Host of Pro Wrestling Radio
We got a request from a couple readers to do a Pick My Brain interview with CZW announcer Eric Gargiulo. Not only that, but Eric has been a fan of The Armpit since the old days, and that earns him major brownie points.
When we did our research on Eric, we found out some interesting stuff. He ring announced for ECW. He works for many other promotions doing voice work. He’s a longtime fan from the Northeast, having attended old school NWA shows. He’s just a big wrestling fan. He’s also a metalhead. In other words, he’s doing all the right things.
1. Well Eric, here we are. Your lifelong dream of being interviewed by the Armpit has now come true. Utilize this golden opportunity by plugging your websites, radio shows, etc.
Wow and I didn’t even have to win your trivia contest. My radio show, Pro Wrestling Radio is in its sixth year and airs every Saturday from 12:05-1PM/EST. The show can be heard live online at www.wbcb1490.com. I am real proud of the show in that I try and call it like I see it, not insult anyone’s intelligence, but also respect the business at the same time. My website is www.prowrestlingradio.com. I have recent interviews up there in audio and transcription format. I write an exclusive commentary for the site which sometimes is a behind the scenes on a show I may have worked, a radio show, or just some random thoughts and opinion. The site will be getting a bit of a facelift coming shortly. Most importantly if you miss my radio show live you can listen to it there for about two weeks.
You can catch me calling the shows for Combat Zone Wrestling home video. We have several videos out across the country as well as through www.smartmarkvideo.com. You can also catch me bi-monthly co-hosting and announcing the Japanese Hardcore Wrestling Pay Per View series. WKmedia.net is where you will find more information on that. And lastly, you can catch me hosting and announcing the Womens Extreme Wrestling Pay Per Views bi-monthly as well. Their website (which I am sure will suddenly receive a lot of hits) is WextremeW.com. Both of those pay per views are available on In Demand which is on most cable systems around the country. I hope that your readers will check out my radio show more than anything else.
2. You might live and breathe CZW 24 hours a day, but the sad fact is that not many people reading this know what the f*ck CZW is. It’s not anyone’s fault, but the reality of television exposure. So give us your best 30 second sales pitch on why we should all check out CZW.
A few years ago I may have lived and breathed CZW but I am a bit older and busier now. However, CZW definitely has a special place with me as compared to the other projects I do or have done. CZW is cutting edge with a real cool combination of high flying, mat wrestling, strong style, grappling, story-telling, and yes, some hardcore wrestling. CZW tries to provide something for everyone no matter what kind of fan you are other than midget wrestling. CZW started me a commentator so I would like nothing more than to see it grow. We have great athletes like Chris Hero, Claudio Constangoli, Eddie Kingston, Sonjay Dutt, Ruckus, Sabian, and a host of others that really turn it on every month. I think we are a great alternative to an audience that has become bored with the current climate in pro wrestling. I think CZW good or bad is better known than you give them credit for.
3. To the untrained eye (or even the trained one), CZW might seem like a big mess of garbage wrestling, botched spots, backyard wanna-be’s, and a complete absence of solid ring psychology. At least that’s what Jim Cornette would say. Defend your employer against these accusations, please.
Well I would ask Jim Cornette (or whoever it is that made this accusation) what the difference is between a hardcore match in CZW and a barbed wire match in 1978 in Detroit, Amarillo, Tampa, or Dallas? Jim Cornette (since you brought his name up) would tell us how great the Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl was and then watch a CZW brawl and tell you it’s horrendous. Hardcore wrestling has always existed whether the people watching wrestling in 1972, 1982, or whenever want to admit it or not. The reason I love old school Memphis wrestling so much are the brawls, the fire, the blood, and the unpredictability. The business changes, smart promoters sense that, adapt to it, and market their product towards this.
Speaking of CZW specifically I will give you my best defense of the company. I am not going to sit here and blindly say that CZW is the purest wrestling on the planet. I will say this. CZW run about fourteen-sixteen shows a year. Of that number, at least twelve are run out of Philadelphia which has banned barbed wire, light tubes, blading, and pretty much hardcore wrestling in general. Do we take liberties once in a blue moon with say a cage of death? Sure.
