Justin Roberts on his book, JBL and Mauro Ranallo, Triple H and NXT, what he knew ahead of time as the ring announcer


Ring Rust Radio with Justin Roberts
Hosts: Donald Wood, Mike Chiari, and Brandon Galvin
Audio available at Blogtalkradio.com/ringrustradio

Why he felt it was the right time to write his book “Best Seat in the House: Your Backstage Pass Through My WWE Journey” and what he hopes to accomplish with its release: I thought it made for a cool story many years ago while I was actually with the company. I thought because I was a huge WWE fan and a wrestling fan in general for so many years and then I made it to WWE, I was able to work with a lot of the guys a group watching, and I just thought it made for a cool story. The idea came while I was actually still there. I pitched it to WWE magazine and they weren’t interested in my story so it was still in the back of my mind and I thought it was a cool story and I’d like to share it. I started working on it while I was there and I had a good amount down and then once I wasn’t with the company anymore it just made it easier to go back in and speak more freely and talk about anything I wanted to talk about in the story. So, once it came together and it felt like it was where it needed to be, that’s when I released it.

On what type of information he was told before the matches about what is going to happen or whether the wrestlers would battle around ringside: No, that’s usually not something I’m aware of which is good because when they came at me, I always looked scared and acted scared and ran away scared because I kind of was. Everybody gets in their zone when they come out to the ring and they’re not my buddies that they are backstage. Now they are the characters and they are on and they are performing. I always got out of the way if they came brawling towards me. If it looked real it was because it felt real. I didn’t look at them brawling around me and think, “Oh those are my buddies and they’re going to do anything, I’m ok.” It was, “Oh no, they are over here, they are beating each other up and I need to get out of the way.” If I don’t, I might get it in the middle of it. I didn’t really know if they were coming near me. Once in a while they would send somebody flying through the barrier and the barrier would fall backwards onto where the timekeeper and I sat, and sometimes we would be warned of that just so we would know to get out of the way and not get hit with it.

On the JBL and Mauro Ranallo situation: A lot of people asked me about it and I said I don’t know Mauro. I don’t know him at all and we never once talked. I don’t know his situation. All I know is the experiences that I’ve had which I clearly stated were in 2003 when that was happening with JBL. Case in point, after the incident with Joey Styles when he stood up to him and punched him, he basically disappeared shortly after that. When he came back, he was a much different person. That stuff wasn’t going on and the locker room had changed completely. So, when he came back it was a different world with different guys and a different mentality. The guys who were around in the early 2000s knew what happened and later on I don’t know what happened with Mauro. So I can’t say anything about that, but I did say when people asked me if he should be fired and I would say no. It’s not just something with JBL; it’s a mentality in the company. They like to ride people and I don’t know if that had anything to do with Mauro because again, I don’t know anything about his situation for sure, just the accusations that we have heard that are going around.

Whether there is anything he would do differently or anything that you wish was different outside of his own control: I’m happy with everything I got to do I feel like I got to do everything that I dreamed of and more. Stuff that I couldn’t of even dreamed of. I’d always try to speak up if I had an idea or something that I saw at live event or on TV. If there’s something I thought they could be better, I would bring it up. If there’s something in the script that just didn’t make sense from a fans perspective, I would speak up. I always tried and I got shot down a lot. If I brought something up or if I tried to turn up my announcing or if I saw an announcement that just felt like it wasn’t big enough and I would turn it up and make it a bigger announcement, I would be told to turn it down and bring the announcement down. So, I feel like I tried. I tried to do everything I could to be the very best that I could, but I knew that I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of the things that I thought they were better for announcing or better for the announcers to do. I don’t have any regrets because I tried. If I got shut down, I got shot down, but at least I tried.

On the biggest thrill of his WWE career: I think maybe some of those announcements that have become memorable to a lot of people. I hear from a lot of people about the John Cena introduction, the Undertaker introduction and the Jeff Hardy introduction. Some of those introductions that became part of the entrance and those guys didn’t need me by any means. They are big stars on their own, but just that my voice was able to contribute in a small way to their introduction and to leave a mark on people the same way Howard Finkel had on older fans. The people that grew up hearing my introductions for those guys that they were watching, things like that are pretty cool.

On Triple H and the perception that he is saving WWE with NXT: I mean, he takes care of his NXT guys. I think there are a lot of guys that aren’t NXT guys that aren’t treated very well and can’t reach the heights that they can with their potential. There always seem to be someone or something working against them while his guys always seem to look good and the guys he isn’t into tend to not look so good. In my dealings with him, when I talked about the live event producer position, here was someone who was at every single show, watching every live event, every TV show, every PPV from ringside and all of them from beginning to end. I saw how it was broken and I wanted to help fix it and just to help this company. Someone like Triple H kept blowing me off and saying that I didn’t have enough experience and then bringing in guys that knew nothing about the business and they didn’t come from a wrestling world and didn’t know how to put together a wrestling show or the psychology behind it. It’s a psychological roller coaster that you take the fans on during a show. For him to tell me I didn’t have enough experience and then he brings in guys with no experience just didn’t make any sense. He was the top heel and when we were in Australia, he was the top authority figure, but he would start a live show welcoming everybody and he was out there as a baby face. People would boo when he came on because he is a heel on TV, but at the same time he wants to be a baby face and accepted by everyone. Things just didn’t make sense and that should paint the picture for you.


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