May 30, 2005
Tuning into Tazzvision
By SCOTT ZERR - Edmonton Sun
Wrestlers never really retire. They just find new ways of surviving. For Tazz, that means being at ringside and announcing the action of the same mano-a-mano tussles that he used to battle through night after night.
"I don't miss being in the ring. My body is beat up and this is a young man's business," said Tazz, who will be calling the dropkicks, bodyslams and chairshots from the commentator's table when World Wrestling Entertainment's Smackdown! rolls into Rexall Place in Edmonton Tuesday night.
"Now I'd rather tell the stories that are happening in the ring. I had a lot of fun in my wrestling career -- mostly good times, some bad, but I wouldn't want to do anything different.
"Being on the broadcast side of things is like giving me a second career. This is the next phase of my professional life. It's given my career legs because you can only be in the ring for so many years. Now I get to sit at ringside and talk and promote the guys."
Tazz's style is certainly a unique one when it comes to relaying the information to the viewer. Throughout the history of TV wrestling, the analyst's role has often been one of comedy, and more often than not, rooting for the heel (bad guy). Tazz (real name Peter Senerca) is a no-nonsense type who calls the action in such a manner that a viewer might expect him to break out a Telestrator and start diagramming the plays. It's a delivery that hasn't been accepted by all but the true wrestling fans have a great appreciation for his style.
"It's by design and I take great pride in that," said Tazz, who defeated Kurt Angle in his WWE debut and went on to claim the Hardcore and tag-team titles.
"I try to be an analyst like in baseball or football. Joe Morgan on ESPN does a great job because he teaches you about the game. That's what I try and do. I like to analyse what the fans are watching and explain to them what each hold is and why it hurts. And making fun of Cole (play-by-play partner Michael Cole) is easy to do."
Tazz has had his share of critics, both for his commentary and as a wrestler. That comes in stride with being on TV week after week, but what has become a sore spot for those in the wrestling business in recent years are the rumour-mongers and gossips parading through the countless Internet sites (a simple search-engine check revealed more than 7.3 million sites that deal with WWE content).
For Hollywood stars and music icons, speculation on their personal lives is part of being famous. It seems wrestlers, too, have been lumped under the same spotlight.
"I'm not opposed to the Internet, but there's a lot of BS, especially the backstage gossip, and there's no need for that. There's the old saying, 'Loose lips sink ships,'" said Tazz.
"I have a problem with spoilers because to me it's like lining up to see a movie with your wife and somebody walks out and is talking about the finish. I don't think the Internet is bad for business because in our country you have the right to say what you want. But the guys on these wrestling sites are not reporters. They've never been in the ring and they have no real insight. Too often they state something as fact when it's just their opinion.
"I think it's a shame that our personal lives get out there, but life is like that. We're in the public eye and that comes with the territory. We are public figures but I don't think it's cool when our private lives become public, especially when it's all opinion and speculation. Speculation sucks when somebody doesn't know the truth.
"I guess we have to take it on the chin. It just means when somebody is talking about you, they're giving somebody else a break. Life goes on."
Despite his long layoff from the ring to focus on broadcasting, Tazz will make his rugged return for the WWE's One Night Stand pay-per-view featuring the wild menagerie from Extreme Championship Wrestling. As one of the most popular characters in ECW's history, the master of the Tazzmission is eager to see what his role will be when the hardcore brand comes back on June 12.
"I will definitely be involved," said the two-time ECW world and tag-team champ.
"I hope the people like what I do. I'm a little concerned because I'm not sure if I can just turn on what I was and what I was able to do before.
"I'm going to hang my ties up and give the people the best of the old-school Tazz and I think it will work."