wrestling / News

Todd Pettengill On His Time in WWE, AEW Being Competition For WWE, More

September 28, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Todd Pettengill NXT Takeover: In Your House

Todd Pettengill was a guest on Wrestling Epicenter recently and discussed his time in WWE, AEW serving as competition for WWE these days and more. The show sent along some highlights which you can check out along with the full audio:

On what he’s doing now: “I actually moved out of New York to Texas about 5 years ago – Just outside of Austin, after living my whole life on the East Coast. I’ve always had a production studio, since about ’94 I guess, and we’ve just sort of built upon that since I stopped with the radio about a year ago. The radio was about a 40 year run. But, it was time to take a little break, be able to stay up late, and sleep in! For almost 40 years, I got up at 3, 3:30 in the morning. So, that was a nice change! We’re doing a lot of video production. As you said, a lot of stand-up comedy but also TV shows, motion graphics… We just produced 2t6 episodes of the kids show Wonder-rama. So, we’re picking some fun projects and staying in it. And, I’m still doing some fun projects for the WWE. Whatever little fun projects that we find and that I am passionate about, we take.”

On how he got involved in WWE: “Well, it is kind of an interesting story. Vince and Linda (McMahon) were listeners of the show (Scott & Todd on 95.5 WPLJ in New York) and called me out of the blue. They said, “Hey, do you know anything about wrestling?” I said, “Not really.” Vince said, “Perfect! I want someone with an outside take.” He asked if I’d be willing to go to Stamford to audition. I said, “Absolutely!” And, I did. With Vince, you either get a broom or a bottle of water to sell to him. I got the bottle of water. I guess he liked it. And, the rest is history!”

On working for WWE while doing a daily morning show being a grind: “Yeah, it was. And, that basically is why I had to leave. I basically went without a vacation for 5 years because I used all my vacation time to do the pay-per-views. For a while there, I was working 7 days a week when they started Live Wire and I was on the first Monday Night RAW. It was kind of a grueling schedule. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t something I could keep up. That is the reason I left but it was on good terms and I think that attributes to them still calling and us still doing stuff together 26, 27 years later. It is kind of fun!”

On WWE skewing for a young audience when he first got there: “I wouldn’t say it was “kiddie” programming but you could see it skewed a little bit younger. But, during my time there, you could see it begin to change. The Attitude Era was approaching. It was the New Generation but things were starting to change. I think that is a credit to Vince. You have to know that the audience is changing and change your program to fit that audience. I think that is what he did just to keep pace with what was going on in the world. It was definitely moving that way in my time but when I left, it went further to that area. But, it was always topical and relevant which is to Vince’s credit.”

On working alongside Randy Savage: “He was just a kind, genuine person. He didn’t have any kind of ego about being on the show and treated me as an equal. We developed a pretty good friendship. It wasn’t something I expected. When they told me, “The Macho Man is going to… (co-host). I was like, “Oh, wow. Sure! But, is this guy going to want to work with me?” They were like, “Oh yeah!” He was terrific. We had so many laughs. And, it was such a great, great journey. I miss him a lot.”

On if there was ever noticeable tension in WWE when business went down in the mid ’90’s: “Not at all. As you know, the business is very cyclical. But, with the direct competition from WCW, it was always on. There was never, at any point, a time where we were like, “Oh boy. The product is just not there.” We felt the exact opposite. I think we all felt we had something special. And, it put everyone at the top of their game when you had Turner jump in with a competing organization and you’d see a guy or two go over (to WCW). It was kind of hot and heavy there for a while! But, when you’re in it, you’re in it. And, again, not coming from a wrestling background, it was all still so new to me. Obviously, I had watched some programming before. But, never as into it as when I started to work there. But, I never felt that way at all. I always felt we were trying to be at the top of our game and put on a great show.”

On working with Sunny: “I had Stephanie Wiand as a co-host but we didn’t have the same chemistry as I did with Sunny. She’s doing better! I just saw she (Sunny) got on Instagram about a month ago. She is a dear person. Listen, who among us hasn’t had our own personal ups and downs? She was a genuine person who was very willing to play her character and she did that very, very well. I have a lot of respect for her.

On Vince Russo saying bad stuff about Todd when he jumped to WCW in 1999: “I didn’t have a lot to do with Vince Russo. I worked directly with the segment producer. So, I didn’t have a lot to do with him but I did know he was involved, big picture, in the show.”

On if WWE ever pushed the envelope too far during his time there: “I don’t think so. I think it was all in fun. We never really crossed over the line at that time… We may have walked up to it a couple of times. But, if you compare it to other things that were on at the time, it was still a pretty clean version of life. Because we knew the audience was skewing a little bit younger, we didn’t push things too far. But, again, the evolutionary process was taking it there. I was never uncomfortable with it. I just felt it was the evolutionary process.”

On returning for WWE NXT Takeover: In Your House: “It was nice to be asked. Last year was the 25th anniversary of In Your House. It just does not feel like it was 25 years ago that I was doing those monthly In Your House pay-per-views! Hunter was there, Shawn Michaels was there, I saw Ted DiBiase. And, a lot of crew members that were still there. Of course, there were a lot of new faces. But, it was so nice to be asked and I really did have a lot of fun.”

On AEW beating WWE RAW in the key demo recently: “I think competition is good. I really do. I think you put out a better product when you’re competing for something rather than putting out a daily product because you think about so many other things. When you’re alone in the stratosphere, you operate completely differently than you do when you have neighbors. When you have competition, in any business, it drives you. It makes you put on a good product. And, that is good for everyone including the fans. You have so much loyalty for the WWE but then you have a new company (AEW)… But, you also have to remember that a long time ago, WWF was a new company too. It is brand building! I think it (competition) is only good for the sport and I think it is going to be really, really good going forward.”

article topics :

AEW, Todd Pettengill, WWE, Jeremy Thomas