Hi Bobby. How are you?
Very good Norman, very busy but good.
Glory By Honor IX was one of the biggest cards in ROH history.How did you find the weekend and the event?
Well, I will touch on Friday night in Plymouth, MA first. The venue was less than 30 miles from my house so I was pretty excited about that, considering all of the travel we do through the air and on the roads. Also, with the event being so close to home, I was able to bring my daughter’s with me, as well as having some friends come check out the event. As for the event itself, I thought it went well and we announced a return to Plymouth on December 17th so hopefully we can build the market up.
Of course, the next night was the huge iPPV “Glory By Honor 9” from New York City. I always really enjoy going to NYC, there is no other place like it. We went into the event basically being sold-out over a week in advance. The atmosphere was tremendous and the card was stacked. Overall, I think things went really well even though we had some issues with the internet feed. I would certainly suggest to anyone that loves pro wrestling but did not see the event to go to http://www.gofightlive.tv and order it OnDemand. Our next iPPV “Final Battle 2010” will be broadcast live on http://www.gofightlive.tv on December 18th also be from NYC it should be another huge night.
How do you feel about Tyler Black going up north to the WWE?
I think it’s a great opportunity for Tyler. He has a ton of talent and I think he really came into his own over the past year or so as he improved his promo skills and overall presence. I really like Tyler and I hope he does very well wherever he is. He’s young, hungry and motivated, that’s a good combination.
How did you feel about Roderick Strong finally winning the ROH belt?
I think it’s very good for Roderick as he has been a top player in ROH for quite some time now. It’s a big spot, being the World Champion for one of the top three companies in North America, a lot more attention gets paid to you when you have a belt like that. Roddy has certainly put his time in and been a “go to” guy for the company for several years.
What got you into the wrestling business?
Back in early 1994, I sent out a bunch of letters to some indies in New England. One of them got back to me and I did a try-out, after that I had my first announcing job.
Did you follow wrestling when you were growing up?
I certainly did. When I was growing up, WWF was on every Saturday morning and I never missed an episode, I loved it. My buddy and I used to go to the house shows at the old Providence Civic Center back when they would run once a month.
Did you ever want to wrestle?
Not really, thankfully. No one would want to see that believe me.
Whats been the highlight of your time in ROH?
When asked this question, it’s hard to come up with an answer since there have been so many great moments. I often point to the Unification Match in Liverpool, England between then ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson and then ROH Pure Wrestling Champion Nigel McGuinness. The atmosphere was awesome, with it being Nigel’s home country, as well as the fans knowing there were going to see something historic that night. Also, Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi in New York City was a spectacle and one of my favorite ROH matches that I have seen.
You’ve been with ROH for a long time. It must have been an amazing experience to see it grow into a world renowned company.
It has been a great ride, no doubt about that. As much as the company has grown, I don’t think the company grew too fast. So many mistakes can happen when things are rushed. From moving into different markets, to going international with live events in Japan and the United Kingdom, to doing taped pay-per-views, to our current television setup with the ROH on HDNet show and live internet pay-per-views, I think the timing was right most of the time.
How did you react when you heard Gabe Sapolsky had been released from the company? How do you think Adam Pearce did as booker and most recently, current booker Delirious?
I was surprised when I got the call that Gabe was let go. Gabe did an amazing job and I did not even see his pre-2004 stuff that really got the company going. Gabe came up with stuff that I could only dream of and he had a way of seeing how things would come out even before it happened. He wanted things a certain way because he knew it would work. Some of the best stuff I ever saw was the magic he and CM Punk worked together when Punk won the ROH World Championship right before he left for WWE.
I thought Adam Pearce was walking into a “no win” situation as he was put into a position to follow someone who did such a tremendous job before him. However, I think Adam did an excellent job, especially in late 2009 and throughout his time in 2010. Adam was very passionate about the job and he wore his heart on his sleeve. I think Adam probably surprised himself with his performance as the booker for the company. I think Adam should be proud of what he accomplished in his tenure.
As for the current booker, it’s so early. It’s not a spot I would want believe me. There is so much talent on the roster. Delirious is very well-liked and respected by everyone in the locker room so that will not be an issue. I am sure it will take a while for him to get things ironed out to the way he wants things, but I would assume that we will be continuing right along providing the best wrestling in the world.
Some of the announcers in WWE and TNA are horrible!Have you been contacted by either company before?
If you are talking about any of the female ring announcers that WWE has tried since Lilian Garcia left last year, then I would agree with you. However, I think that both Justin Roberts and Tony Chimel do an excellent job on their respective shows. As for TNA, “jack of all trades” Jeremy Borash does very well for a guy that is not best suited to be a ring announcer in my opinion. I think JB’s strength is really at interviewing and as a host, he is great in those roles.
