Fox Sports interviewed Mauro Ranallo about taking over as the lead announcer for Smackdown with the show’s move to the USA Network. Below are the highlights:
How the opportunity came about:
"It began, believe it or not, on Twitter. I noticed that Michael Cole, who is the voice of WWE and calls Monday Night RAW, followed me on Twitter and I was like 'that's kind of strange or odd but cool in the same sense.' I thought maybe he was a boxing or MMA fan, whatever, I thought it was kind of interested. Next thing I get an email from Michael Cole and he's asking me if I'm interested in exploring employment opportunities with WWE. I'm not going to lie for a split-second I thought maybe somebody got hacked or I'm going to be punked again like I was with Mirko Cro Cop back in the day. But I responded and from there on it was a few months ago, we connected right away and he told me what the company was looking for was really interesting for me at this stage in my career."
How is he handling the differences between commentating for WWE and combat sports?
"I've had to learn some of the subtleties and the nuances of the sport, but I'm not going to change my style. That's what they wanted and I do work in boxing, kickboxing and MMA and I think one of my abilities is that I'm very emotionally invested in these sports. What these superstars and divas and fighters put their bodies through to not only achieve but to entertain. From an announcer's standpoint, I want to be able to convey their stories and add layers to their characters.
We all know the difference between sports entertainment and the combat sports that I call, but at the end of the day, they are all spawned from the same source and there's a lot of mutual respect between the two bodies. From Ronda Rousey and Floyd Mayweather's involvement in WrestleMania and of course Brock Lesnar, who has been able to conquer both WWE and UFC. So they wanted me to be Mauro Ranallo, championship boxing commentator with a WWE tweak and working with Jerry Lawler and Byron Saxton, I'm in a perfect place."
Working with Jerry Lawler:
"Jerry 'The King' Lawler might be the most talented man I've ever worked with. He comes in, he's cool as a cucumber and then all of a sudden as soon as the camera comes on, it was a dream. It was an absolute dream come true to spar and share the same airspace with a guy I've respected for a long, long time."
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