WWE has three different announce teams over Raw, SmackDown, and NXT with some stars like Tom Phillips cover more than one show.
The current Raw announce team consists of Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Michael Cole, with Austin Aries often joining the team during Cruiserweight matches. SmackDown has a four-man announce team that includes Tom Phillips, former WWE World Champion JBL, Mauro Ranallo, and former WWE Superstarstar David Otunga.
NXT used to be where Corey Graves plied his trade, but when he was switched to Raw, Nigel McGuiness took his place alongside Tom Phillips and Percy Watson.
WWE’s entire broadcast team reaches beyond these male stars to the likes of Renee Young, Jerry Lawler, Charley Caruso, Cathy Kelley, and even JoJo as a ring announcer and former backstage interviewer.
The announce team may not be seen on TV a lot, but they still part of the show and they still have secrets that WWE wants the WWE Universe to forget.
20. WWE Once Called Byron By The Wrong Name
Sometimes things go wrong when you are broadcasting live. It’s one of the things that can’t be helped. Injuries occur, lighting cues are earlier or late and sometimes even pyros are pressed at the wrong time. But production teams really should know how to spell the talents’ name, right?
Back at Battleground last year, poor Byron became known as Byron Sexton instead with pictures of the mistake trending all over Twitter. It is expected at Raw events, but how can the production team get this wrong at a ay-per-view? Obviously, WWE overlooked the situation and it was never mentioned again, but the pictures are still online of the unfortunate mishap and it is sadly something Byron himself has probably come across in his news feed many times over the past few months.
19. How Many Times Has JBL Tripped?
JBL needs to begin to rethink that pre-show drink to calm his nerves, because it seems that he isn’t as steady on his feet as he used to be. A few months ago on SmackDown Dolph Ziggler and Jerry Lawler were part of an in-ring promo where Ziggler attacked Lawler and JBL was supposed to run into the ring afterward.
JBL did get to the ring, but not before he managed to trip over the electrical wire at ringside and make a complete fool of himself. JBL then made his entrance at Elimination Chamber a few weeks ago and managed to trip down the entrance ramp as he performed his signature two-step. Booker T saw it and then decided to draw attention to it and the WWE Universe found it hilarious.
18. David Otunga Could Leave WWE For Acting Career
David Otunga has been a main feature on the SmackDown Commentary desk since the WWE Draft last summer, but it seems with all the negativity surrounding his position and the fact that he has landed a role in a primetime TV show, means that he could found a way out of WWE, a company he’s been a part of for many years.
Otunga hasn’t been used by WWE properly in a very long time and many WWE fans are shocked that he is even still contracted to the company, but it seems as though he has been doing a lot of extra acting work on the sides whilst WWE haven’t been pushing him over the past few years and could make the decision to leave the company to continue to pursue acting instead, in the near future.
17. Nazi Salute In Munich
While JBL was still wrestling for WWE, he was part of a house show in Germany back in 2004 and he thought that while he was doing his usual goose-step around the ring, it would be a great way to draw heat if he did a Nazi Salute; something that is illegal as a public display in Germany.
This got JBL much more heat that he bargained for, not just for his character either. It also could have caused him a lot of problems. He himself realized the error of his actions but stated that he was merely playing a character at the time. He was forced to state the difference between himself and his character and said that it was something that he did all the time, but definitely wouldn’t be doing again.
16. WWE Replaced Rich Brennan With Mauro Ranallo And Released Him
Rich Brennan was happily doing a good job on SmackDown as their main play-by-play guy until WWE announced that they wanted to move SmackDown to the USA Network and have someone with much more of a name recognition to be running the show on-screen.
Brennan was taken off SmackDown and instead used on Main Event and Superstars and he thought that there was enough work for him to be able to continue. Merely months later he was released by WWE in what they said were post-WrestleMania budget cuts. Which is harsh since Brennan had been doing the job for much longer and WWE actually told him that he was doing a fantastic job before deciding to replace him with someone who was much more experienced and better known in sports circles.
15. Vince McMahon’s Rules For His Announcers
Have you ever watched the commentary team and thought that you could easily do what they do? Well think again. The WWE commentary team does not have a very easy job. Much like every other Superstar in WWE, they have to adhere to rules that were made by Vince McMahon.
These rules not only include what to say about the matches that they are watching and what to call the spots but also how to call them. A script that contains all of the rules for WWE’s announce teams was leaked to the WWE Universe back in 2015 and they make some interesting reading. It seems that there isn’t a lot that goes on during a WWE broadcast that Vince doesn’t have power over. He really does like to make sure everything is perfect.
