Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oliver Newman interviews ROH Ring Announcer Bobby Cruise

My interview with ROH Ring Announcer Bobby Cruise By Oliver Newman

ON: Me

BC: Bobby Cruise

ON: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview Bobby

BC: No problem at all Oliver

ON: For the readers who are unaware of who Bobby Cruise is and what he is about, could you give them a little background information?

BC: Well, I have been an announcer in the wrestling business since the spring of 1994. In "real life", I am a sales representative for a beer wholesaler. I grew up in a really small town in south eastern Massachusetts, so small that the high school covered two other towns as well.

ON: Were you a Wrestling fan growing up? If so who was your favourite Wrestler/s?

BC: I was a fan growing up, the UHF station out of Boston had the WWF on every Saturday morning and I was always watching. My favourite wrestler when I first started watching was Rocky Johnson, he was great.

ON: Who was your favourite announcer/s?

BC: There is no doubt that as far as ring announcers went, it was Howard Finkel. He is the ultimate pro wrestling ring announcer. For play-by-play and colour commentary, I grew up with Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan, they were incredible together.

ON: Was their a defining moment, growing up when you thought I want to be in the Wrestling Business as an Announcer?

BC: I'm not sure there was one actual moment. I do know that as I became a teenager, I wanted to be a ring announcer. Even then, I focused a lot on what the ring announcer's were doing and the job they did. I always had a big interest in the actual production of the shows.

ON: How did you go about becoming an Announcer, when you were trying to break into the business?

BC: In high school, I played basketball my first three years, but baseball was really my thing and something I excelled at. I had done a bit of play-by-play work for the local cable access station and then during my senior year, the girl's basketball coach asked me if I was interested in doing the public address announcing for the girls games that year. I did it and I really enjoyed it.

Even after graduating, I came back to announce the games during the basketball season. Right around when I turned 21, I decided to send letters to the local New England independent promotions about doing some ring announcing for them. I figured that since I was a wrestling fan, and I enjoyed doing the public address work, I would try and combine the two.

ON: Can you explain to the readers the trials and tribulations of trying to break into the Wrestling Business as a Ring Announcer?

BC: I was actually very lucky. A couple of the promotions got back to me, and one of them was based less than a half hour from where I lived. They invited me to come down and announce a couple of matches as an audition. The good thing for me was that they needed a ring announcer. A wrestler who was injured at the time had been doing it.

I did a couple of matches on that first event and they called me a few days later and offered me the spot. Like I said, I was lucky and it must be tough for some people as there is only one ring announcer on a particular event so the odds are not good. Unless someone has a contact or the timing is perfect, it can be tough.

ON: Who was the 1st promotion you announced for and your personal thoughts on both the promotion and your announcing?

BC: The first promotion was called New England Wrestling at the time. They later went on to be called Yankee Pro Wrestling, and today they are Top Rope Promotions, out of Fall River, MA. I remember that I quickly realized this was really different than what was on television.

I had never been to an independent show before I announced my first one. I had to basically teach myself and learn on the run and I think that sometimes that is the best way to learn. Back then, I probably acted like Howard Finkel and sounded like a cheap rip off.

ON: How was the transition from Announcer to Commentator in N.E.W.? Can you tell the readers about the similarities/differences you dealt with?

BC: I actually did both some of the time with New England Wrestling. I really enjoyed doing the play by-play as well. I would do the ring announcing and just hop out and head to the table to do the play-by-play. Back then, I worked with a colour commentator who went by the name Sky King, he also wrestled. I had a blast doing commentary with him and I think we made a good team.

ON: Thoughts on Sky King the Wrestler, Announcer and as a Person?

BC: He reminded me of a mix of Rick Martel and Shawn Michaels. He was cocky as hell but he could get the crowd hating him after about three words. He was the king of the fifteen minute promo, he would not stop. As a commentator, he was great because he knew what he was talking about, and he also added his ring persona to his commentary. I am still friends with him to this day as we are in some fantasy baseball and football leagues together.

ON: Which other promotions were you involved in during the early days of your career?

BC: Beside New England Wrestling, I did some work for a promotion called the AWF in Massachusetts. A few years later I announced for the EWA out of Maine as well as Steve Corino's PWF in Pennsylvania.

ON: Thoughts on N.E.W. as a Wrestling Promotion?

BC: New England Wrestling has now been in business for over twenty years, that's not common on the independents. I met a lot of great people through the company. The promotion itself had a reputation of not having the best wrestlers or the best shows and some of that was valid.

A new owner took over the company over the past couple of years and I think they are starting to get noticed as a legit company. I actually just went to one of their events recently to check things out and hang out with some old friends.

ON: Thoughts on that event, what has changed and what has stayed the same?

