Gary Cappetta Says Chris Jericho Wanted Him for AEW Dynamite Weigh in

Mar 16, 2020 - by James Walsh

Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: Gary Michael Cappetta
Date: 03/06/20
Your Hosts: James Walsh

Gary Michael Cappetta was one of our favorite guests in the later days of our AM radio show back in 2006. His stories about the night Mick Foley lost his ear and the night Sid Vicious stabbed Arn Anderson made for one of the most incredible interviews in our show’s history. And, with his recent appearance on All Elite Wrestling Dynamite, we thought it was the perfect time to have him on again. And, he agreed!

GMC joins the Wrestling Epicenter after nearly 14 years away to discuss his AEW experience, his one man show experience, and more. We even discuss how Ring of Honor grew from the company he did DVD work for back in its infancy to playing Madison Square Garden and beyond. It is a great listen with a true legend!

To listen, visit www.WrestlingEpicenter.com for this and all prior 708 interviews! And, check out our store and buy something, will ya?

GARY MICHAEL CAPPETTA

On how his AEW Dynamite appearance came to be:
“It was kind of a crazy week. I had heard some podcast chatter and then AEW contacted me on Sunday. Then, Booker T told some kind of story on FS1 (WWE Backstage) about a conversation we had years prior. I was a bit uncertain, to tell you the truth. I had just been notified about 3 days before. My first instinct was to walk away from it. But, they said, “Nah, we want you to do this.” (laughs) So, they sort of talked me into it!”

On why he didn’t want to do it at first:
“When it was first presented to me, it was presented as me hosting a segment. They didn’t tell me it was going to be a weigh in. I’m a ring announcer. Hosting a segment isn’t something I know how to do. I knew it was to promote the main event of their pay per view so it was very important. Then, you’re working with a technical crew you’ve never worked with before. So, there are things they assume you know when it has been 25 years since I’ve done a major production. I mean, the last time I did a major production, I didn’t even have wireless! I was hard wired to the truck! So, there were all these factors… Plus, I was very protective of myself as well. If I was going to come back on a major stage, I wanted to be sure I had everything possible working in my favor. And, all of those things were not in my favor! (laughs)”

On Chris Jericho’s pot shot at his delivery being why WCW closed:
“I told David Penzer I took a bullet for him on that one! (laughs) Chris Jericho is masterful. I don’t know if he thought this out or if it was just his great natural instincts. But, if you look at what he said – He belittled me but he didn’t berate me. There’s a difference, a big difference between the two. That was all Chris. The entire segment was his vision. We had spoken. He had sent me a video of what he had invisioned. That is what got me a little more comfortable with it. Because he ahd heard I was kind of, “I am not sure I want to do this.” He was intent on it happening and he was intent on me doing it. So, he sent me a long video of his vision. And, when I saw his vision, I said, “Yeah, I can do that.” So, I spoke with him in his dressing room earlier in the day. In fact, his first insults I couldn’t really understand what he said because the crowd was so loud. I just knew that he was insulting me so I reacted to a general insult. (laughs)”

On what he thinks of AEW’s high flying style of wrestling:
“Well, I keep up with it. I have seen a change in AEW – And this is just a guess on my part, that it is a result of the coaches that they have brought in like Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Bully Gunn, and so forth… Dean Malenko! I’ve seen them get a little bit more grounded. It is not the flying I have a problem with in any kind of pro wrestling. It is when people do things that are not logical… That is what I don’t understand. I don’t get it. If you’re trying to bring people into the moment, you wouldn’t do something that was illogical in a situation where your goal is to either pin someone or make them submit. We can’t get away from that. Once you get away from that, then it is not pro wrestling. That is fine if it entertains people. But, then, call it something different. But, once you start doing things that are illogical towards those goals, you lose me.”

On newer wrestlers calling it a “performance art”:
“You can call it that. But, you still have the same goals. I think the problem is too many of today’s wrestlers are impatient and they need some kind of reaction from the crowd every 45 seconds. If you look at it that way, it makes perfect sense why there’s very little selling, why it is strike after strike after strike as opposed to understanding that if you’re working well, you can have an audience that is taking in everything that you’re doing. The only action isn’t a “WOW” reaction. And, it doesn’t mean that you’re not entertaining folks. We always had different styles – Usually different styles on one card. I think you fall into the trap of everyone doing the same style. It would be like going to a concert and hearing the same song over and over and over again. After a while, you’re going to be beyond that.”