14. Byron Saxton Still Lives With His Parents
Byron Saxton is often the butt of all the jokes on the Raw commentary desk and many of the WWE Universe have questioned why he is even needed on there, but it seems that WWE has their own reasons.
Byron was originally signed to WWE back in 2007 but he was sent to FCW until 2012 and then was part of ECW as well. It is only since he was moved to NXT and then over to Raw that he been at the main focus of fans and obviously the one who is always bullied. One of the reasons why Byron is probably bullied so much could be because, at the age of 35, Byron still lives at home with his parents. It’s understandable since he is moving around a lot and rarely goes home anyway, but it would still be a slightly embarrassing fact for any grown man to admit.
13. Percy Watson Was Released From NXT In 2013
Percy Watson is a former football player who was signed to WWE back in 2009. He then remained in the developmental territory until 2011 when he was unveiled as a competitor on the second season of NXT.
Percy remained on NXT for the next two years until 2013 when his final match saw him take part in a six-man tag match against The Shield, which he was on the losing side of. He then began performing on the Independent Circuit following his release from WWE, until WWE made the call in late 2016 and decided to have him join Tom Phillips and Nigel McGuiness at the NXT announce table. The WWE Universe remembered the former star and were happy that he had made his return, but it hasn’t been explained as to why WWE reached back out to a released talent.
12. Jerry Lawler Once Left WWE In Protest
Despite how much WWE have backed the King of Memphis over the past few decades, he decided that the company were out of line back in February 2001 when they decided to release his wife at the time and former WWE Diva Stacy “The Kat” Carter (Who was also know as Miss Kitty in her early career).
Stacy worked for WWE for a number of years and was introduced to the business by Jerry Lawler after she met him at a softball game a few years before they married. Lawler thought her release was unfair and decided to walk away from WWE himself as a means of protest. The protest didn’t work and he later divorced his wife and returned to WWE seemingly apologizing and deciding that in the end, they were actually right to release her.
11. Mauro Ranallo Has Enough Pedigree To Be Pushed To Raw
Mauro Ranallo came to WWE back in December 2015 and is fast becoming one of the most popular commentators on all three brands. WWE itself is going through a New Era right now and it seems that Mauro is bringing in his own era at the announce table by showing the WWE Universe how to announce his way. Which, let’s be honest, is much better than WWE’s previous attempts.
Gone are the days of the commentators talking about anything but the match in front of them. Ranallo ensures that the match is all called the way it should be and it is a welcome change. It is unknown why he is still on SmackDown, though, since rightly as the best commentator in WWE right now, he should be on Monday Night Raw.
10. Michael Cole Works So Much Better Without Vince McMahon
One of Michael Cole’s main jobs is to listen to what Vince McMahon is saying in his ear, and then get on with it. Cole seems flustered a lot of the time because Vince probably shouts at him if he gets things wrong and this then comes back as Cole not doing his job right.
During the UK Championship Tournament last month, Michael Cole commentated along with Nigel McGuiness and it was the best job Cole has ever done. It seems that when Vince isn’t in his ear telling him what to do, he is under less pressure and he is actually able to perform so much better as the main anchor. Take note Vince. Allow Cole a little more freedom and he will probably put on a much better show.
9. Nigel McGuiness Had A Lengthy Spells In ROH And TNA
Nigel McGuiness was added to the WWE announce team following the success of the first ever WWE UK Championship Tournament back in January. McGuiness has since been given the reins on NXT alongside Tom Phillips and Percy Watson, but he himself has a history in the wrestling business.
McGuiness found fame in Ring of Honor. He became their Pure Champion and then their World Champion before he moved to TNA and became known as Desmond Wolfe. The WWE Universe are aware of the exploits that McGuiness has had over the years and it could be one of the reasons that WWE decided to bring in an English commentator for the British Tournament. But it seems that his past accomplishments will be something he will never allowed to announce on air.
8. Mauro Ranallo And Renee Young Have Worked Together Before
Renee Young came into WWE back in 2012 with a background in sports presenting, where she had already worked alongside Mauro Ranallo as part of The Score. Renee appeared alongside Arda Ocal, Mauro Ranallo, and former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas on a show called Right After Wrestling back in 2009.
Renee admitted that she was quite excited to work with Mauro again when WWE finally signed him in December 2015, but the company themselves have made no mention of the fact that both current members of their broadcast team actually worked together for a while before they were signed to the WWE. Mauro and Renee obviously don’t actually interact on WWE TV now since she is a host and he is the announcer for SmackDown. Although they do now appear on the same brand together.