BC: The quality of the product in the ring is better than what it used to be. Morale also seemed to be pretty good and that is always important. As far as what has stayed the same, there were still a couple of guys from the first show I announced for them around which is good for the younger guys.

ON: How did you get your start is Atlantic Wrestling Federation?

BC: The person who was the booker for New England Wrestling was no longer a part of the company and he went to join up with the AWF, which was running events every so often. He asked me to go ring announce the events and I probably announced less than ten events for them total.

ON: Thoughts on AWF as a promotion, and thoughts on your time there?

BC: It was a good company with a lot of experience and some talent connections behind it. I enjoyed announcing the shows overall.

ON: You then started working Eastern Wrestling Alliance how did this come about?

BC: Well, Sky King had left New England Wrestling and he joined up with the Eastern Wrestling Alliance in Maine. I ran into him one day and he asked me if I would go up there once a month and do the ring announcing as well as the play-by-play. It was great, a good bunch of people and King and I got reunited as a commentary duo.

ON: As some readers will know you became Steve Corino's personal ring announcer in Ring of Honor, how did you two meet, and your immediate thoughts after meeting Steve Corino for the 1st time?

BC: Right around the time ECW almost stopped, I was doing the booking for Yankee Pro Wrestling. YPW did a lot of shows at school as fundraisers and we were looking at bringing in some different talent. I booked Steve for some events and that is how we first met.

He was easy to deal with and he worked hard every time we brought him in. After a few months, he asked me to go down to Pennsylvania where he was running Premier Wrestling Federation events and I did.

ON: How did you become booker of Yankee Pro Wrestling?

BC: I was there as the ring announcer, as New England Wrestling changed it's name to Yankee Pro Wrestling. The booking spot opened up and the owner asked me if I would do it. So for a while, I did the ring announcing and booking.

ON: Considering the amount of criticism that is aimed at the bookers nowadays, can you explain to the readers your experience as a booker of a Wrestling promotion?

BC: For me it was tough. As a ring announcer or any other member of the talent roster, you show up to events and do your job and that's it. As the booker, you suddenly can't be everyone's buddy and that is a change because you are now in a position where there has to be some sort of discipline within the roster. It's not as easy as establishing a roster and writing stories with angles. There is a lot more that goes into it and it can be tough.

ON: Your thoughts prior to working P.W.F.? (As a Wrestling Promotion)

BC:I could only go by what I had heard. Gino Giovanni, one of the top bad guy personas in New England actually went down there to work for Steve. Corino had taken a liking to him after he saw him at the YPW events. The PWF used some independent talent from the East Coast, as well as some former ECW guys like Corino, CW Anderson, Jack Victory and Justin Credible.

ON: Then you started working for PWF, what were your thoughts on Steve Corino as an owner?

BC: Steve was having a tough time since he was in Japan so often back then. At times, he would actually miss PWF events while being overseas so no matter how hard he tried, it was never easy for him. We had a great locker room though, and Steve knew what directions he wanted to go with storylines etc.

ON: Thoughts on your time in the PWF?

BC: I loved it. The only bad part was that the events were always on Sunday nights and the PWF ran events in Pottstown, PA which was over five hours from where I lived. So I would head down there and announce the shows, get back at sunrise sometimes and then head to my real job. There were a lot of times I did not want to do it just for that reason, but Steve had always been so good to me, so I felt I needed to do it.

ON: Was there any Wrestler/s that you watched in PWF that you thought had the skills to become a huge star one day?

BC: Excluding the already established guys from ECW, I always thought Josh Daniels was excellent. He has done very well since on the East Coast indies and he has done some work with Zero-One in Japan as well.

ON: While announcing at PWF you were spotted by Zero One's General Manager Yoshiuki Nakamura. Your personal thoughts on Nakamura, and your meeting with him?

BC: It was an honour. The PWF had an event called "Vast Energy" when Masato Tanaka and Shinjiro Ohtani came over. At the time Z-1 was looking to run a Pay-per-View in the U.S. and send it back to Japan. They had already booked a ring announcer but Mr. Nakamura liked my work so he had Steve ask me if I would do the backstage interviews in English on the PPV. The show never ended up happening, but Mr. Nakamura did not forget about me a couple of months later.

ON: Indeed in January of 2003 you made your Ring Announcing debut in Z-1. Thoughts on the promotion and your debut show?

BC: What an experience. On Thanksgiving 2002, I got an Instant Message from Steve Corino saying that Zero-One was going to run two USA themed events in Tokyo and they asked for me to be the ring announcer. Both events were at the legendary Korauken Hall. The Z-1 crew from the office to the wrestlers and staff were all great to deal with. On the first night we did a PPV, and then on the next night we did a taping for Samurai TV. Ring announcing in Japan is something I never thought I would do.