That said, you figure of an average of 12 shows a year, with 10 matches a show, out of that 120, maybe three tops are what fans would call hardcore. I won’t sit here and tell you that CZW would not do more hardcore if we were allowed. But we aren’t, at least in Philadelphia. We do have an annual Death Match tournament, and maybe a spot show here and there in Delaware that may feature an extreme death match or hardcore match. But on the grand scale of things we are talking about I don’t know, 5% of CZW over a year is death match/hardcore. Look at our roster and there really aren’t even many guys on our shows that would do the hardcore stuff if we would let them. A
And why is the same crazy spot done in a ladder match on a WWE PPV or someone else’s undercard great as compared to it being called crazy or botched at a CZW show? I have seen some of the craziest spots in the business done on WWE, WCW, or NWATNA PPVs. So let’s call a spade a spade here. The people who stereotype CZW in that matter really have never bothered to sit down and watch a CZW show from start to finish. Hey, I am an old school fan and personally I am not a big death match fan. Unfortunately the tapes and DVDs sell a lot more with those kind of matches than not. So again I would tell anyone that generalizes CZW in the way you had described earlier to either watch a few CZW shows before making generalizations from other people’s opinions or the status-quo.
4. I nearly coughed up a loogie trying to pronounce your name. Once and for all, end the mystery and tell us how it’s pronounced.
I had Rhino on my show this weekend. We were talking before we went on the air and he asked if I used any gimmick name on the air. I said no and if I knew I would make a career in this than I would have came up with something a long time ago. Gar-jew-low! I don’t mind if fans, media, or whatever mess it up. What pisses me off is when a press release of a company I work for goes out with my name spelled wrong. I can google my last name with about five different spellings for multiple results.
5. You were involved with ECW since 1994, often doing ring announcing duties. In 1995, a young punk kid named Joel Gertner was also vying to be ECW ring announcer. There was also Bob Artese who was doing that job, and at least one other schmuck whose name I can’t remember. How much jealousy was involved among you all? Really, I’m sure you were all cordial to one another, but deep down you wanted to tell each other to get the Hell out. Tell us the truth, was the competition cut-throat, American Idol style?
Well when I was there it was pretty much just Bob and I. Steve Deangelis started as I was finishing. Bob was tremendous. Bob is still a friend of mine to this day. The only reason a spot was open was because Bob didn’t want to travel. There was no jealousy because if he wanted to take my spot all he would have to say was that he wanted it. Rocky was the other “schmuck” as you call it. You also have to keep in mind that ECW was big when I was there but PPV just started. So we are talking about fighting over house shows. I have no idea how things changed once ECW got rolling with the PPVs, but Bob was great, Joel was managing, and Rocky was really part-time.
6. Speaking of Gertner, when Paul Heyman first told you to be ring announcer on the fly, you were dressed like a bum and had to borrow Gertner’s suit. We’re not sure that’s something you wanna go around admitting. How many pairs of X-large briefs did you have to wear to prevent Gertner’s size 40+ waist pants from falling down your ass?
Hahahaha. Well thankfully my underwear was not an issue. I had shown up in a pair of jeans and some goofy workout shirt or sweatshirt. I was definitely not prepared whatsoever for the gig. I told Paul that and he told me to see Joel. Joel gave me one of those windbreaker suits you see the old people in Florida wearing. It was big, but I was pretty big back then and he was not as big as he would later become around the belly. It was a combination blue, green, white, and black suit. From that point out I always made sure I had a suit and later invested in a tux as the result of a rib.
7. We heard that you’re a fan of 80s heavy metal. That right there makes you cool in our book. Two-part question. #1, list your top 5 favorite all time bands, and why. #2, tell us how you could possibly be a fan of heavy metal, yet you look and dress like the complete antithesis of what rock n roll stands for. Matty in the House looked rock n roll. Jerry Lynn looks rock n roll. Edge looks rock n roll. Chris Jericho looks rock n roll (well, he used to). You sir, no offense, don’t look rock n roll. What gives?