I got a call from WWE back in September of 2006 offering me a spot to audition as a ring announcer for them as they were one short at the time due to the rebirth of ECW. I went out to Oklahoma City and Tulsa and did some announcing for them and it went well. They called me two days after I got home and said they were happy also and they asked me to go out to TV a month later. So, I went out to Chicago and St. Louis and announced for them again in October 2006. I really tried to tone things down a bit the second time out with them and I guess that was a mistake as I heard the Executive Producer of WWE thought I was kind of boring in Chicago. Anyway, the week after I got back, all of the ECW house shows got combined with Smackdown! house shows because they were not drawing on their own. That basically did away with WWE’s need for an additional ring announcer anyway. I talked to them in 2007 and I was told that the next ring announcer they would hire would be a “hot chick”. Well, they have tried several “hot chicks”, no luck finding one that can actually ring announce I guess.
Given the opportunity, would you go and work for either TNA or WWE?
I have said since the WWE deal fell through that I would have no problem with ROH being my last ring announcing job ever. I am happy with ROH and I have been treated very well over my years with the company. I have a family so I would listen to anything but I honestly do not see myself going anywhere, especially since WWE would have no interest in me since I am now 37, and I am not a “hot chick”. I do know that I could step into the ring next Monday night for RAW and announce the show without a problem.
Have you ever met Howard Finkel? Are you a fan of his?
I did meet Howard years ago when I was backstage at a WWE event. I am a huge Howard Finkel fan and I believe he has been the greatest ring announcer the wrestling business has ever seen. Quick funny story: After I did the first two WWE TV’s, I waited backstage to thank Vince McMahon personally for the opportunity. Vince shook my hand and said, “Bobby, you did a hell of a job, but next time try not to be so Howard Finkelish.”
You’ve seen the birth of some of the biggest stars in wrestling today, most noticeably Samoa Joe, Nigel McGuiness and CM punk, to name a few. When you saw these guys wrestle at first did you have a feeling they’d become so succesful?
I first saw Samoa Joe when I was announcing for Steve Corino’s PWF in Pennsylvania. He was a big guy that could move but he did a lot of submission and mat stuff which I was not familiar with. Looking back, he may have been a bit ahead of his time with how big MMA is now.
As for Nigel, he really came into his own and when he was given the ball, he took off with it. When the ROH crowd too to him, his career took off.
Punk is an interesting one because from the first time I saw him, he made an impression. He has that “it” factor and he is so smart when it comes to the business and what will work. He reminded me of when I was a kid and watching Jake Roberts, so smart.
Who in ROH do you feel is going to become the next big star?
I think these guys are already big stars but I would say that late 2010 and into 2011 should be huge for Roderick Strong, Davey Richards, The Kings of Wrestling and my underdog pick is new signee Mike Bennett.
You were featured in “The Wrestler”. How was that experience?
I would not say I was “featured” in “The Wrestler”. I did get to ring announce the Main Event scene for the movie and it all happened rather quickly. All along, I had been told that I was going to be ring announcing something in the movie. When I got to the arena where the filming of the final scene was being shot, I found out that Larry Sweeney was going to be doing the ring announcing for the scene instead. What happened next was unexpected. Right before we were going out to the ring to start the ROH portion of the evening, director Darren Aronofsky was talking to Gabe about what they wanted to do when they shot the introductions for the match. That is when Gabe found out that Sweeney was going to do the ring announcing and he told Aronofsky that he couldn’t because he’s a heel and it would not get over. Darren then asked Gabe who could do it and Gabe told him that I should do it. So, Aronofsky came running over to me, re-introduced himself and handed me the script. I must have announced the Randy “The Ram” Robinson vs. The Ayotollah match about ten times over the two nights of shooting. It was a thrill though, and I got to attend the U.S. premiere in New York City. Seeing and hearing myself on the big screen is probably something that will not happen again.
Has there been an increase in “Bobby Cruise groupies”, know that you’ve been in a major Hollywood movie?
Ha, ha no. I do not think there are any Bobby Cruise “groupies”, none that I know of anyway. It would be cool though.
Outside of ROH, do you pay attention to other wrestling promotions?
Not really. I do not watch wrestling so most of what I know about what is going on elsewhere is from what I read online. I do like to keep up with the guys that I know from their ROH time and see what they are up to it but that is the extent of it.
Besides ROH, is there any other projects wrestling or non-wrestling related, that you are involved in?
In “real-life”, I am a salesman for a beer distributor and that pays the bills. My older daughter is busy with school, ice hockey, soccer and softball and my younger daughter is busy with dance, soccer and softball. I help coach both of their softball teams so that keeps me extra busy during the Spring and early Summer
And finally, your known for your colorful ties?Whats your favorite one?Do you have special ties for special occasions?
I don’t describe my ties as colorful, they are just fashionable, I will not be seen wearing a tie that a 90 year old guy would wear to a wedding. I probably have about thirty ties and out of those, I have about ten or so that are favorites. For bigger events, I am partial to the black on black look or a black shirt with this new blue and black tie I got. I actually wore that one for the Glory By Honor iPPV.
Thanks very much for your time Bobby!
No problem Norman, thanks for the time and support of ROH. Also, big thanks to all of the ROH fans reading this, they are the best!