ON: Thoughts on the two shows, from a Ring Announcers view? Any stand out matches, you can remember.

BC: Until you actually experience a wrestling event live in Japan, you cannot even grasp the atmosphere and overall feeling. The crowds in Japan are different, very quiet at times but very loud at the right times. On the PPV we did, the match between AJ Styles and Low Ki was one of the best matches I had seen live.

ON: After interviewing Steve Corino recently, I found out he came up with the Infamous ROH introductions. How did you become a part of that, and what were your thoughts on the idea?

BC: He emailed me one night and ran the premise by me. I had never been to or seen an ROH event. Steve told me what he was looking to do as he wanted to return to ROH with something that was so out of the ordinary, the fans would hate him. I had never done an introduction like that before but it was great fun.

ON: My favourite ring introduction was the duelling one with CM Punk, which was genius! Do you have a favourite long ROH introduction?

BC: The first one we did at "Bitter Friends, Stiffer Enemies" will always be a special one to me. We listed off all of the titles that Steve had won. The one with Punk in New York was a lot of fun too. We did not have any idea that Punk was going to have a rebuttal introduction. The match was a 20 minute draw and I think both intros were just as long!!

Interesting side note: If you watch Steve's walk to the ring for the Punk match, you will see now Senior ROH official Todd Sinclair as one of his young boys.

ON: As a Ring Announcer and at this point a friend of Steve Corino, what were your thoughts on his ROH feud with Homicide?

BC: Brutal. That match at "Bitter Friends" was a great match. Steve lost the hearing in his left ear in that match and I knew right away something was wrong. The realism of the hatred between the two was unmatched. Then they had the Barbed Wire match and it was really tough for me to be out there at ringside and seeing what they were doing to each other. The feud itself was one of ROH's best and I think it will always be remembered that way.

ON: One of my favourite feuds from 2003 was Xavier v John Walters, do you have a personal opinion on this feud?

BC: I did not see a lot of it at due to the fact I came in with Corino in August 2003. Both of those guys are tremendous in the ring. I have known John for several years. I think he told me I announced his second or third match when he was starting out way back when.

ON: Was there anyone in ROH when you started, that you felt could be a huge star/s one day?

BC: The writing was already on the wall for Punk. He was going through a feud with Raven at the time and you could just tell that he had "it." Samoa Joe was just becoming the Samoa Joe that ROH fans love and we all know that he has done pretty well for himself.

ON: You started working for the Z-1/PWF promotion, Pro Wrestling World 1 in Feb 2004, how did that come about?

BC: Steve Corino stopped running the PWF due to his wrestling schedule. After a while, he started Pro Wrestling WORLD-1 and he asked me to come on board.

ON: Thoughts on the merger between the two?

BC: It was seamless, it did not feel like a merger. The PWF titles were kept around in WORLD-1. Steve had an ownership stake in both companies.

ON: Thoughts on PWW-1 as a Promotion and differences between it and PWF?

BC: A lot of the talent was the same. There were some rule differences such as the old NWA rule about getting disqualified if you threw someone over the top rope. There was a twenty count on the floor and referees could give out yellow and red cards for rule breaking.

ON: The Wrestling Channel launched in March 2004, and you are the Host of the ROH Show, how did this come about?

BC: ROH came to me and told me about the show and asked me to host it and I have done it ever since. Hosting the show has been a blast and man, is there some funny stuff on the raw footage due to my screw ups!!

ON: What are your personal thoughts on the Wrestling Channel?

BC: I think it's a great thing. TWC Fight as I believe they are now known seems to offer something for everyone and I hope it is successful.

Bobby Cruise's perspective on ROH part one:

ON: Thoughts on Ricky Steamboat's feud with CM Punk in ROH?

BC: I think I caught the tail end of it. One thing I do remember was one of the Boston shows I announced where he hit Punk with the Steamboat press from the top, which brought back some memories.

ON: Thoughts on matches that made ROH (Some say), the trilogy between CM Punk v Samoa Joe?

BC: I would agree there, at least the matches I saw when I started with the company. There have been so many great matches in the company's history that it is very tough to pick a few. Joe v Kenta Kobashi is another one though as it gained ROH international recognition.

ON: In 2004 the rise of Austin Aries to the top started, it also culminated at Final Battle 2004. Your thoughts on Aries pre and post ROH Champ (As a person and a Wrestler)?

BC: I can still hear the crowd reaction when Aries pinned Joe in Philadelphia. I was not around for the beginning of "Generation Next", but looking back it was a great concept. Aries stepped up as the leader of the group and eventually became ROH World Champion. I think Austin was in a very tough spot as anyone who followed Joe as the champion was going to be, it was inevitable.

