Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sean Mooney On The Undertaker, Traveling With Andre The Giant, Today's Wrestling Promos

Former WWE backstage interviewer and TV announcer, Sean Mooney, spoke with Total Wrestling Magazine about his time with the company. Here are some of the highlights:

Undertaker, the character and Mark Calaway, the person:


"You can always tell how good not just a performer is but how they conduct themselves with how long they last in the WWE. Mark [Calaway] coming in was very gracious to have that opportunity. He was this tremendous athlete, you could tell. The way he conducted himself through the years, same along the lines of John Cena, I've never heard a bad word about Mark. I've never heard a bad word about Cena from all the people that work with him. That just shows, for them to last in that company, you have to have all of that. It's not just being a great performer, you also have to respect the people and conduct yourself in a certain way. I think when he first came in he was a very young man at the time. He'd done a lot of work before but not at that level. It took him a while to really get a hold of that character, but once he did there was no stopping him. I think it still remains as one of the greatest gimmicks ever. I remember the reaction that he would get when he would come into the arena. When the lights went out you could hear the gasp because people knew what was coming. If you were thinking about a character where you're going to call him The Undertaker, you'd think he was going to be this dastardly heel. Look how that turned out, he's beloved by fans. It's one of those things where you never really know how people are going to react to something."

Being on the road with Andre the Giant:

"Well, Andre didn't like to fly a lot so they had a customized van built for him. They put a gigantic captain's chair in the middle of it. Timmy White was a referee at the time and he was basically assigned to take care of Andre. If people ran into Andre in person, if he liked you he was the nicest person in the world. For some reason he liked me and I got along with him really well. It was kind of a snap decision; either he did or he didn't like you. He would be in a terminal at an airport waiting for a flight and he wouldn't even look at people. They would come up to him and try to get his autograph and try and talk to him, but you have to imagine he had been gawked at his entire life. People weren't always very nice about it, he was at the point where he'd turn it off and not engage. People were really nasty about it. So Timmy would run cover, but every once in a while there would be somebody who'd push a little too far. You didn't want an angry giant.

I remember he came to Stamford one time, they always stayed at a hotel there. Some of the crew guys that had gotten somewhat friendly with him went back to the hotel and they were in the bar drinking. Nobody could keep up with Andre, it just was impossible. There's no human being who could do that. These guys thought they could. One rule I always knew, and I didn't go and do stuff like that. I didn't go drinking with the boys, only bad things could happen. My whole philosophy was I'm not one of them. I can be friends with them but you don't cross that line and it worked out really well for me. I never got in trouble and I always had a really respectful relationship with all of them. There were always people who didn't understand that. There was one guy who thought he was having a great time drinking with the giant and he made some smart comment. One little swoop and Andre took the guy right over the table. Just one arm brush, that broke that up. You didn't want to think you could keep up with the giant, it just wasn't going to happen."

Which WWE Superstars he'd like to interview today and how promos differ now:

"Oh boy, there's a lot of them. They always think that we're knocking the talent today and that's not what we do in any way shape or form. That's not our podcast. If you want people knocking the business and tearing down the boys, you're not going to get that from Hacksaw and me. I love some of these new guys. I think Jinder Mahal is very good, I like Roman Reigns. Bray Wyatt, he reminds me a lot of Jake Roberts when he does his interviews. I think a lot of these guys have that ability. If they had been working in the eighties I think they would have been very successful. I think it's very difficult for them today because it is so scripted. These shows are so scripted and they're not able to really develop their characters as much as they could back then. They really gave these guys a lot of freedom. When they came up with their promos, they did them. They came up with those promos themselves. They knew what the storyline was, they knew their character. The best did it better than they could have done with any team of writers. People always ask me; why do you think people aren't as over today as they were back in the eighties? I think that's one of the problems. These guys aren't given the ability to really develop those characters and the storylines aren't given enough time to really develop that story. To get people to really want to see justice done or revenge, they go by so quickly it's hard to even keep up with them."


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