Well if you know me in high school you would think different. I had long hair, wore ripped jeans, t-shirts, etc. But what normal guy or girl still wears what they wore as a teenager? I actually take that as a compliment because I try and portray that straight, somewhat dorky guy as a wrestling announcer. Why else would I be offended someone cheated?
Top five –
Slayer – Because when they could have sold out and adapted their music to be more radio friendly after Seasons in the Abyss they never did. They still sound as great live as they used to.
Kiss -They were just so incredibly innovative for their time. Their music back in the 70s was completely different than anything else out there. I think the way they whore themselves out is ridiculous though.
AC/DC – Now I am talking the Bon Scott era. They just rocked! Their music was heavy but with a rhythm that nobody could match. The music stands up to the test of time and are better than any “rock and roll” or “heavy metal” that has come out over the last several years.
Overkill – I love Overkill. They are another band like Slayer that never changed with the times. They grew as musicians but never strayed from their roots. Even today they are one of the heaviest bands around. Their newest CDs are as good as their first LPs.
Danzig – I have seen Danzig a million times in concert back in the day and I am glad I did because now he has a belly the size of Bastian Booger’s and moves about as fast as the Yetti. He is brilliant in the way he composes his music. It is all a twist of blues, metal, classic rock, punk, and his voice is so unique on top of it. Unlike some of the other bands he has adapted to the times and has tried some new things over the years which have sucked. His newest CD Circle of Snakes is not that great, but his last CDI Lucifer showed he definitely still has it. I think the lack of stability in his line up has really hurt his band too.
8. You said that you often practice play-by-play announcing while driving in your car. No matter how cool a person is, no one can pull that off without looking like a complete dweeb. Has anyone ever seen you do this, looked over, and thought were a whacko? Seriously, chicks especially must think that is so not cool. Can’t you wait until you get home to practice?
Well I only do this on one lane highways in low traffic areas. It really does help and it is the only time I can get peace and quiet. As if anyone has ever seen me and called ma whacko? Well I always keep the windows up so I would never know what the hell they are saying.
9. Speaking of chicks… everyone knows guys on TV or radio are able to pull in massive amounts of poontang. It’s considered one of the perks of the job. You’re on both TV and radio, but it’s wrestling. Does that hurt your ability to score quality ass, or does it enhance it? Most women aren’t into wrestling, and if they are, they look like Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney.
I have never really tried to exploit it but it definitely doesn’t hurt. Like you say though, wrestling announcer/radio groupies are about as low on the totem poll as you can get. I definitely have had women email me or something and say they saw me here or heard me there, etc. Once in a blue moon the girl will be somewhat attractive and let’s be honest; the only people that will ever know are you and her. I would say it has helped me in the past at parties when everyone is talking about their boring jobs like accounting or whatever and then someone says, “Hey did you know Eric does this, etc, etc.” All of the sudden Mr. “I make 100 grand a year,” just had his girl stolen by Mr. “I make 100 bucks a year.”
10. Do you ever look and listen to Don West and say to yourself, “How does HE have a job with TNA, and I don’t??” And if you aren’t thinking that, you should be.
YES! Especially since I sent them a tape at their request before they opened. Absolutely.
11. Yes or No, has Eric Gargiulo ever…
Made fun of Sonjay Dutt’s bald spot to his face: No, that’s just not right. Especially since mine is bigger.
Made fun of Sonjay Dutt’s bald spot behind his back: I can honestly tell you I have never even spent one second on his bald spot nor am I even convinced he has one. The man with the biggest bald spot in wrestling is the most successful wrestler in the business while the second biggest star ever in the business was completely bald. So I think this obsession with baldness is misplaced.
Heard a CZW wrestler complain about HHH: No but the fans used to call Trent Acid the HHH of CZW.
