In January, WWE’s Smackdown program, which has fallen into obscurity recently due to a perceived lack of importance in relation to ongoing storylines, will be moving from its current home on SyFy to a position on USA Network, the same channel which airs Raw every week. With that, changes are expected to try and make the show more relevant. Chief among those alterations was WWE’s announcement that they had hired respected boxing and MMA analyst Mauro Ranallo to take over play-by-play announcing for the show. Ranallo, who got his start on Canadian sports channel TheScore (now Sportsnet 360, a channel which also gave us WWE announcers Renee Young and Kyle Edwards), had recently been doing play-by-play for New Japan Pro Wrestling’s new show on AXS TV in the States.
In a recent interview (which you can read in full here), Ranallo discussed some of the other changes he’s heard discussed for his new television home.
“I get the sense they want to make it kind of a hybrid between Raw, the flagship show with all the storylines and great performances from our Superstars in the ring, and what’s happening in NXT. That’s really been a phenomenon, and I’m a huge proponent of that style of storytelling.
I think if SmackDown can become a hybrid of the two, we’ll have a winning formula regardless of who’s on the microphone. But since it’s going to be me, I love that it’s playing to my strengths. I think they want to set us all up to succeed.”
The new-look Smackdown will debut on USA Network on Thursday, January 7th.