Tony Roy has been a so called „Jobber“ for many years in the WWE. His responsibility was to put over new WWE-Superstars and to make them look good. Tony has trained among others, also Triple H, helped him to get into the business and also in Killer Kowalski’s Wrestling School. Now fasten your seatbelts and travel with us back to the 80s & 90’s with stories right from the first hand.
WF: First of all, we want to thank you for your approval to do this interview with us. How are you and what are you doing these days?
TR: Well thank you for having me,, Christian. It’s a real pleasure to do this. I love talking wrestling. I have been a fan since I was 6 years old and still continue to be, even to this day, nearly 40 years later. Im doing well. These days I don’t wrestle much anymore. When I do, I wrestle exclusively for the BTW out of Boston MA. I am hoping to make a small comeback in the summer, just for the love of it. I currently have a full-time job working for a US defence contractor. I love my job. And I just got married this past June to a wonderful lady. So life is great these days.
WF: How did you get into the wrestling business? Are your origins in bodybuilding?
TR: I have been such a huge fan of pro wrestling since about 1976. I grew up in Southern New Hamsphire (right outside Boston) so we had the WWWF on TV back then. Once a week, Saturday morings at 11am was all we had to watch in those days, so I would never miss it. I SWORE I would be a pro wrestler one day and never let go of that idea. Though reading all the wrestling magazines of the time (that was the closest thing to the internet back then) I read that Killer Kowalski had a wrestling school in Boston and I told myself the day I am old enough, I will enrol. And I did. I joined the local YMCA and took up weight lifting at 15 years old and in my senior year in High School (at age17) I went to Malden Massachusetts and joined Killers school. I was the smallest and youngest student there by far!!!!! I was 17 years old, 180 lbs and about 5’ 11”.
WF: You have been trained by the famous Killer Kowalski, what are your memories of him?
TR: Walter “Killer” Kowalski was as much a mentor, as he was a wrestling trainer. He taught his guys as much about life as he did about wrestling. He was exactly like the character “Mick” in the Rocky movies. Walter was a very private person, but once you paid your dues and he trusted you, he would open up tremendously. He was extremely spiritual and had an incredibly caring side, that few saw. Walter never had any children of his own, but he considered his students as his children. He could be very hot-tempered at times and terribly stubborn and resistant to change. But he had a heart of gold. He was also a great poet and loved photography as well. I miss Walter everyday. His school, for me, became an institution of learning wisdom of a man who had seen it all, more than a school of just wrestling. I have nothing but respect an admiration for Walter. He was the last of the HONEST promoters in the business. While travelling with the Mountie, Jacque Rougeau, he mentioned to me that Walter was the last guy left in the business who always paid exactly what he promised, and always went out his way to take care of the boys even out of pocket when it came to extra expenses. Killer Kowalski is my hero.
WF: You had a feud with the later-to-be Triple H on the independent circuit in the middle of the 90s. It is also said that you started the wrestling training on the same time. What are your memories of him as a rookie and are you still in contact?
TR: I have a story for you, that local fans around here all know, but I have never gone national with it…until now. The 100% truth is, and on my own mothers grave I swear, I TRAINED PAUL LEVESQUE. Me, Tony Roy. I brought him to Killer Kowalski’s in late 1991 with a strong basic foundation. This is the gospel truth. Let me tell you the story. Paul was 1 year older than me. We went to High School together. He was a tall skinny teenager and a huge wrestling fan. He looked more like a basketball player in high school, tall and thin. I joined Kowalskis school in late 1987. By 1988 into 1989 I was doing jobs for the WWF on tv. In 1990 a new Golds Gym opened in Nashua NH (our hometown) and I became a member the day it opened. Paul was the assistant manager there. His boss was former middle-weight Mr. USA Kevin McGuann. Anyway, he saw me working out there regularly and one day he approached me and said he see’s me on wwf tv now and then and asked how he could get into wrestling. By this time I hadn’t seen him in 3 years. He had gotten huge!!! He looked incredible. I told him I was trained at Killer Kowalski’s and he got me bookings with the wwf when he felt I was ready. I told him the price and , at the time, he confessed he didn’t have the money to afford the tuition to Killers school. So HE ASKED ME if I would consider training him in my spare time. There was a basketball court in the gym that was rarely used during the day. I agreed to work with him and we hit it off as friends immediately. We were both HUGE