Gotten sick to your stomach by saying CZW blows WWE away and actually having to pretend that’s really true: HAHAHAHAHA. Sometimes you get so caught up in the shows or a match and I really believe that. I have never said it when I didn’t believe it. I can see where you are coming from and how ridiculous that could sound though. You have to understand that I got my commentating/announcing start in CZW so it has a special place in my heart. It is like dating a fat girl who you are in love with. You may see a hot girl walking down the street and tell your friends it doesn’t matter because you have a girl you are in love with at home. After you break up with her you realize how ridiculous you must have sounded.
Dressed up as a WWE wrestler for Halloween when you were a kid (and if so, who?): Nope, I was more into Super Heroes.
Received oral under the table while doing play-by-play: No, but my career is not over yet.
Listened to Howard Stern for pointers on how to improve as a radio show host: Yes and no. I have listened to Howard for over twenty years so I think subconsciously I do take what I hear from him and try and apply it. I do listen to other radio shows or sporting events specifically for pointers and that kind of stuff. But I never consciously tuned into Howard just for that.
Regretted ever agreeing to do this interview: Not yet. Ask me again at the end.
Reminisced about how sweet life was 7 years ago when you were young, doing your dream job, and wrestling was on fire: Eh, yes and no. I made a lot more money back then which I miss because wrestling was on fire. But my dream job wasn’t to be a ring announcer. Not that I ever dreamed of being a commentator or radio host either but I do enjoy them much more. I miss going on the road every weekend though. That was a lot of fun and my peers and mentors were the greatest. It was such a fun time in my life but I am not sure if I would want to go back to it.
As a kid, jumped off your couch and did the Randy Savage elbow to a pillow: Hundreds of times. Pillows are the best opponents.
Joked around with the other grade school kids about what a hottie Elizabeth was: No, but she was.
Held up 4 fingers in the mirror and then went ‘Woooooooooooo!!’: Who hasn’t?
Attended an NWA event when you were little and sat so close to the ring you got drenched in Mike Rotunda’s sweat: HA! Can’t say that I have.
Gotten choke-slammed by 911: Never.
Glanced at Beulah McGillicuddy’s ass when she wasn’t looking: Definitely.
Offered your plate of food to Francine in hopes that she would put on a few pounds and fill out: HA! No, and Fran looks great these days.
Smoked a cig with Sandman: I have never smoked a cig in my life.
Smoked pot with RVD: I have never tried or done an illegal drug in my life.
Gotten hit by one of Al Snow’s Styrofoam heads when fans threw them in the ring: Nope, but in CZW I was once hit by a ton of coins that were being thrown at the Backseat Boyz while I was trying to interview them in the ring.
Screwed up a ring introduction and no one noticed: Absolutely. In reality, are weights and hometowns really that relevant anymore? I mean, yeah back in the day it was something different. But now nobody cares.
Screwed up a ring introduction, and someone noticed: Oh definitely. I had an incident in Monaca, PA once. Taz ran into the ring and suplexed both Danny Doring and Chris Chetti. I didn’t know what to announce. So I asked referee Jeff Jones and he said he ruled it a no-contest. So I announced that and Taz came back out, called me in the ring and said, “The winner of the match is Taz. If you mess up again, I will bust you up,” or something like that. At intermission I went back to the locker room and Paul smiled and asked me what had happened. I was not even going to blame Jeff; I figured I would just take responsibility and accept it. Taz interrupted us and said that it wasn’t my fault and that it was Jeff that told me what to announce. That was very cool because he didn’t have to do that. Another time during a 3-Way in Trenton, NJ between the Eliminators, Balls and Axl, and the Dudleys I missed the Dudleys elimination. I went to the back and D-Von gave me a hard time and rightfully so. Later that night I apologized to Axl. Axl responded, “Don’t worry about it. The match sucked anyway.”
Gotten aroused while announcing a match in either GLOW or WEW: Never. Maybe if I was doing it alone and not surrounded by a bunch of guys in a studio. Although one time the American Cream Pie started licking on my ear and I must admit, that was pretty hot.
12. You stated not too recently that you were attending college. Umm, how do we say this. You’re over 30. College is something you do when you’re 17 or 18, after finishing high school. What’s the deal? (Don’t worry, I have family members who were closing in on 40 when they graduated. Don’t feel bad).
