This week, Danny talked with the voice of Ring of Honor wrestling Ian Riccaboni:
(This conversation took place on Danny’s other podcast “Take a Bump” with Ring of Honor World Champion Matt Taven)
DANNY PICARD: From my perspective, I’m a fan of pro wrestling, and I’m a broadcaster. But I look at what you do, and I always wonder, how does someone like you get involved in the pro wrestling broadcasting industry? How did you get involved in this?
IAN RICCABONI: It’s a minor miracle. I went to college for broadcasting. You try and figure out how the guys that do what you want to do did it. And so, when we were growing up, SportsCenter was huge. You had guys like Dan Patrick, Stuart Scott, Steve Levy, Keith Olbermann, the list goes on and on and on. I wanted to do what they did. And what I did was I looked up what you do to get on TV…So I started taking journalism classes in high school. I started to do TV production stuff as well. From there, I went to college, and when I stepped foot on NYU’s campus, within a week I was casting an MTV special. MTV had a casting call, and somebody in the communications department at NYU said, “Hey, they’re looking for some people to come ask Bill Gates some questions. It’s going to be a roundtable, it’s going to be a forum, and they’ll cast you then edit it to however it fits on TV.” So, within a week of being on campus, I was in a special with Bill Gates and Gideon Yago. And it was one of these weird things where I thought, “Man, I’m 1-for-1. I got this. I’m going to be on TV. This is easy.” And then the well dried up for about four-and-a-half years… But then I graduated and went to Grad school at the University of Pennsylvania. And while I was there, my buddy was like, “Let’s do a TV show.” And I was like, “How are we going to do a TV show?” And he was like, “Let’s do public access.” So we rented the equipment in Pennsylvania and did a public access show. We had some wrestlers on the show. From there, the public access turned into a Philadelphia Phillies TV show. I later became the host after it was picked up by Comcast SportsNet in Philly. During that time, I met the Blue Meanie because I was interviewing famous Phillies fans. And I said to him, “If my friend wants to be a wrestling broadcaster, what should he do?” And he showed me how to pay my dues, come set up the ring, and I was there a good three or four months doing that kind of stuff before he let me ring announce and before I got to start calling shows.
DP: You’re a Philadelphia sports fan, and there’s a lot going on. The Celtics and 76ers could meet in the playoffs, your Phillies just signed Bryce Harper. Here in Boston, the Red Sox suck this season. And then we had the Patriots vs the Eagles last year in the Super Bowl, so there’s a lot going on with both Philly and Boston in the sports world.
IR: Well Bryce Harper is doing and saying all the right things right now. He’s doing a lot of things out of the Joel Embiid playbook. He’s making himself visible in the city. He’s doing different things in the city that really makes it feel like he wants to be here. And I don’t think you sign a 13-year contract somewhere with no opt-outs on either side if you don’t want to be somewhere. So Harper, to me, is the real deal in at least that he feels like he genuinely wants to be here…
DP: I made my NBA predictions on “The Danny Picard Show.” And I actually picked the 76ers to beat the Celtics in the East Finals I hope I’m wrong, and I know you hope I’m right…But then I have Philly getting waxed by Golden State.
IR: I think that’s the expected outcome. I think the Warriors will just run over anybody that gets out of the East…I think it’s the Sixers and Celtics in the Eastern Conference Final. I think the Bucks are just paper. They had the best record, but as we found out with the Atlanta Hawks a couple years ago, that doesn’t mean a whole lot. As we find out year after year with the Raptors, that doesn’t mean a whole lot… I think we’re going to see Philly and Boston, and I think the Sixers will wrap it up in six.Listen to “The Danny Picard Show” at PodcastOne. Also available on iTunes, Spotify, and dannypicard.com. Subscribe to Danny’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/dannypica