I would definitely say that Aries' title reign was successful overall. For a while, he was the trainer for the ROH Wrestling School and he was always watching his students in the ring during pre-show matches. He really seemed to care about their progress. He's a good guy with a ton of talent, and he's still young.

ON: Thoughts on Samoa Joe's historic 21 month run as ROH World Champion?

BC: Incredible. Once again, I was not there from the beginning but the part I saw was unreal. This was not the same guy I saw in 2001 in the PWF, he had improved so much on all levels. Joe worked his ass off each night and the fans knew it. Samoa Joe made the ROH World Title into what it became and I cannot say enough good things about him.

ON: Thoughts on Mick Foley's impact on ROH?

BC: Mick had a big impact on ROH. Mick said what he wanted to say, and when he took the microphone at an ROH event and put over the wrestlers and the matches he saw, he meant it. He added credibility to the ROH product.

ON: Thoughts on returning home to Mass as ROH Ring Announcer?

BC: It was a big thrill. At that point, I was not doing much announcing at all, by my choice. I wanted to cut my schedule way back when my second daughter was born. When ROH contacted me because they needed someone to fill in for a Boston area show, I took it.

ON: Thoughts on the ROH shows held there?

BC: The ROH shows were loaded with talent and the shows had unmatched arena production for an independent. The lighting and personalized canvas and guardrails were things that stuck out to me right away.

ON: Personal thoughts on fans favourite ROH show 'Manhattan Mayhem' was it as good as they say?

BC: Yes I think so. It was ROH's first event in the New Yorker so it was special. Jay Lethal v Joe for the ROH Pure title, the CM Punk/Jimmy Rave feud and the main event tag with The Rottwiellers vs. Joe & Lethal were all great on that show.

ON: Thoughts on CM Punk winning the ROH World Title on his 'last' night with the Company?

BC: Totally fooled. That whole thing was a stroke of genius. The reaction when he won the title was only surpassed during his post-match promo when he delivered his cryptic message. That night through his real last night with the company in Chicago was some of the best stuff I've seen in ROH.

ON: Thoughts on CM Punk's run with the ROH World Title?

BC: It was unpredictable. Since he won it on the night everyone thought he was leaving, every time he defended it could have been the match where he lost it. People were unsure about the whole deal and he and the company did a great job keeping this quiet.

ON: Thoughts on CM Punk's impact on Ring of Honor?

BC: It was huge. I think Punk had just as big of an impact on ROH as ROH had on his career. Punk and Gabe worked some magic together and it was truly good. Punk is old school in that he has great psychology, but he is also innovative in the ring. A great mind for the business and hopefully a very bright future in it.

I think he has done really well. He was a part of a main event level match at Survivor Series and I saw that he went for about a half hour in the recent Royal Rumble. Hopefully things will go well for him, he deserves it. He certainly seems to be quite the favourite with the ECW fans.

ON: Thoughts on James Gibson's impact on ROH?

BC: I think he had a great impact on ROH. He came in, basically looking to get his career going again and he won the fans over right away with his effort and grit. When he won the ROH World Title, he was genuinely touched by it and it showed.

ON: Thoughts on James Gibson's ROH World Title run?

BC: It was short but productive. His title matches were all very good and as I said, the crowd took to him right away so that helped. He worked hard every night.

ON: Thoughts on Bryan Danielson's run as ROH World Champion?

BC: I did not think I would see another run like Joe's again but Bryan did it. He had so many memorable title defences and what he did after suffering that shoulder injury is totally remarkable. He is no doubt one of the best around and fans worldwide know it.

ON: Thoughts on the historic Samoa Joe v Kenta Kobashi match?

BC: Easily one of the best atmospheres I have ever been a part of. The New Yorker ballroom was jammed with people and it was great. The match itself was awesome! They beat the hell out of each other and they were both spent after the match. As far as I know, it is still ROH's all-time top selling DVD and that is saying something.

ON: Thoughts on Dragon Gate stars showing up in ROH for the Wrestlemania Triple Shot, and thoughts on the whole weekend?

BC: The Dragon Gate guys are awesome, the whole crew. The six-man match they had in Chicago is still talked about today and it was a highlight in 2006 overall. The guys are coming back over for the ROH events in Detroit at the end of March and I am looking forward to it.

ON: How did the invitation to Dragon Gate come about?

BC: ROH had some of the stars of Dragon Gate in for the big triple shot last March. Before the last night in Chicago, Mr. OJI from the Dragon Gate office came up to me and told me that they liked my announcing and that they wanted me to go to Japan to announce for them. I was really honoured.

