Mark Madden (born December 29, 1959) is an American sports talk show host in Pittsburgh. He is best known for his work as a professional wrestling color commentator for World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Madden hosts a weekday afternoon show from 3-6 PM on local radio station, 105.9 The X, and serves as a part-time sports columnist for TribLive.[1][2]

Mark Madden
MarkMadden.jpg
Mark Madden attending AEW Dynamite in 2021.
Born
Mark Madden

(1959-12-29) December 29, 1959 (age 62)
Alma materDuquesne University
OccupationSportscaster
Years active1992–present
Websitehttps://1059thex.iheart.com/featured/mark-madden/

CareerEdit

Professional wrestlingEdit

World Championship Wrestling (1992–2001)Edit

Madden wrote for Pro Wrestling Torch from 1992 to 1994. His most notable moment during this time came during an interview with baseball legend Hank Aaron, who was working for the Atlanta Braves at the time and was informed by Madden of the employment of "Cowboy" Bill Watts by World Championship Wrestling, then a sister company to the Braves via their common ownership by Turner Broadcasting System. Madden had informed Aaron about racist comments Watts had made to the wrestling media before being hired by WCW as head booker and president, leading to Aaron to push for Watts' removal.[3]

The story gave Madden national attention, and he was eventually hired by WCW to work as a TV color commentator and magazine writer by Watts' replacement as WCW president, Eric Bischoff. Much of his time during WCW's peak in the Monday Night Wars was behind the scenes, though he did run the WCW Hotline, a 900 number service with "insider tips" alongside Gene Okerlund. He also befriended his childhood idol, Ric Flair, whom Madden would watch as a child on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling via his UHF antenna on WJNL-TV in Johnstown (now Jeannette-licensed WPCW);[4] the two remained close friends for decades.[5]

Starting in early 2000, he began appearing on WCW television on a regular basis, replacing Bobby Heenan (in both a cost-cutting move as well as Heenan's own declining health) on the commentary booth on WCW Monday Nitro & WCW Thunder, as well as the pay-per-view events. Primarily a heel during this time, Madden's wrestling persona would be similar to his radio talk show persona in Pittsburgh. He did see some in-ring action against Okerlund (both losses), as well as being unprovokingly attacked by Tank Abbott who started randomly attacking people (ironically at Madden's encouragement) until Bill Goldberg answered a challenge that never was resolved on WCW television.

During his run as color commentator on WCW, Madden began wearing Hawaiian shirts at the insistence of Vince Russo. Madden, who didn't like wearing a shirt and tie, liked it so much that he continues to wear them today on his radio show and as a panelist on a Sunday night sports show on WPXI until he was fired from the show in 2021..[6]

Shortly before Vince McMahon purchased WCW in March 2001, Madden was fired for making disparaging remarks about the company, lobbying for the return of the fired Scott Hall, and disclosing information about the sale of WCW.[7]

Post-WCW (2001–present)Edit

Madden spent several years as a regular columnist for Wade Keller's Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter.

Within the wrestling world, Madden was known for his legitimate running feud with Diamond Dallas Page. Madden has often blamed Page for his firing from WCW (though he was happy to go at the time) and has often referred to him as "DDMe" on his online articles and radio shows. While Page has offered to appear on Madden's show, Madden declines each time. While Madden gave Page credit for turning around the lives of Jake Roberts and Scott Hall, he cited Page's use of TV cameras to film the progress of their rehabilitation in Page's home, which he felt was unnecessary and more or less was used to fuel Page's ego.[8][9] By 2020, however, Madden and Page had made up at a Starrcast event, at the encouragement of Sean Waltman.[10] Madden is also known for his long-running feud with Jim Cornette, which reportedly started after Madden was offended by racist comments Cornette made towards Madden's mother.[11]

After weeks of teasing it, in 2021, Madden began co-hosting The Best Wrestling Show. with former WWE VP of Global Television Production Mike Mansury, a wrestling podcast produced by Pat McAfee. The podcast was available for free on YouTube. The podcast went on hiatus on May 13, 2021 after a little over two months due to Masury taking another job and him & Madden unable to work out logistics.[12][13]

On August 11, 2021, Madden was booed while in attendance at the All Elite Wrestling event at the Petersen Events Center for AEW Dynamite and AEW Dark: Elevation, sitting ringside. During the Dark: Elevation taping, he was acknowledged on-air by former WCW colleagues Tony Schiavone & Paul Wight and guest commentator Eddie Kingston during the Sammy Guevara-Serpentico match when Guevara threw Serpentico's tag team partner Luther into the barricade in front of Madden.[14]

On November 17, 2021, Madden returned to wrestling podcasting when he became the host of Ric Flair's Wooooo Nation Uncensored. The podcast came to an abrupt end on March 27, 2022 when Madden announced his resignation and thanked Flair for the opportunity, which was followed by Flair admitting that Madden was fired and replaced by Flair's son-in-law Conrad Thompson. It eventually led to a Twitter exchange that saw the two end their friendship after 35 years.[5]

