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Jason / Justin Roberts Interview



27 August 2003

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A lot of children grow up wanting to be wrestlers, just like their heroes. But some also want to grow up to be a ring announcer. As with wrestlers, some have "it", and others don't, and Justin/Jason Roberts certainly has "it". His resume is very impressive, and he's only 22. I managed to catch up with him for a few words.

Hey Justin. How are you?

Very good, thank you.

For those in the UK and elsewhere who aren't all that familiar with you, tell us a bit about yourself. When did you decide you were going to be a ring announcer?

I am currently 22, and I started ring announcing when I was 16 for Pro Wrestling International in Chicago. I graduated from the University of Arizona in May and I am 5 '10, 155 lbs, and I like long walks on the beach..... never really decided anything announcer-wise...I knew I couldn't jump in as a ref or manager with no training and I wasn't in the right shape to wrestle, I just got the opportunity to work a show at 16 as a ring announcer and jumped on it. As I did it more and more, it became less of a hobby and more of something that I really loved and wanted to do more regularly. I would say it got serious at 18/19 when I started working for other organizations.

Didn't you ever want to be a wrestler?

Yes, very much so when I was much younger. But when I realized I didn't have the build or skill for that, I stayed with the hopes of getting into the business, but in a safer aspect :). I am glad that I did this, as I have a TON of respect for those guys and I have no idea how their bodies could take that much of a beating night after night.

So how did you get into the business?

I was on a 'wrestling hotline' in Chicago and my name was somewhat known to those involved in the 'hotline scene'. So I talked to a guy who ran a hotline and was connected to PWI about getting to guest ring announce one match on an upcoming show in Chicago. He talked to the promoter, and I got to do my one match. The next show, it was more like half the show, and I kept getting more matches. After two years I went to Arizona for college and started working for other groups, and the more work I got, the more chances I had to improve.

Did you have to go to vocal drama classes or anything to work on your announcing technique or did it all come naturally?

I used to read out loud in class using funny voices. One was an announcer voice, so I just used that one to announce. I never took any vocal coaching until now, because after announcing all these years my way, I want to learn how to use my voice the right way.

When, where and with whom did you announcer your first match/card?

1996, Fiesta Palace, Waukeegan, IL-Pro Wrestling International

How did it go?

Back then-great. Watching a tape of it today-I was AWFUL. That announcer voice I used in the classroom should have stayed there.

You've announced in many promotions. Which do you consider to be your favourite to announce at?

I enjoyed working for many groups throughout the country. I had a lot of fun at most of them, but I think my favourite was Western States Wrestling in Phoenix which is basically now Impact Zone Wrestling (.com). We had a great group of guys for the most part, and we just had a lot of fun. The guys who ran the company were cool, and there was no backstabbing or anything like that. We were a bunch of people who enjoyed the business and wanted to make the most out of every show, We had like a cult following of fans, where we never advertised and always had a great turnout. For two years I announced for the FX Toughman contest and that too was a lot of fun.

You've announced in front of 200 fans, 300 fans an even 1000 fans with Indy promotions, but as of late, you've even been announcing with the WWE on RAW dark matches and Smackdown/Velocity tapings. Whats it like, the difference between announcing on 200 fan cards on the Indy scene and announcing in front of 10,000 odd at a WWE event?

It's awesome. I love going into the ring and looking out at thousands of people. Even when there were 2-300 people at Indy shows, we still had a lot of fun...but when there are 15,000 people out there, it's a whole other level. In the Indies, I was more conversational with the fans-I was taught to be the host of the show...with WWE, it's more structured and I basically do the announcements minus the conversation...as a ring announcer should, since the job is to introduce the guys and let the guys talk to the crowd through the wrestling.

What was it like, being backstage in the presence of guys like The Undertaker, HHH, Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho?

These guys are great performers who are at the top of their game, and it's an honour to be working in the same company. I grew up watching the Undertaker so it's weird to be working with him now. As for HHH and Jericho, I have been watching them for years now and I have great respect for them and everybody else who works for the company. All of the WWE wrestlers devote their lives to the company and work the majority of the week at entertaining the fans.

So have you signed full time for WWE now?

I am part time.

Who are your favourite guys to work with?

Everybody's cool to work with, I might prefer some names to announce over others....such as Rey Mysterio---I love introducing his name, but a name like Edge is a little harder to get out there. So my favourites would be those with announcable names.

In your opinion what's the best part about announcing?

Automatic holder of the microphone---big fan of microphones all my life. I like being able to talk with the fans before and after the events too. Since I am at ringside the entire time, I usually get this opportunity at house shows.

Who are your favourite announcers?

Howard Finkel is a legend. I'm also a big fan of Oki of Zero-One.

So what do you think the future has in store for yourself?

I never thought it would have WWE, so I really don't know. I hope to have a long career at WWE as that is what I love doing-and it was my dream job so I hope to be there for years to come!

Well thank you for giving up your time. Any last words for your adoring fans?

Please check out JJRoberts.com more for more info on me!

Mitchell Jones

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