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WCW bosses give Madden the boot

Local sports radio host loses job as color man

Wednesday, January 03, 2001

By Cristina Rouvalis, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Mark Madden has been body slammed by World Championship Wrestling.

A color commentator with a bad-guy persona, Madden lost his high-profile job on TNT's Monday Nitro.

Madden -- a combative Pittsburgh personality with a talk radio show and a weekly Post-Gazette column -- ran afoul of WCW management for on-air remarks about the company and several of its performers.

Madden declined comment on the dismissal in late December.

Officials at WCW, a subsidiary of Time Warner's Broadcasting System, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But Dave Meltzer, editor of the San Jose, Calif.-based Wrestling Observer Newsletter, said Madden was dismissed after he made a flip remark about the rumored sale of the financially troubled WCW and called for the return of fired superstar Scott Hall. Meltzer said wrestlers such as Kevin Nash have repeatedly crusaded for Hall's return to TNT broadcasts, but Madden was singled out.

"The company is totally out of control," Meltzer said. "They felt they needed to send a message. Madden was a scapegoat. He is no angel. He probably should have been reprimanded over the Scott Hall remark. But for him to be fired, when no one else is even reprimanded, is mind-boggling."

Meltzer said Madden also had been suspended recently for calling Diamond Dallas Page "leather- face."

Madden's abrupt, in-your-face persona -- one that Pittsburghers tend to love or hate -- might have hurt his chances to stay in the lucrative, trashing-talking world of wrestling. Meltzer said Madden also lost his job as a reporter for WCW's hotline, Internet site and a magazine.

"He is not shy about giving his opinions," Meltzer said. "He is not shy about complaining. In wrestling, they just want sheep who don't complain."

On a Web site called http://www.pwtorch.com/, Madden defended himself by saying: "When I was told to stop talking about the sale of [WCW], I did stop talking about the sale. When I was told to stop talking about Scott Hall, I did stop talking about Scott Hall a month before anyone else did. If those are the reasons I was let go, frankly, they don't hold water."

He also said: "I'd love to work in wrestling again. If I don't ... I think I did very well for myself."

Meltzer estimates Madden made about $150,000 a year as a WCW announcer.

He was hired as a color commentator a year ago but was first hired by the company in 1994 and has worked for the wrestling magazine, a phone hotline and an Internet site. He was fired once before in the spring of 1997 but was rehired seven weeks later.

In the past year, Madden even climbed into the ring a few times, but Meltzer called that wrestling experiment, concocted by management, a disaster.

Like his persona on his sports radio talk show on WEAE-AM (1250), Madden's ringside personality was viewed as wickedly funny or thoroughly obnoxious. He called himself the best-looking big guy in wrestling.

Meltzer's newsletter has an annual poll rating the best and worst pro wrestling announcers, and Madden garnered many votes in both columns.

"People either loved him or hated him," Meltzer said. "There is no in between with Mark Madden."

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