There had been speculation on Phoenix and Ranallo after Tom Phillips opened this week's NXT episode on the USA Network, and then introduced them for the matches. Ranallo and Phoenix were not shown on camera during the show. Wrestling Observer Radio and Pro Wrestling Sheet have now confirmed that they called the show from home instead of the closed-set Performance Center in Orlando, FL as another precautionary safety measure during the coronavirus pandemic.
WWE's production team reportedly put together a way for Phoenix and Ranallo to call the action from their homes, to keep them as integral parts of the show during commentary while limiting the amount of travel they would need to do for now. Ranallo lives in Southern California while Phoenix lives in the Asheville, NC area. We noted a few days ago how WWE had been working on a way to where Mauro could do commentary from his home studio, and do the announcing on NXT live without being in the building.
The Observer reported last week that Phoenix and Nigel McGuinness both had time off right now due to concern over COVID-19 as they have young children and don't want to quarantine for two weeks. That report noted that Ranallo had also opted not to fly from his home to Florida for the tapings. Mauro recently did some commentary work for the April 8 episode, but he did that work in post-production from his home. That was Mauro's first episode since March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and this week's show was his first since then. This was Beth's first episode since March 11. Nigel has also been away since then.
It was noted today by Pro Wrestling Sheet that WWE is able to do this with the NXT announce team because they appear on-screen less than the RAW and SmackDown teams. This is why WWE used Tom for the opener and for several more moments throughout the show, from the "virtual announce desk" at the taping.
There's no word yet on if WWE will go back to the two-man team of Tom and Byron Saxton, who have been calling the NXT action since the COVID-19 outbreak forced WWE to make drastic changes to their TV operations. WWE reportedly taped next week's NXT episode on Wednesday as well. They are set to the Performance Center for more RAW, NXT and SmackDown tapings on Monday, May 11, the day after Money In the Bank.