Ric Flair fans and we both loved scientific wrestling. He was as much of a historian as I was. We both had a major passion for the business. So 3 times a week for 6 full months we would meet at Golds Gym in the basketball court and train on mats we would roll out on center court. After a few weeks, some of the gym members would actually come watch his progress. Paul was a natural. You could teach him something once, and he mastered it. I feel he was destined to be a star. He had the look and the talent. I have never seen anyone pick up on it so fast as Paul Levesque did. No matter who trained him, he would have excelled. But the Gods honest truth is, I had that honour. And many, many witnesses from that time. Anyways, one day, Taytsumi Fujinami was in Boston for some shows with WCW. Fujinami was a major Kowalski fan and wanted to drop by the school to meet the legend in person and do some photos with him for the Japanese press. Paul was a big fan of Fujinami and asked if he could go to the school that day to see him in person. I agreed and we went down to Kowalskis school that afternoon in 1991. Fujinami actually brought his gear and sparred with some of the students, hold for hold. When Kowalski saw Paul walk in with me he immediately stopped the class and went up to him and introduced himself (hoping Paul was a new student, he looked awesome in his tank top, all muscle!) He invited him to watch the class then asked if he was interested in being a pro wrestler. Paul told Walter he had been training with me for 6 months, so Walter said in his deep voice, “Get in the ring, lets see what you got”. Talk about pressure!!! He and I went in the ring (Paul had never been in a real ring before) and in front of Killer Kowalski, Tatsumi Fujinami and a group of Japanese press, we wrestled perfectly. Move for move, counter for counter, hold for hold!!! Tatsumi thought he had years of experience just watching how fluid we worked. But having done the same routine for months at the gym, it was now second nature for us. Kowalski was so impressed he offered Paul to join the school and let him pay in small instalments!!! He would never do that for anyone prior. That’s how much he saw in him. But the truth is…I had given him all of this experience. Walter merely had to polish him.
In every story ever written about HHH, he always credits Ted Arcidi for breaking him in the business. This was NEVER, EVER the case. Pauls ego was too big to ever admit being trained by a job guy. That’s the 100% truth. Ted Arcidi was nothing more than his “muscle building” connection (if you understand what I mean). Ted helped build his body, not his wrestling career. Ted couldn’t wrestle to save his life. Watch any video on him and that will prove it. In his heart Paul knows the truth. But his pride wont let him give credit to a “fall guy” for his start and his roots in the business.
BTW promoter Steve Perkins has always told me it would have been an excellent storyline for the WWF to bring me back and tell the shoot story about this and set up a feud for Triple H with legit history. The underdog jobber vs the company C.O.O. and world champion. I never pursued it seriously and sometimes I regret it. One day I hope to do a shoot interview on it, and it looks like YOU have the exclusive now. Lol.
Anyways, I got him his first match aswell, working for Cliff Bartz in Burlington VT vs me on Nov 1st, 1992. On that same card was one of Kerry Von Erichs last live shows before his death. Paul included the match on his DVD and does a voice over with Jim Ross. We went on to work a feud over a full year for Killer Kowalskis IWF, doing 40 minute matches each time.
WF: Is there something the younger Triple H had, what the today’s Triple H is missing? (Except the youth of course) 🙂
TR: I think the younger Triple H did not have an ego. He was tremendously respectful of everyone in the business and never argued a decision made by any promoter. He was willing to lose to anyone to pay his dues (despite looking better than anyone on the independent circuit). His head seemed to swell only after entering the wwf and befriending Shawn Michaels. While in the WCW, he always kept contact with me. He would find time to call or he would visit when he came to town. Once he got in the wwf, even in person, he became unapproachable!!! Shawn Michaels had convinced him that being seen with “enhancement talent” was a huge mistake and would make him look bad. So around 1995-1996 (a mere 3 years after his first match), he was too good to speak to the “jobbers” of the company. We really didn’t speak much after I left the wwf in 1998 until Killer Kowalskis passing in August 2008. He literally came up to me after the wake and gave me a big hug. We spoke about 30 minutes and he seemed very polite and humbled after having had kids. He gave me a cell number to call if I “ever need anything”. I have never called it.
WF: You also worked for almost a decade in WWE in Jobber-Matches, something that almost extinct in the Pro Wrestling-mainstream today. Who campaigned most for you to get these matches on TV?
