Former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts recently spoke to WrestlingINC’s Raj Giri where he talked about a lot of interesting stuff. Here are some highlights;
Your new book is out; a really fun read. When did you start writing that?
“It took about three years. It was about 3-4 years when I first started.”
So, did the idea of writing the book, “Best Seat in the House,” right when you left WWE or was that something you did prior to leaving?
“It actually started when I was still with the company. I was on a long flight and trying to stay awake. I had been toying with the idea for a while and I thought, you know what, I’m just going to start this out. I started typing the story out and got quite a bit down and then I realised, okay, there is some stuff I can say, some stuff that I can’t, I’m not going to do anything with this, and will just sit on it for a while. As soon as I got released, the next day I picked up the computer and started typing away again.”
The thing that makes this story so interesting is that you are a ring announcer and I know a lot of wrestlers, their dreams are to be in WWE and they are not a wrestler-type but would like to be with the company in some capacity. You talked about being a wrestling fan in your book. Who were some of your favourites growing up?
“Right off the bat, Mr. Perfect. I like the characters such as The Genius, Brother Love, the Ultimate Warrior, Jake the Snake, Million Dollar Man, Legion of Doom, Nasty Boys. I just like everybody. I never had a favourite, I just liked everybody and don’t believe I had just one favourite. I was just into everybody.”
You were watching WCW too when the Monday Night Wars was taking place, right? You were also there when [Hulk] Hogan signed with WCW.
“Yeah. I happened to be in Florida for an occasion and kind of arranged it when I knew he would be at the MGM Studios, so I arranged it where I would be at MGM the day he would be signing, also met Eric Bischoff that day too.”
You had a lot of interesting stories in the book; you were a wrestling fan and also a fan of movies. In the book, you mentioned being friends with an actress that appeared in Home Alone 2 and actually went to the premiere and talked about wrestling with Macaulay Culkin. Was there ever a period where your interest in wrestling starting dying out a bit or was you always this crazy about it?
“No. It was supposed to. My friends, everybody was into it and then stopped at some point and I thought that the same thing was going to happen to me. Watch it for a little bit and then lose interest, but I never lost interest. It just kept building and building and got to the point where I liked being a fan but I wanted more. I wanted to do something in wrestling so I started doing it as a hobby. I got into the independence as a hobby. I never imagined getting to WWE, and just thought I would be doing it as a cool thing and being part of wrestling shows, it was fun.”
Yeah, it’s a strange feeling. I know with me when I started this website in the 90’s and actually started talking to these wrestlers, it kind of blows your mind where you’re just like ‘wow.’ From growing up as a fan to somewhat being involved in a weird way.
“Yeah. I had a lot of those weird moments too. The time when Steve [William] Regal gave me his phone number the first time when I was Reffing which I discussed in the book working at the New Mexico tour where I worked just so I can work the tour with Mr. Perfect. I’m there as a Referee as a first time Ref, and all these guys in the locker room I grew up watching and all calling me over and giving me the finishes of their matches and I was just so blown away and thinking just how weird these guys are telling me how their matches are going to end.”
So, what was Mr. Perfect like backstage?
“He was very cool, calm, laid back. Very confident and funny, every time I saw him he told me that I looked like Tom Zenk [Z-Man in WCW] and he would tell me Tom Zenk stories and how he would stand up for him. It was in High School maybe, like people used to pick on Tom in High School and he would stick up for him so you would just hear these Tom Zenk stories every time I saw him; whether it was the times I saw him or whether it was at the Hotel Bar when WWE was in town, he was cool. When I Reffed his match he would grab my arm, and I had a very scrawny arm and I got bruised so I took a picture of it and called it the ‘Perfect Bruise.’ I marked out for anything with Hennig, I was just a really big fan.”