Mauro Ranallo is the best play-by-play commentator in combat sports today.
WWE, which Ranallo called home until March of 2017, recently called him back to be the new voice of NXT. Ranallo debuted on the June 28 edition, where he brought his unique styling’s to WWE’s wildly popular developmental brand.
Mauro is back where he deserves to be; he’s earned his spot in Vince McMahon’s company. However the irony is that WWE needs him more than he needs them.
When was the last time that could be said of anyone that worked for WWE? CM Punk is perhaps the best recent example. Punk knew what he was worth, and what he wanted. He also knew he didn’t want any part of the politics or hypocrisy that has typically always accompanied life in WWE.
Punk believed he could be happier without pro wrestling. He was right.
WWE is the big time, the main stage. If a guy can get over in WWE, he can get over anywhere. WWE has more resources, more experience, and more knowledge, than any other wrestling company in the world. So when a talent gets there, he should be grateful to have made it.
Punk believed that too. But in the end, things changed.
Mauro had a career before WWE, and he had a career after leaving SmackDown Live. But when the opportunity to return came, he took it. Why wouldn’t he? WWE is indeed a dream job for anyone that grew up loving the business. The same is certainly true for Ranallo, who brings something to the role that no one else can; authenticity.
Therein lays the reason why he’s so good, and why MMA, boxing, and wrestling, wants him. He’s the fan calling the action. He’s the voice of reason doing the work. More importantly, he’s speaking for the crowd.
He has the best delivery because even though it’s animated, it’s very real. He gets excited when the action in the ring elevates, then he brings it back down when the tone is slower and more deliberate. When he speaks, it’s impossible to ignore him.
He has an inner hard drive that’s full of anecdotes and pop culture references, all of which make him sound new and fresh. He doesn’t get too wrapped up in what’s coming next, or what came before; he focuses on the here and now.
He takes the audience on a ride through the program, and it’s a ride that’s extremely easy to follow. In a company where every single word of commentary seems to be controlled from the first match to the last, Ranallo exudes an air of authority. He seems to be in the driver’s seat, whether he is or not.
It’s called composure, and Mauro has an abundance of it.
Fans have compared him to Jim Ross, and with good reason. Much like JR, Mauro gives the everyman view on the match while also drawing from a very knowledgeable perspective. But their deliveries are similar because they both have a tremendous love of the business, and it shows.
JR and Mauro call the match as a fan would, and that’s why they’ve been successful. Their ability to relate and boil the contest down to its bare essence is what separates them from everyone else that’s come before and after them.
But Ranallo is no throwback, or retread of anyone. He is his own man, and no one sounds like him. He is unique and personalizes each match with his own signature commentary. He is the perfect fit in today’s WWE, which is not only going in new directions; it’s also becoming more relevant in the eyes of hardcore fans.
WWE was once the home of flashy Superstars with more sizzle than steak. But now the locker room is filled with talents that came up on the independent circuit, men and women who worked hard and learned their craft to become some of the best workers in the world. This WWE needs commentators who bridge the gap between sports entertainment, and good old-fashioned pro wrestling.
Ranallo is the perfect choice to fill that gap, and he will do exactly that in NXT.
Mauro loves the business, and fans not only sense it, they appreciate it. This is not just another gig for him; it’s the ideal job that he happens to be very good at. With any luck, WWE knows what it has and will do everything possible to give him what he needs to succeed.
But if not, Mauro will be just fine. After all, he is the best in the world.