7. Corey Graves Can No Longer Wrestle
Corey Graves was basically forced into announcing after a short NXT career that saw him lift the NXT Tag Team Championships with Neville. Graves wrestled for a while on NXT before he suffered a second concussion and it was decided that he could no longer compete at that level.
Corey officially retired from in-ring competition due to all the injuries he has suffered throughout his career back in December 2014 and he has since become one of the best commentators that WWE has. This is why he was recently moved from NXT over to Raw, with Nigel McGuiness replacing him. The ‘Savour of Misbehaviour’ has become a popular announcer with the fans, which is why it seems that WWE is now hoping to have him replace Michael Cole as the main anchor on Raw in the future.
6. The Real Reason Jerry Lawler Missed Survivor Series 1993
Jerry Lawler is regarded as a legend in WWE, but that is mostly because most of the WWE Universe are unaware of his past discretions. Lawler has been supported by WWE throughout his in-ring career as well as his announce career which means that a lot of things are covered up.
Back in 1993 Jerry Lawler was arrested for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl and was then forced to miss the Survivor Series event. The charges were later dropped because it seemed as though the girl had fabricated some of the evidence, and WWE allowed Lawler to come back and continue as though nothing had happened because he was a huge star in the company at the time. It is something that neither party ever talks about, but it is something that remains on Lawler’s criminal record.
5. The Plan Ride From Hell
Current SmackDown commentator JBL was part of one of the most infamous wrestling occurrences of all time. JBL was part of this when he decided to get into a war of words with Michael Hayes and then apparently knocked him out. Many other WWE talents then got involved and decided to teach Hayes a lesson.
The flight was seven hours long and when Hayes finally fell asleep X-Pac did the honors of cutting off his signature ponytail. Hayes woke up and went nuts, and then his hair showed up when it was stapled to the wall backstage at the next Raw event. This set into motion a lot of out of character events on the plane ride that is now known as 2002’s ‘Plane Ride from Hell’ that ended up costing Curt Hennig and Scott Hall their jobs with WWE.
4. David Otunga Is Hated By The WWE Universe
David Otunga was once part of The Nexus and quite a well structured WWE wrestler for a few years but WWE never actually used him appropriately. It is unknown how he has managed to remain with the company throughout the last few budget cuts when he hasn’t properly been used for years.
Many of the WWE Universe have stated how bad Otunga actually is on commentary, but WWE don’t seem to be all that bothered. Many reports suggest that WWE like to keep the husband of Jennifer Hudson around because he is a trained lawyer and he has helped WWE out of some sticky situations. It would be interesting to know if that is the real reason the company is trying to push him onto a job that he isn’t actually good at.
3. JBL’s Hazing
Hazing happens in many sports and it something that will always happen regardless of how much people try to prevent it. Back in the 1990s John Bradshaw Layfield was one of the worst people when it came to hazing new talent.
Many WWE stars including The Miz and Rene Dupree have stated that JBL hazed them at the start of their WWE careers. Joey Styles was once hazed by JBL and he retaliated by punching him in the face, which showed that he wasn’t one to mess with. JBL once saw Billy Silverman, a WWE referee quit the business because of his continual hazing backstage and he has admitted many times that he is a bully and that he used to do things like this to younger stars for fun. He even once ran to the ring during a live match and attacked The Blue Meanie, because he didn’t like him.
2. Jerry Lawler Was Arrested For Domestic Abuse
Jerry Lawler was part of WWE’s regular announce team since 1992, the WWE have seen him through many things over the past few years including a potentially fatal heart attack at ringside, but it seems a fight with his girlfriend was too much.
Back in 2016, Jerry and his girlfriend at the time Lauryn McBride were arrested on domestic abuse charges after the pair had a fight where both admitted to assaulting each other. Jerry Lawler was suspended from WWE indefinitely by WWE following his arrest and they even sent out an article on their official website, but when the charges were then dropped against both offenders, WWE rehired the former King of the Ring winner, and he now plays a role in the Broadcast team on the kickoff panel ahead of pay-per-views.
1. Tom Phillips And His Extra Curricular Activities
Tom Phillips has been given a huge push by WWE recently. He has come from the guy who was abused by Jeri-KO in the Social Media lounge ahead of Survivor Series to a constant face on SmackDown and the main face of the NXT announce team.
Tom has worked his way up, and many fans were happy for him until it was revealed that he was having an affair. The lady in question leaked messages that she had with Tom that were less than PG, claiming that she had no idea that Tom was engaged while he was sending her such racy messages. WWE haven’t responded to these claims yet and Tom has set all of his Social Media accounts to private which has only made him look much more guilty.
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