By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Kelly on the upcoming Tokyo Dome shows will be the second consecutive year that New Japan is running a two-night Wrestle Kingdom: “Well, this was the first year. Last year was the first year, or 2020, this year was the first year that they had to open up more seats day of, and that was for the first night and then I think there’s a bit of a habit. ‘Oh, January 4th is Wrestle Kingdom’ so the attendance day two was a little less, but you have one setup, one tear down, and you probably negotiate a little better deal on the building getting it for two nights opposed to one. So I would think that Wrestle Kingdom 2020, Wrestle Kingdom 14 was the most profitable one of all-time by far.”
The Steve Austin and Brian Pillman storyline that saw Austin invade Pillman’s home on Raw: “It was nerve racking. It was very, it was unsettling because you had Brian Pillman in his house who had legitimately just undergone major surgery on his ankle for the second time and he was a — he just had a weird look in his eye the whole day. It was just very odd and it was kind of call it as we go along. There wasn’t a lot of prep or preparation. I did my one standup that was outside which was pre-recorded only slightly before Raw went on the air and the rest of it was live, live pal. So, man, and when we got done, it was such a rush, such a relief. My gosh, we did this. We just did satellite broadcasting live from Brian Pillman’s house and holy crap, I’m sure the world is going crazy about that. We weren’t on smart phones back then. We didn’t have Twitter so we couldn’t see like instant audience reaction but when we got back to Stamford, apparently there were a lot of people — but everybody was talking about it.
“There was some television executives at USA [Network] that weren’t happy. By the way, brandishing a gun on live television, not good, and internationally it was a nightmare because our television partners had different laws, different rules and internationally, everything had to be so covered up that they couldn’t really air any of it. It was hard for them to put together the international version of Raw. But again, it’s one of those things that I realized how monumental it was because here we are, so many years removed and people are still talking to me about it. It’s like wow, what a moment in time that you don’t realize at the time will be. You’re just kind of hopeful to get through it all and not screw up and yet so many years later, people remember it like one of their earliest memories from their fandom was like, ‘Oh my God, when Brian Pillman had the gun and Steve Austin was breaking into his house and you’re screaming’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, it was real.’ Real gun, real everything. Real emotion, real reaction. You get that type of atmosphere, you’re going to get memorable television every time.”
On coming up with the idea of Triple H blowing up the relationship between Stephanie McMahon and Test: “I’m responsible for the relationship between Triple H and Stephanie. That’s what I’m responsible for, because I came up with the idea along with my wife. My wife is partly responsible. We’re both big soap opera fans and so the idea of Triple H bamboozling Test [Andrew Martin] and marrying Stephanie to screw over Test and also to piss off his future father-in-law is soap opera 101 and again, the similarities between the two with their hair down would be easy to do so I wrote this whole big thing up and sent it in. Vince [McMahon] copied everybody like I’m supposed to and Vince was the first one to write back all in caps, ‘That’s great shit.’ It’s like wow and then Shane McMahon came down the hall and poked his head in my door and said, ‘Dude, that idea is crazy. I love it’ and then end up changing it how they needed to and that’s what it was so it was pretty cool to see. It’s cool when you see an idea that you have come to life. I, of course, wrote the end where Stephanie winds up leaving Triple H but also leaving her father and becoming this strong, standalone woman. They wound up falling in love and have children and have been married ever since so, they didn’t follow the script as it were. They wrote their own ending, a happy ending I’m sure.”
AEW staff member Billy Gunn putting in the word for him: “Well, I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version because it’s a pretty long story, but I had a friendship with Billy Gunn going back to our days in Florida, and I had asked Billy if they were ever looking for a local ring announcer for any of the Florida events, keep me in mind. Okay, then flash forward, he brought my name up and Bruce Prichard said, ‘Oh I’ve been looking for him because Vince [McMahon] wants to step away from the microphone so they wanna hire another announcer’ and I got the call, I got an audition and I got offered the job. I had to move to Connecticut and wound up spending seven years in WWE. It was a great experience, I learned a lot but it’s the relationships that you make. It certainly didn’t hurt and I think I was the top choice out of everybody because it was pretty much, I think they had a lot of different people in and out that were from different sports or different genres of entertainment. If you wanna hire a wrestling play-by-play guy, I think they need to know something about wrestling so I probably had a little of that going for me and you know, didn’t aggravate anybody while I was there, at least not at first and then, so that was how it all got started, but it was because of my good friend Billy Gunn, who I must always thank, contractually — I mean because he’s my friend.”
Other topics include working for Vince McMahon, his time in WWF, Jim Ross, Pat Patterson, The Undertaker, ROH, NJPW, and more.
You can listen to other shows apart of the TMPT Empire including Shane Douglas’ Triple Threat Podcast, Taking You to School with Dr. Tom Prichard, Talking Tough with Rick Bassman, Taskmaster Talks with Kevin Sullivan and the University of Dutch with Dutch Mantell.