TR: Back in the 80’s Killer Kowalski’s school was by far the most respected school in the country. Larry Sharpe had a great camp too. And for a while Dr. D David Shultz ran a school in Connecticut that was highly respected. So when the WWF sought enhancement talent, they would contact the school owners and ask who they felt was ready and reliable for TV tapings. Kowalskis school was always tapped first. They flew Kowalski guys around the country for tv matches and various house shows. So Kowalski recommended me highly to Chief Jay Strongbow (then agent) for tapings. After two groups of tapings Tony Garea and Rene Goulet told me I was one of the better bumpers in the group and asked if I would be interested in being a regular. That included “on-call” fill in for stars that missed house shows. I jumped at the chance and told them I was available anytime. I dint have a regular job at the time. My dad owned some property in Nashua NH so I was a landlord, technically. We would split the rent checks and simply upkeep our properties. I had money coming in and I could travel at a moments notice. The company loved that about me. In wrestling it really was all about flexibility. Your life had to revolve around it, in order to maintain a good repore there.
WF: Can you explain to our younger fans, how important a Jobber on TV generally was in a few words?
TR: This is your best question from the list, Christian!!! Because the importance of “enhancement matches” was critical to the success of the business and its superstars. It was a formula that worked nationwide in EVERY territory for over 50 years. The whole idea of it was that the promoter could showcase his stars and how devastating they were on televison. They could use all their most powerful and destructive moves on lesser known opponents. BUT….if a fan wanted to see one superstar battle another superstar….you had to buy a ticket to a show. (Or later, subscribe to a pay-per-view event). The TV shows were equivalent to a movie preview in a theatre. Give the viewers a tease, but if you want to see the whole picture, go buy a ticket and see it. TV rarely gave you star vs star. When it did, it was a huge deal, and usually was done only to set up for angles. And furthermore, you would never showcase your world champion wrestling on TV, only some promo interviews. It was a brilliant formula that worked. And it kept “jobbers” employed and was a great way to season the new guys coming in to the business. You really develop a respect for the business when you earn your stripes as a “fall guy”. You gain respect from the stars aswell. And for those stars who started out as fall guys, they treat you with as much respect as ANYONE in the building because they had walked that path on their road to the top. Think of just a few of the guys who jobbed for years before making it big…The Hardy Boyz, Scottie Two Hottie, Perry Saturn, Justin Credible, Jim Duggan, Mic Foley, on and on and on….. It was a great right of passage. Now it’s a lost art. Some of the most talented workers were simply used as enhancement talent.
I blame the WCW for a lot of that. They were so bent on defeating the wwf in the Monday war years, that they decided to GIVE away their superstar vs superstar matches. It killed a basic formula that had worked for half a century. It forced the wwf’s hand into doing the same thing in order to compete. But now, look what it has done to the business. I am seeing the same matches from 8 years ago rehashed. I am seeing Pay Per Veiw main events re-done on a free Monday Night Raw show a week later. I am seeing a lack of creativity. And it truly all stems from killing a formula that worked for decades for great promoters thoughout the country. I feel the younger fans will never get to understand the great difference this made.
WF: Spoken generally: How can we imagine the talent pool that has been used there? Were there road agents that casted especially “Jobbers”?
TR: The agents of that time (Jay Strongbow, George Steele, Jack Lanza, Tony Garea and Rene Goulet) were in charge of the talent pool. They later added Jerry Brisco. Smaller promotions would contact them when they felt they had talent worthy of a look or a tryout. Once the agents saw you in action, the determination was made if they should develop you for a superstar position (in my day that meant going to work in the USWA for Jerry Lawler in Tennessee) or if they wanted to use you in an enhancement position on TV. There were many deciding factors that weighed in on the decision. From physical appearance to ring talent, interview skills, background, ect….
WF: Have you been promised future roster-spots if you do that role for some time or had you guys actually developmental contracts? I saw you also had Dark Matches among yourselves.
TR: Yes. I was ofeten told if I pay my dues in the “jobber level” that they would eventually “re-package” me and come up with something for me. Wrestling wise, I was very sound. Physically I was still growing. I was all natural. Never drank or smoked and never touched drugs. The wwf loved my promptness, I never missed a date in those 10 years. Always arrived early. And never complained. I was given 4 tryouts over the time I was there. Some are noted in Dave Meltzers sheets. Things were looking good for me. They suggested I shave my head and grow facial hair and they would come up with something. I believed them because guys like Scott Taylor and the Hardys were already given spots on the main roster. They were also grooming my best friend Bryan Walsh (who was back from a 3 year run in Europe for Otto Wanz). But as far as I could see they had plans for me, Mike Bell and Tony Devito. A year later Dwayne Gill got a great deal as “Gillburg”. So the jobbers of my time were treated well and a lot of us did get deals.
