WWE News: New Smackdown voice Mauro Ranallo on whether he will be allowed to be himself in WWE, his additional duties in WWE and in combat sports
New WWE Smackdown play-by-play voice Mauro Ranallo spoke with Brian Fritz of Sporting News and was asked whether he will be able to be himself in WWE. "Fair question, and I think it begins with the fact that I will be known as Mauro Ranallo on 'Smackdown,' Ranallo said. "I understand why they want to change people's names and want to give them their own identity, but the fact that they respect my breadth of work and respect what I've done over the last 30 years as a broadcaster already puts me in a proper mindset. I'm going to call WWE like I call everything. Yes, I'm going to be passionate. Yes, I'm going to be excited, but at the same time I'm hoping to get better as a storyteller and I'm hoping to complement the people I work with who have been doing this a lot longer than I have.
"At this time, I don't know exactly what the broadcast team will be comprised of. For me, I feel good no matter who it is and that goes for everyone from Jerry 'The King' Lawler to Booker T to Byron Saxton to JBL. And I really hope this turns into another incredible opportunity for me just to be myself and get better. I need to get better. Like any other job, I'm never going to quit trying to get better because the moment you think you've made it, that's when you're done. I really believe that people who know me will recognize me and my sound and people who don't, I hope they appreciate the fact that at the end of the day, I am a fan first and foremost. I respect the product. I respect what these incredible performers do day in and day out. All I am is the narrator. I'm a fairly small piece of this very intricate jigsaw puzzle."
Ranallo also spoke about his other duties in WWE as well has non-wrestling voice work. "At this time, I'll be just doing Smackdown for my on-air duties but I will be at Raw' on Monday nights just to be a part of the environment and pick up anything that can help me do a better job on Smackdown, to be around the team," he said. On Mondays, I'll be sitting backstage and watching Raw, Tuesdays I'll be doing Smackdown and then they do want me at the month pay-per-view events. It's going to be a hectic schedule. It's going to be a busy schedule. The fact that Showtime Championship Boxing and GLORY kickboxing are always Saturdays for Showtime and Fridays for GLORY or Saturday, the schedule works, but like anything else, we'll have to see how it . . . give me a year or two and I'll get back with you to see how I'm doing. In terms of WWE, I'm pretty sure as we move along that the WWE Network has a lot of different opportunities and some I've very interested in exploring. For right now, my attention is on making Smackdown the best product it can be when it moves to USA Network on Jan. 7." Read the full interview at SportingNews.com.
Powell's POV: Ranallo also spoke about Michael Cole reaching out to him regarding the position, and said he also spoke with Triple H. It will be interesting to see how he does with Vince McMahon producing him through the headsets. It's not normally as much of an issue with Smackdown, but I suspect that will change now that Smackdown is moving to USA Network. Ranallo is an excellent big match commentator on the New Japan Pro Wrestling show on AXS. I'd love to see him eventually move into the lead play-by-play voice role for pay-per-view events, but I am curious to see how he does when he's calling some of the filler content that WWE includes on their product rather than just the great NJPW matches. I still believe it was a great hire by WWE and I look forward to hearing him call Smackdown next year. There's a lot more to the interview and I highly recommend checking it out.
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