ON: What was it like announcing for Dragon Gate, how was it different then Z-1?

BC: There actually was not a big difference. Much like Z-1, Dragon Gate had me ring announce the shows solo as they wanted a different look from their normal events. We did five WrestleJAM events in and around Tokyo in five days so we were busy. The Dragon Gate ring announcer, Mr. Kikuchi announced with me as far as public address announcements and welcoming the fans each night. After that, it was just me for the ring intros.

ON: What were your thoughts on the WrestleJam premise? Can you explain what it was to the readers….

BC: Dragon Gate wanted to combine the talents of Japanese, American and Mexican wrestlers and the different styles. That's where the JAM came in. I thought it was a great idea as it gave them something different than their normal events. Last I heard, JAM is supposed to be a yearly event.

ON: Thoughts on the shows?

BC: They were all very entertaining. Dragon Gate did a really good job of matching guys up and there were some dream matches that took place as well. Aries and Strong defended the ROH tag titles twice during the five days, thus making them World tag titles.

Bobby Cruise's perspective on ROH part two::

ON: ROH made great strides in 2006, the highlight for me was the ROH UK shows, I was there live at the Liverpool show. When was it decided to come to England, and what were your immediate thoughts?

BC: I remember being at a New York City television studio on a very cold February morning last year and Cary Silkin came up to me and told me we were close to running in the UK. It was a huge step for the company. It was a great experience and it was a great trip for the company as a whole.

To be able to announce return dates right away which was huge and I think the acceptance of ROH by the UK fans has been awesome. I am really looking forward to heading back to the UK and doing the two events in the Liverpool Olympia. I am actually flying over the day after my birthday so I'll have to have a UK version birthday party.

ON: Thoughts on ROH Liverpool (August's) Fan Slam?

BC: I thought it went very well. It was a great opportunity for the UK fans to meet the ROH wrestlers and staff. The Q & A's seemed to go well for the most part and it had a great turnout.

ON: With that show came a consistent Wrestling show with two tremendous matches, Austin Aries/Roderick Strong v The Briscoe's and Bryan Danielson v Nigel McGuiness. Your thoughts on these matches and the card?

BC: Aries & Strong made the ROH tag titles into World tag titles, and the Briscoe's returned in 2006 in a big way. Their match that night was incredible and all four guys gave it their all. Aries suffered an injury during the match and who would have really known.

As for the title for title match between Danielson and McGuiness, all I can say is that Nigel stepped up huge in that match. The atmosphere was awesome for his entrance and everything that followed. Nigel proved that night, if he had not done so already, that he is a big time player in ROH and one of the best. As for Danielson, I don't know what I can say that has not already been said. The guy is amazing and just do damn good.

ON: How did your tryout in World Wrestling Entertainment come about?

BC: I got a call in early September asking me to go out to Oklahoma for a set of tapings later that month.

ON: What were your immediate thoughts after the phone call?

BC: It was good to get the call, no question. Working for the WWE is basically the only thing I had not done yet in my announcing career. I was a little torn right away because I knew if it worked out, my time with ROH would end and with as good as ROH has been to me, I felt kind of bad about it. But, I owed it to myself and my girls to look into it and I am glad I followed through with it.

ON: Another fans favourite show is ROH Glory By Honor 5 Night 2, you were there live, did it live up to hype?

BC: Oh ya, the debut show for ROH at the Manhattan Centre. That show may very well have been the best top to bottom ROH show I have seen. The action in the ring was incredible, and then you add the Bruno Sammartino appearance and the altercation between Joe and Morishima. The event was excellent!!

ON: Thoughts on your tryout on WWE Heat (September 29th 2006)?

BC: I thought it went well. The first one was in Oklahoma City. I did some prep work during the afternoon, making sure I saw everyone I needed to see and making sure I had all the right info on guys etc.... Obviously, they have state of the art sound there so I thought I came across as a little too loud at first so I wanted to tone it down a bit.

ON: So they must have had interest because you were invited back again, thoughts on your 2nd appearance?

BC: Ya, I got a call a couple of days after I got back from Oklahoma. They asked me how I thought things went and they agreed so they asked me to go out a month later to Chicago & St. Louis. I would change things if I could from the HEAT in Chicago. After feeling I was too loud in Oklahoma, I pulled back too much in Chicago and aside from the first match, I did not like the rest of the announcing I did that night.

ON: Thoughts on your experience on the whole with the WWE?

BC: I really enjoyed it overall. The people I dealt with in the office treated me great, as did the people I dealt with at the arenas. The three ring announcers there were also great with me and helpful along the way. Their arena production and television production are unmatched in the industry. They know where to find me if they need someone and hopefully I will be able to do some fill-in work for them down the road. I would welcome to opportunity to work with the people I worked with there once again.

