Former WWE Monday Night RAW commentator Rob Bartlett was interviewed on the Inside The Ropes radio show last week as part of their new 'Where Are They Now?'series. Bartlett, who worked for WWE briefly during the early 1990's, spoke about the very first episode of RAW, working with the late "Macho Man" Randy Savage and why he left the company after just a few months.
Memories of first getting there and working with Randy Savage:
I'd not only heard of Randy Savage, but I'd taken my son to an event at The Garden, I think it was when he got married to Miss Elizabeth in the ring so I knew of him. He was the most unbelievably kind and helpful true gentleman. Went out of his way to try and help me along. Gave me some inside tips, and really could not have been any more welcoming or helpful. He was a great personality and a great, great man.
If he felt Randy enjoyed being on commentary rather than wrestling:
I think he definitely enjoyed being a commentator because it was different for him. Obviously he was very knowledgable. But I think all of the guys, their first love is the ring. I remember when he did get back in the ring, which he did once or twice in those first couple of months, he really rose to the occasion and turned into this other person. He was getting older and I think in many ways he was grateful for the easier gig of sitting outside the ring but once he stepped back in, you could tell he still had the passion for it.
The first RAW in 93:
It was held in the Manhattan Center which had been an old hotel. So they shot it in one of the ballrooms there. We had pre production meetings every week in this back room, where they'd run down all the matches that night. I remember on that first episode I made a joke about Yokozuna and talking about how it looked like he was wearing a diaper. I turned and said on air "that's one big oriental, Vince" so I think I set the tone and it went downhill from there (laughs) It was exciting. It was an incredibly exciting thing to be a part of. Vince was really taking a chance and trying to take a chance and do something new and different. It was a lot of fun.
Why he made the decision to leave the WWF in April of 93:
I think Vince knew it wasn't working. He probably would have let me stay for a while in hopes that we could've found some way to make it work. But i basically resigned or quit to Kevin Dunn and he was sad to see me go because he thought we could've done something. I just felt like the chemistry wasn't there. The sensibilities were quite far apart. I wasn't familiar enough with the world or the rules of the universe aswell as I should have been. The kind of comedy I did, didn't fit in too well with what they were doing. Part of the problem is you can't make fun of something that doesn't take itself too seriously to begin with. Not that the wrestlers weren't serious, you know they took their craft very seriously but with Doink The Clown and stuff, it was hard to poke fun at it.
To hear the full interview where Rob talks about how he landed the WWF gig, who The Steiner Brothers compared him to, imitating Vince on RAW and more, head to Facebook.com/theinsidenetwork.