No, I don’t feel bad. What better excuse do you have for checking out hot college co-eds on a daily basis? Seriously when my time with RF Video came to an end I was at a cross roads. I had no intentions of making any kind of a living in wrestling. Anytime I would go out in the real world and apply for jobs or interview the question about my education was always asked. I didn’t have one, sans high school. So I looked at it as a way to invest in myself. It has been without a doubt the best investment I have ever made. I am a much better person for it. I am less than a year from graduation and I think I want to go to grad school. I was a terrible high school student but I am about to graduate magna with a 3.70 GPA. Unlike before where the only conversations I could have with people revolved around wrestling or sports, I can now have an intelligent conversation with someone on politics, history, theory, psychology, culture, sociology, whatever. I have made some pretty bad decisions from time to time in life but this was probably the best one I ever made. I look at some of my other friends in their twenties with no college ambitions and dead end jobs and try to tell them how important an education is going to be to them in ten years. I think anyone that has any plans of getting into the wrestling business should have an education to fall back on.
13. You’ve been a longtime fan of our site, but you also used to work for Rob Feinstein. Are you pissed that we always rag on him, or do you think it’s funny?
I don’t really care. I am definitely not pissed. Sometimes I chuckle but I laugh at things that Rob would probably find funny himself. He has a real self deprecating sense of humor as do I. Some of the things you guys say I think to myself, “Man, did Rob screw these guys over in tapes or something because they really don’t like him.” Shane Douglas once told me that any publicity is good publicity as long as they are talking about you.
14. Why is everyone in Philadelphia so Goddamn hostile?
Because the city wage taxes are outrageous, the Mayor is the second worst Mayor in America according to Time magazine, the doctors are leaving the state due to high malpractice insurance, and we haven’t had a sports championship in over twenty years.
15. ECW built the ECW Arena into an international tourist attraction for wrestling fans all over the world. It was mostly sold out for the monthly shows, and it changed the business. Since they went belly up, no one has been able to duplicate that magic at the ECW Arena. Not 3PW, not CZW, not XPW. None of those promotions are showing real growth, and the truth is wrestling is stronger now than it was in 1994 when ECW grew exponentially and became an underground hit. CZW has not yet become that underground hit. Why do you think that is, and why is no one studying what Paul Heyman did that made ECW such a success (Hint: it wasn’t the hardcore brawls, it was the character development and Heyman’s being in touch with the media and pop culture that made his product hip)?
I think it all comes down to a simple theory that I have developed and this applies not just to all of the indy companies. The thing is, indy companies have indy promoters and bookers who are just as experienced in their positions as the wrestlers are. The worst thing that I have seen happen to these companies is to achieve success. In my own experiences I can point to CZW’s Cage of Death 3, GLOOW believe it or not drawing a huge house for Hovember back in 2002, WEW drawing a big house down in Florida in 2003, MLW clearing television markets like mad, and looking from the outside at ROH drawing almost 2,000 people in Elizabeth to 3PW drawing some huge houses at the onset, to NWATNA peaking with the Raven-Jeff Jarrett storyline, and the list goes on and on. I would be the first one to tell you that I could probably book some great wrestling and interesting storylines. But once I get to the point where I am drawing 800-1200 people, I would probably struggle on my own with growing it to another level.
All of those situations had a company reach a peak and be completely unprepared to proceed or take it to the next level. Jerry Jarrett makes similar points in his book and says the problem is that WWE put all of the successful promoters out of business and those promoters have either passed away, moved on, or work in the WWE. I have to think what made ECW such a success is that Paul Heyman studied and spent time in numerous territories and major companies and saw all aspects from booking, to wrestling, promotion, media, etc. Nobody promoting indy wrestling today has the knowledge or capabilities to make their company into another ECW. I think the most successful companies are those like Wildside was who was happy drawing their few hundred fans every week or so.
In addition to the lack of knowledge of promoting, media, etc there is a major lack of business knowledge on the indys. No businessman worth his degree would likely get involved with pro wrestling in the first place. Nobody promoting today has the experience or knowledge of creating a budget, sticking to the budget, etc. It is easy to say book this guy against this guy, but what about a budget, turning a profit, buying the right media, getting the right publicity. Most promotions hire their friends or give fans free tickets to handle a lot of the office and promotion duties which are cheap but accomplish nothing in the grand scale of things. I think the days of your ECW type promotion unless something drastic or someone new gets in the game are over.
16. Please tell us about a few of your favorite NWA house show memories from childhood/teenhood.
I remember a bloodbath between Cactus Jack and Abdullah The Butcher in a cage. That was one of my first tastes of real hardcore wrestling live and I loved it. The match was way ahead of its time. I remember the Flair-Steamboat series really well. The matches were just excellent. In general whether Flair was wrestling Brad Armstrong or Dusty Rhodes his matches were always long and great. Jimmy Garvin may have gotten the biggest pop ever when he came out as a mystery partner/substitute for his brother teaming with Wahoo McDaniel against the Midnight Express. Earlier that day they aired the fire angle with the Midnights and Ronnie Garvin. Magnum and Tully was a really hot match that sticks out to me. I also remember a street fight with Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes against Steve Austin and someone from the Dangerous Alliance from when I was a little older that was really hot. Terry Funk going crazy in 1989 at the house shows in the battle royals on the Bash tour also sticks out to me. He was so great it looked so real.
17. Same question, but with WWF.
The Hogan chill for sure. I was there for just about all of Hogan’s first few years of house shows in Philly. I remember a bloodbath he had with the Iron Sheik that was great. I remember my first main event which was Bob Backlund, Jimmy Snuka, and Andre vs. Samu, Lou Albano, and Afa. I remember a great stretcher match with Backlund and Slaughter. Snuka and Piper always tore the house down. I always thought Rocky Johnson would beat Muraco but never did. I saw a great match with Slaughter and Sheik at the Nassau Colesium. Hogan and Savage had some great matches early on in Philly that I can remember.
18. You’re in the wrestling radio business. Please tell us your brief thoughts on the following radio shows. If you’ve never heard it, write, “N/A.”
Wrestling Observer Live: I listen every week. I have been a subscriber for well over ten or twelve years. I think Dave and Bryan are hysterical at times and always knowledgeable. The thing I HATE about wrestling shows is when the hosts comes off as marky or talk to their listeners like they are better than them, etc. Even though Dave is on such a higher level with his knowledge and background he really doesn’t show it. My biggest complaint is that they let their callers have way too much time. Sometimes the most incoherent or ridiculous callers will ask ten questions for five minutes and Dave just sits there and lets them continue. I think to myself, “Next caller please!”
Get in the Ring: Never heard it. Know of it, but never heard it.
Voice of Wrestling: I was a guest on VOW. They were real cool and I had a lot of fun on their show. Good guys.
Puroreso Power Hour: Never heard of it
John Arezzi’s old radio show: HA, I was a listener. It was great. Paul Heyman would just drive into the studio unannounced and just shoot on everyone. And back then with no Internet, Don Liable’s news reports were a must listen.
Vince Russo’s old radio show: The only show I ever heard Vince on was John’s. So if he did have his own show I never heard it.
Between the Ropes: I know Brian Fritz a bit. He would always come on my show to plug his but never invited me on to his when he said he would. He’s a nice guy but their show is just kind of too marky at times for my tastes. Not that it’s a bad thing I am just going for personal taste. Although, sometimes you can’t really dictate your audience. If you have one of those weeks where you get all of those kinds of calls well then you play the hand you are dealt I guess.
The Interactive Interview: Never heard it.
The Howard Stern Show: I have been a listener 19 years on a regular basis. I actually attended a few of his live events in Philadelphia back in the day like his funeral for the Morning Zoo. His show definitely took a big hit to me when he got divorced. I turned off his show for the first time ever when he began discussing politics regularly during the last Presidential election. I love politics and I can tell you that he didn’t have any clue on what he was talking about. It was just so obnoxious to listen to that I finally turned him off. I miss Jackie a lot as well as Stuttering John.
19. Do you find it hard to find sponsors for your show when you’ve got a wrestler named Wifebeater?
No because there are always band-aid manufacturers, hospitals, medical supplies, self-help book manufacturers that always need advertising. Seriously, the kind of market CZW tries to appeal to doesn’t care about a name. They just want some hot action, and some cutting edge shows. I don’t see any deal with PAX however in the near future.
20. As a student of the art of the play-by-play, please grade the following announcers on a scale of 1 to 10, along with any comments you’d like to make to back up your opinion:
First off, let me say I am a little uncomfortable doing this part of the interview. I don’t want to come off arrogant if I call someone’s favorite announcer a 4 or a 5. But, what the hell.
Jim Ross: 10. He is the best ever. Old schoolers always point out Gordon Solie but J.R. is truly the best announce the business ever had. Wrestling announcers were all so corny and boring before Jim Ross. I don’t care how many names of maneuvers you know, but it takes real talent to drum up the excitement that he does every time he is out there. I really have no idea how he can do it. I mean let’s be honest, sometimes he doesn’t get the best to work with. However, he always makes it good and that is the sign of a great announcer. In my opinion.
Mike Tenay: 7. I think he can be overrated at times. I think he is like a lot of us in that he gets so busy that he doesn’t have time to watch as many tapes and educate himself to as many moves as he used to. One thing he does which is great is that he can sell a story with the best of them. I don’t think he does anything necessarily bad but he doesn’t excite me like Jim Ross.
Joey Styles: pre 1998 – 8. Post 1998- 5. He really changed the game and brought a whole new art to wrestling announcing. I bet Jim Ross would even admit in confidence that Joey lit a fire under his ass back in the mid-nineties. However, I have listened to some of his stuff in XPW, and MLW and he has lost it. He is boring, he has no clue about the newer moves, newer talents, nor does he seem to care. People really discount the influence of having Paul Heyman feeding him his lines had on his work. He was spectacular at One Night Stand and got several laughs out of me from his witty comments. But I think he is terribly overrated.
Gordon Solie (and keep in mind his son-in-law writes for The Armpit and will read this): 7. From what I hear out of Gordon he does not bring the excitement that Jim Ross or Joey in his heyday did to the table. But back to what I said about Mike Tenay, you can’t find anyone better from his era that sold a story better than Gordon Solie. My tastes may differ from others in that I want to hear excitement, intensity, in your face commentary. I like that in all sports. Gordon wasn’t that kind of commentator, but for his time he was one of the best in the business.
Michael Cole: 8 . I think he is one of the most underrated announcers in the business. He is great. He says some pretty dumb things from time to time which kill his credibility but I cannot fault him for that. It is impossible for anyone to know whether that comes from him or from someone in his ear piece. Believe me, I have been in those situations and it is a losing battle. I give him a ton of respect because he has really improved
Taz: 10. Yes, a perfect 10. He is probably the guy I listen to most when I watch to study. He is more educated than anybody when it comes to knowledge of the moves. His background in judo gives him a huge edge and it comes across when he explains the moves. He can make the matches seem like real fights. I give him full credit for getting the triangle choke over which is now used more on the indys than the moonsault. Knowing him a little bit I couldn’t be more happy for his success. I think he is hands down the best in the business right now.
Willie “Scoop” Watts (there’s a name .0001% of our readers will remember from ECW): HA! 1.
Jay Sulli: Six pack! I was hoping he would make a cameo at ONS. I will give old six-pack a 3 but a 10 for entertainment!
Tony Schiavone: 4. He was terrible and completely overrated. He talked to wrestling fans over the television like we were all complete idiots. He was boring, didn’t seem to care, and took a good job away from someone that likely did care. If half of what Bobby Heenan says about him on my radio show is true than he is a jerk as well.
Rod Trongaurd (RIP): 8. He was great. I wrote about him a little on my website. He is the kind of announcer I always liked. He brought a ton of excitement to the match. He was Jim Ross before Jim Ross was Jim Ross if that makes any sense. He may not have known many moves but he didn’t have to.
Gorilla Monsoon: 10. I loved the guy. I grew up on him. Not that I found him exciting or informative but I refuse to speak bad of Gorilla. Not too mention he was kind of enough to have me at his home one time.
Vince McMahon: 100 He is the greatest of all time. Now do I get a job?
Bob Caudle: 7
Todd Grisham: 3.
Josh Matthews: 5
Scott Hudson: 9. I tell my friends this all of the time. I love Scott Hudson. He is so damn funny. He is witty, yet informative. I think he is the second best play by play guy in the business.
Mark Madden: 5
Stevie Ray: 1. Yes, he is worse than Six-Pack.
Joel Gertner: 6
Bobby Heenan: 10. His call of the Royal Rumble 92 is the greatest call of a color man in the history of the business in my opinion. I watch that match a lot just for his call.
Jesse Ventura: 7 Jesse is like some of the other guys in that I think he eventually got lazy. Some guys like Tazz and Michael Cole improve and some guys like Jesse likely think their sh*t don’t stink and probably start to care less and less about their work. His work in WCW was quite evident of that.
Lance Russell (our favorite): 10. “C’mon King!” Memphis is my favorite territory of all time growing up and even now when I watch the tapes. He had it all. He didn’t need knowledge of the moves because I never saw anyone doing lucha in Tennessee during his time.
Sean Mooney: 3
Jim Cornette: 7. I haven’t had a chance to see too much OVW but from what I see he is very good. It doesn’t hurt when you know everything that is going on since you book the angles also.
PS: Why no love for Charlie Minn?
21. ECW One Night Stand: What were your thoughts on the show, and why weren’t you invited to it?
The ECW One Night Stand show was bitter sweet to me. I thought it was great to see a lot of the guys and girls get a nice payday and some exposure. I thought it was a great idea to expose new fans to the enjoyment that many of us had for about eight years.
One thing I did find comical was that on Raw and Smackdown the last two weeks you had 20,000 or so people chanting ECW! Where were these people four years ago? The bitter part of this equation is that every time I watch ECW I think of what could have been. After ring announcing for ECW for awhile, Tommy Dreamer found a neat little spot for me on the shows as a heel ring announcer of sorts. Once we got that up and running I felt a lot of personal and professional pressures outside of ECW to quit ECW. My father was very sick for a year before his passing around this time as well which really did not allow me a clear head. I stopped going to the ECW shows, never took up Paul E. on opportunities to go to New York and watch them produce television, and just kind of disappeared. I have no idea if anything would have come out of it, maybe nothing. However the one thing that I do know is that I will never know. Looking back on it now I kick myself every time and ask myself how I could blow such an awesome opportunity. When young guys will come to me asking for advice or just to talk I will relate my blown opportunity and always tell them to stick to their guns and don’t walk away from a great opportunity so easy.
As for not being invited, well I was just such a small cog in the big wheel that I would have been shocked if I did receive a call. There were plenty of other people that spent much more time than I did in ECW that deserved a call way ahead of someone like me. I would have felt silly attending if I did get a call due to the short time I was there as compared to others. However, there is a cool Eric G. cameo on the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD. I will leave that up to you and someone else to find.
22. Okay, last question. Thanks a lot for doing this interview and putting up with us. We give all our interviewees a hard time, so don’t take it personally. You’re a really cool guy and have appreciated your support from the beginning. Any last words to the wrestling fans?
Ah, this was nothing and it was really a lot of fun. I am a big fan of your site actually and am honored to do one of your interviews. Your question that you asked Dave Meltzer about an MMA guy hitting on his girlfriend was gold. I must say I am disappointed you didn’t ask me who screwed Bret like the twenty other people. To the fans, support the site as it is very cool. Check out my radio show every Saturday on www.wbcb1490.com at 12:05 PM/EST. and keep supporting the projects I am involved in so I can pay my tuition without having to get a real job.
That is how it’s done. Be sure to check out all of Eric’s plugs and email him to tell him what a great job he did with this. Eric, thanks for all your support over the years, and here’s to many more years of mutual support.