Bobby Cruise's perspective on ROH part three:

ON: Thoughts on Homicide finally reaching the ROH pinnacle?

BC: It was certainly well deserved. I wrote a column for the ROH site after Punk left that ROH had three icons: Punk, Joe and Homicide. The scene at the Manhattan Centre when and after he won the title was awesome. You could just see how happy the locker room was for him and how much it meant to him.

ON: Samoa Joe leaving ROH! Really Unfortunate. But a legacy that no one will ever match. Immediate thoughts when you heard the announcement?

BC: This is a tough one. I was not surprised when the announcement was made because there have been rumours for a while. Joe has meant so much to ROH, there is no way to measure it.

Did this have to happen? I think arguments can be made both ways so there is no point in getting into that. I hope the ROH fans don't treat these last shows for Joe as just farewell shows, I'd rather see them viewed as a celebration of his ROH career and all that he did in it.

ON: The Samoa Joe farewell tour was announced, it will end in Liverpool and begins next weekend v Takeshi Morishima! Thoughts on this huge match!?

BC: Huge is the word. They had a confrontation at the Manhattan Centre before and now it will explode in the ring. I think the ROH fans are really, really looking forward to this match. Joe loves to fight and he will have his hands full and them some with Morishima.

ON: The next match of the tour is against one of the top up and comers in Pro Wrestling in 2007 Davey Richards, could you share your personal thoughts on Davey and the match?

BC: Davey has certainly made a splash since landing in ROH. One of the stiffest kickers I have seen. It remains to be seen how big of a 2007 Davey Richards will have but I think he will be given every opportunity to succeed. That match will be one of the hardest hitting matches in a while. Davey's got a huge chance here to get one over on an ROH icon and jump into main event status just like that. Joe is a man filled with pride and he knows exactly what Davey will be looking to do, I don't expect Joe to be one-upped.

ON: Thoughts on WWE as we stand in Feb 2007?

BC: Obviously, the WWE is number one in this business and they have been for a long time. I know some fans get frustrated by the WWE at times but I think they try and offer something for everyone and that is very hard to do. I can say that after spending four days with them at tapings, there is no lack of effort by any member of their team.

The people there work tirelessly to try and put out the best product they can and like anything else, not everything works. There is not a baseball team that goes 162-0, or a basketball team that goes 82-0. Perfection is not realistic, although they certainly try. Like I mentioned earlier, their production cannot be matched.

ON: Thoughts on TNA?

BC: Tough one here as I don't actually see a lot of it. They are still here and they are on national television so they have to be doing something right. There is a lot of talent down there, no doubt. It will be interesting to see what their next step is whether it is going to a two-hour show as has been rumoured, or getting out on the road with house shows. This should be an interesting year for them.

ON: Thoughts on ROH as we stand in 2007?

BC: It's a very interesting and at the same time, exciting time for ROH. Last year was a huge year for the company with the March triple shot, debuting internationally and debuting at the Manhattan Centre as some highlights. It will be tough to top 2006, but that is what I was thinking after 2005, and it got topped. It will be interesting to see who steps up on the roster if some slots higher up on the card open up. Of course, we have the UK return coming up and the Japan debut announced and those are both huge. I think 2007 is a critical year for the company and I think everyone is ready for the challenge.

ON: Joe's last match takes place in Liverpool, England come March 4th, with a To Be Announced opponent, who do you think it will be and who do you want it to be?

BC: I have no idea who it will be, not even a guess. It will be interesting to see if we find out before March 4th or if we a find out at the Liverpool Olympia that night. No matter who it is, I am sure it will be an emotional night, just like Joe's last U.S. shows for ROH will be.

ON: Your personal thoughts going into ROH's return to the UK?

BC: I am really looking forward to it. I enjoyed my first UK tour last summer. For the company, I hope everything goes as well as the first tour and we can come back later this year. Having two events back-to-back in the same building is going to be great as it's an awesome building and talent and fans alike can get into the area and not have to worry about travelling in between shows. Hopefully, the ROH FanSlam on Saturday will be a big hit again.

ON: Word Association?

BC: Sure.

ON: Ring Announcers first,

ON: Lilian Garcia?

BC: Lilian was awesome to deal with when I did the WWE work. She was so helpful and so easy to talk to about things and any questions I had. I have a lot of respect for her as she has turned herself into a heck of a ring announcer, besides her obvious singing skills. Also, her interaction with the fans is awesome. She really loves doing what she does.

ON: Howard Finkel?

BC: He is the best ring announcer I have seen. I grew up watching him and he was the epitome of professionalism. I learned so much just from watching him. He's a legend who I am sure will be a Hall of Famer sooner rather than later.

