Charisma Corner with Bob Eager: Interview with wrestling announcer Joe Vernola
This is Bob Eager from the Charisma Corner talk show interviewing wrestling announcer Joe Vernola.
BE: Hello Joe may I call you Evil Joe or The Diabolical one? Have you ever used a stage name? By the way Joe Vernola is a good heel turning name. Do you have a side ring name like Rabid Master of Disaster?
JV: Everybody more or less calls me JV. That’s actually how I’ve always been addressed on-screen and anything along those lines. Joe DeFalco over at FSW gave it to me, I think it was my first day there. Pretty much a play on my initials and junior varsity, that whole bag. If you want to call me Evil Joe or the Diabolical One if you’d like, though I don’t know what I’ve done to earn it. Haha. I’d like to think I’ve kept my nose clean. Except that thing up in Utah, but I owed a friend a favor.
BE: How did you get into wrestling what made that decision. Neither one of us are physical specimens. What inspired you to get in the ring and announce the names of people in their spandex and underwear. The combination of the lights music, spectacle and talking smack to each other between performers. Thats how guys like me would answer.
There is no other entertainment form like it. How would you answer that question?
JV: I wanted to get into wrestling even before I realized genetics probably weren’t on my side, though Rey Mysterio, Jr. was one of my favorite wrestlers when I first wanted to get into wrestling. Once I realized that my frame and pain tolerance, especially that second one, weren’t cut out for the wrestling side of the equation, I realized that the one body part I had that worked particularly well was my vocal chords. I want to eventually get back into a play-by-play role like I had during my time in EXW/FSW-AZ. But the ring announcing thing, at least in Arizona, more or less happened because I was in the right place at the right time and they needed a spot filled. I may had done it a few times in Vegas before then, I’m not quite certain on that timeline, anyway, there (in Vegas) I was occasionally doing backstage interview segments, and such, but was actually refereeing for EXW out here and something came up where the announcer wasn’t going to be able to announce the show. I spoke up and said I could do it, had zero time to memorize the wrestlers’ vitals and hometowns, and announced the show that night, got the commentary gig a couple shows later pretty much the same way. Actually, now that I think about it, that’s how I got the ref spot too. Haha. Important lesson there kiddies, if there’s a spot that opens up and you can do it, you gotta jump for it.
BE: The handlebar mustache is a nice touch isn’t that an indication you are joining the team of wrestling evil doer vagabonds such as myself?
JV: The only thing my handlebar mustache is an indication of is that I enjoy some of the classier things in life and looking dapper wherever I go, no matter what I’m wearing. It’s a great attention grabber and I suggest more people grow one. Ladies dig it.
BE: What makes a great wrestling talent is it promos, technical wrestling or charisma. A factor both of us have well two out of three ain’t bad like the songs says right Mr. Vernola?
JV: That’s a weird question, because it goes beyond those three things, there’s a lot of people that wish you just list what it takes to be a great wrestling talent, because if you could list what it takes, it’d be easier. The simple answer is, I don’t know, I’ve never been in there in that capacity, so I can’t really say what it takes. I will say this though, there isn’t a single dumb person in wrestling, if you are, you don’t last long. Seth Rollins hit it on the head in that photo going around on the net when he said it takes a smart, smart person to be a wrestler, you also have to be incredibly gifted athletically and physically, and you have to be charismatic, no doubt but there’s so much more to it than that. There are plenty of guys that have only two out of three of those things that are still all-time greats, because there was so many other things they did that you can’t put your finger on, but dammit they did it and it made its impact.
BE: Who are some of the people, some of the performers, who inspired you to put on a suit and take abuse from wrestlers and some fans.
JV: Gary Michael Capetta from Crockett is one of my faves, as is David Penzer, obviously the Bruce Buffer influence is strong whenever I do a Japanese style main event, that just kind of happens. I would like to think my style is similar to Penzer’s. Growing up in Vegas, I got to hear a lot of boxing announcer Jimmy Lennon, Jr. (who is great, but gets lost in Michael Buffer’s shadow) I got to talk shop with Justin Roberts at a show once, which was hugely beneficial, and I’ve picked up some things from him, and everybody loves The Fink.
BE: What have been some of your favorite moments and most challenging confrontations with anybody and everybody but leave the family out of it?
JV: Road trips are a lot of fun. Whether they were from Vegas to AZ or nowadays AZ to Vegas for me, getting to spend a few hours at a clip on the road with some good friends and talking wrestling or whatever else is going on is always a lot of fun. Depending on your crew there could be some debauchery. As far as in my role announcing, announcing the title match at Sam’s Town was a big personal moment, and the Sam’s Town show in Vegas back in December. Having a chance to announce consistently in Arizona is a great opportunity as well and honestly anytime I get to announce a wrestling show and get the crowd jacked is a great moment, and a great thing. I have a pretty important job, and that’s to get the crowd excited and engaged in what’s coming up next and if I don’t do my job well, then it’s that much harder for the wrestlers and to be trusted with that kind of power, or responsibility or task, or whatever you want to call it, is actually quite humbling. I’ve been lucky, I haven’t had much in the way of confrontation. I’d say the most challenging thing is sometime convincing angry wrestlers who are seeing nothing but red at the time that I’m not the guy they want to take that rage out on.