WF: There were several “Jobbers” on each show, how have you guys been treated backstage? Was there something like a spokesperson for all of you guys in the locker room like the regulars Barry Horowitz, Brooklyn Brawler, Reno Riggins, you etc.?
TR: At the TV tapings, wwf generally used about 15 to 20 jobbers. TV was taped in 3 week increments back then. Then in 1993 they started RAW. Now we had three back to back to back TV days, one live, two taped. The jobbers were usually picked from the best schools across the country. 5 or 6 from each school. I got really well liked by the office by ’93 so from then on they would call me and ask me to bring four guys of MY choice form the Boston area. This did not sit well with Kowalski. He was getting a cut from sending guys from his camp. But after ’93 the wwf chose me to pick guys from his group. I agree this was unfair, because Kowalski trained the class, not me. But they were trying to save money anyway they could, so the top student from each class would pick guys, instead of the school owners. So no booking fee to the school was necessary from then on. I always brought in good workers and I was the spokesperson for my little group. Guys like Bert Centeno, Tim McNeany, Ray Roy (no relation).
WF: Did the superstars take time to arrange these short matches with you beforehand or is it just like “Learn the trademark spots of your opponent, meet him for the first time in the ring and he can treat you as stiff as he wants”? I often had the feeling, jobbers get worked very stiff?
TR: That was known to the job guys as the “Leathal Lottery”. The matches were picked by Tony Garea and Rene Goulet. When we arrived at the arenas, around 1 pm, the bookers started pairing up the enhancement matches. This was a HORRIBLE time of day. Finding out who you would be booked to work with. Often you would wrestle 3 times in one show because they taped 3 weeks of TV in one night for “Superstars of Wrestling” and then 3 more hours the next night for “Wrestling Challenge”.
Now WHO you worked with was a HUGE factor in how you would be treated. Some workers who had been jobbers in the beginning of their careers were incredibly respectful and went over every second of the match. And they would never stiff you . Others were just plain DANGEROUS. Some of the best guys I have ever worked with were The Honkytonk Man, Jeff Jarrett, Bob Backlund, The Rock, The Heavenly Bodies, The Headbangers, Owen Hart, Bam Bam Bigelow. Guys like this were light as a feather in the ring and were willing to let you work with them, getting numerous spots in. Others were just scary. Guys like The Steiners Brothers, The Nasty Boys, Yokozuna, Scott Hall, Rick Rude, The Ultimate Warrior. I could tell you some horror stories of what these guys did to jobbers. In the ring, or sometimes after the match (if they didn’t like how you worked). So the answer to the question is, it varied greatly as to WHO you were paired up with. Scott Hall compressed two of my vertabres on a live Raw when he dumped me on my head off the top rope. Nearly broke my neck. I lost feeling in both legs for nearly 5 minutes. I believe the match is still on youtube.
The way it worked at the TV tapings was that there was a blackboard in the gorilla position. At around 4 pm the agents would start writing the matches on the board. The whole locker room would gather around it, superstars and jobbers, to see when they were working and with who. That board became known to us as “The Leathal Lottery”. Because you never knew who you were going to draw. Talk about butterflies in your stomach for those two hours of waiting to see who would be across from you. It was the worst part of my experience with the wwf, believe it or not. Lol.
WF: Did or do you have friends in the WWF/WWE-main roster?
TR: Not many left from the current 2014 roster. Most have retired and work on the indys on weekends throughout the country. The closest connection I have these days is Damien Sandown. I helped work with him at Killers school in the late 90’s when he was just a teenager. He is always very nice to me when we cross paths. One of the most kind people you will ever meet in the wrestling business is Arron (Damian).
WF: On the 200th RAW is WAR you had a Intercontinental Title Shot against „The Rock“ Rocky Maivia. What are your memories of him, he was still in his Rookie year these days?