On AEW having diversified talent a bit of late:
“Where I really noticed a change on Dynamite was when they had the show from the Jericho cruise. The front row was right up on the ring and there really wasn’t a lot of room to do dives or to fight outside of the ring. It forced the guys to stay in the ring and wrestle. And, what it showed is how well a lot of the flying guys knew their wrestling, their basic holds. Some people try to make this a generational thing and it is not. But, you will get some old fogies who will say, “Ah, they don’t know how to wrestle!” Of course they know how to wrestle! They do! Ever since then, I’ve seen a lot more wrestling. And, as long as that happens… They’ve got a lot of talent! What a terrific group they are! They were really welcoming to me. I really appreciated that.”

On if he talked to Tony Khan at all:
“The gentleman that contacted me originally, when i said I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it, he said, “Why don’t you give Tony a call?” I said, “All right.” I called him and he called me right back. He talked to me about my entire career! We talked about the Ring of Honor days, the WCW days… I don’t think we got back to the WWF days but that was before his time. (laughs) But, he’s a wrestling hsiorian too! He was very complimentary and encouraging.”

On wrestling’s current state:
“Wrestling has evolved. I think what has happened, and what has happened for the past couple of decades, is probably because of the Internet – Younger people have been able to view wrestling styles from all over the world and those styles are now being incorporated into US wrestling. And then there are those older folks who haven’t been exposed to that. There were always high flyers. WCW had high flyers. And there are always those – It is no different in any form of entertainment. For instance, when Garth Brooks first did his big arena tour and would hang from the rafters and propel onto the stage, I’m sure there were old school country music fans that would say, “That’s not country music!”” He continues, “I think we have a tendency to pit generations against one another. I’l never be the kind of guy that says what we had in the past was great and what we have today is not. I think we tend to forget the stuff that was not so great in the past. And, things in the past that were not believable at all. But, we just tend to overlook them. Gorilla Monsoon! When he first made his debut in the WWWF, he was the Manchurian Giant. He didn’t speak English. He was this wildman who just grunted and he ahd “Wild” Red Berry as his manager. (laughs) How realistic is that? And then, somehow, the people just accepted that this man (Gorilla) became a well spoken individual! He was away for a few months, came back, and had a full vocabulary! A lot of old time fans have a tendency to forget those types of things and they really shouldn’t do that.”

On if he’ll return to introduce Blood & Guts the Match Beyond from his home state of New Jersey:
“We spoke after the show on Wednesday night. We talked about them possibly bringing me back to do something down the road. I would consider anything that they brought forth!”

On helping David Penzer back in 1995:
“I’d like to think maybe it is karma. David is a great guy. I knew I was leaving WCW and I wanted David t get as good of a start as he could. Maybe that karma came back to me last Wednesday when the folks over at AEW were so nice to me and made me so comfortable. That’s pretty cool. I never thought of that before. But, I did tell him that I took a bullet for him. (laughs) I wasn’t there when WCW went under. He was. He said, “I thought the same thing!” (laughs) “You didn’t think of that?” When i did my stage show in Tampa, David came out. I’ve seen him at conventions. David is a stand up guy!”

On his stage show tour:
“I had a great time doing mys tage show tour. I went out on the road for 2 years across the country telling stories from my book to a very educated audience. As I’d tell the stories, I’d ahve a video playing over my head of what I was talking about. It was a 2 hour show with a 15 minute intermission and at the end, I’d answer questions from the crowd. It was a very educated crowd. Wrestling fans have incredible memories! I’d get asked questions I had no recollection of. “Do you remember May 16th, you were in Joplin, MO!” I’ve learned not to say no. I’ve learned to deflect that kind of question because I don’t want to minimize that person’s memory. But, one of the things I would do during mys tage show is I would go out in the crowd and ask how that person found their way to wrestling. 9 times out of 10, the answer would have to do with a family member. Wrestling, I would say more than most spots, has fans that attach a collegial feeling about sharing memories of wrestling with a family member or someone that they love.”

On his former home ROH playing MSG where he worked in the WWF and what it meant:
“That was great. I think I looked at that from a different perspective. I’m not sure a lot of the wrestlers appreciated all that went in to it the way that the behind the scenes people did. They had to put up with with McMahon sutting other promotions out of big arenas. Gary Juster who worked in the AWA and NWA and I think he’s the arena booker but I know he’s the promoter for Ring of Honor. He knew what it was to be turned away from major arenas. Baltimore Arena. McMahon told the Baltimore Arena that if they had the NWA there, they (the WWF/E) wouldn’t be back there. Baltimore Arena was one of the few arenas that said, “Well, that’s tough because NWA does good business here and we’re not going to turn them away.” And, WWF did not go back to the Baltimore Arena. They went to the Cap Center. But, that was unusual. We (WCW) couldn’t get into the Boston Garden for a while. So, for those who had foguht the wars behind the scenes and had been with other promotions before Ring of Honor – Getting into Madison Square Garden was a big day!”

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