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Today John and Chad are joined by arguably the man most identifiable with being the “voice of WCW”, former ring announcer David Penzer. Looking back on WCW, few names can be as closely associated with the product as David Penzer. Appearing on Monday Nitro from it’s inception through extinction and serving an important role as arena pitchman, Penzer’s job went far beyond just being inside the ring. We learn more about the man behind the mic then ever before and how without David Penzer some of WCW’s greatest moments would not have had his very distinct voice behind it.
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Ring Announcer David Penzer on Hulk Hogan’s Impact in WCW
On his infamous segments and working with Chris Jericho:
It wasn’t scripted word for word or thing for thing, it was planned. Chris wanted to turn heel and so we came up with this little idea driving down the road. He would lose and rip off my tuxedo and beat up my chair and the next week he would come and give me a new tux jacket and a new chair and then he would lose and beat it up again. That lasted a few weeks and then I think Terry Taylor was also involved in booking that angle. Then he turned heel and the rest is history but it was fun to be apart of it. Me and Chris spent a lot of time hanging out and Chris is a fun person to be around and I think people know that.
The expansion of WCW programming and management’s hands off approach:
At the time you had WCW Monday Nitro that was so popular and then you had Thunder so you had five hours of live to tape television a week and Eric gravitated towards that. So WCW Saturday Night and the syndicated shows became and were “B” shows and mostly then Eric and “the powers that be” weren’t involved in the booking of those shows. At one point WCW Saturday Night was booked by me, Tony Schiavone, Arn Anderson and Jimmy Hart. Jimmy used to worry that we were doing such good storylines with the secondary guys that the ratings would get so good that he would end up getting removed because they didn’t want to get ratings any bit closer to the big shows.
His colorful look and tuxedo style:
Everyday when you dress for work for the most part you can dress the way you feel or the mood you’re in. I had the black slacks and the white shirt and black jacket and that was my gimmick. So the only thing I got to change was my cummerbund. When I realized that this was going to last I would go out to different places and if I saw anything off the wall or zany I’d buy them and take four or five sets with me on the road for a trip and whatever mood I was in I’d throw it on. It gave me a real cool opportunity to sort of be me. People bring that up, that it made me stand out a little bit and everybody especially in the entertainment business needs to do something that helps them stand out.
Did he have an issue with WCW brining in Michael Buffer for Main Events:
Was I happy that he was making a 100,000 times more then I was to say “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble”? It wasn’t the highlight of my life but let’s get something straight, this is America. This is the land where anybody can come up with an idea whether it’s the Pet Rock or a catchphrase and they can make millions and millions of dollars and that’s what makes this country great. So while, I’m not going to lie it’s frustrating that he’s making more for one line then I’m making in three weeks, I never let it get to me. If I just keep working hard and honing my craft and doing things on the side, someday I’ll get there and maybe I’ll be the guy that comes in and does the Main Event. You never know what could have happened if WCW stayed around. I was so involved with so many different facets with booking committee’s and talent relations that if this thing was still around I could have been a VP of something. I just kept working hard and never let the small stuff bother me. It was a great line and he deserved to be able to make his money to go out and get the crowd going and it certainly got the crowd going.
Was he shocked to see Vince McMahon buy WCW:
I don’t know if anyone was shocked to see it end. The writing was on the wall and something was going to happen and even Eric had a company that he had called Fusient Media that had actually done their due diligence portion of the sale to buy it. I think the two things that shocked me were that they sold it to WWE, to find out it was so cheap and also that they cancelled the programming. The ratings for Nitro were still at the top 20 ratings of all cable television and it still had a healthy audience at it’s worst. The pay per views didn’t sell out, the house shows weren’t doing well but Nitro was still a brand that people would go out and see. To see that (Ted) Turner had lost his power with the AOL/TIme Warner merger and they brought somebody in who wasn’t a wrestling fan and I think that was the shock that Vince bought it for so cheap. I had told this story on another podcast, the way I found out it had happened. A friend of mine called me and told me to turn to WWF.com and there was a splash page that said WWF PURCHASES WCW and that’s literally how I found out. There was speculation and rumors but that’s how I found out. I had said on the podcast and the guy made a big deal out of it that I cried and I didn’t really cry literally, but figuratively I shed some tears because I had really worked hard and was shocked. Just to set the record straight I didn’t really have tears in my eyes. The whole thing happened so fast.
David Penzer also discusses his time with TNA and what led to his arrival and departure, his additional duties in WCW, the impact Hulk Hogan and the nWo made, his announcing style, the creation of WCW Nitro, his favorite wrestlers to announce and much more…