ON: Steven De Angelis?

BC: Like a lot of people, I first saw Steven while watching ECW. He was always good to deal with when I was doing the "Corino intros" and I was happy to see that he was able to announce the "ECW One Night Stand" PPV's.

ON: Tony Chimel?

BC: I think Tony is awesome. He has been with the WWE for years and he was also great to deal with. I think he is an excellent ring announcer and he still has a lot of fun doing his job. One of the funniest people I met last fall.

ON: Justin Roberts?

BC: Justin is doing very well for himself. I met him for the first time last fall and he seemed like a really good guy. I was happy to see he got his "own show" last year when the company put him on ECW.

ON:'Mean' Gene Okerlund?

BC: Another legend. I grew up watching him do all of the interviews about upcoming events in the area. He was very smooth and always entertaining.

ON: Now onto Wrestlers.

ON: Paul London?

BC: I first met Paul during my first tour with Z-1 in Tokyo. One of the nicest guys you could meet, and of course very talented. I am really happy to see him doing so well now.

ON: AJ Styles?

BC: Another guy I met for the first time on the Z-1 tour. He is obviously extremely talented in the ring. AJ can bring an intensity that you don't see everyday and it's impressive. He's a big star where he is and he is still young.

ON: Chris Daniels?

BC: A total professional. He is so respected by everyone. One of the top guys for two companies which says something. He is a hell of a wrestler, but he can also be a great entertainer as well if the moment calls for it.

ON: Kurt Angle?

BC: Obviously, he is one of the greatest wrestlers of his generation. I have never met him so I can just go by what I have seen of him in the ring but he is a machine. Still, one of my favourite things about him is how he won a gold medal with a broken neck. I am not a big amateur wrestling fan at all, but to just think about what that takes, in the Olympics of all places is just awesome!

ON: Bret Hart?

ON: Mick Foley?

BC: Mick Foley is awesome. His story is part of what is good about the wrestling business. He grew up wanting to be a wrestler, and in the end he did very well for himself. Mick is one of the nicest guys I have met in the business. He helped me out big time a few years ago when I ran a benefit show for a young boy with cancer. Mick drove up from Long Island to appear at the event and helped us raise over $9,000 to help the boy's family with medical bills. A true class act!

ON: Chris Benoit?

BC: Another one of the great technicians of our time. I was happy to see him get his chance to shine and did he ever take advantage of it. His match with Angle in 2003 was incredible and it's great to see him back in action.

ON: Ricky Steamboat?

BC: Another legend that was an asset to ROH. He took the time to talk to wrestlers on a one-on-one basis or together as a group when he appeared at ROH events. He was very easy to talk to and he just knows so much. When I saw him last fall, he took the time to ask how things were going in ROH and how everyone was doing.

ON: Chris Sabin?

BC: I only dealt with him in person a couple of times when he came in for ROH but he seemed like a really good guy, easy going. He's got a ton of talent and he is another guy that is still young so his future is bright.

ON: Shelton Benjamin?

BC: A world of talent and of course, a great amateur background. It seems like his reuniting with Charlie Haas has gotten great reviews so hopefully they can recapture some of the magic they had as a team before.

ON: Charlie Haas?

BC: See above basically. He's a well respected guy who hopefully can reach the level that a lot of people think he can.

ON: Low Ki?

BC: Intense. I could stop there. Ki has done some things I never thought I would see in a ring. He's innovative, athletic, aggressive and demanding of himself. He is one of the best in the world.

ON: Naomichi Marufuji?

BC: I enjoyed when he came over and competed in ROH. It seems like he is becoming a bigger star in Japan every day and by all accounts, he deserves it.


BC: He reminds me of Ki in so many ways. Those kicks are nasty and "Go To Sleep" is gross. I think as time went on, he became more and more comfortable in ROH and I for one, hope he returns sometime this year.


BC: I will be seeing Pac for the first time in Liverpool, although I have heard nothing but rave reviews about him.

ON: Jonny Storm?

BC: I did my second tour of Z-1 with Johnny. He's a great guy that is very entertaining. It was really good seeing him again last August in the UK.

ON: Doug Williams?

BC: A former ROH Pure Champion, I have always enjoyed seeing Doug compete. He will be returning to ROH in April and the fans are happy about it.

ON: Spud?

BC: You got to love that little guy. He flies around, has fun doing it and he is one of the funniest people I've met in the business.

ON: The Briscoe's?

BC: They had a huge 2006 with their ROH return and they did not disappoint. I think 2007 will be there year if they can stay healthy.

ON: Vince McMahon?

