yours truly on cable and placed Tony in syndication. I had nothing to do with that decision and was matter of factly told by management how it was going to be and that the two of us would be earning the same pay for our roles for Ted Turner’s new acquisition.

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