Tales from the Spanish announce table
A splintered history
“It’s like a magnet," WWE’s Spanish play-by-play commentator Carlos Cabrera said when WWE Classics called him up to discuss his oft-destroyed announce table. “For whatever reason, the guys have a preference for it."
The longtime broadcaster may have seemed somewhat amused by our line of questioning on the unfortunate history of his place of business, but he also sounded battle weary and skittish like a man who had spent too long in the trenches. That’s unsurprising considering the fact that it’s been nearly two decades since the first WWE Superstar landed in Carlos’s lap while he was trying to a call an event. Since then, the announcer has had to contend with falling maniacs, busted equipment and more splinters than a carpenter’s apprentice. ( WATCH | PHOTOS)
But of the countless crashes through Cabrera’s Spanish announce table, which were the most memorable? The broadcaster hasn't forgotten the falls that maimed him and the landings that horrified him. So join us as we listen in on some terrifying tales from the Spanish announce table.
The first time the Spanish announce table broke
Carlos Cabrera had little trouble remembering the first time a 220-pound Superstar came crashing through his announce table. He still wears the scars of the disastrous night.
It was the 1995 Survivor Series and Bret Hart was trying his damndest to wrestle the WWE Title away from the imposing Diesel in a No Disqualification Match. Deep into the grueling battle, “Hit Man” found himself on the outside of the ring, holding onto the top rope when the WWE Champion drove all 300-pounds of his frame into Hart, sending him careening off the apron and through the Spanish announce table. ( WATCH FULL MATCH)
“Nowadays, we have a little more room to move,” Cabrera explained. “But at that time, the barrier was very close to my back, so I was trapped. I didn’t have enough room to move away from the table and my knee got clipped!”
Indeed, when rewatching the bout, it’s easy to see the commentator grab his knee and holler in pain after Hart unceremoniously landed on his patella. It wasn’t the first time a Superstar busted a table in WWE — Harley Race belly flopped through one while taking on Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event in 1988 — but it was the first of many for the Spanish announce table. Still, for the men who were involved, Cabrera’s unfortunate knee injury is what stayed with them.
“Even about 10 years later when I saw Bret, he said, ‘Hey, how’s your knee?’” Cabrera laughed. “He remembered!”
The Spanish announce table that broke too easily
“The table sometimes has a mind of its own,” Cabrera said. “Sometimes, when it’s supposed to give, it doesn’t give. Sometimes, it surprises the guys when they haven’t even started attempting to break it.”
Such was the case in the main event of SummerSlam 2000 when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson defended his WWE Title against Triple H and Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat Match. Although it was The Great One’s championship on the line, the bout started off without The Rock as The Game and the Olympic gold medalist looked to settle a personal rivalry between the two.
In the weeks leading up to the match, Angle had grown close with Stephanie McMahon, leaving Triple H fuming. When the two Superstars hit the ring at SummerSlam, The King of Kings took his frustrations out on the former Olympian immediately, battering him around the ringside area before attempting to hit him with the Pedigree atop the Spanish announce table. But as soon as Triple H pushed his legs down to execute the move, the table buckled, sending both men crashing to the concrete floor below. ( WATCH FULL MATCH)
“Angle had a concussion,” Cabrera revealed. “He said later that he didn’t even know how he finished.”
Angle was miraculously able to return to the bout after being taken away on a stretcher, but he ended up losing after The Rock pinned Triple H. Still, the scary moment when the Spanish announce table broke unexpectedly is what WWE fans — and Carlos Cabrera — remember about this dramatic match.
The scariest night at the Spanish announce table
WWE fans have seen Mick Foley’s horrifying tumble from the roof of the Hell in a Cell from a number of different angles, but it was Carlos Cabrera who witnessed the fall from the most unique vantage point — directly under Mankind’s rapidly plummeting 300-pound body.
“There must have been hundreds of moments at the table, but that was the most incredible and horrific one,” the commentator admitted.
By now, the shocking fall is an integral piece of WWE history, but here’s the quick and dirty recap for the uninitiated. At King of the Ring 1998, Mankind challenged The Undertaker in WWE’s second major Hell in a Cell Match. As expected, the bout quickly spiraled out of control with both Superstars immediately fighting on the roof of the structure. Only minutes into the clash, The Deadman callously tossed Foley off the edge of the Cell, sending him spiraling 20 odd feet to the Spanish announce table below. ( WATCH)
“At that moment, I was frozen for a fraction of a second,” Cabrera remembered, still haunted by the sight of Mankind hurtling toward him from the sky above. “And when he smashed into the table, the sound was tremendous.”
The plunge inspired WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross to make one of his most famous calls when he exclaimed, ‘As God as my witness, he is broken in half!’ But the damage Foley’s body did to the Spanish announce table left Cabrera incapable of capturing the moment for WWE’s Spanish fans.
“The color and the narration sometimes stop for a couple of minutes because of what happens on the table,” Cabrera revealed. “But it adds a certain degree of emotion and suspense to our work.”
The Spanish announce table that refused to break
“A fan once said that we have a piece of furniture that is very resilient,” Carlos Cabrera told WWE Classics during the course of our conversation.
Indeed, while the Spanish announce table has been broken more times than Wade Barrett’s nose, it has refused to buckle under the weight of WWE Superstars on occasion. Case in point, at Money in the Bank 2011, Randy Orton lost his World Heavyweight Championship to Christian due to the bout’s stipulation: If The Viper was disqualified, Captain Charisma would win the title. That happened after Christian hocked a loogie in Orton’s face, leading The Viper to respond with a vicious low blow. ( WATCH FULL MATCH)
Realizing he’d lost the championship, Orton dragged Christian to the outside of the ring, pulled his loathed rival atop the Spanish announce table and hit him with an RKO. The impact was intense, but the table didn’t break. Enraged by the unexpected turn of events, The Viper threw a dazed Christian back onto the table and executed a second RKO. The sound of the Superstars slamming into the fixture resounded throughout Chicago’s Allstate Arena, but again the table refused to give.
“It was another one of those moments where you don’t believe what’s happening,” Cabrera admitted.
Frustrated and fired up, The Viper let out an intense scream. The Spanish announce table may not have busted, but the damage had been done.
Breaking in the new guy at the Spanish announce table
During his two decades at the Spanish announce table, Carlos Cabrera has grown accustomed to full-grown men flying headfirst into his place of business. But there’s a new body at the Spanish announce table that’s not too familiar with the rules for surviving a table apocalypse. Marcelo Rodriguez, Cabrera’s pay-per-view broadcast partner since October 2011, has had a tough time adapting to his announce table being destroyed — despite his partner’s best advice.
“I told him, ‘Marcelo, if they come this way just move!’ Cabrera revealed. “And he took that very literally.”
Although Rodriguez isn’t new to WWE broadcasts, he has only recently begun appearing at pay-per-view events in person. So the first time he saw Big Show’s 440-pound carcass being hurled towards him by John Cena at Money in the Bank 2012, he reacted the way any reasonable human being would. He ran. ( WATCH)
“Marcelo was climbing the barrier!” Cabrera remembered with a laugh. “He looked like a monkey in distress!”
Yes, in order to avoid being flattened under the mass of The World’s Largest Athlete, Rodriguez jumped over the barricade and into the front row of Phoenix’s US Airways Center. Cabrera couldn’t help but chuckle at the memory of his partner’s reaction, but he couldn’t blame him.
“When you are next to the action, you’ve got to call it. But how are you going to call it when you have no equipment?” Cabrera stressed. “Besides, you have to run for your life!”