Tony Schiavone Recalls Negotiations With WWE Prior To Joining AEW

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Cody Rhodes and Lois Schiavone played instrumental roles in Tony joining AEW

Tony Schiavone has enjoyed a career resurgence since he joined All Elite Wrestling (AEW). The legendary broadcaster was away from pro wrestling for nearly two decades following the demise of WCW in 2001. Longtime fans have called him “the voice of their childhood.” He now reaches a new generation of wrestling fans every week on AEW Dynamite.

Schiavone co-hosts the ‘What Happened When’ podcast with Conrad Thompson and the AEW Unrestricted podcast with referee Aubrey Edwards. On this week’s Unrestricted, Schiavone was in the ‘hot seat.’ He spoke about what he knew about Sting joining AEW, Kenny Omega hijacking the AEW Championship, working through the pandemic and much more.

The most interesting part of the discussion focused on Tony Schiavone‘s path to AEW. Prior to joining the company, he negotiated with not just Tony Khan but also WWE. Believe it or not, Khan encouraged him to sign with WWE if they offered him enough money.

Tony Schiavone’s Road to AEW

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Schiavone says Bruce Prichard reached out to him in 2019 and informed him that Vince McMahon wanted to hire him at WWE. Schivaone was interested and asked what the position would be. Prichard said it would probably be a producer role and they’d be in touch. He told Conrad Thompson that he was in talks with WWE and got a text message from Cody Rhodes “two minutes later.”

Cody told him, “I don’t want you to work for WWE” and set up a call between Schiavone and AEW President Tony Khan.

“Tony called me, we talked for over an hour and said he was going to have me come to Jacksonville,” said Schiavone. “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.'”

Schiavone continued speaking with Bruce Prichard, who told him that Vince McMahon wants him to end his career with WWE. He received a call from someone in WWE‘s HR department, who asked how much money he was interested in. He threw out a big number and was told they would be in touch.

“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 hear.”

Khan made Schiavone a “phenomenal” offer, but he still owed WWE courtesy of making an offer as well. Khan told Schiavone, “If they offer you $1 million, take it!” He replied, “Don’t worry, I will.”

Schiavone’s wife Lois urged him not to work for WWE, no matter what they offered him. WWE said they would be in touch with him after SummerSlam. He received a phone call from WWE the day after SummerSlam 2019. They informed him, “Thank you for your interest Mr. Schiavone, we have nothing for you.” He replied, “You guys contacted me!” He called Tony Khan that day and said, “I’m in.”

You can listen to this week’s AEW Unrestricted at iTunes and other podcast platforms.