Local sports journalismEdit

A 1982 graduate of Duquesne University, and member of Tau Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity, Madden has also worked within mainstream sports journalism, including fifteen years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he primarily covered high schools for the paper's suburban sections, as well as stints at the now-defunct Penguins Report and the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper. He subsequently appeared as a featured guest on Action Sports Sunday on WTAE-TV, a half-hour sports discussion show. The Post-Gazette reported on November 17, 2006 that WTAE-TV dropped Mark Madden as a freelance sports commentator on its Sunday night sports show.[15] In 2015, Madden joined WPNT for a nightly televised sports talk show, an edited replay of his radio show, which was removed from WPNT's schedule in 2016.[16] Madden often nicknames himself the "Super Genius" on his programs and social media due to having an IQ score of 166, of which he was tested on in the fourth grade.[17]

Madden wrote a weekly column called "Monday Madden" for the Beaver County Times, a Pittsburgh-area newspaper, starting in May 2007; the column continued for over a decade until his departure to work for TribLive in 2018.

In May 2008, Madden was fired from his talk show on Pittsburgh's 1250 ESPN radio station for the following comment: "I'm very disappointed to hear that Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is near death because of a brain tumor. I always hoped Senator Kennedy would live long enough to be assassinated."[18][19]

Another area of sports in which Madden is heavily involved is the game of street hockey. Madden runs Street Hockey USA, and is also involved in the American Street Hockey Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to growing the game of street/dek/ball hockey in America. He has coached numerous National Champion teams over the years (most notably his Pittsburgh Wizards team), as well as coaching the United States Junior team to a gold medal in the 2006 World Junior Championship in Germany.[20]

On April 3, 2011, his Beaver County Times column addressed a then-current grand jury investigation into alleged child sexual abuse by former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, suggesting the possibility of a Penn State cover-up.[21] After Sandusky was indicted on over 40 felony charges, Madden appeared on The Dennis and Callahan Show, a Boston sports talk radio program, on November 10. During his appearance, he reported a rumor being investigated by two prominent columnists that Sandusky and his Second Mile children's charity may have been "pimping out young boys to rich donors."[22]

Views on Pittsburgh sports teamsEdit

Madden's views on Pittsburgh's three major professional sports teams are mixed. While Madden usually defends the Penguins, he has mixed views about the Pittsburgh Steelers and is harshly critical of the Pittsburgh Pirates.[23]

With the Steelers Madden has often praised the Rooney family for going all-out to win but questions the team's decisions regarding off-field actions of their players, and was particularly critical of Antonio Brown.[23][24] Madden has also been critical of the team's non-confrontational tactics regarding team legends near the end of their careers dating back to Franco Harris, though he did defend the team regarding James Harrison.[25]

Along with John Steigerwald, Madden was one of the few local sports journalists to defend former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart, feeling Stewart was being unfairly judged due to being African American and was also critical of the Steelers decision to have Stewart downplay rumors of his homosexuality.[26]

With regards to the Pirates, Madden is highly critical of team owner Robert Nutting placing profits ahead of putting a competitive product on the field and is critical of Pirates fans who continuously support the team, feeling that the team will not be consistently a contender unless Nutting sells the team.[23][27] As such, Madden is one of the only local sportscasters who will not cover the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Madden, did, however, defend the Pirates decision to have Todd Frazier designated for assignment after batting .086 in 35 plate appearances, leading to a Twitter feud between the two and many Pittsburghers laughing at Madden after Frazier was fat shaming Madden during the feud.[28]

Personal lifeEdit

Madden was raised as an only child by a single mother in Reserve Township. He lived at home with her until he was 40 years old. having never met his father nor showing any interest in tracking him down.[29] His mother, a speech teacher at North Hills High School with whom Madden was very close with, died in 2006.[30]

Madden is an avid fan of Liverpool F.C as well as classic rock and heavy metal music. His favorite band is UFO,[31] and plays their song "Too Hot to Handle" from their album Lights Out at the beginning of his show, while playing Liverpool's chant at the end of the Pink Floyd song "Fearless" from their album Meddle to close out his show. Madden often watches Liverpool games during his program and gives commentary during his program.[32]

More local to Pittsburgh, Madden is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, having attended at least one game since their inaugural season, and idolizes Penguins center Mario Lemieux. Late in Lemieux's career, Madden made note of his "repeatedly trying to score directly off faceoffs." He once bet Lemieux $66 that he could not score directly off a draw. Lemieux thought the $66 bet was "cheap," and challenged Madden to a $6,600 bet. Madden accepted, and agreed that all the money would go to the Mario Lemieux Foundation. Lemieux had attempted the shot several times, with the closest effort being a post shot against the Calgary Flames on December 21, 2002. On December 23, 2002, Lemieux lined up against Buffalo Sabres faceoff specialist Chris Gratton. With the Penguins tied 2-2 and Gratton being a left-handed draw, Lemieux used the opportunity to take the shot on net. Lemieux shot the puck as it was dropped, going between Gratton's legs, off defenseman Alexei Zhitnik's skate, and eventually past goaltender Mika Noronen. Lemieux immediately looked to the pressbox, where he knew Madden was watching the game, and raised his arms. Lemieux admitted to trying the shot several times and that it was a tough shot to do without a good bounce. After the goal, Madden said he was planning a telethon to help him raise the $6,600 promised to the Mario Lemieux Foundation.[33]