TR: Oh Rocky was a tremendous guy. At the time he was really just starting out in the WWF. This was nearing my 10th year as a WWF worker, so agent Brisco literally told Rocky “let Tony call some of this”. We only had 4 minutes including entrances and exits (with Tony Atlas), so the match was easy. Now a lot of 2nd generation guys would have said “Screw this, you will do whatever I say” . But not Rocky. He was like “anything you want man, you tell me”. He was a class act. And light as feather. I had nothing but respect for him from that point on. 80% of 2nd and 3rd generation stars have huge egos, having been in the business since birth. So it said a great deal about him that he was willing to trust me.
WF: Why do you think you never gained a spot in WWF (WWE)’s main roster and are you angry on WWE that they didn’t give you a chance for more?
TR: I honestly believe in my heart that had I stuck around for the attitude era, I would have gotten a deal with them. That’s when most of my generation of jobbers got there push. I had a great rep with everyone there and got along awesome with the office. Unfortunately my mom passed away in ’98 and I just quit the entire wrestling scene without notice that July. I was an only child and decided I wanted to be with my dad (as we had no family in the US). So I just quit cold turkey. After a year off I missed it. I was over my grieving and tried to get back on good terms, but by that time the business had boomed beyond belief. Everyone and there brother were competing for jobs there. So sadly all I got is “we will give you a call if we come up with anything for you”. But I know that you don’t just “quit” a company like WWF and expect to walk back in on your own terms. Not unless your name is Steve Austin or CM Punk. Lol. So I only blame myself. WWF was always fair to me and always took great care of their enhancement talent. I truly believe they would have stuck to their word if I had not left.
WF: Did you have contact to WCW some day or have you always been loyal to WWE?
TR: I considered briefly going to WCW when Triple H (Then Jean-Paul Levesque) was there. He kept calling me and telling me they had some spots open if I travelled to Atlanta to do some jobs. But my close friend Bryan Walsh beat me to it, did a few jobs with Ultimate Dragon and then tried to get back with WWF and was shunned. So I learned thru his mistake to stay loyal to the hand that fed me. So from then on I avoided the WCW.
WF: You worked against many well-known workers, beneath the already mentioned also wrestlers like Jeff Jarrett, Bam Bam Bigelow, Bob Backlund, Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Mr. Perfect, Yokozuna, Owen Hart and many more: Who is your favorite opponent you ever had the chance to step in the ring with and why?
TR: I think I have 3 real favourites. Owen Hart was incredible. He gave me 50% of some matches (although they were edited for TV). He always kept his matches unique and he worked incredibly smoothly despite being snug. Shawn Michaels was so easy too. He could literally “lead” you through a match without saying a word or calling a spot. Anyone (superstar or jobber) will tell you, Shawn was like a night off. And Bam Bam Bigelow, for a huge man, was light as feather, always willing to “work” back and forth, and always protected his opponents. Some supersatrs claimed he came in to wwf a bit green and stiff, but by the time I was there, Scott Bigelow was always a pleasure to work with.
WF: Do you think you haven’t been booked anymore by WWE because they simply wanted to have preferably Superstar vs. Superstar, just as in WCW, or do you have a different theory?
TR: Yes, absolutely, I explained this in an earlier response. I think WCW 100% force the WWF’s hand into booking superstar vs superstar on TV matches, destroying a lifelong formula that had worked up until that time. Now there is no going back. You can never again sell a show on simple TV squash matches and superstar vs superstar house shows and pay per views. The fans are the winners in the short term. But in the long run, I feel with only one real federation with TV, its going to be a downfall. The only “small” solution I can see is turning NXT into a territory. Wrestlers need a place to develop and make a name for themselves befor being thrust into the worldwide spotlight.
WF: Currently it seems that you work almost exclusively for Big Time Wrestling in Massachusetts. What are your connections to this promotion? Are you working as a trainer there?
TR: I have been out of wrestling for nearly a year, now. I keep all my contacts and still frequent the local shows for Big Time Wrestling to catch up with the old wwf stars (Hacksaw Jim Duggan and I have become really close). I plan to start back in the ring this coming summer of 2014. I took the year off to get married and settle in a new home with my wife.
