NJPW On AXS Announcer Heading Up WWE SmackDown Announce Team In January

In a pretty big WWE announcing move, highly regarded play-by-play announcer Mauro Ranallo will be introduced as the new Smackdown lead announcer, according to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, who first reported the news.

In his column, Deitsch says that WWE play-by-play announcer Michael Cole is the one who helped get Mauro Ranallo the gig.

In an interview with SI.com on Friday, Ranallo said Cole, who handles broadcast talent development for the WWE in addition to on-air work, emailed him about a month ago to inquire about his interest in working with the company. Ranallo then sent the WWE some of his broadcast work, including a promotional vehicle he did for Berkshire Hathaway shareholders where Ranallo called a mock fight between billionaire Warren Buffett and Floyd Mayweather. (This was no low-end production: The video was directed by Animal House director John Landis.) The WWE brass, including chairman Vince McMahon, (were) impressed. "This was an opportunity I did not think I would get at this point of my career and I jumped on it," Ranallo said. "I have been a lifelong fan of the product. Michael said that when Vince saw the Warren Buffet video, it seemed to cinch it. They believed I could sell the entertainment part."

See Also: Josh Barnett And Mauro Ranallo Talk Wrestling's Roots

Ranallo has been praised for his work in pro wrestling, MMA, boxing and kickboxing, widely regarded as one of the best announcers in the business. He'll be taking over when Smackdown moves to USA on January 7. He'll retain his roles with GLORY Kickboxing and Showtime Boxing.

Source: Sports Illustrated