Radio show host and former WCW announcer Mark Madden was the guest this week on “Sitting Ringside with David Penzer.” Madden talked about his time in WCW, the real story of how he got the color analyst role on WCW Monday Nitro, how innovative WCW was on the internet, why Tony Schiavone is underrated as a broadcaster and much more.
Here are some highlights:
Madden talked about meeting Bruno Sammartino: “When I was a kid, Bruno Sammartino was the big star. He was from Pittsburgh and he was WWF Champion, actually, then it was WWWF Champion. It’s funny because years later, I met Bruno and I found him to be a miserable person. I didn’t like him at all and he didn’t like me at all to be sure. There are a lot of recorded examples of that.”
Madden commented on Eric Bischoff: “I’m pretty sure that Eric Bischoff hired me in WCW just to get me in his corner. I really liked Eric. I always refer to Eric as the best boss I ever had in any profession. I know a lot of people who worked for Eric might disagree with that, but i have to tell you, he is the only boss I ever worked for except for my radio boss now where I always knew where I stood with him.”
Madden on how he started as a commentator on WCW: “That took a long time to happen. The progression is I did the 900 number and I wrote for the magazine. Then, when the internet started to get big, WCW utilized the internet better than any wrestling company ever, and that includes today. We had that nightly talk show, WCW Live over the internet Real Audio. It was the first of its kind. It was the best of its kind. We had radio professionals doing it. We had me and Borash, who is a genius who doesn’t get enough credit for the stuff he’s done anywhere he’s been, whether it was TNA or NXT. It was a great show. We used to do house shows that were sold out. I would do color and somebody like Gene (Okerlund) or Lee Marshall would do play by play. That was a big part of my existence, doing that internet stuff. Even when I did TV, I did that internet stuff. I want to tell the truth about this because I am tired of people not. The reason I got to do color was because Bill Bush and Kevin Sullivan called me on a Monday morning and said we want you to do color tonight. We are in Wilkes Barre, PA, which is 5 hours away driving from Pittsburgh, I got a flight to make the show on time. The reason they wanted me to do it was because Bobby Heenan was too impaired to do live TV and they didn’t trust him anymore. The reason I say that is because Bobby made big jokes at my expense. Bobby was impaired and that’s a fact. They trusted me to tape TV. That’s how I got my break. Whether I was good or not, that’s for other people to decide. I thought I was ok. It was a real bad product at the time. I’m not trying to make excuses, It was the time of my life.”
Madden blamed Page for his firing from WCW but they have made up: “I’m going to be honest. I got fired because I had a big blowup with Page backstage at the last show. He was pissed off because I was a heel announcer and I wouldn’t babyface for him. He thought I was too hard on him which is ridiculous. Page almost always got his way in WCW just because people wanted to finally shut him up. He’s like the baby. If you give him his own way, he will stop crying. So, Page and I had a blowup backstage that night. Scott Steiner had a bigger blow up that involved Kim. I do hold Page responsible for that, but honestly, I don’t care anymore. I was pissed about it for a long time. Sean Waltman said to me one day because we still communicated, said to me, do you still have heat with Page and I said yea, why? He said isn’t life too short for that? I said, yeah, you’re right. I saw Page at one of the Starrrcasts and we made good, which is fine by me. When I got fired, I was acting like a d*ck backstage for quite a while because I thought the product was so bad. Kevin Nash called me up and said you got fired because you were tired of doing it. That’s why you acted out. He was right. That said, I wish I would have hung on until the end because I would have liked to have been there that last night when Shane McMahon showed up. I bet that was wild. The WWE would not have had any interest in me. I talked to Ross briefly, which I’m not sure he would even remember, but I didn’t look the part for them. I didn’t even look the part for us, but Bush and Sullivan were kind enough to give me a shot.”