When Killer Kowalski stopped training students at his school and retired from teaching, the institute split up into two groups in 2003. The owner of Killers school (the building), was Tai Kwon Do Grand Master Richard Byrnes. He contacted me to see if I would be interested in picking up the training where Kowalski left off. I became the trainer of the newly labelled “Superstar pro-wrestling” school in Malden MA. The website is still active. I absolutely loved being a trainer. We had, at our peak, 52 active students on our roster. The BTW was basically formed out of that group and ran by Terry Allen (a student of Kowalskis from the early 70’s) and Steve Perkins. The school lasted 9 years and a lot of our guys have been looked at very seriously by WWE. Tony Delfonso being one of top guys, getting numerous RAW spots as various caracters, including Alberto Del Rio’s butler and numerous Vince “security” roles. As well as tons of dark matches. The school closed in 2010 due to the owners health being in decline. Richard Byrnes passed away in fall of 2012. I would welcome another trainer position at anytime. I got so much satisfaction out of it. I felt I was passing on the knowledge that Kowalski had instilled in me and is a dying breed of training now a days.
WF: Your character there is the one of a French guy (Antoine Roy), what are the origins of this gimmick?
TR: The French gimmick, I came up with in 1995 (Antoine Roy, pronounced Ru-Wah). I am 100% French Canadian and speak French fluently. I only learned English at around 10-11 years old. At home with my dad, we speak only French. So I felt the gimmick was legit and I had worked strictly as a babyface since my debut in 1988. So I felt being from “France” rather than Canada added more of a “foreign” flavour to the character. The fans really enjoyed all the flashy robes and the catch phrase “poo poo on you”. I became a tag team with my assistant trainer Bob Rush in 2004 and we were called the French Connection. We are still a well respected team in this part of the country.
WF: In your opinion, is the wrestling business currently strong or not and if not, what could improve it?
TR: It’s a tricky question. It depends in what sense one looks at it. With the launch of the new network, the WWE has gone into an area never tried before. Its making more money now, than it ever has. Its now a publicly traded company so its in a class by itself. So on a financial front, yes, it is certainly strong.
But from a fan base, its on very thin ice, in my opinion. I feel the WWE is tremendously over saturated on TV. It runs 4 shows a week on national TV!!! All the same company and superstars. Back in my day (the 80’s as a kid), with cable you had many different wrestling groups to chose from. We had wwf, nwa, Georgia championship wrestling, world class, international championship wrestling from quebec, and awa. All available for an hour each thoughout one week. That was a lot of wrestling, but all different characters, all different storylines, all different promotions and territories. It never got stale. Stars would leave one area and show up in another with a whole new gimmick, a whole new set of opponents, ect….
In todays era, all fans are force fed wwe. If you don’t like it, what are your alternatives? There is TNA, but somehow, it just cant measure up in terms of production and star power. The days of the territories are now old history. So I feel the attention span of todays fan is much shorter. And they have som much less to choose from. We have been seeing the same group of superstars just rehash matches, some have turned from baby, to heel, to baby to heel, ect… They are limited to what they can do, because of the “stock shareholders rules”. Its become a watered down product, stuck between the “new generation” era and the “attitude” era. I do fear for the long term future of the business, as a whole. I hope Im wrong.
WF: Do you think, letting the current WWE Roster working against jobbers on Weeklies and prefering Superstar vs. Superstar for PPV’s would work for a today’s crowd? Would the standing of the superstars improve from that?
TR: This again, I feel I addressed in a previous question. I would personally LOVE to see the old format of squash matches (superstar vs jobber), return to television. The superstar could establish himself so much better with the audiences (live arena and TV audience). However, I don’t think it would catch on in this day and age, because the fans have been so spoiled to the point of no return. It would not make sense to the younger audiences who have been watching big name vs big name since they were in diapers. But I definitely feel the standing of the superstar doing the squash match would improve greatly. The reason is because, in the job match days, you NEVER saw a superstar lose on television. They all seemed invincible. So you had to buy a ticket to actually see someone with a big name, lose a match. It meant so much more for house shows, and pay per views. It seemed incredibly special to experience something that you could not see on TV. You felt like you were seeing something the rest of the world couldn’t. It really made buying a ticket to a show special, because if you missed it, you couldn’t see it again anywhere!!!! With todays format, the same matches happen over and over and over, on TV, pay per view, house shows. The mystique is truly gone.
WF: Do you have a funny roadstory you like to share with us?
TR:I could write a book , I have so many. But I will share one particularly funny one, that all the boys have me tell, everytime we get together.
