From the creative mind of Dirk Manning (Twiztid Haunted High-Ons, Buried But Not Dead) comes his latest, and in my personal, biased opinion, best work to date: Butts in Seats: The Tony Schiavone Story.
If you are a fan of comic books, or a fan of Tony Schiavone, or a fan of pro wrestling in general, this graphic novel is for you. Tony takes us on an adventure from his humble beginnings growing up in the small town of Craigsville, Virginia all the way to the final night in WCW with a few pit stops along the way in the WWF and a local Starbucks.
Butts in Seats is the most fun I have had reading an autobiography in a very long time. The stories were quick and to the point. Each chapter ends with Schiavone as an up-to-date version of himself reminiscing about his past, which I admit shedding a tear or two for some of the people in his life that helped him along the way.
Tony Schiavone graduated from James Madison University with a major in Radio/TV/Film. He landed his first radio station job with WTON. While working at the radio station, Tony also did play-by-play in Baseball and in Football. He received a call from someone in Greensboro, North Carolina that offered him a position with a Class A club called The Greensboro Hornets. According to Schiavone, if he accepted the position with the Greensboro Hornets, it would give him a golden opportunity to one day become the play-by-play guy for the New York Yankees (Greensboro Hornets are the Class A ballclub of the New York Yankees).
While Schiavone was appreciative of his time working for the Class A ballclub, the pay wasn’t as gracious so Tony later accepted a position with the Charlotte O’s, a team that was run by Frances Crockett, the sister of Jim Crockett Jr, the Chief Executive Officer of Jim Crockett Promotions. Working for Frances Crockett gave Tony Schiavone the ‘in’ he needed to break into the professional wrestling industry, where he had an impressive interview with Ric Flair, that ultimately got the attention of Dusty Rhodes, who later told a young Schiavone:
“You’re doing a great job, and I told the Crocketts I want you to do commentary. I want you to be my guy. It may not happen right away, but we’re gonna make it happen, baby.”
The rest, as they say, is history and the ‘Voice of Your Childhood’ was born. I took away being very impressed with the way Schiavone never gave up even when times were tough financially.
After leaving professional wrestling and working part-time as a pre and post-game reporter for the Atlanta Braves and Hawks, he wasn’t afraid of working anywhere to provide for his family. He took the job at Starbucks because he needed health insurance, and for those with families it is rather difficult not to sympathize with someone going through that.
Fast forward to today, Tony Schiavone is back and better than ever in the pro wrestling industry working as an announcer with All Elite Wrestling.
The amazing story of Schiavone teaches us that through hard work, dedication, networking, and most importantly, the love of family, you can do anything, one latte at a time.
You can purchase a copy of Butts in Seats: The Tony Schiavone Story at this link.
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