In the interview Smith discussed his past experiences commentating for Bellator MMA and the UFC. Smith was also asked about having multiple people talking in his ear and whether it made his job easier or more difficult.
“Number one, [it was] easier,” Smith answered quickly. “But you got to remember I used to have Bjorn Rebney yelling at me in Bellator. So, you know, that happens. That’s not a big deal. Dana didn’t really do that in the UFC, but I’ve dealt with people yelling and multiple people taking to me at the same time. That’s not weird at all.”
Smith also revealed what Vince McMahon was telling him in his headset throughout the show. He said Vince mainly chimed in with specific critiques and improvements, and that they were all helpful.
“When Vince hopped on it was about things that were specific to the WWE that I need to learn, that I found very, very helpful,” shared Smith. “Things like, whenever we say WWE fans, we say, ‘Our fans.’ There is verbiage that is specific to the WWE. They specifically want certain things. They specifically don’t want certain things that are very common in other sports, especially MMA. So, every time Vince jumped on it was a specific [thing], ‘Hey, in the WWE we say this. . .’ And, ‘Ok got it. 100%, I understand.’”
Smith also praised the production value on Monday Night Raw. He said that the WWE did a great job of not over-crowding the air waves and revealed who else he was talking with over the headset.
“So, it was all helpful. Three people were never talking at the same time. Although it was three different voices, they all jumped on at different times. I had Michael Cole in my ear because Cole was producing from the event. As well as Kevin Dunn, and occasionally Vince. Vince, not that much. But both Kevin and Cole were good at not stepping on each other. The hard part is when people try to tell you something at the same time. You know, the director and producer will be yakking at the same time and you go, ‘Guys, one voice. I can’t hear.’ That never happened [on Monday]. So, as far as that went, their on-air traffic was great. Kevin’s lead-ins were great, he gave me plenty of time. The countdowns are a lot shorter, so I’ve got to get used to that. They’ll go, ‘Commercial, 3, 2. . .’ Usually you get more time than that, it’s just the nature of the way that pro wrestling works. But production wise, they were great.”
Smith said the advice he received from backstage was to be prepared to screw up and make mistakes, and to be sure to have a lot of energy. He also revealed that everyone backstage was surprised by the number of moves he knew, including one of his own fellow commentators.
“The advice for me, from everybody, from the beginning, was, ‘You may screw up moves, you may do this, you may do that,’ recalled Smith. “Number one, they were surprised by all the moves I knew. Afterwards Byron Saxton was like, ‘Dude, I stepped on you because I didn’t think you’d know the name of the move, and you did!’ But a big part of it was they said, ‘You have energy. Just have energy. Just tell people they should be excited to be here, and be excited to be seeing what you’re seeing.’ That was the advice from four different people, like, ‘Hey, you can f*** this up, you can f*** that up, you can f*** up people’s names. Have energy during the match.’ And I went, ‘No problem. That [is something] I have been doing a long time.’”
Smith also revealed the backstage reactions to his announcing debut. Smith said the feedback has all been positive, especially from the people whose opinions matter the most.
“Triple H texted me [the next] morning and was like, ‘Dude, great job. Thank you so much.’ And that’s what matters, man. Keeping a gig depends on four or five key people, and they were all happy this morning, and that’s what matters.
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