It was in 1996, I had a tag team match in New York. It was me and Bryan Walsh vs The New Diesel (Kane) and the new Razor Ramon (Al Ramirez) for wwf TV. We all got together in the empty arena before the crowd was to enter. We were sitting in the front row, by the ring, going over the spots. Walsh and Razor made their way back stage, but me and Kane kept on talking and talking, not noticing the time. Well the doors open and we see Jerry Brisco stick his head out of the curtain and scream at us “You two idiots get back here, the crowd is coming in!!!!” He was pissed!!!! So we start running as fast as we could toward the locker rooms. Now this was just before they debuted the Titan Tron. We used to come out from behind the giant letters R.A.W. There was a two heavy black curtains to push though to get in or out. Well….
Kane was a few steps a head of me and he made it back just fine. I was about 4 feet behind, so I ran through the curtain next. I pushed the curtain with all I had because it was a very heavy felt material. Upon pushing I felt my arm hit someone behind it, who was coming out the other side, to go to the ring. Then I hear, “OUCH, OW, OH MY GOD,THAT’S HOT!!! OOOUUCH!!!
I realized I had bumped somebody, but I had no idea who, or why they were screaming. So I stopped and pulled back on the curtain to see what jabronie was coming out to the ring at 6pm. I was about to say “Look out, you imbecile!”But who was standing there with an empty styrofoam cup of hot coffee ALL OVER HIS SUITE…….Vince K. McMahon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I nearly had a heart attack!!! He was heading out of the curtain with Jim Ross to go do soundcheck at the broadcast table, and I had just knocked his coffee out of his hand and all over his suite, plus I burned him. The only people in the Gorilla Position at the time was the seamstress, Julie Youngberg, Sunny, Jim Ross and Kane. I took some fabric off the seamstress table and immediately started wiping Mr McMahons suite and furiously apologizing for the mistake. “Im so sorry sir. I didn’t know you were there. I will pay for everything, just send me any cleaning bill, sir. I feel terrible, sir.” Vince just threw the cup at my feet and screamed to wardrobe to get him some new clothes. I was shaking in my boots!!!! So I looked at Kane and Sunny and said “guys, this is mortifying. PLEASE, the story stays right here. Please don’t tell ANYONE about this, ok?” They both agreed, “of course, Tony, no problem. We saw nothing”.
So I found a shower stall in the locker room to get dressed in the shower, that night. I closed the curtain because I didn’t want anyone to see, me. Especially Vince or his crew. All the sudden I hear Barry Horowitz telling Bam Bam…”hey, did you here about Vince? It seems Tony Roy clotheslined him to the ground, then threw a hot pot of coffee on him!!! That kid is going to get killed!!” AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! The story must have got passed around to all the boys and with each telling it got worse!!! To this day I don’t know if the boys were working me, or if the story really got that bad, but it was the most uncomfortable night of all my years wrestling. Nothing happened in the end. We had a great match and went on to the next town. But that was my horrible encounter with the wwf ceo!!!!!!
WF: Have you ever heard anything about the European wrestling scene, especially in Germany? If yes, what do you know?
TR: Sadly we don’t get much coverage of the European scene over in the US. Some of the top talent that came to Vince is from there. I remember Owen Hart telling that Europe was the best place to learn shoot style wrestling. Bastian Booger (Mike Shaw) told me the same thing. Again, my closest friend Bryan Walsh worked in Germany for Otto Wanz in the early 90’s and he loved it. They worked carnivals over there, and he said they work matches in “rounds”, similar to boxing.
Otto came to scout some talent at Killer Kowalskis shows in 1989, in Boston MA. Unfortunately at the time I was still too green and inexperienced. But I did have the pleasure of meeting him that year.
WF: Do you have any words for our readers?
TR: Look for Tony Roy to be back in the near future in some capacity. I am currently training my brother in law, Johnathan Shippert for the pro ranks. He was a top college wrestler in Chicago and wants to make the transition to pro. He is 6’2”, 220 lbs and only 19 years old. I see lots of potential here. When he is ready I may consider reforming a tag team with him or perhaps in the role of his manager. Time will tell.
And for all the readers, I encourage you to go back and enjoy matches from the past on places like youtube and wwf old school. The business was a whole different world, then, and the slightest move would excite a crowd. It may seem slow in todays high paced action, but these veterans could work circles around todays acrobats and stuntmen.
WF: Thank you very much for your time, we wish you all the best!
TR: Thank you so much for having me and God Bless everyone. My prayers to those in the Ukraine. Peace to all.