An Exclusive Interview with AEW’s Alex Marvez (Part 2 of 2)
INSIDE MAN: From the NFL Sidelines to Behind the Scenes of All Elite Wrestling
(To read Part 1 of our exclusive interview with Alex Marvez, click here)
AEW: For all intents and purposes, you were out of the pro wrestling business, from 2012 until earlier this year when you signed with AEW. What transpired there that eventually brought you back into the fold and working for AEW?
ALEX MARVEZ: Tony offered me the job. It was really that simple.
Tony and I had become friends through our connections in football and wrestling and got to know each other at NFL events. Tony had read my work for a long time while growing up and knew about my background and historical knowledge of the industry.
Tony helped rekindle my love of wrestling by turning me onto the New Japan product around 2015-2016 (I was still getting and reading the Wrestling Observer but hadn’t put names to faces). We went to NJPW’s debut U.S. show in 2017. Not only did that experience help our friendship continue to grow, it also helped get me hooked on pro wrestling again.
When Tony said he wanted me as one of his AEW announcers, it really was an offer I couldn’t refuse despite the challenge it provided. But I believe in Tony and his vision of what AEW is becoming and wanted to go along for the ride. I’m so glad I did.
AEW: The AEW broadcast team has a very unique and inspired flavor, with the hybrid of styles and life experiences that you, Jim Ross, and Excalibur bring to the show. It’s a fresh dynamic. You’ve had the opportunity to be one of the voices of DOUBLE OR NOTHING (DON) back in May, and FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN in July. There aren’t too many people in the world that can make the claim that they’ve called the action on pay-per-view for a major wrestling promotion. For those watching at home, those who think it’s best to leave it to the pros, what is it like to be in that zone? How much prep goes into a single broadcast? What have you taken away from this so far?
ALEX MARVEZ: I love this question. DON pushed me professionally like few things I have ever done before. I hadn’t officially called a pro wrestling match since an impromptu appearance on a Suncoast Pro Wrestling show in the early 1990s in Florida so this was a completely new experience for me.
For about five months once I knew this was an actual thing and not just an elaborate rib that Tony was playing, I would wake up around 5 a.m. each day and practice calling a match off TV with the sound down. I assembled extensive background (40-plus pages) on all the DON performers. I made lists of moves to make sure I did justice to the work being done in the ring. And I did a dry run with Jim and Excalibur about a month out from the show to get a feel for what to expect.
Nothing could prepare me for DON. Absolutely nothing. Almost five hours without a net or break (Something I learned: drink water sparingly pre-show).
I have a HUGE new respect for EVERYONE involved in putting on a pro wrestling show, especially the announce teams.
I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything either. It was a trial-by-fire situation that allowed me to learn where I need to get better and how to continue meshing with Jim and Excalibur, who have literally called thousands of more matches than me. I appreciate their patience and encouragement as this journey continues.
I feel like we got better throughout DON and had our best showing at FYTER FEST. Our job is to enhance the work of our in-ring talent and provide perspective/insight into the direction things are headed. At heart, I’m an AEW fan just like the people who support our product. It’s important that continues to come across in my announcing role.
AEW: Let’s shift our focus to the in-ring happenings with AEW. FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN isn’t too far behind us, and we have ALL OUT in Chicago rapidly approaching on August 31st. I’d like to get your thoughts on the Cody vs. Shawn Spears match. This feels like a classic old school feud, something that might have been right at home back in 1987 at the Miami Beach Convention Center on that same card with Brody versus The Sheik. Spears has made things very personal. If you’re running Cody’s camp, how do you prepare him to stick to a game plan and not let his emotions get the better of him at ALL IN?
ALEX MARVEZ: If receiving 10 staples after getting hit over the head with a chair didn’t catch Cody’s full attention, the addition of Tully Blanchard as Shawn Spears’ new advisor definitely will. True story: As a sign of appreciation, Shawn once bought hot chocolate for 500 fans waiting to get inside a show in Philadelphia a few years back. That Shawn Spears is gone, replaced by a man with an obsession toward destroying his former tag-team partner.
While not intending for it to become a backhanded compliment, Cody calling Shawn a “great hand” as a wrestler was a slap in the face to someone whose career had stalled (unlike Cody’s) and led to him snapping the way he has. I don’t worry about Cody being too emotional and getting sloppy against Shawn at ALL OUT. I think the big thing for the folks running Cody’s camp is to make sure Shawn is his 100 percent focus heading into ALL OUT. That’s not necessarily a given seeing everything that is on Cody’s plate, especially as All Elite prepares for our debut on TNT.
AEW: Kenny Omega was the hottest free agent in the sport until signing with AEW. When Jon Moxley busted onto the scene, his first target was Kenny Omega. That’s not a coincidence, is it?
ALEX MARVEZ: Nope. And let’s not leave Chris Jericho out of this mix either since he too was on the wrong end of a Moxley beating at DOUBLE OR NOTHING. But the road to the AEW world title for Moxley goes through Omega and he wisely knew to call his shot there with his DON actions. It will be part of the same journey for Kenny with Moxley as the former works his way back from the DON loss to Jericho. Omega and Moxley are obviously strong technical wrestlers. But what I wonder about heading into this match is what level of brutality will it reach since FYTER FEST brought out the ugliness in both men (Moxley forcing Joey Janela into a bed of thumbtacks and Kenny’s vicious post-match attack on Moxley using whatever plunder he could get his hands upon).
AEW: At ALL OUT, the winner of the Chris Jericho vs. “Hangman” Adam Page match will be crowned the first AEW World Champion. Both wrestlers are keenly aware of what a victory will mean here—both in terms of their legacies and their bank accounts. After ALL OUT, one of these two athletes will be the face of AEW. To make a full circle here, if you had to compare Page and Jericho to two NFL teams in the history of that sport, which teams are they most similar to, and why?
ALEX MARVEZ: Jericho has to be considered AEW’s equivalent to the New England Patriots. He is our more storied wrestler and, like Tom Brady, continues to excel into his 40s with scant sign of slowing down. That leaves Page in the underdog role a la the 2007 New York Giants. That squad stunned the sporting world by beating the Patriots in Super Bowl 42 and ending New England’s bid to become the first 19-0 team in NFL history. IMO – a Page victory over Jericho in what will be by far the most high-profile match of Hangman’s career would send similar shockwaves through the pro wrestling industry. I can’t wait to see it.