New WWE announcer Jimmy Smith joined Busted Open Radio this week to talk about his debut on this past Monday Night RAW.
It is brought up that Smith did not grow up a huge fan of professional wrestling, and Smith is asked if his debut on Monday Night RAW made him develop a new appreciation for the industry. Smith confirmed that it did, and went on to praise the entire backstage process of the show.
“Oh my god,” exclaimed Smith. “When you look at the nuts and bolts of a show that RAW puts on, that SmackDown puts on, the nuts and bolts of that show are amazing. The number of moving parts they have, the way they sew the storylines together, and all that stuff is incredible. I don’t care if you’re a pro wrestling fan or not, that’s amazing. What is so weird to me is, once again, I stopped watching pro wrestling in 1990, and I was 13 years old and I outgrew it while going into high school. Going back and seeing it with adult eyes, it is so different, and you appreciate it as an adult watching these guys perform. Because, remember, when I was a kid it wasn’t a performance, it was a real combat sport in our minds. To watch them perform like that is incredible.
“And as an adult watching it again, it is a totally different experience. Then there’s that other level of being there live. And when Kofi Kingston was against Drew McIntyre and went over that wall, he literally did catch his leg on that wall and started screaming. And we all went, ‘Oh crap.’ They rushed back there to help him get up in time for the commercial and he got up and was like, ‘I’m good, let’s go.’ Insane. Insane. Watching it live and Sheamus got kicked and he starts leaking blood all over the place. And in MMA that is much more normal. But he had to keep going in character, in storyline, in everything, with what was clearly a smashed nose. That’s like an actor busting their nose and staying in character and finishing the scene. It is so different and amazing getting back into it as an adult, and being there live. It was awesome.”
Smith was asked about how he prepped himself for the announcing job. He said he lived professional wrestling all day for the last five months. Smith also revealed that he was actually supposed to start announcing in NXT before he was suddenly selected to announce on Monday Night RAW.
“I’ve been doing nothing but homework since January,” shared Smith. “I’ve literally lived pro wrestling since January. Of course, I live MMA too. So, MMA and pro wrestling, it’s all I do all day. But the last time I was on this show I was supposed to do stuff with NXT and they were going to slowly bring me into the broadcast. Then I found out last week, ‘No, you’re taking over out biggest show.’ So, this week has been insane. This week has been, in terms of prep, that’s all I’ve been all I’m doing all day, every day. You know, Michael Cole was like, ‘Hey, did you have any fun in Tampa?’ And I said, ‘Nope. I’ve been in this room, prepping, for three days, and that’s all I’ve been doing.’ And that’s all I did do.”
Smith was also asked about his backstage interactions with the wrestlers and how everyone reacted to him. Smith said everyone was nice to him, and that some of the talents actually recognized him from his past broadcasting work in the world of mixed martial arts.
“I ran into Big E at SmackDown,” recalled Smith. “So, I’m in the hall and [Big E] is coming out of a dressing room, and I say, ‘Hey man, how are you doing?’ And he goes, ‘Oh man, Jimmy Smith! I’m a big fan man!’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, thanks!’ A lot of them are big MMA fans! A few of them I shook hands with and said, ‘Hi, I’m Jimmy.’ And they go, ‘Yeah I know, I’ve been watching you for ten years.’ And I was like, ‘Oh s***, wow, thank you!’
“So, they totally respected me and what I’ve done. And everybody was like, ‘Have a blast, we’re so glad you’re here.’ Drew McIntyre came up to me before the match and gave me a bunch of background stuff, like you would interview a fighter before a fight. He gave me a bunch of lines and said, ‘If you need them, use them.’ And I’m like, ‘Dude, 100%.” So, everybody was supportive, and excited, and they were thrilled I was there. . . They were all great. Of course, Bobby Lashley, I called some of his fights in Bellator. . . and of course I know him already. We had a great time, and it was a lot of fun.”
Smith had mentioned that a lot of the backstage advice that he received was to be energetic. Smith was asked if he thought he was given that advice due to his predecessor having lacked that energy, or if he thought it was just a general piece of advice.
“I’m going to be totally honest with you,” said Smith. “When I was watching Adnan Virk last time, I had to turn [the volume] up. I had to literally turn it up, and then Corey Graves and Byron Saxton, I had to turn down. Because, I couldn’t hear Adnan and had to turn it up, and when Corey or Byron brought energy it blasted my TV, and I had to keep turning it up and down. I was like, ‘That shouldn’t be happening.’ So, I think they were very cognizant of making sure the energy levels of Byron and Corey matched my energy level. We would all, ‘Oh my god!’ at the same times. It wasn’t one of us was talking in a regular voice and the other one was going over the top. And I believe that was a concern going in, obviously they wanted us to match, and I think we did pretty well. I mean, it’s up to you guys, but you don’t want one person super excited and everybody else is lulled. I thought we were all jacked up about the same stuff.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription