Ever since it was announced that AEW would position itself as legitimate competition to the WWE, speculation has been running high as to who would defect and on which side the plethora of free agents would find themselves once the dust cleared.
One name that didn’t come up in many conversations though was the former WCW lead broadcaster, Tony Schiavone. But that all changed this week when it was announced he had accepted a yet to be confirmed role with AEW, despite interest from his former employer WWE.
Schiavone originally appeared as part of Jim Crocket Promotions, before briefly joining the then World Wrestling Federation in 1989. His biggest breakthrough came a couple of years later when he signed with the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling, racking up over a decade of screen time as the face of the organisation. When WCW closed its doors Tony made a few half-hearted attempts to reach out to WWE, but according to his podcast, no one ever returned his calls.
The years 2001 to 2017 could be considered Tony Schiavone’s wilderness years, before returning to prominence opposite the supposed ‘King of the Podcasts’ Conrad Thompson to relive the glory days of the NWA and WCW as host of What Happened When?.
Fast forward to August 2019 and Dave Meltzer has announced that a formal deal has been offered to Schiavone to bring him into the AEW fold, though exactly what role he’ll play remains unknown. AEW already has Jim Ross to deliver play-by-play, so unless there are plans to switch the commentary team around at the top of the hour ala 90s WCW, then Schiavone could find himself in a producer role. Meltzer also claims that WWE reached out to Tony as well, but never made it clear if this was before or after the initial AEW deal was announced. Either way, if the rumour is to be believed Schiavone turned WWE down in favour of the upstart brand, and we applaud him for it.
Be sure to follow Tony on Twitter @tonyschiavone24 and the What Happened When podcast @WHWmonday
What role can you see Tony Schiavone playing in AEW moving forward? Is this the end of his What Happened When? podcast? Do you even care? Let us know in the comments section below!