Madden was hospitalized on January 29, 2006 after suffering a heart attack during a dek-hockey tournament in Reading, Pennsylvania. Madden drove himself to a local hospital after feeling nauseated, and had the heart procedure done a day after checking in. He resumed his radio show three days later, although in a different time slot.[34]

In October & November 2021, what was originally planned as a quick vacation to Las Vegas turned into 2 1/2 weeks off after Madden tested positive for COVID-19. Madden, who had been fully vaccinated and an advocate for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, said that being vaccinated "saved his life".[35]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Mark Madden - 105.9 The X".
  2. ^ "Mark Madden".
  3. ^ "Hank Aaron Sparked Pro Wrestling's First Major Racism Story 25 Years Ago". Deadspin. 16 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Ric Flair Wooooo Nation UNCENSORED - YouTube". YouTube.
  5. ^ a b "Ric Flair Podcast Host Quits Amid Raging Twitter Beef".
  6. ^ "QUICK QUOTES: Mark Madden reveals the strange reason he started wearing Hawaiian shirts on-air, his thoughts on Jim Cornette, the former World Champion he thinks is a "big baby"". August 17, 2017.
  7. ^ Rouvalis, Cristina (January 3, 2001). "WCW bosses give Madden the boot". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  8. ^ "Mark Madden Gives His Thoughts On Jim Cornette, The WCW vs WWE Product, If WCW Management Was Ever Upset With Him, Hawaiian Shirts, More". Wrestlezone. August 16, 2017.
  9. ^ "Former WCW Announcer Rips DDP, Talks To Ric Flair About Dixie Carter's Ego, NWO Horsemen Skit, More - WrestlingInc.com". www.wrestlinginc.com. Archived from the original on 2015-08-03.
  10. ^ Siggia, Chris (June 29, 2020). "Mark Madden and DDP have buried the hatchet after not speaking for 20 years". Wrestling News.
  11. ^ "411MANIA". Mark Madden: Jim Cornette is Like a ‘Two-Dollar Hooker’.
  12. ^ @MarkMaddenX (13 May 2021). "Unfortunately, @theBWSP is no more, at least in the most recent incarnation. Nothing sinister. Circumstances change…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  13. ^ "5.13.21 THE MARK MADDEN SHOW HR 3 - Mark Madden". iHeartRadio.
  14. ^ https://www.youtube.com/_wgDBiKumnQ[dead link]
  15. ^ "Tuned In: WPXI serves up burgers, fries with Friday evening newscasts". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 17, 2006.
  16. ^ "TV/radio notes: WPNT-TV adds Mark Madden". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  17. ^ ebailey@thealmanac.net, Eleanor Bailey Almanac Sports Editor. "'Super Genius' raising money for South Fayette hockey program". The Almanac. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  18. ^ "Madden removed from air by ESPN". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 28, 2008.
  19. ^ "Radio Host Fired For Kennedy Murder Quip". CBS News. May 28, 2008.
  20. ^ "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Google News Archive Search". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  21. ^ Madden, Mark (April 3, 2011). "Madden: Sandusky a state secret". Beaver County Times. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  22. ^ Hurley, Michael (November 10, 2011). "Jerry Sandusky Rumored to Have Been 'Pimping Out Young Boys to Rich Donors,' Says Mark Madden". NESN.com. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  23. ^ a b c Times, Mark Madden Special to The. "Mark Madden: Steelers, Pirates show this week where their commitments lie".
  24. ^ Times, Mark Madden Special to The. "Mark Madden: It is time for Antonio Brown to grow up, but don't hold your breath".
  25. ^ Madden, Mark (February 20, 2021). "Mark Madden's Hot Take: Steelers making it hard for Ben Roethlisberger to return". TribLIVE.com.
  26. ^ "Newsmaker: Jim Wexell / Talk show fight costs him a job, gets praise". old.post-gazette.com.
  27. ^ Times, Mark Madden Special for The. "Mark Madden: Pirates are in a race for the NL Central, forcing Bob Nutting to think differently at trade deadline".
  28. ^ Botte, Peter (May 11, 2021). "Todd Frazier gets in ugly spat with radio host after Pirates release: 'Absolute slob'".
  29. ^ "Mark Madden: The mouth that roars".
  30. ^ "Obituary: Peggy Ann Madden / Retired North Hills teacher was nationally known forensics coach". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  31. ^ "UFO WON’T GO AWAY | 105.9 The X" https://1059thex.iheart.com/alternate/amp/2020-11-24-ufo-wont-go-away/
  32. ^ "Mark Madden: Supporting Liverpool part of something bigger, magical | TribLIVE.com" https://triblive.com/sports/mark-madden-supporting-liverpool-part-of-something-bigger-magical/
  33. ^ Dejan Kovacevic (2002-12-24). "Lemieux a bet to convert some magic". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  34. ^ "Madden Back On Air After Heart Attack". WTAE.com. 2006-02-03. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  35. ^ "11.8.21 THE MARK MADDEN SHOW HR 1 - Mark Madden".

External linksEdit