BC: There is really nothing I can say that has not been said. A mastermind for sure and a main reason why we are talking about wrestling right now. As for me, I talked to him briefly when I was there last fall and he was great with some good feedback I happened to agree with.

ON: Best ROH match thus far according to Bobby Cruise?

BC: Yikes, that's not easy. I guess I'd have to go with Joe vs. Kobashi for several reasons. First, it was a great match. The atmosphere was incredible and it meant so much to ROH as a company as it seemed to really get things going with Pro Wrestling NOAH.

ON: Advice for aspiring Ring Announcers, who may be reading?

BC: I would say first of all observe the good ones. You can't go wrong by going to a WWE taping and watching any of their three ring announcers. If you find a good one on the indies, do the same. Then try and network with people and find an opportunity, timing is key.

Once you have a spot somewhere, just realize what the role of a ring announcer is. An event is about the guys in the ring, not a ring announcer so just do your job while staying out of the limelight.

Bobby Cruise's perspective on ROH part four (final part):

ON: Thoughts on Samoa Joe v Morishima live, did it live up to the hype in your opinion?

BC: I had never seen Morishima so I was not quite sure what to expect. I think the matched definitely lived up to the hype as the NYC fans seemed to eat it up.

ON: ROH has a new World Champion in Takeshi Morishima! What were your immediate thoughts after watching him defeat Homicide?

BC: My first thought was: WOW. Morishima was unstoppable in that match and he really made a statement. I think what he did following the match was somewhat uncalled for as he basically blew off anyone that wanted to congratulate him.

ON: Thoughts on Davey Richard's biggest ROH match to date v Joe live?

BC: Two of the hardest kickers I have seen and they certainly unloaded on each other. Davey has a big chance right now in ROH and his match with Joe was a good step for him.

ON: ROH also has New World Tag Team Champions in The Briscoe's, what were your thoughts on the match they contested against Matt Sydal & Chris Daniels?

BC: The Briscoe's had a huge 2006 as I mentioned earlier and I expect them to have a bigger 2007. They got a huge win in Chicago when they defeated Sydal & Daniels. The Briscoe's have wanted the ROH World tag titles since they came back to ROH and it will be interesting to see who can step up and challenge them.

ON: Homicide's impact as ROH Champion?

BC: I think just Homicide holding the title, as brief as reign as it was, was something that was he was totally deserving of. He is an ROH original and one of the most respected and well-liked guys we have.

ON: Sydal & Daniels impact as ROH Tag Champs?

BC: This was interesting as their alliance came out of mutual respect they gained for each other after facing off in a series of matches. I think they did well with the ROH World tag titles.

ON: Thoughts on Takeshi Morishima & Nigel McGuiness v Samoa Joe & Homicide live?

BC: The atmosphere was awesome and the response Joe received from the fans was great. The match itself was very good with Joe and Morishima facing off once again, Homicide wanting some sort of revenge on Morishima and Nigel once again showing why he is a top guy.

ON: Joe v Homicide is the last match of Samoa Joe's ROH Career!! Joe and Homicide have had a well documented storied past it culminates this Sunday Night! Thoughts on the ROH Icon v ROH MVP?

BC: This match is one of those special things. I have referred to these guys as two of ROH's three original icons (Punk was the other), and now they are facing off in Joe's last match as an ROH regular. I can't wait for this match, I can't wait to see and hear the fans in Liverpool for this match and I can't wait to see the show that Homicide and Joe will put on.

ON: Any websites, you care to mention where fans can keep up with Bobby Cruise happenings and find out more about you?

BC: For ROH, check out & . For me, all my info is at

ON: Any final words for the readers?

BC: Just a big thank you. Without wrestling fans there is no need for wrestling or wrestling ring announcers. We are very lucky at ROH to have some of the most passionate wrestling fans around the world.

ON: Thanks once again Bobby for taking the time out for this interview,

BC: My pleasure Oliver, thank you.

BC: Final Thoughts: All fans attending an ROH Fifth Year Festival events: Get READY!

ON: Final Thoughts: Bobby Cruise is the Marathon man! This whole interview was completed in one sitting. Bobby was a different kind of interview as I have never interviewed a Ring Announcer before. His insight into Professional Wrestling and especially ROH was superb!

Thanks for taking the time to read my work, I hope you enjoyed it! I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to send some feedback. Good/bad it will make me better as a writer and I'm always looking to improve my writing in anyway.

If you would like to send feedback, you can feel free to leave comments (in my blog), or you can message me, I'm trying to be most legit person on Myspace (so I will reply) or if your not on myspace you could alternatively email me at:

Oliver Newman
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or referencing commentary from this site please include a link to as opposed to "Strong Style Shimko", "From The Mean Filipine Blog" or derivatives. Thank you!

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